Crafting the connective tissue between key events of the stories we tell is not an easy thing to do. Using technology to tell the story is not a simple proposition either. If it were, everyone would be doing it and there would be no art. The technology we use to create our productions has evolved radically over the years: features, benefits, interfaces and interoperability have changed and as they have done so, they have transmogrified what storytellers can do — and how we do it!
Historically, cameras and razor blades were used on the same content but rarely by the same person, in the same building or at the same relative time. Today however, networked production and post-production technologies enable vast creativity. There is more content, greater collaboration, faster production and delivery times, wider diversity of content and larger audiences for that content — all because we are able to connect electronic devices to other electronic devices!
On the production side, networks have facilitated efficient, collaborative organizations, partnerships and economies. As devices interoperated, rooms started sharing files, facilities began operating on the same content in different time zones, and then in real-time, and executives and engineers started to look for workflows that would capitalize on all the resources at their disposal.
As this occurred, the frontiers of technology became like the Wild West — or more like Klondike, perhaps. The races that industry organizations and brands ran to establish respective technologies led to a proliferation of niche or near-niche standards, protocols and codecs — and interoperability and production professionals suffered.
All the resulting proprietary connectors, mismatched impedances and different data formats are rendered moot by the adoption of the IT-standard-based audio network. With audio network solutions, engineers can create a complete ecosystem that “just works,” regardless of the various equipment manufacturers.
Managing the Audio
With a standards-based approach, AV professionals can deploy complex systems and save configurations for easy reuse and recovery. What was required was a robust transport technology that could “contain” diverse protocols and standards and provide strong assurance of transport integrity, configuration and control.
This robust transport technology was our guiding approach at Audinate. This is why we sought out partnerships with the broadcast, production, post and AV communities – end-users, OEMs and industry organizations – to incorporate their ideas and preferred standards into Dante. Reflecting this most recently is the incorporation of AES67 and SMPTE 2110 into Dante, addressing the needs and preferences of broadcast market partners and end-users.
Connecting, controlling and optimizing the AV network for broadcast, production and post applications has acquired new urgency as threats to the devices, content and even audiences have emerged in recent years. Just as radio and television broadcasters need to protect against having their channels getting hijacked, post houses and studios need to combat piracy.
Designed around IT security models and integrated with IT best practices, today’s AV management systems encrypt all control traffic and lock network-enabled devices into defined groups, thereby limiting access to content by rogue devices. These systems create system privileges defined on a per-user basis, and integrate with Active Directory and LDAP authentication, providing a single point of control for managers.
Managing the Network
Last year, Audinate introduced Dante Domain Manager to address exactly this issue. Dante Domain Manager is network management software that enables user authentication, role-based security and audit capabilities for Dante networks, while allowing seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. Dante Domain Manager allows any area to integrate its audio into a single, manageable and secure audio network.
Other ideas from IT and the web are making their way into the production world. High among them is user experience, also known as UX. Once arcane desktop interfaces have been replaced with carefully designed UX interfaces on cloud and app programs that enable the widest array of qualified professionals to customize and successfully deploy the tools to advance creativity, collaboration and efficiency.
Dante Domain Manager enables network administrators to see a range of real-time system-related information, as well as server status, domain status and utilization data. System administrators and users can also program alerts related to system issues and customize the dashboard to their specific needs. Overall, Dante Domain Manager makes any audio network controllable, scalable and secure.
IP networking is now the primary means of connecting the myriad devices we use for audio, video, and nearly everything else. Advancements in real-time media are making it easier to produce, share, manage and deliver content. The benefits of networked audio remain as promising as ever: easier deployment, near infinite flexibility and flawless performance. As the industry grows, these promises are being delivered on a larger scale and are changing the way audio and video production gets done.
In any situation when creativity and connectivity converge, magic happens. It is a tremendously exciting time to be in production, as connected devices have placed thousands of tools, many hundreds of partners, millions of viewers and a vast array of business and creative ideas within keystrokes.
About the Author
Brad Price is the Senior Product Manager at Audinate and has an extensive background in audio engineering, music performance, and software product development. He works with the development team to create software for Dante Audio Networking that brings value to audio professionals across a wide range of industry categories.
Learn more: audinate.com