Samaserve: Familiar Faces in a New Place Look to Meet 4K Needs
By Michael Silbergleid, Contributing Editor
You may have never heard of Samaserve or the Nipros (pronounced nee-pros) brand they exclusively represent in the Americas. But if 4K is in your present or future, this is one company you are going to want to get to know. In fact, if you deal with high-quality acquisition in any way, you’re going to want to know Samaserve. And some of the names of Samaserve’s founders may be familiar: Mel Medina (CEO), Robert Ott (COO) and Salvador Sandoval (CTO) are all former Sony executives with long term experience in product marketing and integration engineering, product development, service, support and sales. CFO Vincent Tuzzio Jr. rounds out the team of professionals.
Samaserve, based in Ramsey, NJ, formed an alliance with Nippon Video Systems (NVS) to not only sell their products in the Americas, but also provides voice of customer and co-engineering on the finished products they deliver.
“We know the quality that goes into the product we deliver,” says Ott. “This marketing and engineering alliance between our two companies provides product features and benefits to users from all over the world.”
Nipros is a brand of NVS of Japan. Established in the 1990s to address the specific needs of the working camera person, the company offers products that address the needs of the professional. Nipros products are designed to meet the needs of the “on-the-go” user.
“We offer a wide array of camera accessories, audio mixing products, even intercoms that make the job easier because they are designed, engineered and manufactured by professionals that shoot video and capture audio for a living, our professional satisfaction translates into customer satisfaction,” says Ott. “And as a product agnostic company, most of our products can adapt to any camera manufacturer so that once you buy a Nipros product, you are not limited to one camera manufacturer.”
Samaserve also makes accessory products that fill the gaps in the production chain.
For sports production, the value to the customer is being able to upgrade the acquisition technology without having to change the Nipros “glue” products that make up the production chain. This translates into a cost savings for the user that might want to upgrade—without having to revamp their entire system. Meaning an investment in Nipros can deliver benefits for a very long time, something important as 4K begins to become at least a consideration in the back of broadcaster’s brains.
“4K in sports means capturing the absolutely best possible picture available today at reasonable prices—and that price has come down drastically for acquisition,” says Ott. Owning a UHD television in the home is now a reality (consulting company Futuresource forecasts that 42% of global TV sales will be UHD by 2018) and the prices on those televisions have really dropped. There is no real debate that acquiring and archiving in 4K is today’s Holy Grail.
“Nipros has taken the approach that we can supply professional needs now and for the future,” adds Ott. “You can use our multicore system at the entry level or you can purchase our flagship—the LS 750 series. Choosing the LS 750 gives you the ability to use our Nipros product in a HD environment, and for the big game, rent 4K cameras for the playoffs or championship. Keep in mind, there are many documented instances where the better the archive the better the longevity of the finished product. 4K looks great today and will still look great 50 years from now. That statement can’t be made about a high percentage of the archive that exists in sports today. If you compare the cost of archiving in HD just 10 years ago compared to what is available today in 4K, you easily see the long term economic benefit of taking the leap into 4K and it isn’t a leap of faith.”
At NAB 2014, Samaserve worked extensively with RED prior to, and during the show to demonstrate a “live” solution for the RED Epic Dragon. To say the least, the Nipros solution was viewed by thousands of visitors to the RED and Vizrt booths.
“This NIPROS alliance with RED demonstrated we have a solution that is a real product and is shippable right now,” says OTT. “The 4K viewing aspect of the product was viewed seamlessly and without a glitch. The level of control and communication available to the camera person and the operations area was fully realized and performed throughout the entire show.”
The demo was so successful that Samaserve has received numerous requests to quote out five-to-seven camera systems so users can switch HD live and archive 4K.
“As we progress through these early days of 4K, it is becoming obvious that the term ‘broadcast’ is evolving into an IP streaming world,” says Ott. “You will see local sports streaming live through your Internet connection whether it is watched in your home town or viewed half way around the world. With major content providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime actively pursuing delivery of 4K content to the owners of new UHD televisions, we see the growth of 4K delivery happening very quickly.
“To say the least, 4K is happening now and due to the apparent paradigm shift from traditional at-home broadcast to on-demand at home, view anywhere on multiple devices and at any time, and you can quickly conclude 4K technology is ready not for just prime time but any time.”
While Samaserve may be a small company, its principals have more than 90 years in business, especially with the 24/7 professional user. As such, Samaserve offers telephone support as well as ISO-certified service. “Our customers come first,” says Ott. “That is molded into our DNA from years of experience with broadcast and professional users.”
Among the products offered by Samaserve is the NIPROS LS-750/GT/GTS camera-mounted fiber system. The company says the 4+1 HD-SDI 3G capability in the LS 750 gives the sports user the advantage of simultaneously providing a 4K signal and HD-SDI 3G signal from the camera. This eliminates further conversion of the signal at the base station or camera control unit. And if users need to supply five HD-SDI 3G signals from point-to-point, the system is asynchronous. The LS 750 system offers 12 volts at 60 watts at the camera adapter, without anything additional, heat generating, power wafers or add-ons. Users can also run at full power up to 2 km over SMPTE hybrid fiber. The GT (12 & 24 VDC) & GTS (12 VDC only) versions offer up to 300 watts depending on the overall SMPTE hybrid fiber length.
Then there is the HDS 300, offering the versatility of converting many handheld or shoulder mount camera/camcorders into a studio type camera with a protective enclosure. That means users no longer have to purchase separate studio cameras compared to camcorders, and the pictures will always match. And with the various mounting plates available, such as the VCT 14 and ST1 or ST2, users can easily remove the camera from the rig and replace it with another from the same or different manufacturer. Nipros also offers lens controls for focus/iris (FR series) and zoom (AS series) that are compatible with popular lens manufacturers.
Another mount option is the ST7, ST 7J and the new ST7 S300 (for the Sony PMW-300 camcorder) as each offer the ability to convert a traditional hand-held camcorder to a shoulder mount with all the comforts associated with a shoulder-style camcorder. Samaserve also offers the versatility of V (Sony) or Gold Mount (Anton Bauer) 12 volt battery mounting systems.
“Don’t worry, just tell us the mount you want and the camcorder you will use and we supply the right cable, at the right voltage for interface to the camcorder,” says Medina.
Then there are the Nipros ES-Series of multicore systems, a long-time standard of the Nipros product line that has the ability to control cameras from one location makes this the perfect choice for the professional with a tight budget.
“All you have to do is tell us what camera you will be using and we will make certain you get a product that works out of the box,” says Medina. “Nipros goes one step further in the multicore world since we offer traditional composite, component, plus HD-SDI send and return, all in one 26-pin cable system.”