From live broadcasts to in-person events, the audience experience is growing more dynamic by the day. With LED displays becoming the main focal point of large arena shows and TV continuing to produce popular on-stage entertainment formats, audiences see and feel every production detail, from lighting to music, choreography, wardrobe, and beyond. This means every production element must be perfectly positioned and synced for every show. Copenhagen-based CuePilot makes this possible for broadcasters and live event producers with in-studio and portable production planning and execution solutions built with AJA I/O technology. Deployed on thousands of hours of productions across Europe, the United States, and a wider global market, its technology has been used in concert tours for artists like Rosalia and Beyonce and major broadcasts such as the Eurovision Song Contest, allowing these productions to build, communicate, refine, and execute live broadcast and events that impress.
“Our aim is to develop solutions that let production teams bring live musical stage performances, reality TV competition broadcasts, and major corporate events to life with optimal precision and without getting in the way of the creative. We’re able to do this by combining proprietary software with off-the-shelf hardware solutions like AJA Corvid 44 12G BNC and Io X3,” shares CuePilot Specialist Chris Abbott. “While the action is unfolding on stage, our solutions are driving visuals behind the scenes, cueing teams, and ensuring that the type of shots the director is trying to achieve are as tightly planned and tweaked as an edited music video. The combination of hardware and software enables our solutions to act like a symphony conductor, helping every part of the production team to work in harmony.”
When CuePilot initially launched nearly fifteen years ago, it started out as a tool for directors but quickly grew into a cross-production solution for everyone, from the LED content team to the lighting programmers, stage managers, artists, and more. Available as both a portable and more permanent solution, CuePilot makes it easy for broadcast and live event production teams to plan, edit, and then execute their live multi-camera shows. The directors and teams will plan the show on a timeline and can seamlessly communicate the plan in real time to the whole crew.
CuePilot’s mobile MacBook Pro production kit includes an integrated AJA Io X3 Thunderbolt™ 3 video I/O box, which provides all the I/O functionality and connectivity its clients need in a small form factor that fits into a 1RU. Enabling users to connect to a laptop over Thunderbolt, Io X3 gives CuePilot’s clients the video output required for four CueSreens (a new feature in CuePilot 8), follow the timecode reference to ensure all production elements are in sync, and RS-422, which lets users cut over serial for the switchers operated over serial. All of this is possible using a small case the size of an airplane carry-on.
Designed for studio and truck environments, CuePilot’s Production Server comprises a Mac Studio, rack mounted in a three-unit enclosure with an AJA Corvid 44 12G BNC multi-format I/O card, which helps the solution communicate plans visually across the production team. Again, four SDI outputs allow four different CueScreens, each of which enables a customized view, helping all elements of the plan to be easily communicated across the production, whether that’s the production gallery, backstage, or to each camera position. Corvid 44 12G BNC also allows CuePilot to read and synchronize with external timecode, enabling CuePilot to keep in time with the rest of the production, and to control the vision switchers, sending frame-accurate commands to control the camera cuts, macros, keys, and more.
Commenting on its use of AJA technology across both solutions, Abbott notes, “We’re a small team with a big client base operating around the clock to service clients in multiple time zones, so it’s important that our technology can be easily deployed and will hold up in the field, which made AJA an obvious fit. We also knew the AJA SDK would make it easy to develop both our portable and permanent solutions with the same toolset. The fact that AJA is also awesome about delivering updates that answer shifts in the field also played a role in the decision. I love that AJA kit built for one generation will work in the next, and the SDK is so flexible, which means our solutions can grow with AJA.”
Looking to the future, Abbott expects more broadcasts and live events to put extra consideration into the various elements they’re producing and how the whole audience – from the front row to the back of the venue and online – will experience them, and says he anticipates AJA will remain a key enabler.
About Corvid 44 12G BNC
Corvid 44 12G BNC boasts four bidirectional 12G-SDI spigots with a Reference Input. 8K Input or Output is possible using quad 12G-SDI cables and 4K/UltraHD I/O can be achieved with either a single 12G-SDI or 6G-SDI cable, or quad 3G-SDI cables. 2K/HD I/O can be achieved with a single SDI cable or dual link SDI, while allowing capture and monitoring via SDI to take place simultaneously. The card is available as an active (fan) vs. passive cooling (no fan) model, with both versions supporting RS 422 and LTC Input via headers on the top edge of the card. Other Corvid 44 12G models are available, including low profile versions with HD-BNC connections. www.aja.com/corvid-44-12g-bnc