NEP uses the Sony MLS-X1 to allocate switcher resources between virtual configurations, increasing its ability to handle diverse projects and events across multiple locations.

Sony NEP2 mlsx1

NEP Group have expanded their inventory of Sony MLS-X1 Live Switchers, purchasing ten new units and bringing the total number to 31.

NEP’s SVP Technology Marc Segar said, “NEP initially purchased 21 MLS-X1 switchers to upgrade and expand the current Sydney facility and deploy them in time for international sports competitions held across Australia and New Zealand last year.”

The MLS-X1 is a major element of the Sony Networked Live system, developed to help productions connect and use their on-premises and cloud resources for live applications, regardless of where the equipment, events or staff are physically located.

Versatility and Efficiency

Marc said, “The new MLS-X1 Live Switchers are currently in use in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland on a range of different projects, productions and events. The way we use them all within NEP's production environment demonstrates their versatility and efficiency. Because we can allocate switcher resources between virtual configurations, and integrate other devices as needed, NEP has increased its ability to handle a diverse range of projects and events across multiple locations.

Sony MLS X1 Rear

“Its native support for ST 2110 has made the MLS-X1 fairly simple to integrate into NEP's existing facilities, and use in production workflows. The use of 4K content and larger switcher configurations has continued to grow, which means that NEP is now producing events that demand more resources. The MLS-X1 has become a valuable asset in meeting these evolving demands effectively.

“NEP typically uses one or more MLS-X1s in our Andrews production hubs to manage all the major sports coverage that we produce on a weekly basis. From there, the MLS-X1 can be expanded by reconfiguring it for large global 4K productions or dividing into smaller HD productions as required, allowing us to use our resources more efficiently.”

Sony MLS X1 3q

Expecting the Unexpected

Using Networked Live to share resources between dispersed locations allows NEP to produce and process projects from studios, OB vans and other remote venues. It serves in regularly scheduled day-to-day productions as well as large-scale projects that only occur a few times a year. Each MLS-X1 unit is connected by a network, and its physical structure can be changed to suit these different scenarios.

Logical switchers made up of one to multiple MLS-X1 units are configured as needed, avoiding the need to prepare in advance for extreme capacity or functionality that may or may not be needed. For large-scale events, MLS-X1 units assigned to various studios can be linked, instantly expanding power and capacity.

For instance, although the NEP Andrews hubs use a MLS-X1 cluster for regular weekly sports shows, it is still possible to interconnect MLS-X1 units in multiple studios for a very large-scale production, while a remaining logical switcher can continue the usual programmes. Redundant systems, which are required for live production, can be built as a single backup system for all components (N+1), or with a duplicate component for each component (N+N).

Sony NEP mlsx1

Simultaneous Production

For multiple simultaneous programme production from a single control panel, Sony’s Dual Simul function and scalable configuration are used to assign the necessary number of processing units for each production. Examples of multiple simultaneous productions might be a 4K(UHD)/HD multi format production, or Host feed + Unilateral feed, typically required for live sports. All of these can be produced with one panel and one crew, or multiple panels and crews depending on project requirements.

In terms of video quality, the switcher’s architecture adds a GPU-based effects and graphics module to the video processing structure, which makes its video processing power more flexible. It means that, through hardware acceleration, the units can support real-time processing of 4K (UHD) and High Dynamic Range video with ultra-low latency.

Marc said, “We love the way we can share resources efficiently across various projects, whether it's a large-scale international sporting event or a smaller, localised production. Reliable and versatile equipment like the MLS-X1 is essential for delivering consistent results.”