Hitomi Broadcast - MatchBox Latency
MatchBox Latency adds a new dimension to the Hitomi MatchBox product range, the industry’s premier audio video alignment toolbox, delivering complete timing quality control assurance, end to end. The new latency feature for MatchBox measures the actual time of flight of video signals from the front of multiple cameras or at various points through the broadcast chain with milli-second accuracy. Broadcast equipment adds delay, the amount of which can vary each time it is used. Delays need to be synchronized between different paths for a seamless viewer experience.
Determining those offsets theoretically can take up a lot of engineering time. MatchBox latency just measures them in seconds. Saving people's time means saving money. When you watch someone being interviewed from a remote location there is often a pause in continuity with the handover from the studio and return. Latency measures how long that pause needs to be for each link for perfect timing. It can ascertain if the pause is comfortable for a two-way conversation or if it is too long to be able to interact in a live situation and all questions have to be asked upfront. Delays from in front of the camera can be measured as simply as holding an iPhone up in shot running the free Hitomi Glass App.
This means no special equipment is needed by the reporter in the field or camera crews. MatchBox Analyser back at base receives the feed and measures to the millisecond how long it took to get there. It also gives a lip-sync reading too. For measuring within the broadcast chain, MatchBox Generator can be deployed as a test signal with the Analyser picking up the results downstream. It can be thought of like a multi-meter for signal timing with a probe at each end of the section of interest. A measurement of the timing delay experienced by a live feed is powerful information.
With that knowledge, it can determine the efficient production workflows and those which are slow and jittery. That is an important factor in selecting new technologies to assist virtual productions ultimately leading to more eco-friendly workflows whilst still retaining quality. Hitomi is a member of the IBC Sustainability Project as a direct result of this new technology. Much is talked about the need for “low latency” but it is rarely quantified, now it can be. MatchBox is already deployed worldwide with major name broadcasters so widespread adoption of this new technology can be rapid. It will bring changes, but they will be measured changes. This product will make a difference to live transmissions, virtual studios and all applications where timing needs to be known, not guessed.