News

15 Jul 2021

OneSystem to Rule Them All

by Jason Allen

A decade ago, which is like half a century in AV technology years, Adelaide’s Novatech Creative Event Technology put together an ingenious solution they dubbed OneSystem. It was a custom-built rack on wheels designed to take all the AV tech headaches out of large conferences, in this particular case, large medical conferences with hundreds of presentations delivered across multiple rooms.

All of the bugbears of high-end corporate AV were addressed; presenters checked their presentations in the support area run by Novatech on OneSystem, which then piped the presentation to their room, also run by OneSystem on an identical rig. All the headaches of differing computers, software, control, and outputs to display were gone. The rig could also record each presentation and upload them to the web for streaming. Novatech’s full OneSystem fleet could run 30 rooms simultaneously and worked like a charm.

The original OneSystem did multiple tours of duty around Australia and New Zealand, and ventured to Singapore and Malaysia. Forward to the present day, and the face of events has changed. Remote and hybrid are now standard, as are presenter pre-records and live streaming. The mix of real and virtual is constantly shifting, and OneSystem needed to be redesigned to keep up.

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The new rig is now known as OneSystem Constellation, after its new engine room, the Blackmagic Design ATEM Constellation vision switcher, though calling it a switcher seems a little understated. It boasts 40 12G-SDI inputs, 24 12G-SDI aux outputs, 4 DVEs, 16 ATEM Advanced Chroma Keyers, 4 media players, 4 independent Ultra HD multi viewers, standards conversion on all inputs, built-in talkback and a 156 channel Fairlight audio mixer.

“It’s a beast!” exclaims Novatech’s managing director Leko Novakovic. “Honestly, we didn’t really need something that powerful, but now we have it, it has opened up a lot of possibilities. OneSystem Constellation has become the perfect tool for any AV business. It has the power to roll into any corporate event that just needs a switcher and a couple of laptops, or into a 20 camera shoot that’s live streamed. There’s nothing it can’t do. We feel we’ve designed the perfect workhorse rack.”

In a rolling roadcase designed by Melbourne’s TransitPak Cases that’s designed to fit through a single door, a tilt-up lid holds a 43” 4K monitor that can support a 4x HD Multiview. A pull-out tray holds two keyboards, two mice and other control accessories including an Elegato Stream Deck.

“We’ve built a bunch of presets for the system and put them on keys on the Stream Deck,” explains Leko. “It’s simple stuff like, ‘switch to that laptop’ or screen, or ‘multiview option A, B, C, or D’. This is for the simple gigs that just require one operator.” Alternatively, big gigs can bring in multiple techs and connect to OneSystem Constellation with external controllers, allowing vision, audio, and broadcast engineers to all work on the same system.

The brains of the system are spread across two Mac Minis and two Windows servers. Every piece of software you could possibly ever want to run corporate audio and video is installed; Zoom, Teams, QLab, vMIx, Office, KeyNote, plus a range of video editors, converters and playback, and control software for the devices in the rack. Recording and playback is handled by two Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Studio Minis.

A Dante-enabled Yamaha TF-RACK digital mixer offers extra analog connectivity, including 16 combo XLR ins and one RCA in, outputting to eight XLRS and eight TRS jacks if required. All of the computers in OneSystem have Dante Via installed, and Dante Virtual Soundcard can be added if required. The TF-RACK can be controlled via an included iPad or by the PCs.

Topping it all off is a full suite of converters to and from NDI and SDI, power options for users including USB charging ports, wireless and wired control for presenters, patch panels for video and fiber, and powerCON input. Tying everything together is a 10Gb network switch connecting the computers for fast data transfer and media sharing, with a 1Gb switch for the rest of the devices. OneSystem Constellation racks can be linked together via single mode fibre or cat6, and bring in an external internet feed. Each rack also has a dedicated wireless access point providing access to control and utility devices. With all of this internet connectivity and remote capability, OneSystem Constellation can be controlled over the public internet by a tech who isn’t even in the same city, let alone building.

“We’ve estimated that the time for a single tech just to patch up a rig that can do all of this would be six hours,” states Leko. “Having all of this pre-built and ready to roll will save everyone huge amounts in labour. I believe OneSystem Constellation is perfect for those multi-state events with participants in each capital city; we can roll out the same rig in every venue and provide consistency. Lack of consistency in the tech is where those multiple location events usually fall over.”

With the OneSystem Constellation having already successfully handled the hybrid Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Conference at the MCEC with Novatech’s partner Wallfly, Leko and Novatech are keen to share their ‘gig in a box’ with the rest of the industry. Grant Whitehead CTO and director of Wallfly says “Our event required a highly complex hybrid solution across eight days and multiple concurrent sessions. We were thrilled to engage Novatech as our tech partner for the ANZCA ASM. OneSystem Constellation ticked all the boxes and exceeded our expectations.” 

“We hire out OneSystem Constellation as rack only, and it’s a very fair price considering what’s in it and how many hours are saved prepping and setting up,” offers Leko. “Streaming and hybrid events are not going away, and we created OneSystem Constellation because there just isn’t anything else on the market that has these capabilities.”

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