Tightrope Media Systems Embraces the Remote-First Lifestyle

May 12, 2020

New website and blog series aims to communicate the upside and work through the challenges or working from home

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, April 2, 2020 – The employees of Tightrope Media Systems have always thought differently. After all, the founders formed the company specifically to address underserved needs in broadcast and AV. No one would have called community TV automation, instant replay servers and digital signage lucrative product areas in the late 1990s.

And while corporations remain a substantial percentage of their customer base, Tightrope has never been one for strict corporate culture. The founders of the company, including CEO JJ Parker, remain down-to-earth people that value freedom and flexibility over structure and rules. That philosophy created a culture at Tightrope that fostered innovation and success through its entire staff, without being forced to work in a common location and confined to a 9-to-5 lifestyle.

“We have always had a ‘remote work’ culture,” explains Parker, “and in the past few years we have made working remotely a core part of our culture. We now describe the current version of our office as ‘remote-first,’ without being bound to physical locations.”

The COVID-19 spread has now forced many businesses to adopt a similar approach. Tightrope is sharing how businesses can continue operations unabated in a new blog, accessible at https://www.remotie.life. The site was launched in dedication of remote workers, and offers tips and tools focused on how to navigate out-of-office work. Entire sections are dedicated to everything from setting up shop and choosing the right tools, to maintaining health and working through new challenges.

Tightrope employees and other professionals will communicate how they handle the day-to-day-challenges (and benefits) or working from home in a series of written and video blog entries called “Remoties”. These Remoties are accessible at the website and on related social media channels. In addition to posting their own experiences, others are invited to share article suggestions and contribute content.

“The overarching goal is to help people thrive in remote work environments,” said Parker. “While there is plenty of upside, there are definitely challenges to work through when not collaborating in a physical space. This blog is for the worker.”

Tightrope Media Systems is the parent company of Carousel Digital Signage and Cablecast Community Media.

Lucas Oil Races into Live Production with Zeplay Instant Replay Systems

May 12, 2020

Latest Zeplay generation retains hallmark benefits of speed, reliability and 4×4 I/O capacity, while offering simultaneous replay sequences and a reduced server footprint

BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA, April 1, 2020 – Zeplay LLC announces that Lucas Oil Production Studios, which produces multi-cameracoverage of motorsports programming for four major networks, has added two of Zeplay’s latest-generation instant replay systems to its primary production truck.

Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil produces 1080p coverage of a variety of racing sports, from Lucas Oil Late Model Series, American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) and Automobile Racing Club of America Menards (ARCA) events to professional tractor pulls (PPL) and Motocross. The company installed earlier-generation Zeplay systems in all three of its production trucks in 2016 and added the latest Zeplay to its “Alpha” truck late last year. The latest Zeplay release includes the Zeplay R7 server, which reduces the footprint by 50 percent, returning valuable rack space onboard Alpha.

Lucas Oil did not have a replay system before investing in Zeplay. Race coverage was line edited, with the program finished in an edit suite. Zeplay has allowed Lucas Oil to produce its replay sequences live, which eliminates the need to construct them in post. The speed of the system continues to impress across its new and existing Zeplay systems, allowing Lucas Oil to turn around replays within seconds.

The latest Zeplay system also allows users to play up to four different replay sequences simultaneously in real time on each of its four outputs. “If you’re building a sequence, you may want to add in a second sequence on the fly,” explained Shawn Stafford, technical operations manager for Lucas Oil Production Studios. “Adding a second sequence to the output gives the director and the producer another place to go and adds to the viewer experience.”

Stafford also praised Zeplay’s customizable multiviewer, which displays all inputs, outputs, and information on one screen. “Our Zeplay operator is in the middle of the truck, and the producer is in the front of the truck,” he said. “The built-in multiviewer provides the producer the same look that the Zeplay operator has, which allows them to proof the replay before it hits the air.”

With multi-format support, Zeplay allows Lucas Oil to natively transfer files from ENG cameras in the field without transcoding, so footage can be used immediately. “If they have shot a quick interview out in the pits for the opening sequence,” Stafford said, “they use the FTP server and drop it right into Zeplay.”

Zeplay has even helped an officiating crew at a recent event in Dallas, where there was a near-disqualification at the end of a very close race. The officials visited the production truck to review the replay footage. “They watched the end of the race, and discovered that the driver didn’t create the infraction,” Stafford recalled. “Zeplay helped them confirm he was qualified to finish the race.”

Stafford said he learned how to use the system in about 45 minutes. “It’s really not a complicated system to operate, and we can train new operators to use the system on very short notice. The learning curve is unusually fast,” he noted. “I think the biggest thing that came with our Zeplay is the customer support. I have not found a better customer support company.”

Stafford adds that the R7 server brings a new set of benefits to Lucas Oil’s mobile production environments. Introduced last year, the more compact Zeplay R7 – 2RU compared to the previous 4RU version – delivers solid-state drives for faster processing and improved reliabilityin addition to its reduced footprint.

“When building our production trucks, we need to consider space and weight because of how heavy all the other equipment is,” Stafford said. “The new Zeplay R7 came in at half the size of the old system, so it’s a lot easier for us to fit it into our production trucks. If I’m saving two rack units, that means I can add another 2RU piece of equipment – or I can put in another Zeplay.”

About Zeplay LLC

Based in Bloomington, Minnesota, Zeplay LLC is the company behind Zeplay, offering the broadcast and professional AV industry’s best price-to-performance ratio of any instant replay solution on the market. Fast and reliable with a quick learning curve, Zeplay empowers broadcasters, sports and live event venues, production trucks, and other end users and facilities with and a robust feature set to generate excitement for dynamic live productions. Learn more at www.zeplay.tv.

MEPTIK Unleashes Extended Reality Experience for New Fleurie Music Video

January 6, 2020

Creative team leverages technologies from disguise, Notch and BlackTrax to construct a dynamic visual universe around the musician during filming, while eliminating lengthy post-production process

ATLANTA, June 26, 2019 — MEPTIK, an Atlanta-based experience design agency specializing in dynamic live environments, is modernizing the video production workflow through the use of Extended Reality environments — an innovative technique visualized in a powerful new music video by the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and musician Fleurie.

The powerful new video for “A World Beyond” places Fleurie in an XR (Extended Reality) experience that surrounds her with outer space and underwater elements, among other dynamic visuals. However, unlike traditional greenscreen productions, the greenscreen is replaced altogether with imagery that is generated in real-time, on-set.

Through the use of LED screens driven by disguise gx2’s, with content created in Notch and tracking done through BlackTrax, the environments were visualized in camera, on-set, but also interactive. This allowed changes to be made in real-time, and also allowed talent to interact with the visuals onscreen.

The MEPTIK creative team worked closely with director Elle Ginter to produce the imagery that would capture the desired musical moods. Both Elle and Fleurie were able to visualize exactly what the finished product would look like without having to go into post-production.

“This is a new innovation for the creative process that removes lengthy and expensive post-production processes, and instead allows us to make real-time editing decisions on the set,” said Nick Rivero, co-founder and CTO, MEPTIK. “We are saving our clients an enormous amount of time and money with one-and-done captures, while offering a new experience for the performer by replacing the empty green void with visuals they can see and believe.”

The MEPTIK team leveraged three primary workflow components for the XR production:

         disguise gx 2: Powering reliable, high-resolution content playout with real-time rendering, the gx 2 was the core, high-capacity engine driving the visual universe on the set. MEPTIK added disguise’s Extended Reality (xR) toolkit to deliver the AR/MR elements within the live production environment.

         Notch: The MEPTIK team used Notch to very quickly and efficiently create the dynamic visual content deliveredvia the disguise gx 2, without any coding requirements.

         BlackTrax: This real-time, highly responsive tracking software was used to capture positional data of characters in the video as they interact with the visual universe. All positional data was seamlessly delivered to gx 2.

Rivero adds that the disguise xR toolkit is especially valuable as it gives directors and designers more control within immersive production experiences, which he views as a game-changer for larger film, television and live event productions moving forward.

“We believe that this music video offers a blueprint for directors and designers of larger productions that have grown tired of the long hours and high costs of traditional post-production processes,” said Rivero. “These systems represent the future of production, allowing creative professionals to build engaging virtual worlds that we can all live and innovate within.”

The official video for Fleurie’s “A World Beyond” can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn0pFvpfpsQ

Also visit Forbes for the official release: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianleak/2019/06/20/premiere-fleurie-shares-evocative-video-for-a-world-beyond/amp/


Featuring: Fleurie

Director: Elle Ginter

Director of Photography: Allison Anderson

Film Production Company: Evolve


MEPTIK is an Atlanta-based production and design studio specialized in creating interactive environments that blend creativity, human interaction, and technology. We work in environments that combine video, lighting, audio, and touch, converging these concepts together to build experiences and events that leave lasting memories. Combining years of knowledge in live events, content creation, and design execution, we understand the workflow of bringing it all together. From interactive experiences and live events to content creation and art installations, we bring our unique creative perspective to every project. Visit the company’s website at  www.meptik.com.

Atlona Unveils Immersive VR over IP Experience at InfoComm

January 6, 2020

Cutting-edge demonstration inspires imaginations for VR applications in higher education, corporate, and scientific AVenvironments

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 26, 2019 – Atlona unveiled an industry-first VR over IP innovation for the commercial AV industry atInfoComm 2019 show, with a focus on immersive AV for higher education applications. Ideal for university research labs and engineering programs, Atlona’s VR over IP breakthrough will enable student-researches to visualize educational environments in ways not previously possible.

Powered by Atlona’s OmniStream AV over IP family, the dynamic demonstration delivered immersive VR experiences over 1 Gbps Ethernet networks. Visitors to the stand experienced the demo through VR headsets and controllers, offering viewers a window into how VR can be applied in real-world AV applications.

According to Dr. Gregory Mirsky, Product Manager, Atlona, the demonstration was born from a customer request in the higher education market. While Atlona expects that market to capture the most initial interest, the company sees location-independent collaboration, training and simulation, and data visualization as potentially compelling VR over IP applications in corporate and scientific AV environments.

“Using our OmniStream AV encoders, decoders and USB over IP adapters, the demonstration proved how OmniStream can support VR-specific 2160 x 1200 resolutions, working at 233 million pixels per second and with a 90Hz refresh rate,” said Dr. Gregory Mirsky, Product Manager, Atlona. “The takeaway for integrators and tech managers is that OmniStream’s core benefits around bandwidth efficiency and low-latency distribution apply to the very advanced requirements of managing VR environments over IP networks.”

The complete Atlona VR over IP demonstration leveraged OmniStream AT-OMNI-111 single-channel encoders, AT-OMNI-121 single-channel decoders, and network-switchable USB over IP device adapters (AT-OMNI-311, AT-OMNI-324).

For more information on the application, visit https://atlona.com/virtual-reality-vr/.

About Atlona

Atlona, a Panduit company, is a leading global manufacturer of AV over IP distribution, connectivity, and control solutions. The company designs and engineers innovative, award-winning products for a diverse range of residential and commercial AV and IT markets. Backed by an award-winning 10-year warranty, Atlona’s products are developed to enable our customers’ ability to connect and collaborate with simplicity. More information about Atlona is available at atlona.com.

About Panduit

Global connectivity leader Panduit Corp. creates innovative electrical and network infrastructure solutions for applications across the enterprise. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill. and operating in 112 worldwide locations, Panduit’s technology leadership and robust ecosystem help support, sustain, and empower business growth in a connected world. panduit.com


TNDV: Television Owner Nic Dugger Named President of Midsouth Chapter of Television Academy, NATAS

January 6, 2020

Dugger to replace National Trustee Clifton Hunt of Nashville NewsChannel 5

NASHVILLE, June 25, 2019 — After serving the organization for 22 years, Nashville native Nic Dugger has been elected President of the Midsouth Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Scientist, NATAS, effective today. Nic most recently served as Vice President of the Board as well as the Student Awards Chairman.

The Nashville/Midsouth Region, founded in 1984, encompasses North Carolina (except Asheville) and Tennessee, and the television market of Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to granting the Midsouth Regional Emmy® Awards, the chapter awards scholarships, honors quarter-century industry veterans with the Silver Circle. The chapter also conducts Regional Student Television Awards of Excellence for high schools, offers a free, nationwide Job Bank, provides member discounts, and participates in judging Emmy entries at regional and national levels.

“Nic has been one of the most active members of our chapter since become an intern in 1997,” says NATAS Midsouth Executive Director Geneva Brignolo. “He volunteered while a student at Middle Tennessee State University, and went on to provide his mobile units for our live telecasts when he started TNDV: Television in 2004. We are proud of Nic, and we look forward to many years of service to come.”

This new appointment adds to a growing list of accolades for Dugger, which includes TNDV;s recognition as Nashville’s Overall Small Business of the Year in 2016. Nic also joined the list of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 under 40 in 2017, and was selected for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award by Middle Tennessee State University, its highest honor.

ABOUT TNDV: Television

Formed in 2004, TNDV: Television represents the culmination of over 26 years of broadcast and live production for Nic Dugger, owner and president; and his staff of full-time engineers. TNDV produces events from small single-camera productions all the way up to multi-million-dollar international TV events, and takes pride in building custom solutions for challenging productions of any size, in any situation.  Recent projects include the live 4K broadcast of the Final Four Concert Series, the National Christmas Tree Lighting with President Trump in Washington DC, and for the multi-Emmy winning Bluegrass Underground televised nationally on PBS. Please call 615-585-6528 or visit www.tndv.com for more information.

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