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Distributed Video Production

Objective

DVP addresses the demands of the broadcasting and media industry for distributed video production technology and suggests several applications which improve the economic efficiency and the time to market the broadcast program production. The project runs trials of distributed applications such as the Distributed Virtual Studio (DVS) and Distributed Editing and Retrieval (DVER). For example, production environments with ATM connectivity could have access to virtual studio technology provided as an external service. Such a studio-on-demand scenario enables TV producers to save equipment and reduce training and manpower costs. Furthermore, the studio-on-demand encourages a new service industry to develop where information products like virtual sets are contributed in real time from outside service providers to program producers.
The DVP project is focused on applications requiring the transfer of high video quality over broadband networks. Today, DVP is generating most of the ATM traffic in some partner countries. The ongoing project will develop, and evaluate through field trials, applications in four areas: virtual studio production, video editing and retrieval, video conferencing for performance rehearsal, and distributed virtual reality with integrated video.
Some expected results are:
recommendations concerning video compression techniques for applications where both high video quality AND interactivity are important.
demonstration of an interactive "distributed virtual studio" video production run over an ATM network with remote control of the studio facilities, virtual objects and virtual actors. Interaction via WWW.
prototyping of advanced applications for immersive video conferencing and distributed rehearsal
client-server architecture for on-line video editing using remote archives over ATM
evolution from VR to collaborative VR with integrated video elements
first use of European and transatlantic ATM networks for high-quality video production
Expected Impact
Up to now ATM is not being used for high-quality video production in the broadcast environment. The DVP project is exploiting the technical potential of ATM for video production needs, thus
transferring ATM technology and techniques to European broadcasters
enlarging the awareness of equipment manufacturers of distributed video production demands
A joint EBU/SMPTE task force on User Requirements for the Exchange of TV Programme Material as Bit Streams has been launched by DVP partners that will have a major impact on standardisation bodies.
Partners from broadcasting industry participating in a European network would profit from access to DVP facilities for a variety of reasons:
reduced production costs and shorter production times
integrated training and documentation facilities
better (tested/simulated) product quality
integrated production and distribution processes

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
A Distributed Virtual Studio, for Distributed Virtual Reality, Distributed Video Editing and Retrieval and Distributed Rehearsal.
Contribution to the programme
Trials for Distributed Multimedia Production Systems over ATM networks.

Technical Approach
In DVP, basic technology for transferring studio-quality digital video over broadband networks (ATM), and for video coding and compression is evaluated. Problems of transmission and processing delays, synchronisation requirements, and Quality of Service (QoS) parameters have to be solved. Analogue technology has to be substituted by digital. Migration from analogue networks (in Germany VBN) to ATM is an urgent demand of the TV industry.
Summary of Trial
The following four pilot application scenarios are tested and evaluated in DVP:
Distributed Studio Production: Bringing together real actors and objects (props) from different separated studios in a common real or virtual studio, which uses real-time rendering on remote supercomputers.
Distributed Rehearsal: An immersive teleconferencing environment allowing small groups of actors and musicians at different studios to conduct rehearsals as if face-to-face.
Distributed Virtual Reality: Interconnecting distributed individual virtual reality environments with integrated video for synthesising a joint virtual reality.
Distributed Video Archiving, Indexing, and Retrieval: Access to remote video archives for non-linear editing.
The first DVP tests used the ATM pilot network (155 Mbps) of Deutsche Telekom, the Swiss PTT's ATM network, and satellite. For the distributed virtual studio tests, real-time rendering was done remotely on GMD supercomputers at Sankt Augustin. Some of the DVP tests included:
1. First distributed virtual studio
The live award ceremony of an international video art competition called "Internationaler Videokunstpreis" was produced using a distributed virtual studio between GMD, Sankt Augustin and an SWF studio in Baden-Baden using a 155 Mbps ATM connection over 300 km over which multiple video and control data were multiplexed.
2. Remote Rendering via ATM
A distributed virtual studio was demonstrated during the Deutsche Telekom International Press Conference at the Telekom headquarters, Bonn via ATM. Rendering was done on a remote supercomputer at GMD.
3. First interactive distributed virtual studio
A first interactive distributed virtual studio, using Internet WWW technology and satellite connections, was established between GMD, Sankt Augustin and the International Broadcasting Convention IBC'96 exhibition area at Amsterdam. WWW users around the world could interactively participate in a game produced in the virtual studio.
4. First distributed musical rehearsal
A distributed musical rehearsal with musicians from GRAME Lyon ensemble located at the University of Geneva and the conductor at GMD headquarters in Germany.
Key Issues
European and transatlantic ATM networks are used for interactive real-time high-quality productions in four different application scenarios. Video compression schemes for professional use (i.e. MPEG-2 4:2:2 profile) are being evaluated in the context of these distributed production scenarios. Transport layers like ATM imply that the video signal will no longer be carried in continuous streams, but are broken into packets or cells. The characteristics of the underlying transfer system are quite different from isochronous D1 streams, Quality of Service (QoS) aspects like cell loss and jitter are important. In detail, questions like the following ones are investigated:
Interoperability: co-existence of available systems, formats and functions
Distributed Architectures for video production facilities, e.g. client-server
Connecting studio systems: How can ATM-connectivity be used for connecting CCIR 601 studio systems?
Delays: what is the impact of transmission and processing delays during video production, what are acceptable delays, where is isochronous transmission really required?
Synchronisation: what are the synchronisation requirements for tightly-coupled distributed video processing?
QoS: What Quality of Service of the transmission system is required?

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

GMD-IMK
Address
Schloß Birlinghoven
54754 Sankt Augustin
Germany

Participants (16)

AMEC
Austria
CUI, Uni. Geneva
Switzerland
Caterpillar
Belgium
DMC
Germany
Deutsche Welle
Germany
GRAME
France
Hessischer Rundfunk
Germany
INTRACOM
Greece
IRT
Germany
Intec SrL
Italy
Mega Channel
Greece
NCSA
United States
NDR
Germany
PPV
Greece
Radiotelevisione Italiana
Italy
Address
Viale Mazzini 14
00195 Roma
SUMS
Canada