Merging Partners With NEP Australia On A New Mission

Anubis used by commentators for Australian Open Tennis

Puidoux: April 2022 - NEP Australia is the largest outside broadcast facilitator in the country with ten centralised control rooms, 14 Outside Broadcast trucks and operations coming from 70 venues across the country. As one of the first adopters of IP technology, NEP knows first-hand the importance of having equipment that can operate in a very large network that needs to be flexible and routable.

A positive experience with an OEM product using Merging’s ZMAN as the RAVENNA/AES67 connectivity led to NEP’s Michael Saliba researching the MERGING+ANUBIS for a possible native IP commentary unit solution. What he saw was a neat-looking touch screen device with a small desktop footprint that seemed to have some features already that might be helpful for a commentator or announcer to use. The loan of a unit confirmed that it did have enough functionality in the Monitor Mission product for rudimentary operation but with some adaptation, it would provide the sort of ST2110 and NMOS compatibility that other commentary units lacked.

Another big advantage was the full functionality and control within Anubis, such as on-board dynamics, equalization, and the ability to trigger the dim function, thus removing the need to route the commentary through other hardware such as audio consoles or intercom systems. Not only was Anubis suited to this environment, but it was also a product that had been in use for some years at the NEP Group’s facility. This meant that the stability of the unit could be verified, and some software had been developed to integrate Anubis into the NEP network.

An approach to Merging with a detailed product proposal led to the development of a beta version that ticked almost all the boxes. The incentive to complete the project and deliver sufficient units in time for the Australian Open Tennis was too good an opportunity to miss.

The tight schedule leading up to the Australian Open Tennis meant that the proposed introduction of the Anubis commentary units could not be discussed with the client until late in the day. There were alternatives on offer, but the demonstration was convincing enough to gain approval to use them in locations close to the engineering support team to aid training. In practice, the units were easy enough to operate for the commentators to feel comfortable rather quickly.

Michael Saliba is a leading Audio and Communications Engineer with over twenty years’ experience of working at NEP and has been very much at the forefront of the pioneering needed to get a native 2110 IP facility to deliver on its promise. “We work closely with many of our suppliers to modify products to meet our project specifications and often find ourselves innovating and creating new products. Merging were willing to listen and very responsive. What they produced as a beta version was very near to being broadcast-ready and required only minor adjustments. One of the huge advantages for me has been the web UI that allows remote access to the Anubis. This is so important these days as we are often in a different state from the commentary positions. The potential for additional features and its inherent flexibility can take it far beyond what it offers today, and we are continuing to develop those ideas with Merging.”

Since the Australian Open Tennis finished, the commentary units are now being deployed on the pre-season football games with a complete roll out planned to upgrade all NEP Australia’s native IP facilities by the end of 2022

Dominique Brulhart, Merging’s Head of Software who worked with Michael Saliba on the project added; “It has been a real pleasure to work with Michael and his team who gave us a truly excellent product definition and explained the requirements of a commentary unit that was fit for purpose in a networked environment. The fact that Anubis has already been used on these prestigious sporting events is a huge vote of confidence for us. We are looking forward to realising other unique features driven by their experience and vision for the future.”

The plan for the commercial launch of the MERGING+ANUBIS Commentary Mission is planned to coincide with the NAB Show in April 2022.

NEP Logo

Anubis used with Commentary Unit mission

Anubis used with Commentary Unit mission

Anubis with Commentary Unit mission

Anubis with Commentary Unit mission

NEP Group is the leading technology partner for content creators around the globe. For more than 35 years, we have been delivering innovative products and services that enable our clients to make, manage and show the world their content—anywhere, anytime, on any platform. As a trusted partner working on some of the largest productions in the world, NEP offers a complete set of end-to-end solutions, from content capture to distribution—including a growing portfolio of transformational cloud-based, software-based and virtualized technologies. Our Live Production solutions range from AV services and live audience enhancements to traditional outside broadcast and cutting-edge centralized and cloud production. NEP’s Virtual Production solutions start at the creative stage and end with exceptional execution across ICVFX, augmented reality, LED stages and more. And, our Media Processing solutions provide the tools and products our clients need to ingest, edit, store, search, manage and distribute their digital assets to rights holders across multiple platforms.

Headquartered in the United States, NEP has operations in 25 countries with over 4,000 employees. Together, we have supported productions in over 100 countries on all seven continents, and we’re still growing. Our clients range from the leaders in sport, music, film and TV, through to major corporate brands, agencies, to new content owners and creators all around the world. Learn how we are helping clients bring their creative visions, content, live sports and entertainment to life at NEP Group.

Merging Technologies SA is a Swiss manufacturer with over 25 years of experience in developing groundbreaking, professional Audio and Video products for a wide range of entertainment and media industries. With a dedicated user base in the elite end of the music, film, television, mastering and performances industries, Merging is committed to developing product ranges with unrivalled quality and flexibility, no matter what the application. Merging builds tools for people who want more from their systems, have an inherent need to push boundaries, and believe that quality always comes first.

RAVENNA is a solution for real-time distribution of audio and other media content in IP-based network environments. Utilizing standardized network protocols and technologies, RAVENNA can operate on existing network infrastructures. RAVENNA is designed to meet the strict requirements of the pro audio market featuring low latency, full signal transparency and high reliability and is fully AES67 compatible. With a capacity of nearly 8 x MADI streams over a single Gigabit Ethernet link, it is also the first and only Layer-3 based IP audio protocol with full support for high-channel count DXD and DSD signals.
While primarily targeting the professional broadcast market, RAVENNA is also suitable for deployment in other pro audio market segments like live sound, install market and recording. Possible fields of application include (but are not limited to) in-house signal distribution in broadcasting houses, theatres, concert halls and other fixed installations, flexible setups at venues and live events, OB van support, inter-facility links across WAN connections and in production & recording applications