BBC launches Stagebox for IP management

BBC R&D has commercially launched Stagebox, a camera-mounted device that enables programme makers to link multiple cameras, and move HD content, over a standard internet network for the very first time. Stagebox is an important step in helping the broadcast industry move toward a truly open and end-to-end internet protocol (IP) production chain.

Stagebox combines all professional broadcast feeds and cabling – including video, audio, talkback, tally lights, timecode and Genlock – and distributes them over standard IP technologies. It allows professional quality footage to be streamed remotely to any gallery or post-production team with an internet connection, in real-time, wherever they may be.

By combining multiple cumbersome cables into one small box, Stagebox can simplify rigging and production workflows considerably. It also allows programme makers to replace expensive broadcast-specific equipment with relatively low-cost, standard IT hardware, such as wireless routers, switches and network cabling.

Licensed internationally from today through official distributor L2Tek, it promises to transform the broadcast production process by reducing cost, complexity and time-to-air for a variety of productions, including:

  • Outside broadcasts

Stagebox removes the need for expensive temporary broadcast centres, as all cameras can be linked and their feeds sent to a remote production base

  • Multi-camera productions

Fewer staff hours are required per production, as setting up is as simple as running a single Ethernet cable to each Stagebox-mounted camera, and recording, vision-mixing and logging can all be completed on a single computer

  • Long form productions

Eliminates traditional delays from long-form productions, such as documentaries, as Stagebox allows post-production to begin immediately alongside filming, even when the camera crews are filming on different continents

As part of the BBC’s public purposes, R&D is responsible for pioneering the future of broadcast technology, and Stagebox represents an important step forward in programme making. In addition, as Stagebox is based on standard IT and open IP technologies, the wider industry can build upon BBC R&D’s engineering developments and help to drive further innovation.

Stagebox has already achieved industry recognition for its technical achievements, having won the InTECH Technical Developments Award at NAB 2012, when the product was a prototype.

Matthew Postgate, Controller, BBC R&D, said: “BBC R&D has ushered in the future of broadcasting technology since 1922, and we’re adding another significant milestone to that legacy with Stagebox. By enabling end-to-end broadcast production over standard IP technologies for the first time, programme makers around the globe can start to reap the benefits of IP, reducing cost, complexity and time-to-air for a wide range of productions. We also hope that Stagebox will be a catalyst for future innovation in broadcast production, having designed it around open standards for others to build on, as only BBC R&D can do.”

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