FrameFormer: The Sustainable Solution for High Performance Broadcast Technology InSync Technology sees sustainability as a core value, both as a business and within its products. Achieving excellence while reducing their carbon footprint is the company’s mission.
Our flagship product, FrameFormer, is a high performance, motion-compensated frame rate converter, designed for premium live content and is already in use with major global sports broadcasters and federations. Performance in demanding, fast-moving sports action, is a top priority in developing the product.
InSync developed FrameFormer from the ground up to achieve technical excellence, but also with a focus on sustainable, environmental and financial performance. Technical considerations including fewer CPU cycles being required to obtain a given level of quality delivering lower set-up and running costs to the customer, FrameFormer provides a smaller environmental impact in terms of server infrastructure and power consumption. Furthermore, FrameFormer’s programme of continual development has reduced the computation demand by up to 65% since going to market without any compromise to quality through intensive work to maximise algorithmic efficiency.
Central to its design and implementation is a clear commitment to sustainability. While other high quality frame rate converters rely on dedicated compute resources, FrameFormer is implemented entirely as CPU-only software for a wide range of architectures. This means it can run on existing compute resources without the need for manufacture and investment in dedicated hardware with high power consumption. This COTS hardware is often more affordable and relatively available, beneficial given the current chip shortage. Users not having to buy newly manufactured hardware reduces the environmental impact of the product further, while providing positive financial impacts for the enterprises using the tool.
FrameFormer is also designed for cloud hosting, where it can run without power-hungry acceleration, and only as required. With sports broadcasters continually reconfiguring their contribution circuits to move from sports venue to sports venue, the ability to spin up functionality only as required is another valuable energy saving. The reduced resource requirements of FrameFormer assists in reducing the environmental impact of those using the tool, further reducing the Scope 3 emissions of InSync and supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – specifically goal 10, focusing on the need for responsible production and consumption. This also supports goal 5: responsible resourcing, as set out by the Sustainability in Production Alliance.
Further, InSync has now implemented FrameFormer for the ARM architecture, which itself is designed for very low energy impact. With AWS rapidly growing its support for ARM, this represents another major opportunity to reduce energy consumption. Their Graviton-based instances use up to 60% less energy for the same performance than comparable EC2 instances.
FrameFormer is designed for integration with other, complementary products, and a comprehensive SDK is available to allow for very tight collaborative architectures. A good example is the integration of FrameFormer into the Live Transcoder from Comprimato, which means a broadcaster can feed a signal at one frame rate, video format and codec into the device, to receive the transcoded and converted signal on the other side of the globe. The single pass process minimises power consumption over two separate processes, as well as minimising latency.
InSync also implements standards conversion into hardware devices on behalf of other manufacturers. The MCC4K-A, for example, was designed and is manufactured for FOR-A by InSync to provide uncompromised 4k Ultra HD frame rate conversion, a task it achieves while requiring a tenth of the power of similar converters.
For a major global sports event in China in 2022, InSync developed the world’s first motion compensated 8k version, the MCC-8K for FOR-A. Part of the design specification of this was that it should have a maximum power consumption of 200W, a target which was met despite the incredible amount of processing required to convert 8k streams running in excess of 20Gb/s.
Where InSync manufactures hardware devices on behalf of others, it manufactures on site, with outsourced parts coming from local suppliers where practical. Attention is given to minimising the carbon impact of the products through localised sourcing, and by using minimal packaging made from recyclable materials for delivery, both factors in minimising their Scope 1 emissions.
At the factory, the company actively promotes the use of electric vehicles with multiple EV charging points and a cycle to work scheme. Where practical, staff enjoy a flexible remote working environment, minimising unnecessary travel and thus its associated footprint, further reducing their carbon impact and Scope 1 emissions. Encouragement to invest in such assets also raises awareness and educates employees, partners and other stakeholders of the issues surrounding sustainability and the climate crisis, with behaviour changes over time further increasing the sustainability of InSync and their value chain.
FrameFormer shows that, to be effective, sustainability must be built into the product at every level, from ensuring its efficiency in operation to minimising the environmental impact of the products, and the people making them.
Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond creating eco-friendly products. We also prioritise giving back to causes that align with our values. At NAB Show 2023, InSync will be donating $3 to Creative Visions for every visitor who stops by their booth, C2013.
Creative Visions is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering creative activists worldwide to tell stories that bring positive change to society. By donating to this cause, InSync is not only supporting the arts and media industry, but also contributing to a sustainable future by promoting the importance of responsible production and consumption.
Learn more about Creative Visions here: