October 24, 2022 - Tedd Tramaloni, Industry Trends

Unlocking complete freedom for production system designers

In our latest Beyond the Lens blog post, Tedd Tramaloni, Business Development Manager for Production Switchers and Video Servers, shares his thoughts on how the introduction of the FR12 Ultrix Routing Platform unlocks even more freedom for systems designed around Ross Production Switchers. 

In a recent blog post, you may recall a conversation I had with a truck engineer who wrestled with the size, weight, and power dilemma of designing a mobile system. Since that initial conversation, he’s found a solution for his small to medium-sized mobile trucks with our Ultrix-based switchers (Ultrix Acuity or Ultrix Carbonite). Months later, the engineer picked up the phone and came back to me with a new request: “I now need something bigger! I need more inputs and more M/E banks. And I still need to manage size, weight, and power requirements. So, what have you got for me now?”  “Well,” I responded, “Take a look at our new Ultrix FR12 chassis. It’ll provide eight M/Es, and it’s still only 12RU.” The silence on the other end of the line told me I had notched yet another point.  

The Past is Past

If you’ve been following Ross (and you should be!), you probably know that at the heart of our router/production switcher marriage lies our revolutionary Software Defined Production Engine (SDPE) blade. So far, we’ve used that blade to create both the Ultrix-based Acuity and Carbonite production switchers, and with the latest software releases, customers can switch back and forth between them. This means that a single SDPE can be an Acuity M/E bank or a complete, multi-M/E Carbonite switcher. (Choices, choices…) But until now, the largest complement of SDPE blades that could be put into an Ultrix frame was four, and for some users, that just wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a perfect answer for them – until now.  

The Secret is Out

Last year, our router team shared a secret “little” project they were working on: a larger Ultrix that would provide more I/O and accommodate more SDPE blades at the same time. Wait – a bigger Acuity? More Carbonites in a single chassis? Hmm… 

With the FR12 now officially released, users can leverage the power of Ultrix and the flexibility of our SDPE blades to create bigger, more versatile hyperconverged solutions. For example… 

  • 8 ME Banks in HD or UHD – If your workflow demands 8ME Banks with access to 128 SDI inputs, then knock yourself out; the FR12 can do it.
  • Mix It Up – Here’s where it gets interesting. Populate the FR12 frame with a bunch of SDPE bladed, say six or eight. License them for both Acuity and Carbonite. Now, switch back and forth as you like. Or, even better, configure some for Acuity and the rest for Carbonite. A four ME Acuity and four independent 2 ME Carbonites in one frame.
  • Mind Boggling – I won’t even get into the notion of multiple frames tied together using the Broadcast Control System (BCS), which is needed to manager all the power in the FR12; it makes my brain hurt. But you get the idea
FR 12 Introduction | Software Defined Production Engine Blades

Yes, there is a point… 

And that point is that the FR12 is a big deal, and not just because it’s bigger. The larger frame opens possibilities that weren’t available just a few months ago. 

And now that our gorgeous TouchDrive panels can be used with either Ultrix Acuity or Ultrix Carbonite, managing one big switcher or multiple smaller ones is much more cost-effective and doesn’t require re-training all that muscle memory.  

So, it’s hyperconvergence amplified. But if you follow Ross (and you should!), you won’t be surprised. It’s what we do – we design and build smart live production technology that won’t break the bank.

That’s a Wrap 

“So,” I continued, “What do you think? Would the FR12 make a difference?” Predictably, my truck buddy conceded. “I guess. I’ll have to think it over.” By “think it over,” I knew what he meant. It meant he’d now have to revisit his design plans to accommodate a revolutionary solution he hadn’t anticipated. Oh well. If it was easy, anyone could do it, right?   

About Tedd Tramaloni 

Before joining Ross Video in 2014, Tedd held a variety of positions at call-letter stations and with broadcast equipment manufacturers. He also freelanced for over twenty years as a TD and Replay Op. You can connect with him on LinkedInor at tedd.tramaloni@rossvideo.com. 

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