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Crystal Vision takes latest virtual studio and infrastructure products to NAB2013

Crystal Vision will be showing its new products for the virtual studio on Booth N1523 at NAB2013, with the US launch of its evaluations-winning chroma keyer Safire 3, accompanied by a state-of-the-art touch screen control panel. The easy-to-drive Safire 3 chroma keyer uses an advanced algorithm and numerous key processing options to produce the best possible chroma key and also features built-in colour correction and video delay. Other new products on show will include a logo keyer with enhanced audio capabilities and more, a new range of feature-packed variable video delays offering up to 110 seconds of delay, Crystal Vision’s innovative Dolby encoding solution for its embedded audio products, and three new features for the company’s up and down converters. 

Crystal Vision’s new chroma keyer is likely to be the visual highlight for visitors to Booth N1523, along with its dedicated control panel which will be making its world debut at the show. The new Safire 3 real-time chroma keyer works with 3Gb/s, HD and SD sources and is ideal for all live virtual productions from studio to sport. The enhanced chroma keying uses an extremely sophisticated algorithm to determine how the key is derived, giving excellent results with minimal sensitivity to camera noise. Safire 3 makes it easy to quickly set up a chroma key, using multi-point sampling to automatically get the best possible default settings, with the option of selecting one, five or 12 sample points on the backdrop to set the range of colors to key on, as well as up to four points on the Foreground object to set areas where no chroma keying is required. The input can be frozen to make setup even easier. 

An extensive range of fine-tuning tools are then available to optimize the picture in more challenging conditions. These include blacks, whites and grays reject for realistic shadows and a solid key, and tints reject which leaves the key color unsuppressed in areas of low color such as gray clothing. Edge shaping will eliminate hard outlines, while color spill processing will throw a new spill color back on to the suppressed Foreground for a more natural-looking environment. Median and Gaussian filters can be used to reduce key noise, while an up sampling filter will reduce any ringing introduced by the camera. A natural-looking composite picture can be created by matching the look of the Foreground to the Background with the Foreground color correction and Background video adjustments. It is also easy to achieve a uniform key signal across the image thanks to the two-dimensional compensation for uneven illumination of the backdrop. 

Any timing errors will be automatically corrected by the frame synchronizer on each input, timed to an analogue reference, while up to ten frames of video delay can be added to offset the delay caused by the graphics generators. Safire 3 can key on any color including sporting surfaces such as grass, while the internal masks and flexible External Key can force areas to be either Foreground or Background which makes it ideal for inserting graphics on to any sporting surface. Including relay bypass protection, Safire 3 forms part of a space-saving modular system, with this 100mm x 266mm module allowing up to 12 chroma keyers in 2U. Making its debut at NAB, the Safire 3 Controller is a dedicated 3U control panel able to operate a number of Safire 3 chroma keyers over an Ethernet network, with the large, intuitive eight inch touch screen and physical controls making it ideal for live use. Safire 3 can also be controlled using SNMP or the Statesman PC software. 

Crystal Vision will be showing four new versions of its MultiLogo modular logo keyer, which provides three layers of keying from a variety of internal and external sources, including a 4 GB or 8 GB video store with DRAM and Flash memory which can hold up to 500 still or animated logos. Ideal for HD or SD station branding, the new MultiLogo V132, MultiLogo V132 8G, MultiLogo V432 and MultiLogo V432 8G retain all the existing features of the previous MultiLogos and add more. Extensive audio capabilities make this version of MultiLogo ideal for applications where both graphics and audio need to be added to a video signal, such as on the station output. It can now embed up to four audio groups into its video outputs, with audio mixing allowing the output audio to be generated from a mix of the audio embedded on the video input and a voiceover sourced from either the internal audio stores or from an external AES input. The voiceover can be faded in and out and have its level adjusted, while the main audio can be partially or fully ducked allowing it to be either mixed with or be replaced by the voiceover. The V432 additionally provides two external AES outputs which can be used for audio monitoring. Other new features allow all three keying layers to be used even while graphics are being transferred over 100MBit Ethernet to the MultiLogo board, with the six internal video players now all using RAM memory – ideal for those who need to update their graphics while they are on air. Also new and ideal for on air operation are partial presets, which bring improved control for automation by allowing just some of the variables to be changed. 

At NAB Crystal Vision will be launching a new version of one of its most successful specialist products: variable video delays. The ViViD 3G video delay is available in four versions to suit all applications and is ideal for matching any system delays, from virtual studio graphics to MPEG encoders and decoders. New features appearing on a Crystal Vision video delay for the first time include 3Gb/s support, integrated fiber input/output, video proc-amp and signal timing – with a framestore synchronizer on the ‘S’ versions making it possible to apply a long delay to a video path and lock the signal to a station reference using a neat single board solution. ViViD 3G and ViViD 3GS provide half a second of video delay in 3Gb/s, one second in HD and 5.5 seconds in SD. Where a longer delay is needed, ViViD 3G-20 and ViViD 3GS-20 give ten seconds in 3Gb/s, 20 seconds in HD and 110 seconds in SD. With the flexible adjustments available in increments of pixels, lines, frames and seconds, it is easy to set the exact delay required. ViViD 3G continues to save broadcast engineers rack space by being a 100mm x 266mm module, with up to 12 video delays fitting in a 2U frame. 

Crystal Vision has introduced Dolby E encoding for its embedded audio range – ideal for those who want to use Dolby E to transport surround sound without using up too many of the available audio channels, or who want to keep the audio and metadata together within a studio. Dolby E encoding is now available on two Crystal Vision boards: the SYNNER 310 video synchronizer, tracking audio delay and embedder/de-embedder and the TANDEM 310 audio embedder/de-embedder. Both products work with 3Gb/s, HD and SD sources and can embed and de-embed a mixture of up to four groups of AES and two groups of analogue audio at the same time, with full audio routing, audio and video processing, sophisticated Dolby E handling, integrated fiber connectivity and flexible delay compensation. SYNNER 310 and TANDEM 310 can be fitted with a DBE-E Dolby encoder top board, which hooks into the onboard audio router and takes in up to four streams of AES audio and associated metadata and produces a single Dolby E stream. Alternatively they can be fitted with a DBE-D Dolby decoder top board for those applications where the audio within the Dolby E stream needs to be processed in some way, or where the Dolby E needs to be decoded before transmission. The DBE-D allows a Dolby E signal to be decoded and then either output as analogue or AES audio or re-embedded into the output video, with the Dolby signal coming either from the embedded video input or from an external audio stream. The DBE-D also includes two stereo downmixes for easier monitoring. Crystal Vision’s Dolby options are a more convenient and space-saving way to encode or decode Dolby E signals that need to be de-embedded or re-embedded rather than using separate products for the task. 

Crystal Vision has added three important new features to its best-selling products, the Up-Down 3G range of up/down/cross converters. Up-Down 3G allows flexible up, down and cross conversions between 3Gb/s, HD and SD sources and can perform two different conversions simultaneously and give out co-timed dual outputs, while the synchronizing version uses two synchronizers downstream of the converter to keep the output valid at all times. Up-Down 3G’s down conversion performance has been further improved to ensure it maintains its best-in-industry status, with the addition of enhanced motion compensation de-interlacing to remove ‘jaggies’ on near horizontal lines, and improved horizontal and vertical low pass filtering to reduce the flickering of a slow vertical pan on shots with significant detail. A multitude of new aspect ratio conversions have also been added to Up-Down 3G to deal with any conceivable misshaped image that comes in, which means that the broadcaster can quickly put anything on air that they get from anywhere in any condition, particularly useful for news applications. Finally, the Up-Down-ATX 3G and Up-Down-ATXS 3G variants can now support SMPTE 2031 (as well as OP-47) to carry teletext information across different definitions and can also be used to convert between SMPTE 2031, OP-47 and teletext in any combination. 

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK and with an office in the USA,

Crystal Vision


digital keyers


picture storage

modules and a full range of interface equipment including





distribution amplifiers


audio embedders

to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.