Live From NAB: Ross Video Gets Robotic

Ross Video may be known primarily for its switcher and servers, but the Canadian manufacturer has suddenly become a major player in the robotic cameras market after acquiring Cambotics, its second robotic camera company acquisition in just three months. The Cambotics deal was announced at Ross’ pre-NAB press conference on Sunday morning and follows the acquisition of FX Motion in February.

“At IBC last year we didn’t have any robots,” said Ross Video CEO David Ross. “Now we’ve bought two robotic camera companies in between the two major trade shows. Even if we were solely a robotics company, we would already have the widest portfolio and different types of technologies of any company in the world for robotics.”

He then added with a smirk: “Vinten has some catching up to do.”

The CamBot Series – as it will be branded – joins the recently established Ross Robotics division’s line of Furio Robo and Furio RC systems, which are based on FX-Motion technology. Ross is marketing the CamBot series as its “studio workhorse” series, capable of handling payloads up to 200 pounds on the 700 Series pedestals. Meanwhile, Furio Robo (Full Robotics System) and Furio RC (Remote Control System) are geared towards virtual set and augmented reality applications.

The Robotics family already works with Ross’ existing products including OverDrive Automated Production Control System, Vision Production Switchers, and XPression Graphics.

MC1 Master Control
But it isn’t just robots for Ross, which is unveiling a host of other new products at NAB this year beginning with its first master control system. The MC1 master control system is a full function master control switcher on a single openGear card starting at $3,495 per channel. Features include mixing, keying, onboard logo storage, relay program bypass protection, and EAS and Amber Alert crawl generation.

BlackStorm Server
With an eye on the live mobile production market, Ross will also have its new economically-friendly ($19,995) two-channel BlackStorm playout server on hand at its NAB booth. The server is equipped with four hours of internal HD storage. Using DVCProHD codec, Ross Video’s new Solid State Model offers less power usage, fast data access, and high reliability. According to Ross, BlackStorm is ideal for the playout of “EverGreen” content such as stills, animations, wipes and transitions.”

“We’re talking about a Solid State server for under 20K. You could easily spend three or four times that for the same thing from some of our competitors. It is setting a whole new price-point and a whole new form factor. We redesigned this from the ground up.”

NK 3G Routers
Also new for Ross at the show this year will be series of 3Gb/s routers starting at $1895. Ross’ NK-3G164, NK-3G16 and NK3G34 series of routers feature reclocking, full 3Gb/s bandwidth, HD/SD, 16 and 34 input (16×4 at $1895, 16×16 at $2,495 and 34×34 at $4495). Ross Video’s 1RU, NK-3G164 and NK-3G16 can operate as a complete stand-alone solution with a self-contained RCP-NK1 panel or can be remote controlled with all the NK series control panels. The NK 16x, 32x and 34x series also offers a complete range with 3Gb/s HD/SD SDI, AES, Analog audio, Wideband analog video and machine control.

“What’s interesting about this is the pricing,” says Ross. “You might realize that the prices of these routers are right at or below comparable Blackmagic router products. Blackmagic has staked out a position in the industry where if you wanted to get this type of product for this price-point then it was only Blackmagic. Now, it’s Ross as well.”

Nearly every exhibitor expected to jump aboard on the second-screen bandwagon this year, and Ross is no different, introducing the Inception social media management tool.

Inception provides a professional suite of options to create, schedule, and manage media content. Inception publishes social media and video content on-demand, when scheduled or driven by live broadcasts, allowing organizations to effortlessly connect with their audience. Inception builds on live or newsroom rundowns to create and publish content to popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube and Brightcove. The system’s plug-in architecture allows users to select when and where stories are published.

Old Favorites
Although Ross is forging into new territory like robotics and social media management, there will be plenty of what the industry has come to expect from the Canadian outfit as well.

In terms of switchers, the Vision QMD and Octane high-end production switcher has gotten a software update (v15), while the Carbonite mid-size switcher makes its second go-round at the show after a popular debut at NAB 2011 (Ross sold 63 switchers right off the floor and has shipped more than 400 since then). Ross will also show the latest versions of its OverDrive Automated Production Control technology (v12) and XPression Motion Graphics system (v4.0). And, there is the ever-growing openGear platform, as Ross continues to recruit tech vendors from nearly every stage in the production chain.

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