iFast Corporation

A Technical Overview of iFAST TV’s Singapore 4K NDI Studio with NDI® and NewTek TriCaster® 2 Elite

One of the major consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been an acceleration in remote models of doing business. While face-to-face contact remains the gold standard for many companies, the practicalities of arranging meetings in a shifting patchwork of international restrictions has become a logistical nightmare, as well as a profound health and safety issue.

Companies looking to keep connected with their customers and their employees have had to move swiftly to maintain their pre-pandemic momentum, and the savvy ones have leveraged many of the recent innovations in the professional AV space to maintain those relationships.

The work recently undertaken at iFast Corporation, a wealth management fintech platform headquartered in Singapore, is a case in point and neatly illustrates the confluence underway between high-end AV and professional broadcast. Thanks to the advent of IP-based production, corporations are now able to deploy solutions that until recently would have been firmly the province of broadcasters alone.

Photo Credit: Ideal Systems

Due to Covid-19, iFast found itself in possession of a large conference and training room at the heart of its Singapore base that was effectively lying idle as social distancing restrictions curtailed its use. The company was therefore looking to turn it into a high-end TV studio and production facility for its own B2B streaming operation, iFast TV. This was a critical project for iFast, which regularly imparts time-sensitive financial news to a network of over 520 companies and 10,000 agents and partners worldwide.

The company chosen to oversee the installation was APAC technology integrator Ideal Systems, which in turn took the decision to base the new facilities on an NDI® infrastructure. The result is a state-of-the-art 150sqm (1500sq ft) IP-based end-to-end 4K studio that provides broadcast-quality content while being optimized to be operated by non-broadcast professionals.

Photo Credit: Ideal Systems

At the heart of the new iFast TV studio is a NewTek TriCaster® 2 Elite, whose power and flexibility have enabled many of the operational functions of the studio to be condensed into the unit for effortless operation. This includes Virtual Sets, which allows iFAST unlimited flexibility in terms of creating different looks for different shows using an 8m x 3m chromakey space, while it also provides the video feed to a 5m LED wall in a more conventional studio space. Both virtual spaces and physical walls can incorporate video, graphics, and video conferencing from multiple platforms such as Zoom® and Microsoft® Teams and at multiple resolutions.

Photo Credit: Ideal Systems

The TriCaster even provides the encoding for the output to the CDN and on to iFast’s App for worldwide distribution, with a spare encoder also available if simultaneous steaming to social media is required. These are all running using standard ethernet cables which, as they use power over ethernet as well, further reduces cabling and studio clutter. Indeed, each cable for the PTZ units is effectively a 5-in-1 cable providing power, control, tally, video, and audio.

Impressively, the installation features zero legacy SDI equipment or cabling used in the entire facility. To accomplish this, Ideal deployed the world’s first NDI-native teleprompter and the world’s first NDI-native studio monitors from Telescript. To make operation even easier, it also used the Live Story Creator functionality in the TriCaster 2 Elite for the teleprompter, which allows users to write a script in Microsoft Word and use Word’s comments to trigger actions on the TriCaster as the presenter reads from the teleprompter. Thus, picture and picture graphics and even switching can be fully automated live by the script, again making the production operator’s job easier and helping ensure the fintech giant can create a premium, broadcast-quality product that helps it stay connected with its customers wherever they are in the world.


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