Barnfind is a new product range out of Norway which seeks to unify synchronous broadcast signals (HD/SDi, HMDI, AES, MADI, analogue video & audio) with asynchronous data standards (Ethernet, Fibre Channel, CWDM fibre). The basic product integrates sixteen SFP slots with a bi-directional 32×32 “signal agnostic” data router for little more than the cost of an equivalent SDi switcher.
The system supports all standard SFP modules from Barnfind and other manufacturers. Everything from the usual fibre and networking SFPs are available along with SFPs supporting 3G SDi and HDMI (as well as other broadcast signals) more economically than Cisco etc.
Suitably equipped the router can send 3G to HDMI, de/embed AES and MADI and route network (as well as all the other signal types) over fibre (single or multi-mode, depending on what SFP you insert). All conversion is done in the SFPs (colour space when going between 4:2:2 SDi and HDMI, for example).
So a customer who is reluctant to invest in an SDi router (file-based workflows are rapidly replacing baseband) could populate their Barnfind system with enough 3G video SFPs for today’s requirements safe in the knowledge that in two years when they need more IP crosspoints (of whatever standard) they can remove the video SFPs and replace them with data ones.
However, from our point of view the real killer application is that Barnfind support CWDM (Course Wave Division Multiplexing – the ability to combine many signals onto a single fibre, birectionally) and with the cost of dark-fibre falling all the time the cost of extending many videos, networks and fibre-channels (for storage) onto a single dark-fibre between, say, Pinewood Studios and a Soho facility is at an all time low. Why send people, equipment etc to a studio shoot when you can easily have the studio as a fully provided outpost of your machine room in much the same way that your edit suites are? In fact you can remote facilities up to 80KMs without additional equipment; edit suite in Coventry anyone?!
The BarnOne (the 1u unit with the router) comes in several variations – if you know you’ll need eight BNCs i/o’s then cost can be saved on not buying video SFPs etc. The BarnMini units are tiny 2-port slices of the main system and are ideally suited to living in the edit suite where you need video i/o and maybe network – again, all down a fraction of a single fibre.
In cost terms they have brought CWDM down from telco/ISP costs to broadcast (around a quarter the price of existing CWDM end-points) and the BarnMinis are competitively priced against BlackMagic and AJA. Every customer we have shown the system to has discovered applications we never anticipated (it solves the problem of encryption keys between digital cinema servers and projectors, for example).