TV Tech - 0468 - December 2021

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contents

December 2021 volume 39, issue 12

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Scaled-Back CES Returns to Vegas After Pandemic Hiatus

Connected TV, XR variants, streaming outshine video gear as hybrid show expands tech turf By Gary Arlen

The graphics marvel influenced the look of TV in the ’80s and beyond By Adrian Wilson

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iPhone ProRes Video Is Another Video Production Milestone

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Iron Mountain’s Hollywood Treasures

Multistream, real-time editing performance delivers professional image quality By Frank Beacham

Where film/TV history is secure, current By Debra Kaufman

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Switching at Your Service

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SMPTE Explores Hollywood’s Drone Potential

The production switcher is undergoing serious changes, both technical and commercial By Kevin Hilton

Advancing technology depends on legal, regulatory issues By Craig Johnston

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How Paintbox Changed the

Look of TV

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‘Noize Boyz’ and the Nasty Sounding Days of Sports Past

It’s all about microphone design and placement By Dennis Baxter

TELEVISION AUTOMATION

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editor's note

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in the news

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eye on tech

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editor's note

Stop, Start, Stop Again Meeting in person and creating and maintaining personal relationships is an important element in any business. This obvious fact wasn’t so obvious two years ago, but with nearly two years of pandemic lockdowns (interspersed with hopeful re-openings), the latest developments ride this point home more than ever. As this issue goes to press, the future of the 2021 IBC Show (which will or will not have happened by the time you read this) hangs in the balance. Despite a three-week lockdown that was scheduled to end just as the show was to open—and with no guarantees that the lockdown would be extended—and with The Netherlands seeing the highest rates of COVID-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic—event organizers decided that the show must go on. One fact that perhaps got lost in the flurry of news and response following the organization’s decision was that as recently as last May, the IBC was planning for its traditional September show. Organizers surmised that the vaccinations would help stem the tide of infections and the world would have returned to (semi) normal by then. As we now know, conditions have not improved enough for people to feel confident to safely meet in a crowded environment despite the best precautions. As the incoming NAB President Curtis LeGuyt said when it had to cancel its October gathering, “We worked very hard to try to deliver an event that exhibitors, attendees and our industry would be proud of. Unfortunately, there were too many factors outside of our control that prevented us from hosting the type of event that our community has come to expect.” Like so many organizations who have tried to revive a someDespite pandemic concerns, what normal schedule of in-person gatherings in an ever-chang- InfoComm 2021 is one of the few industry ining roller coaster of pandemic-related events and trends, the person events that actually IBC has found itself in an untenable situation. Cancelling such happened this year. a large-scale event is never an easy decision and we sympathize with the organization’s dilemma. After IBC announced that the show would continue, a slew of exhibitors, both large and small, announced their withdrawal. While the trade press that reports on these developments may like the clicks these updates elicit, they distort the reality of how painful such decisions are to a company’s bottom line. We at TV Tech love live events—in fact, our 2020 Tech Leadership Summit in early March was perhaps the last such in-person gathering our industry has held. A few have gone forward, including InfoComm 2021 in Orlando, however most of us continue to exist in a sort of “limbo,” speculating on when it will be safe enough to gather again. One event that shows no sign of stopping is the 2022 International CES in Las Vegas. As Gary Arlen reports in our preview, CTA expects approximately 1,600 exhibitors, less than half the number from its 2020 show and perhaps up to a “vague prediction of 70,000 to 100,000 in-person attendees, with about 25% coming from outside of the U.S., based on early registrations and the lifting of travel restrictions to the United States. Visitors from 134 countries had registered as of mid-November. For those unable to attend, show organizers have put into practice many of the lessons learned from the virtual 2021 event, creating an increasingly popular “hybrid” online event for both exhibit booths and panel sessions. We anticipate a more lively 2022 when it comes to in-person events, but it’s human nature to want an identifiable beginning and end to this pandemic. We knew when it began, now we just have to decide what factors will determine when it ends. Tom Butts Content Director tom.butts@futurenet.com

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Vol. 39 No. 12 | December 2021 FOLLOW US

www.tvtech.com twitter.com/tvtechnology CONTENT VP/Global Editor-In-Chief Bill Gannon, william.gannon@futurenet.com Content Director Tom Butts, tom.butts@futurenet.com Content Manager Terry Scutt, terry.scutt@futurenet.com Senior Content Producer George Winslow, george.winslow@futurenet.com Contributors Gary Arlen, Susan Ashworth, James Careless, Steve Harvey, Kevin Hilton, Craig Johnston, Bob Kovacs and Mark R. Smith Production Manager Heather Tatrow Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Cliff Newman ADVERTISING SALES Vice President, Sales, B2B Tech Group Adam Goldstein, adam.goldstein@futurenet.com SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.tvtechnology.com and click on About Us, email futureplc@computerfulfillment.com, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS TV Technology is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw licensing@futurenet.com MANAGEMENT Senior Vice President, B2B Rick Stamberger Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 130 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036

All contents © 2021 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents,subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions. Please Recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill and printer hold full FSC and PEFC certification and accreditation. TV Technology (ISSN: 0887-1701) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 130 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Phone: 703-852-4600. FAX:703-852-4583. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to TV Technology, P.O. Box 848, Lowell, MA 01853.



in the news Rise Announces Woman of the Year Recipients

Pearl TV Plans Holiday Ad Campaigns to Promote NextGen TV WASHINGTON D.C.—With NextGen TV signals projected to reach 45% of U.S. homes by the end of 2021, the Pearl TV consortium of broadcast station groups has introduced a NextGen TV holiday brand marketing campaign to deepen consumer awareness and engagement. The campaign began late last month and highlights Dolby’s "Sound Decisions" campaign, which focuses on the new audio features consumers can only experience with NextGen TV. The Pearl TV group, which includes 750 network-affiliated television stations, and its U.S. major network partners, has played a central role in the ATSC 3.0 rollout. These broadcasters and their stations are now planning to use the busy holiday season as an opportunity to promote and engage with local viewers on the new standard through the NextGen TV holiday brand marketing campaign, Pearl TV said. The nine-week, multichannel, nationwide campaign in NextGen TV markets will educate consumers on Dolby audio features, as well as NextGen TV’s future-proof forward technology compatibility, Pearl TV said. Dolby is showcasing Voice + and other NextGen TV exclusive features as part of ts holiday "Sound Decisions marketing campaign," will air on participating broadcast stations. As part of that effort, viewers will see the “Future of Television” commercials and audio-specific education on Dolby features. Pearl TV also noted that more than 40 new TV market deployments—including New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia— are planned in 2022 alone and that NextGen TV is expected to reach 75% of U.S. households by summer of 2022. Pearl TV has also introduced a NextGen TV Holiday Gift Guide to highlight the growing availability of NextGen TV capable TVs and devices. z George Winslow

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TORONTO—The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) has announced that its vice president Borika Vucinic (Bell Media Network) has been jointly named Woman of the Year by Rise, the advocacy group for gender diversity in the media technology sector. Vucinic shares the award with Inga Ruehl of Sky Sports. The Woman of the Year award, sponsored by Zixi, is presented to an extraordinary and inspirational woman who has made a significant contribution within her field. This year, the judges were unable to choose just one winner from a shortlist full of extremely talented women from around the world, so they decided to honor both Vucinic and Ruehl. Borika Vucinic is vice-president of Bell Media Network, Canada’s largest media conglomerate. Her role is to oversee engineering support and operations for the Bell Media Network broadcast sites in Montréal and Toronto, and project engineering and network support for television and radio stations across Canada. With 25 years of experience with the Bell team, Vucinic has earned a reputation as an innovator and team builder, driving people and process transformation to enable new features, services and cost efficiencies. Inga Ruehl is executive director, production services and operations for Sky Sports. Her teams look after the planning and delivery of all home-produced content across 11 live sports channels, with responsibility for studios, post-production staff and facilities, as well as outside broadcast and crewing. Ruehl and her teams led the way for Sky Sports’ introduction of remote production operations, experience which came to the fore during the Photo credit: NABA

update

Borika Vucinic, vice president of NABA and vice-president of Bell Media Network

pandemic. She is a rare example of a female leader in a male-dominated environment and is passionate about creating a more diverse workforce within Sky Sports. z George Winslow

Broadcasters Foundation Launches Year-End Giving Campaign

NEW YORK—The Broadcasters Foundation of America has launched its annual year-end giving campaign, with an appeal for tax-deductible donations that will allow the Foundation to continue providing financial assistance to those in broadcasting who need it most. This year’s plea for donations follows a year-and-a-half of several cancelled fundraising events due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has also forced more broadcasters than ever to reach out for monthly or emergency relief. The Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.8 million in monthly and onetime emergency grants in 2021, the group said. Monthly grants have increased 75% and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 20 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed more than $15 million to broadcasters in need. A 501(c)3 charity, the Broadcasters Foundation is the only organization dedicated exclusively to delivering financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe. Personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative can be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund, corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative, and bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society. To learn more or to donate, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250 or info@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcasters foundation.org. z George Winslow



in the news Signiant Buys Levels Beyond LEXINGTON, MASS.—Signiant has acquired Levels Beyond, developer of the Reach Engine media workflow software suite, Signiant said. Financial details of the purchase were not immediately available. Signiant will extend the functionality of its SaaS platform with Levels Beyond’s technology, adding new capabilities to simplify and modernize workflows, it said. “By virtue of our underlying acceleration technology and broad-based role in the

global flow of media, Signiant can provide customers with a foundation that addresses multiple supply chain challenges efficiently and at scale,” said Signiant CEO Margaret Craig. “Our SaaS platform has critical mass, it serves as the core of the B-to-B media

OPINION

My Top Five TV Tech Summit Takeaways

I

was asked to moderate a panel and interview several industry experts during the 2021 TV Tech Summit last month. One of the sessions was on ATSC 3.0 and 5G; I also interviewed Michael Davies, senior vice president of technical and field operations at Fox Sports, and Ian Fletcher, chief application designer at Grass Valley.

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VALUE PROPOSITION: NextGen TV by itself or in combination with 5G gives local broadcasters a way to make their ad inventory far more valuable to advertisers as the standard brings the targeting, attribution and metrics to television that advertisers have been demanding, said Jimshade Chaudhari, senior vice president of product at Marketron.

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z Phil Kurz

screen applications and NextGen TV remote control from a consumer’s 5G smartphone.

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WORKFLOW SILOS AT STATIONS ONCE MADE SENSE: A master control operator runs a master control switcher; a technical director runs a production switcher; an editor edits with an NLE and so forth and so on. But in the cloud, these workflow silos are collapsing, said Fletcher. Sure, if a master control operator or technical director feels more comfortable working with virtualized equivalents of their real-world switchers, they can. But they don’t have to, nor does anyone else, meaning over time the silos will give way completely to highly customized workflows tailored to the specific needs of a given broadcaster or media organization.

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ALL OUT REMOTE SPORTS PRODUCTION ISN’T A ‘SLAM DUNK’: To be sure the pandemic accelerated adoption of one form or another of remote model integrated (REMI) production, said Davies during his keynote Q&A. However, a variety of factors, including latency and significant capital investment in existing production gear, mean trucks will go to venues far into the future, even if most crew don’t. Plus, the highest profile events are likely to be produced on site for years to come.

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CORE BREACH: No, we’re not going to have to eject our warp core. But what will happen is the 5G core network will open a pathway to interconnect with a future ATSC 3 broadcast core network, said Joel Wilhite, senior systems design engineer at Harmonic. That will make possible everything from a 5G back channel to tether NextGen TVs for personalization and interactivity to second-

ecosystem, and it is the ideal anchor point for adjacent media-centric functionality." The acquisition follows Signiant’s purchase earlier this year of Lesspain Software, which offered solutions to facilitate organizing, finding and interacting with media assets. Together with the newly acquired capabilities of Levels Beyond, Signiant’s offerings will include a range of configurable workflow building blocks, the company said. Key members of the Levels Beyond team will continue to be based in Denver, where Signiant will operate a development center.

Phil Kurz

OVER-THE-AIR TV AUDIENCE IS GROWING: Todd Achilles, CEO of 3.0-based pay-TV service Evoca TV, predicts next year will see the number of OTA households in Boise, Idaho, one of his first markets, pushing past 50%. Around the country, he is predicting OTA household growth as well, but not to that level—yet. You can view the summit sessions on demand at www.falltvevents.com/2021/TVTechSummit. Be sure to take advantage of the TV Tech Summit the next time it comes around. I’m sure you’ll glean some fresh insights of your own. l



international ces 2022

ATSC, which exhibited at the 2020 CES for the first time, will return with a booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Grand Lobby.

Scaled-Back CES Returns to Vegas After Pandemic Hiatus Connected TV, XR variants, streaming outshine video gear as ‘hybrid’ show expands tech turf By Gary Arlen

LAS VEGAS—TVs and related video devices—once a mainstay of the annual CES trade show—will still play a smaller but still highly visible role in the show, which returns to a live (vaccinated) in-person event, Jan. 5 –8, 2022. As the tech industry returns to Las Vegas after the 2021 show was cancelled, visitors will find that the electronics extravaganza (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) has continued its metamorphosis into a broader realm of personal technology, evidenced by a bigger-than-ever presence of (including more speakers and conference sessions about) automotive, health/wellness and smart homes/smart cities among nearly 50 product categories. Not to mention the inevitable buzz about virtual reality.

Credit: CTA

THE WORLD OF XR ATSC 3.0 (aka “NextGen TV”), 8K Ultra High Definition equipment from almost every major supplier, plus upgrades of OLED

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(Organic Light Emitting Diode), MicroLED and HDR (High Dynamic Range) will be on the convention show floor, and there are a couple of conference sessions exploring their capabilities. But the larger focus of CES’s video agenda involves Connected TV (CTV) services, XR—the umbrella acronym for the new Realities of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR)—and other new content, especially the role of streaming media. “The dynamics have changed,” explains Karen Chupka, CTA’s executive vice president-CES, observing that small retailers no longer come prowling for new products. “Buyers come with specific needs,” she said. The name change in 2015 from Consumer Electronics Association to Consumer Technology Association presaged the shift to a broader array of products. CTA expects about 1,600 exhibitors and as of mid-November the vague prediction was for 70,000 to 100,000 in-person attendees, with about 25% coming from outside of the U.S., based on early registrations and the lifting of travel restrictions to the U.S. Visi-

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tors from 134 countries had registered as of mid-November. (For comparison, the January 2020 CES attracted about 180,000 visitors and had 4,500 booths.) Chupka expects that public officials—from federal, state and local jurisdictions—will be at the show, but as of mid-November, the Innovation Policy Summit was in the early planning phase. In past years, appearances by members and staff of the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Congress and other top public officials have often been announced just a few weeks before show time. Only one of the keynote speakers as of mid-November comes from a company identified for its video products: Jong-Hee Han, president of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, will deliver the pre-show keynote address on Tuesday night. Other keynoters are from automotive, telecom, pharmaceutical and technology companies. Beyond the obvious changes in 2022—especially the COVID-induced hybrid format, with many “attendees” expected to tune into the virtual show via streamed conference sessions and digital booth visits—the upcoming event comes as the TV business is attracting pervasive new players. Comcast’s XClass receivers (already on sale at selected Walmart stores) and Amazon’s FireTV sets are the early versions of both companies’ initiatives to sell home TV receivers, mainly for the ad and data opportunities to leverage their vast footprints in the digital world. Chupka does not expect either of those firms to exhibit on the show floor, although there is substantial buzz that they—and their Chinese-made display devices—will be in Las Vegas. Amazon has a showfloor booth, as it has had for several years, but declined to reveal what it will exhibit. On the technology front, Brian Markwalter, CTA’s senior vice president for research & standards, expects MicroLED will attract a lot

(L to R): Jean Foster, SVP, Marketing and Communications, CTA; Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, CTA; Gary Shapiro, President & CEO, CTA; and Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director of Market Research, CTA


international ces 2022 of attention, especially as manufacturers seek to downsize the technology into the consumer video arena. “MicroLED is very high end for commercial displays right now,” Markwalter said, adding that he expects to see some set-makers bring it to market, although he could not identify any of the potential suppliers or a timetable. He also cited the growing market for OLED, which “has a steady portion of the market.” Steve Koenig, CTA’s vice president of market research, expects “8K everywhere” at CES. Koenig also believes attendees will relish the opportunity to “see what NextGen TV is all about.” Beyond that, he cites the “incremental improvements” in smart TVs plus new kinds of partnerships between manufacturers and streaming content producers to be a major factor in the video activity at CES. And he expects that Amazon and Comcast will use the show as a way to advance their plans for working with retailers to sell their branded TV sets.

TRACKING NEXTGEN TV SALES IN A FALTERING MARKET In response to a question about tracking sales of NextGen TV-enabled sets, Koenig

pointed out CTA stopped aggregating factory sales data a few years ago and is now working with manufacturers “to validate forward-looking predictions.” He pointed out that CTA began forecasting NextGen TV sales early this year and now expects 2.1 million NextGen sets will be sold this year. An updated forecast will be released just before CES starts. “2023 will be the inflection point,” he told TV Tech, forecasting about 11 million units to be sold in the U.S. the year after next. “We’re getting perspective; I expect the shape of the

“We’re at the point where a TV is not just a TV,” Baker emphasizes. “It’s a window with an operating system; it’s a way to leverage that space in people’s houses.” STEPHEN BAKER, THE NPD GROUP

trend will change a little but not dramatically.” The U.S. market for TV sets is in flux as the industry prepares for CES. Although 2020 was “a banner year with the highest shipment levels in more than 20 years,” largely fueled by pandemic-induced sales, according to Koenig, the current level of TV set sales is drifting downward again. CTA expects a 2% decline in 2022. As for CES highlights, both Markwalter and Koenig observed that there will be “more command and control” features, including voice and gesture recognition. They cited recent improvements in relevant technologies, including “taking advantage of artificial intelligence, facial recognition and voice technologies” for search tasks. They also cited leaps in audio features, such as soundbars for Dolby Atmos to enhance the immersive viewing experience. Citing increasing consumer distress about finding digital content among the growing array of streaming providers, Markwalter said he expects new products with improved user interfaces and content search features. Pointing out that about 90% of new TV sales are Smart TVs, Markwalter said that the “broad mix of how people watch TV and where they watch” requires advanced abilities to discover

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international ces 2022 programs and summon them up onto a screen.

SIZE MATTERS “There will be lots of new TV models in 70-inch and larger sizes,” Koenig said, adding that such big screens “plays right into 8K” and reflects “consumers’ zeal for the biggest screen possible.” He contends that the size is “not just about movies” but also for telepresence and gaming. “You’ll see a lot of pairings of audio with video for a robust immersive experience,” he added. Stephen Baker, vice president and industry analyst specializing in technology at The NPD Group market research firm, agrees that TV set sales will decline but popular sets will get bigger in the coming year. “The industry is still in the process of absorbing 18 months of elevated hardware sales and streaming.” The “biggest opportunity” now is for sales of sets that are 75+ inches and at prices of $1,500. Baker contends that, “Video remains a critical part of CES and everything that goes on in CE business.” “The tough thing about TVs is that it is a very commoditized category,” he said. “The screen is such a big percentage of the price.

CEO of Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave, addresses the audience during the closing session of the Web Summit 2021

Credit: Hugo Amaral/Getty Images

TUNE IN REMOTELY The streaming and on-demand production and distribution will be handled by Web Summit, which is using its event operating system, Summit Engine, a cloud-based platform built to support events with both in-person and digital audiences. (Microsoft ran this part of the digital program in 2021.) Digital audiences will have the opportunity to share the excitement of the in-person event by accessing live keynotes, viewing select conference sessions and connecting with exhibitors and other attendees. Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications for CTA, said the Web Summit platform lets CTA “reimagine how we convene and collaborate as an industry.”

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“We’re at the point where a TV is not just a TV. It’s a window with an operating system; it’s a way to leverage that space in people’s houses.” Those factors are driving the entry of companies such as Comcast and Amazon into the physical TV set sector, Baker adds. They see the opportunity “for streaming, advertising and interactions with consumers through the biggest and best screen in their homes.“ Looking ahead, Baker expects the next wave of “amazing technology” such as MicroLED and transparent screens is “still a few years off,” but there may be private demonstrations during CES.

ATSC’S AGGRESSIVE APPEARANCE The Advanced Television Systems Committee, which developed the ATSC 3.0 standard, will again showcase its technology and member companies’ hardware at a booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Grand Lobby. ATSC President Madeleine Noland says the exhibit will “underscore the value of having the NextGen TV mark as an indication that a consumer device will be ready for television’s next generation.” Noland stressed that ATSC will remain involved in “technical developments that will impact broadcasters around the world.” She points out that groups such as ATSC’s Planning Team 4 are working on “Future Broadcast Ecosystem Technologies,” which the organization terms as an initiative “to ensure that the ATSC 3.0 standard remains at the vanguard of new developments.” She also cited CTA forecasts for NextGenTV unit sales. CTA’s January and July 2021 outlooks showed a three-fold increase in sales expectations, and Noland foresees “those numbers growing in 2022.” Pearl TV, the consortium of major broadcasting groups, will showcase its national marketing campaign, launched in November as a “hardcore push to raise awareness of the NextGen brand, according to Anne Schelle, managing director. The goal is to educate retailers as well as consumers, she said, adding that Pearl will initiate a “broadcaster/retailer award” to recognize local partnerships that promote NextGen TV within a community. In addition to a display within the ATSC exhibit in the Convention Center’s Grand Lobby, Pearl will have a hotel suite where it will demonstrate “the extraction layer” (called “RUN3 TV”), which allows broadcasters to develop applications that work across

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Will we see more versions of LG’s rollable TV from other TV vendors?

multiple receivers, combining live linear TV with over-the-top HTML5 applications. Pearl also plans to announce additional NextGen TV set manufacturers and to step up its relationships with SOC (system-on-a-chip) suppliers as well as participate in a conference panel organized by NAB’s Sam Metheny. It will offer a “digital playbook” for virtual attendees. As for the continuing nationwide rollout, Schelle said that ATSC 3.0 service will launch in Houston by Spring (closer to the NAB Show). Pearl TV’s exhibit will include Dolby AT4, a voice tech audio platform that offers consistent loudness and is integral to NextGen TV, Schelle said.

FOCUS ON CONTENT “C Space,” the CES program focused on media, advertising and branding, will include many of the TV content programs in addition to the other CTA sessions on media and video-tech topics. With more than 150 conference sessions during the show’s four days, only a handful deal with video; most of them will be run by CTA partners and focus on non-broadcast issues. For example, the Digital Hollywood program features sessions on internet TV, FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) and OTT (over-the-top) programming, plus the relationships of streaming to 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital Hollywood speakers come from Disney, Paramount, Fox and WarnerMedia as well as from Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm, Samsung, LG, IBM, Microsoft and Verizon.

SCHEDULE SHIFT AND NEW VENUES Among the changes are a schedule shift with the show starting on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and ending Saturday, Jan. 8; a slight shift from the Tuesday through Friday timetable of recent years. Most video-related exhibits (Sony, Samsung, LG, Hisense and others) will remain in or near familiar locations in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The new West Hall will largely be dedicated to the growing array of automotive technology. l To register for the show, visit www. ces.tech.



TV/Film Archives Ricotta reported that the Iron Mountain Entertainment Service facility has preserved collections from studios, production companies and networks, including HBO, the Bob Dylan Archive, Discovery and Trans World Entertainment, the L.A. Lakers and San Francisco Giants, Corbis Images, The Grammy Museum and The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT

The studio can handle Super 8mm, 16mm and 35mm and transfer up to 2K with a Laser Graphics scan station (Iron Mountain’s Inglewood facility can scan to 4K)

Iron Mountain’s Hollywood Treasures Where film/TV history is secure, current By Debra Kaufman

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.—Gary Cooper’s Stetson hats for “High Noon,” Lucille Ball’s home movies, vintage Disney cels and Norma Jean Baker’s orphanage documents. What they all have in common is that they are safe and sound in Iron Mountain Entertainment Service’s temperature-controlled, ultra-secure Hollywood facility. Founded in 1951 and headquartered in Boston, the publicly traded Iron Mountain Entertainment Service is well known as a global provider of information and storage services. What’s less well known is how Iron Mountain Entertainment Service’s Hollywood facility currently houses a significant repository of assets from the industry’s theatrical and TV production history in a building it acquired in 1988. The company opened its doors, protected by multiple layers of security, to TV Tech to show just how deep and comprehensive its media and entertainment archives and services are.

Credit: Iron Mountain

EARTHQUAKE RESISTANT Fitting for an archival facility, the Hollywood site is a 100-year-old, 15-storey building that started as a bank and still boasts the artisanal details of the era and thick cement

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walls, reported facility/operational manager Steve Ricotta, who added that the foundation goes down to bedrock and its pyramidal form increases its resistance to earthquakes. Current safety and security measures include a dry pipe system, a smoke evacuation system, ubiquitous cameras and a full power backup generator that takes seven seconds to activate. Common areas are kept at 67 degrees and temperatures in the private vaults are determined by the content owners. USC’s Cinematic Arts Library has 400 collections of Hollywood notables there, according to director Steve Hanson, including those of James Bridges, Ridley Scott, Jeffrey Katzenberg, George Lucas, Brandon Tartikoff, and Jack Larson. Most but not all of the collections are physical: posters and billboards, documents and memorabilia, including a Stetson hat box housing Cooper’s white and black cowboy hats; early Disney cels, a framed monkey wrench from Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” and orphanage paperwork admitting Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe). “People travel from all over the world in researching documents from the collection,” said Hanson, who added that one of the oddest details is the type and amount of alcohol consumed during the making of “Casablanca.”

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In addition to storing, protecting and remediating physical assets, Iron Mountain Entertainment Service offers digital archive and media asset management as well as digitization and digital media services that include analog/ digital conversion, content localization, 3D object scanning and media transcoding. According to the company’s global head of marketing Meg Travis, the entertainment services division started 40 years ago and went digital in 2007 with the acquisition of Xepa Digital, which specialized in the conversion of analog and obsolete digital audio/videotapes to high-resolution digital file formats for archiving and distribution. At the time of the acquisition, Iron Mountain preserved more than six million analog audio tapes; the acquisition of Xepa allowed the company to dramatically expand their services for media and entertainment industry companies. Digital Studio Manager Kristine Hernandez gave a tour of the imaging room, which was designed to comply with guidelines from the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI). There, imaging archivist Bethany Boarts described how technicians trained in Library of Congress archival best practices create high-resolution 2D digital scans (including stills from the Lucie Arnaz/ Lucille Ball collection). Boarts, whose team works together with film/TV archivist Hillary Howell, reported that they add metadata and distribute the digital files per the clients’ instructions; the images are stored as RAW files. Iron Mountain Entertainment Service is also developing 3D capture and rendering technology, powered by an Artec 3D scanner and a Corsair Geforce RTX. Hernandez stated that they are also piloting a high-speed automated method to capture all six sides of a tape box, with images searchable by metadata terms. “Scanning is a big focus, so clients can see their assets remotely,” said Travis, who adds that COVID-19 increased the number of clients who wanted that service. Iron Mountain serves as a repository for Hollywood iconic artifacts, including Gary Cooper’s Stetson hat.


TV/Film Archives

The Digital Studio maintains a collection of machines that can playback obsolete formats, enabling transfer of old content into digital file formats

The company, with the Association of Moving Images Archivists (AMIA), Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the Recording Academy, is creating an apprenticeship program to draw more people into this highly specialized field. The Digital Studio also maintains a collection of machines that can playback obsolete formats, enabling transfer of old content into digital file formats. Videotape Operator lead Robert Sheafer heads the team that is con-

“Archiving is becoming the silent hero of the content race.” MEG TRAVIS

tinually repairing banks of ¾-inch U-matic, quad 2-inch and 1-inch Type C for transfer. “We clean the heads frequently,” he said.

“But sometimes we get only one pass at transferring [old tapes].” They also transfer from old tape formats such as DLT and computer data from the 1960s and 1970s. He added that the team acquires the machines to transfer whatever clients bring in and that they sometimes rebuild old operating systems. Hernandez says they scour auctions and eBay for old format machines. The digital studio also has seven suites running audio transfers and houses the only working 3M Digital 32 Track Recorder west of the Mississippi. The studio can handle Super 8mm, 16mm and 35mm and transfer up to 2K with a Laser Graphics scan station (Iron Mountain’s Inglewood facility can scan to 4K). The Digital Studio also houses a cloud upload service, featuring a 10 GB pipe and fiber network. Although the studio’s rooms are filled with a hodgepodge of vintage machines, the operation runs very smoothly. Hernandez reported that they can process 200 program hours in a day, 4,000 in a month. With the booming demand for content and an ever-growing number of platforms, said Travis, “archiving is becoming the silent hero of the content race.” l

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shoot, and to have insurance. “Why do I want to work with 107?” asked Moss. “The main reason is not the FAA that you’re going to have to worry about. The last thing you’re going to want to do is fly without insurance, or fly with somebody who doesn’t have a 107 [license], and have an

Sony Airpeak

SMPTE Explores Hollywood’s Drone Potential Advancing technology depends on legal, regulatory issues

By Craig Johnston

HOLLYWOOD—Although drones have been an important part of film and television production over the past decade, the media & entertainment industry is looking to federal and state governments to help move the technology forward with improved guidance and regulation. “We know regulation is coming, regulation has to happen, the industry’s too new not to be regulated,” said Vic Moss, COO and vice president of DSPA (Drone Service Providers’ Alliance) and owner of Moss Photography in Lakewood Colo. Moss was part of a SMPTE Hollywood webinar in October that provided a revealing glimpse into the state of drone technology and artistry.

incident. “If they don’t have a 107, and are flying without insurance, it’s going to fall on the insurance for the production company, and they are going to deny it,” Moss continued. “I can promise you the fact that they’re going to deny any claim because that’s an illegal flight. So if you have somebody on the set with a drone, make sure they have a 107 [license] and have their own insurance.” Kenji Sugahara, chief pilot and co-founder of A-Cam Aerials, pointed to the safety record drones have in the entertainment industry. “The last time I talked to Global, which is one of the primary insurers, there have been incidents, but no fatalities. Drones have a very good safety record.” “There are drones that are coming out with parachutes, so if something goes haywire in the air, the parachute will deploy and make sure that nobody on the ground is hurt, Sugahara continued. They’re coming out with drones that are ‘frangible,’ which means when they impact with somebody, that they will just fall apart. There are also anti-collision sensors on many drones that are out there now.”

GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT The discussion then turned to when a drone is the best solution for a particular shot, and when a different cine tool might be better. “When drones started to get popular, everyone got a little trigger happy and started using drones for everything,” said Christopher Alvarez, licensed drone pilot and resident editor/cinematographer of creative services at The American Film Institute. “But the one benefit I love [about drones] is the maneuverability. You’re able to go up and down, left and right at the same time. You’re able to mess with the axis, and get shots that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, and wrap yourself around the subject in ways I wouldn’t have been able to before.” Mark Bender of Mark Bender Aerials compared drones to Steadicam: ”It’s almost the same discussion. ‘This isn’t appropriate for a Steadicam, we’re going to need five takes, I can tell you that right now. Why don’t we get a proper dolly, and we’ll get in one or two takes?’” He noted that there are solutions such as composite drone work, “which is partially handheld, and then a takeoff is initiated.”

FAA PART 107 A major element to drone regulation centers around the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107, detailing rules and regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems. Panelists agreed on the importance of having a licensed drone pilot on the

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December 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

Vic Moss, owner, Moss Photography

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SONY’S AIRPEAK DRONE Representatives from Sony Electronics discussed the company’s new Airpeak drone system, which was unveiled virtually at the 2021 International CES. A drone R&D team from Japan visited the Sony Hollywood lot several times, where they were able to demonstrate prototypes and talk with content creators and drone pilots about their needs. Airpeak drones are built to carry Sony’s mirror-


Live Production

“When drones started to get popular, everyone got a little trigger happy and started using drones for everything.” CHRISTOPHER ALVAREZ, THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE

less Alpha series cameras. “[The Alpha cameras] are able to do S-Log3 gamma curve, which is the same gamma curve that the Venice [camera] can do,” said Daniel De La Rosa, vice president of Post Production for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Airpeak utilizes a lot of the technology that Sony’s built over the years, said Gabriel Johnson, senior product marketing manager for mobile communications and Airpeak Drones for Sony Electronics. “[While the company’s imaging and image processing are well known] probably lesser known is the AI robotic technology,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of these core technologies that we’ve built over the years, and now we’re able to put them into the air.” Sony’s Alpha cameras provide a range of capabilities depending on what the content creator wants to shoot. “If you’re in need for high-quality video, slow-mo video, you want resolution, sensitivity, speed, whatever it is, we can fulfill it with our Alpha system camera line,” Johnson said. “And then with the Alpha lenses you’ve got a whole host of high quality lenses to choose from as well.” He pointed out that early on, Airpeak’s developers assumed the drone operator would want all controls to go to a single pilot/cinematographer, but then they got feedback by which they learned the users might often want dual operators. Moss offered this good citizenry piece of advice to close the SMPTE Hollywood virtual meeting: “Every time you’re in the air, you’re an ambassador for the drone industry.” l

Kenji Sugahara, chief pilot and co-founder of A-Cam Aerials

17


TV Graphics

How Paintbox Changed the Look of TV Inroduced 40 years ago, it revolutionized graphics in the ’80s and beyond By Adrian Wilson

NEW YORK—At the 1981 NAB Show, U.K.-based company Quantel launched the $250,000 DPB-7001 Digital Paint Box, quickly referred to as simply “Paintbox,” with The Weather Channel its first customer. The machine revolutionized television graphics, helped kickstart the 1980s TV post-production industry, influenced fashion and heralded the start of the “Photoshop Era.” Quantel (QUANtized TELevision) invented several technical broadcast devices in the 1970s, in particular, digital frame stores. It was Quantel that first allowed broadcasters to generate a live picture-in-picture inset in 1976. Quantel used that digital storage expertise to create a machine that was such a creative and technological leap, it would take a decade before it faced any real competition.

‘GIANT ACCELERATED GRAPHICS CARD’ The Quantel Paintbox was a 24-bit, true color, real-time, broadcast-quality graphics computer, which allowed operators to navigate by using the first pressure-sensitive stylus and drawing tablet to click simple menu

boxes. It’s “compact, economical” Fujitsu M2294 “Eagle” hard drive weighed more than 100 lbs. and only stored 335 MB. The only way Quantel’s engineers could make a painting system fast enough to keep up with an artist’s input and be responsive was to move all the creative functions into a hardware design utilizing hundreds of ICs. The Paintbox is effectively a giant accelerated graphics card, with the hard drive used for storing the artist’s work. Although the Paintbox was a creative tool, designed to reduce the time and expense spent creating and digitizing conventional graphics, the first users were not artists or designers, but rather technicians. Broadcast unions were not at all happy with this new-fangled mechanization and would initially only allow technicians to use the Paintbox, which is why the people who used it were known as “operators” not “artists.” A 1984 New York Times article noted that designers were finally starting to get access but the reason why many rightly look down on the early 1980s digital TV graphics is not the Paintbox itself but those who were mesmerized by the bright new colors and shapes which could be summoned at the tap of a pen.

Credit: Quantel

The Quantel Paintbox was a 24-bit, true color, real-time, broadcast-quality graphics computer, which allowed operators to navigate by using the first pressure-sensitive stylus and drawing tablet to click simple menu boxes.

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December 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

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As design guru Steve Heller pointed out in a 40th anniversary review, “At design conferences I recall attending in the ’80s, various critical debates raged over the ultimate efficacy of these motion graphics. Personally, I found them annoying. But I suspect they were an evolutionary speed bump in the highway of progress.”

THE LOOK OF THE ‘80S And a speed bump they were. By the mid1980’s, most of the graphics and visual effects that people watched on TV worldwide were created on Paintbox. From weather maps to news graphics, adverts to pop videos, there is a reason why the 1980s became known for its bright, saturated colors and crazy graphics. Design historians list graffiti, hip hop and the Memphis Group as sources of the 1980s popular aesthetic, but as Glenn Adamson, a senior scholar at the Yale Center of British Art, noted about the Memphis Group, “I always think it’s important that it happened virtually simultaneously with MTV, which also launched in 1981.” (Naturally MTV was an early Paintbox adopter.) Though the unions had loosened their restrictions and independent TV post production companies who invested in a Paintbox were cashing in on the demand from advertising agencies, Quantel may have sold hundreds of Paintboxes but operators were in short supply. As Beau Tardy, Paintbox operator for MTV and later Nickelodeon, points out, it took several years to be allowed to even touch this quarter of a million dollar machine that would be working 24/7. Independent operators were scarce because unless they worked in a large TV company or post-production house, there was no way to learn how to use one, unless they got hold of a copy of the training tapes or assisted another operator. Independent operators were paid $500 an hour and even Martin Holbrook, the genius illustrator who worked with Quantel to help create the intuitive interface design and demonstrate the Paintbox, left in 1986 to set up his own post-production company in SoHo. The same year, Quantel tried alleviating the shortage of artists given access to the Paintbox by donating two to be shared among six art colleges in the U.K. and invited six international artists for a BBC promotional documentary “Painting With Light.” Artist David Hockney instantly fell in love with the Paintbox, sparking a lifetime passion for digital paintings he first referred to as “colored glass drawings.” Quantel engineers were also developing a more compact, better and cheaper (though still $100,000) version of


TV Graphics

the original, plus a higher-resolution “Graphic Paintbox” for the first photographers who were starting to digitally manipulate images.

A COMPETITOR EMERGES Quantel by now had offices around the world and even their own private jet. They introduced 3D animation, integrated framestores and expanded their range. Because both the hardware and software were proprietary, it was impossible for a competitor to copy what the Paintbox could do until powerful and relatively cheap desktop computers became available. Even without those advantages, Quantel held international patents on several features of the Paintbox and used them to nip any competitors in the bud. Their legal victory against Spaceward may have made Quantel feel their lead was unassailable but in 1990, Adobe launched Photoshop 1.0 and there is a reason we now refer to images being “photoshopped” not “paintboxed.” Quantel again sued for patent infringement but didn’t count on the indignation of Alvy Ray Smith, who co-created Paint with Dick Shoup and went on to co-found Pixar. “When we had first seen the Paintbox at a National Association of Broadcasters convention, we had known immediately what we were seeing: Paint done in hardware,” Smith said. “There was no other way to get the speed they were showing at that time.” Smith had spent a lifetime collaborating and freely sharing his ideas, so he hated the idea that a company was trying to monopolize and control the sector. He was a star witness for his friends at Adobe and by chance, a photograph was found that proved that one of the Paintbox features that Quantel claimed to have invented was already in use on a computer at Smith’s NYIT campus. Adobe won and Quantel faced large financial losses at a time when a multitude of cheap competitors were springing up. The case didn’t destroy Quantel but it certainly hastened its demise.

ONLY TWO SURVIVE Four decades on, only long-time broadcast veterans now remember the legendary Quantel Paintbox. The general public considered the

worked on designing it in the late 1970s. Of all other Quantel Paintbox versions, there are only 22 examples known to exist, and only a dozen of those are in working order. Despite being a huge market for Quantel, there are only a handful left in the United States, though the hope is that the publicity around the anniversary results in a few more being found. After 40 years, the Quantel Paintbox has a visual digital fingerprint and a particular vintage look that is very hard to replicate. As well as period visuals, anyone looking at the price of old PVMs lately soon realizes that 1980s retro-tech is very much back in demand with visual artists and gamers. Thanks to Nias and the Quantel community, this truly disruptive and creative machine is not just being given overdue recognition but also potentially a new role in the broadcast and wider creative world. l English-born Adrian Wilson was likely the first professional photographer to specialize in digital image manipulation from 1986–1990. Now a renowned photographer, digital and street artist, Wilson has been based in NYC since 2004 and owner of one of less than five working Quantel Paintboxes in North America.

One of the few Paintboxes still in working order

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“Of the hundreds sold, only two examples of the original DPB-7001 Paintbox series survive, and one is in a museum.”

1980s to be the “8-bit decade” because that was the capability of the home computers and video games of the time. The Paintbox then is equivalent to Google’s search engine now—it affects everyone’s lives but only a select few ever get to actually see it. Of the hundreds sold, only two examples of the original DPB-7001 Paintbox series survive, and one is in a museum. The other is being restored to mark its 40th anniversary by Mark Nias with the help of many former Quantel employees, including those who


tv tech best in market awards 2021

Innovation in media technology doesn’t stop for pandemics or postponed conventions. We are pleased to introduce you to these new products for the TV, video and streaming sectors who are all winners of the 2021 Best in Market Awards for TV Tech. The products presented here were

nominated by their companies, and winners were selected by professional users and our editors based on descriptions provided via the nomination form. Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to the winners. All nominees paid a fee to enter the program. To read about all the new product nominees and winners, be sure to read the Best in Market Awards Program Guide for 2021 at www.tvtech.com/awards

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21


media tech Apple iPhone 13 lenses

iPhone ProRes Video Is Another Video Production Milestone Multistream, real-time editing performance delivers professional image quality

I

n the 45 years since the introduction of the first portable broadcast camera—the mammoth RCA TK76—we’ve been on a constant roller coaster ride of new video technology. A succession of cameras has gotten smaller, less expensive and gained remarkably improved image quality.

encoding at a higher data rate. All ProRes codecs are frame-independent (or “intra-frame”), meaning that each frame is encoded and decoded independently of any other frame. The benefit of an intermediate codec is that it offers excellent random-access performance in post-production applications. And it retains higher quality EXPERTISE than end-user codecs while still Frank Beacham requiring much more data storage HIGHER QUALITY, compared to uncompressed video. MORE DATA Intermediate codecs are widely used as a This year, there’s another video milefinal format delivery method for HD broadcast stone: ProRes on Apple’s latest iPhone 13 files in commercials, features, Blu-ray and Pro smartphone. ProRes enables mulstreaming. ProRes is limited for use during tistream, real-time editing performance of video editing and post and is not for practical iPhone video while delivering professional end-user viewing. image quality. Apple’s ProRes is a lossy ProRes is a DCT scalar-based invideo compression format for use in post tra-frame-only codec and is simpler to decode production that supports video resolution than distribution-oriented formats like H.264. up to 8K. Much like the H.26x and MPEG Of course, there is always a downside to standards, the ProRes family of codecs new technologies. In this case ProRes files are use compression algorithms based on the discrete cosine transform (DCT). However, ProRes video files have a lower amount of compression compared to the more common codecs currently used on smartphones. ProRes also protects the image quality of the video while allowing for fast encoding and decoding. ProRes takes advantage of multicore processing and does decoding in a fast, reduced-resolution way. All ProRes codecs support any frame size (including SD, HD, 2K, 4K, 5K and up) at full resolution. Data rates are determined by codec type, image content, frame size and frame rate. As a variable bit rate (VBR) codec technology, ProRes uses fewer bits on simple frames that would not benefit from

We are quickly moving from a time when everyone has a video smartphone in their pocket to a time when everyone has a truly professional quality imaging device in their pocket.

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December 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

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media tech

Apple iphone 13 in Cinematic mode

es automatically when ProRes is enabled. But remember, the Camera app offers less than five minutes of ProRes recording time. Freeing resources will clear temporary system or app data that might be stored on the iPhone. It doesn’t permanently delete unrecoverable data but might require some apps to refresh data when they’re used again. To add ProRes to an iPhone is a very big deal, since it allows a level of creative video production never before available on such a small and inexpensive consumer device. Apple’s support for ProRes is coupled with a major camera upgrade that offers improved lenses and far better low-light image quality. CINEMATIC MODE The iPhone 13 also introduces Cinematic The iPhone’s Camera app will free resourcMode, a new technology that uses Dolby Vision HDR and a technique called “rack focus” to shift the focus from one subject to another when shooting video. It does this by locking the focus on the subject in a scene and blurring the background to achieve depth of field. The downside is you can’t use ProRes with Cinematic mode, slo-mo or time-lapse video on the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple ProRes is a video compression format for post production. up to 30 times larger than HEVC files. ProRes 422 HQ—the highest image quality shooting mode on the iPhone 13 Pro—eats up 92 MBps. That means one minute of shooting will use about 5.5 GB of storage. This is a reason for Apple’s new 1 TB memory option on the iPhone 13 Pro’s storage memory. Needless to say, with this high data rate, if the files are stored on the iPhone itself, users will run out of storage space very quickly. Even if iCloud is used to store images, the capacity of the plan might need to be increased at extra cost to handle the extra load.

ProRes gives videographers many more creative options in post production. Last month, Apple released iOS 15.1, which included the addition of ProRes in the native Camera app. This came weeks after Filmic Pro, the popular professional iPhone cinematic video app, added the capability to record ProRes videos to its own software. ProRes, for which Apple received an Emmy Engineering Award in 2020, is especially useful for people who color grade or use editing software like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro. The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are the first smartphones to support the Apple ProRes video codec for recording and editing. This can also be done on Apple’s new iPad Mini, which offers a slightly larger, more edit-friendly screen. Other models of ProRes-friendly devices are soon to follow. The popular iOS editing app Luma Fusion just announced support for ProRes video. We are quickly moving from a time when everyone has a video smartphone in their pocket to a time when everyone has a truly professional quality imaging device in their pocket. The possibilities for this new level of television technology are endless—limited only by the human imagination. l Frank Beacham is a New York City-based writer and media producer.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | December 2021

23


Live Production

Switching at Your Service The production switcher is undergoing serious changes, both technological and commercial Sky Germany, in collaboration with O2, presented the top match in the Liqui Moly Handball Bundesliga between SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Füchse Berlin via O2’s high-end 5G network last month. The production was executed fully in the cloud with Vizrt’s switching, graphics, and sports analysis tools, all deployed in AWS.

By Kevin Hilton

LONDON—The production switcher is a foundation of any studio gallery or OB truck and any change in how it works marks a fundamental shift in the way TV operations are run. This is particularly the case for switchers right now, not just because of the increase in remote working but also a general reappraisal of the best interface for this key function. “In the past the only switcher conversation was around how many mix effects [M/Es] and keyers there were,” says Niels Borg, senior product manager for automation and switchers at Vizrt. “Now, the conversation has shifted toward a focus on how flexible a production system is. Customers want to know whether it is baseband only, IP friendly, where it can be deployed and if they are able to mix and match sources and transcode on the fly. Forward-looking switchers are now software powered.” Borg observes that IP is one of a “powerful” trio, which is completed by software and the cloud. “By moving from SDI, where linear limitations to some degree cause linear production thinking, to IP-software-cloud, a whole new reality of production opens up—particularly with what is

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twitter.

achievable in terms of content,” he added.

FLEXIBILITY AND CROSS-POLLINATION In terms of market trends, Tim Felstead, product and solutions marketing manager for

Producers are looking for switcher systems that fit a wide gamut of production scenarios, which have in-built scalability and can be used via flexible user interfaces with a view to reducing operational costs. TIM FELSTEAD, SONY

live production at Sony Professional, sees the most important as flexibility and cross-pollination. “Producers are looking for switcher systems that fit a wide gamut of production scenarios, which have inbuilt scalability and can be used via flexible user interfaces with a view to reducing operational costs,” he says. “On the other hand, because of the increased demand for remote and distributed production, with operators and [locations] decoupled, we’re also seeing different production levels being implemented by broadcasters. The aim is to be efficient and tailor solutions to the real requirements of the output.” Felstead adds that this has resulted in increased demand for a blend of technologies in switchers. “Driven by increasing capacity in GPUs [graphics processing cards] and associated software, many tasks can be offloaded from FPGAs [field-programmable gate arrays],” he explains. “CPUs [central processing units] are currently still restricted in capacity for highcom/tvtechnology


Live Production end switchers, yet continue to evolve in terms of clocks and cores.”

Blackmagic Designs ATEME Mini switcher

FRIENDLY TO FIRST-TIMERS As is well known by now, the COVID pandemic accelerated the move towards remote production that was already happening. This has called for greater flexibility and functionality from production switchers but another development in user requirements is taking that even further. “Over the last two years, almost every industry has adopted video streaming in some capacity, whether to reach employees and aid internal communications or stay connected with customers,” says Darren Gosney, technical sales manager at Blackmagic Design (BMD) EMEA. “As a result, there are more inexperienced or untrained operators working with production switchers for the first time. They need systems that are simple to set up, quick to learn and scalable over time.” As part of this, BMD offers a choice of how to control its switchers, all of which can be run over an IP connection. “This means operators who want a traditional hardware control surface can take that option,” Gosney says. “However, users moving into live production for the first time can begin working on a software interface before migrating to hardware over time.” Offering traditional, pro broadcast operators and the new breed of untrained operators a selection of control options is now a priority for all manufacturers. Nigel Spratling, vice president of production switchers and video servers at Ross Video, observes that among the trends influencing the design of switchers is the need to reinvent the long established M/E architecture, coupled with creating “denser” devices that have more capacity in a smaller platform. “Another trend is for re-engineering existing technologies or platforms to create new hybrid production environments, adding switcher capability to a video routing and processing platform,” Spratling says. He adds that the expanded market for production switchers is also having considerable influence. “In the U.S., the term ‘broadcaster’ used to refer almost exclusively to call letter stations and national networks,” he said. “The term has evolved over the years and now encompasses virtually any entity that distributes its productions to a broad segment of its viewing audience. But regardless of market vertical, distribution method or workflow, core requirements for a switcher continue to be reliability, flexibility and ease of operation.”

TWO SIDES TO THE MARKET Graham Sharp, chief executive of Broadcast Pix, highlights that last factor as a crucial feature for production switchers, regardless of the operator’s level of knowledge or experience. “It’s now a game of two halves, with the high end on one side and prosumer on the other,” he says. “That last category has grown dramatically, with demand in the corporate and church sectors. It’s no longer about feeds and speeds and although some companies are trying to convince people everything should be 4K, the bigger impact has been made by IP. The fact that you can now control things remotely means that [the priority] becomes ease of use.” Sharp continues that non-professional users are likely to either use less than five percent of a M/E panel or not understand it at all. But, he says, even broadcast veterans do not necessarily want all the buttons, bells and whistles on control surfaces today, preferring instead to load presets into a few macros. This change in attitude, he says, informed the design of the ChurchPix live production and streaming system. “All the camera moves can be pre-set in templates and controlled from a touchscreen,”

Nigel Spratling, vice president of production switchers and video servers at Ross Video

Sharp says. “We also have a client who controls the broadcast of town halls from a single office, remotely connecting to IP cameras on-site. This is production switching as a service and is similar to what some broadcasters have done by broadcasting several soccer games a day from the same control room.”

DIFFERENT INTERFACES While Sharp is of the opinion that M/E’s will remain in the high-end market until people are “weaned off it,” Greg Huttie, vice president for production switchers at Grass Valley, comments that the use of the older interface as opposed to touchscreens is about the preferences of individual technical directors and vision mixers. “It comes down to how the interfaces differ, the feel and tactility,” he says. “But at the same time TDs do like automation, the recall and different effects. Ultimately, when a director or producer asks for something, the engineer in charge should be able to give it to them.” In terms of the emerging switching as a service trend, Huttie says Grass Valley has made it part of its AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform), which is designed to work in cloudbased live production scenarios. “What it’s about is if you don’t have the hardware on location, you can link into the cloud and utilize what you want or need when you need it,” he explains. “In effect, there is now a greater focus on the future and looking at customers’ needs. It’s about how you fit into the program, whether it’s a small talk show or the Super Bowl. Broadcasting is now about producing more content and what switchers fit best.” The switcher will continue to be at the heart of broadcast productions in the future but where it is located, how it is controlled and—if switching does indeed become a service—on what business model it operates are all key questions still to be answered. l

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | December 2021

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inside audio

‘Noize Boyz’ and the Nasty Sounding Days of Sports Past It’s all about microphone design and placement

Credit: Mark Brown/Getty Images

S

ports audio is defined by extremes in sound. From the tranquil timbres (tones) of chirping birds during golf to the deafening roar of motorsports or even by the non-relevant sounds of the whoop, whoop of a helicopter during downhill skiing. There is a base tone that exists within every sporting event and venue, and it cannot be under-estimated how extraneous noise contaminates and influences the listener’s perception of a soundscape. There are four factors that contribute the most to television noise pollution and acoustic soup—compromised microphone capture; little cooperation between broadcasters and venue management; the lack of concern or control of the offending noises from broadcast directors, producers and executives; and poor acoustics.

The Atlanta Falcons were fined $350,000 and lost a draft pick for pumping additional crowd sound back into their home stadium during the 2013-2014 season.

ter designs a very close and precise microphone design for super events such as The World Series. All my engineering friends understand the measurement of signal to noise. This principle is relevant to microphones as well—basically, the closer the microphone is to the sound source the greater the signal to the background noise. Carpenter has microphones everywhere and even where you wouldn’t think. EXPERTISE Often sports announcers are located where the amount Dennis Baxter of extraneous sound that is picked up by the announcer’s headset is astounding and a distraction to the production. This is particularly evident at golf when you often hear the background noise from activities on another hole in the announcer’s headsets. This is distracting and unnecessary and is usually not relevant at that SIGNAL TO NOISE moment with the action the announcers are talking about. Just put the Microphone design and placement make pure separation of sound announcers in a trailer or in the studio. The same with basketball. Why from noise very difficult and often impossible, which is why Joe Carpen-

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inside audio

are the announcers on the floor? They are only closer to the PA and excessive PA chatter and volume. Microphone placement has generally been a compromise for decades. I can verify the fact that many directors and producers do not want to see microphones, boom poles or microphone operators in the camera shot. Sadly, there are virtually no more parabolic microphones behind home plate and the 2021 NFL season saw the reduction of the sideline space for parabolic operators to just between the goal line and 20-yard line. Finally, I do not understand why European football does not allow microphone operators on the sidelines, but they do allow handheld camera operators. Not only is microphone placement compromised, but I am still surprised to see a microphone lying flat on top of a camera lens. A shotgun microphone flat on a camera lens acts more as a boundary microphone and not a shotgun microphone. At least the microphone is picking up something. Often, effect microphones are hopelessly abrogated by the amount of excess sound particularly from enthusiastic PA announcers who talk too much through an over-the-top PA system that is way too loud. Bicycle motocross depends on constant PA chatter and music, while beach volleyball has cheerleaders and a DJ. I knew control of the venue sound was over when the head of production at the Brazilian Olympic Games said he wanted it to sound like a big party. Clearly in-venue entertainment has reached an annoying pinnacle. And if things haven’t gotten loud enough, the Atlanta Falcons were fined $350,000 and lost a draft pick for pumping additional crowd sound back into their home stadium.

DISTRACTING, DISORIENTING, DISRUPTIVE I have had to accept that excessive PA volume, chatter and ear-piercing crowd noise are just a part of sports sound, but the noise that stadium fans have been allowed to perpetrate on TV audiences from the likes of cowbells, drums, thunder sticks and the dreadful vuvuzelas is basically unacceptable for a televised sporting event.

Dennis Baxter has contributed to hundreds of live events including sound design for nine Olympic Games. He has earned multiple Emmy awards and is the author of “A Practical Guide to Television Sound Engineering.” His current book about immersive sound practices and production will be available February 2022. He can be reached at dbaxter@dennisbaxtersound. com or www.dennisbaxtersound.com. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | December 2021

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Credit: Giulia Fiori/Getty Images

“There is a base tone that exists within every sporting event and venue, and it cannot be under-estimated how extraneous noise contaminates and influences the listener’s perception of a soundscape.”

The wall of noise is not only distracting, but disorienting and disruptive to the athletes and listening audience and dangerous to the spectators in an athletic venue. By comparison a jet engine emits 140 dBSPL while the vuvuzela metered in at 127 dBSPL. Exposure of audio in excess of 85 dBSPL will cause hearing loss and permanent damage to the ear, plus there is no relief from the vuvuzela’s constant killer bee drone, which I am certain has detrimental psychological effects as well. I have learned to accept that the director and producer are always looking for another camera angle. For example, for the sake of another camera angle helicopter sound crept into the tranquil soundscape of winter sports interrupting the beautiful uncontaminated sound of a mountain with the whoop whoop sounds of “Apocalypse Now.” No doubt overhead cameras provide amazing camera perspectives, however even the first overhead cameras were noisy. Cooperation from the cable and railcam designers helped to minimize the noise that their belts, cables and pulleys made, but now the directors and producers are using drones, which are next to impossible to quiet down to an acceptable level. Finally, I understand that sports venues are not designed with acoustics in mind. Parallel walls are a fundamental “no no” in acoustic basics and simple changes in the design of a venue would reduce sound buildup and help manage the wall of sound. There is no doubt that poor acoustics contribute to an acoustic soup that permeates much of television sports sound. Sports such as golf, soccer and tennis verify there is an abundance of extraneous noise that permeates the base layer of sports audio including but not limited to HVAC, refrigerators, golf carts, generators, ice machines, aircraft, car/truck traffic and even wind noise. I understand team tribalism and how the fans, noise gadgets and the Tomahawk Chop unnerves the opposing team, but I wonder why the venue crowd needs a DJ, belly dancers and defining noise to enjoy a good sports match. My Christmas wish: Please spare the television listeners another noise-generated headache. l


eye on tech | product and services AJA Diskover Media Edition

VENICE 2

AJA Video Systems has launched AJA Diskover Media Edition, a new open source-based software platform that lets M&E professionals easily search, find, and analyze media asset data originating from on-premises, remote, and cloud storage—aggregating associated metadata into a unified global index. At its launch, AJA also announced that it has taken a proactive equity stake in data analytics software developer Diskover Data. AJA Diskover Media Edition is designed to serve a range of M&E professionals, from executives to systems administrators, IT managers, operational personnel, creatives, and beyond. The software allows users to easily index hundreds of petabytes of data and more, to easily locate files, analyze them, and pinpoint misallocated resources. z For more information, visit aja.com.

Sony’s new VENICE 2, the flagship model of its high-end digital cinema cameras, includes a more compact design, internal recording and the option for two different sensors—the new full-frame 8.6K sensor or the original 6K VENICE sensor. It also leverages the same color science, Dual Base ISO of 800/3200, 8-stops of built-in ND filters and compatibility with a wide range of lenses, including all PL mount and Sony’s native E-mount that enables adapters for multiple lenses, found in the original. The VENICE 2 camera with 8.6K image sensor is scheduled to ship in February 2022, and the 6K image sensor version will be released in March 2022. The VENICE 2 6K can be used with the existing VENICE Extension System and a next-generation Extension System for VENICE 2 8K is planned to be released by early 2023.  z For more information, visit pro.sony/new-cinealta.

Zoom Lenses

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2

Cooke Optics’s new Varotal/i T2.9 zoom lenses cover all full frame sensors and are matched in resolution, color and fall-off to the Cooke S7/i range, thus providing a complete suite of Cooke full frame spherical lenses. The focal lengths of the zoom lenses are 30-95mm and 85-215mm respectively. The mounts can be chosen as either PL or LPL at time of order. Like all modern Cooke lenses, the Varotal/i zoom lenses include /i Technology to record invaluable lens data, and are optimized to capture the warmth, texture and beautiful skin tones which are the hallmarks of the famed "Cooke Look." The lenses are designed for all shooting applications, including handheld and Steadicam, providing comfortable balance ratio with the latest digital cinema cameras. z For more information, visit cookeoptics.com.

Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 broadcast camera features a 6144x3456 digital sensor that delivers exceptional low-light performance with dual gain ISO of up to +36dB and 13 stops of dynamic range. It supports H.265 and Blackmagic RAW file formats and Blackmagic generation 5 color science. It also offers a USB-C expansion port for external disk recording. The G2 can be used as a 4K production camera, a 4K studio camera or a 6K digital film camera. Using the existing lenses and batteries of broadcasters, the camera records to common SD cards, UHS-II cards, CFast 2.0 cards or external USB disks, using common file formats like H.265, Apple ProRes and Blackmagic RAW, making it compatible with all video software and broadcast media management systems. z For more information, visit blackmagicdesign.com.

Quortex I/O

DMG 7000 Internet Distribution Gateway

OTT-native live delivery solution provider Quortex has launched Quortex I/O, a cloud-native platform that gives content owners control over resources and bandwidth needed to stream live and launch new services. As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, users can deliver pop-up or 24/7 online channels to reach audiences worldwide. Quortex I/O is based on the company’s patented “Just-In-Time-Everything” technology. Users are charged for Quortex I/O on a "pay-as-you-use" basis and only pay for the bitrates subscribers consume while watching content. They can even be charged by the specific user profiles being transcoded, according to the company. z For more information, visit quortex.io.

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The new release of Sencore’s DMG 7000 Internet Distribution Gateway platform adds new reliable internet streaming protocol (RIST) features, including link bonding and seamless switching. The update combines the powerful features of RIST with the existing protocols and features of the DMG 7000 and allows users to transmit, receive, convert protocols like RIST, Zixi, SRT, HLS and MPEG/IP in a simple to use media gateway. With the new release, Sencore’s DMG 7000 internet distribution gateway now has the full support of these RIST receive and transmit technologies: simple and main profile; unicast and multicast support; packet retransmission via RTCP; full datagram and reduced overhead tunneling modes; encryption and authentication; link bonding; and seamless switching. z For more information, visit sencore.com.


eye on tech | product and services AtomOne Mini Cameras with ND Filter-Holder Dream Chip has improved on the ability of their cameras to capture high quality images from sports and events by adding an ND filter-holder that will help producers avoid oversaturation and glare in harsh or rapidly changing light. The filter-holders have been added to Dream Chip’s AtomOne mini cameras, including the flagship AtomOne mini, AtomOne mini AIR, and the AtomOne mini Waterproof. The addition is particularly beneficial in sports where the camera is mounted on moving objects, such as in motorsports, for example. A number of high-profile racing competitions have already integrated versions of the AtomOne mini and ND filter-holder addition into their broadcast setups. z For information visit www.atom-one.de.

Nextorage AtomX SSDmini

FHR-155E Robotic Pan-And-Tilt Head Vinten’s FHR-155E robotic panand-tile head is designed to support full-size broadcast cameras and lenses as remote-controlled robotic devices in outdoor locations. Offering a maximum payload of 200 pounds, the FHR155E delivers accurate, smooth and quiet camera movement outdoors due to its sophisticated software and mechanical engineering. Designed to meet military specification for use in desert conditions, the FHR-155E can operate in temperatures ranging from 39F to 122F and offers a remote-controlled wiper. The FHR-155E offers IP network connectivity for control via the Vinten HD-VRC control system. It has a pan range of 359 degrees and a title range of +/-30 degrees or +/-179 degrees with an extended cradle arm. For more information visit www.vinten.com/en.

Paint 9.0

Atomos and Nextorage have partnered on the latest generation of Nextorage AtomX SSDmini in ways designed to maximize performance and reliability of Atomos recorder devices. To fit the compact media slot of the NINJA V and NINJA V+ and the NEON series products, the Nextorage AtomX SSDmini is 20% smaller than conventional 2.5-inch SSDs. With the optional handle, they can be adapted for use with the SUMO 19, NINJA CAST and SHOGUN Studio 2. Housing is constructed from die-cast aluminum. It is shock resistant (up to 1500G/0.5ms), able to survive extreme temperatures and has been designed to dissipate heat during operational use. The 500GB SSDmini is priced at $229, and the 1000GB SSDmini has a price of $439. z For more information visit www.atomos.com.

Chyron’s new release of Paint 9, the company's popular sports-agnostic, illustrated replay-and-analytical commentary software that leverages XML data, offers greater efficiency and ease of use with a newly redesigned UI, automated player tracking, and automated content creation tools. For telestration, updates to Paint with version 9 bring added speed to the creation of high-quality visuals, giving users the ability to offer fans a winning, near-live experience. Additionally, Paint's visualization and newly redesigned formation tool give commentators and analysts the power to illustrate and enrich stories beyond the replay, with virtual lineups and plays. The newly redesigned UI has a more polished look and feel and individual tools within the software have likewise been updated with an aesthetic that facilitates user interaction. z For more information visit https://chyron.com.

CINE-SERVO Lens Modification Kits

Fujinon UA107x8.4BESM-T45 (UA107x8.4) & Fujinon ERD-50A-D01 (ERD-50A )

Canon USA has launched the CINE-SERVO 17-120 KLL/P1 0.8mm and 25-250mm KLL/PI 0.8mm cinema modification kits. The kits add 0.8mm ring gearing for focus, zoom and iris to two CINE-SERVO lenses. They can be installed at a Canon Factory Service Center by certified technicians who will remove the Drive Unit and install industry-standard 0.8mm ring gearing for focus, zoom and iris. The modification enables users to integrate the lenses more seamlessly into any cinema-style production. Users can expect the same image quality and overall user experience of the original CINE-SERVO 17-120mm and CINE-SERVO 25-250mm cinema lenses. The kits have an estimated price of $1,100 for labor and parts. z For more information visit www.usa.canon.com.

FUJIFILM has launched the Fujinon UA107x8.4BESM-T45 (UA107x8.4), a 4K broadcast zoom lens with a new image-stabilization mechanism and customization capabilities, as well as the Fujinon ERD-50A-D01 (ERD-50A) zoom rate demand unit, which features a large LCD panel. The UA107x8.4 is a 107x zoom with a redesigned image stabilization mechanism, making it easier to shoot 4K video when combined with the ERD-50A. The 4K-compatible broadcast lens offers an ultra-high 107x magnification zoom, covering focal lengths ranging from 8.4 to 900 mm. Equipped with a newly redesigned image stabilization mechanism, the lens can accurately correct image blurs caused by wind or shaking without any time lag. The built-in LCD panel allows users to adjust shooting settings in detail. z For more information visit www.fujifilm.com/us/en. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | December 2021

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equipment guide | station automation & media asset management

Automating Media and Content Workflows at M6 USER REPORT By Alexis Bureau Head of Broadcast Mediaflow Groupe M6, France

PARIS—Being responsible for the broadcast media flows that support every aspect of content production, editing and broadcast at France’s M6 television group, I am always balancing the need for workflow automation, speed, efficiency, cost control and data security, while making it easy for creative staff to use the technology solutions that we implement for our users. Underpinning our customized production management system are Telestream’s DIVA and Vantage.

OPTIMIZED STORAGE LAYERS We have used the DIVA content management system for more than a decade and would struggle to imagine life without it. DIVA manages our content storage, which includes Isilon online storage systems plus offline LTO tape storage. Critically, DIVA optimizes our use of these different storage layers so that our production teams do not have to think about where to store content, but they can always retrieve the content they need when they need it. Doing this work without DIVA would mean we’d have to spend a lot more money on expensive online storage which might still not be able to keep up with demand. Equally important, we can store, retrieve, and manage content through DIVA from any of our production and workflow orchestration systems, such as Avid Interplay MAM, MBT Sphere, and of course Telestream Vantage.

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Telestream’s DIVA and Vantage solutions underpin the customized production management systems used by Alexis Bureau’s tech teams at M6

In many of our workflows we may need to use only a small section of a large file, for example, a short interview segment within a much larger recording. With DIVA we can save time and storage costs by using the “partial restore” method to retrieve a short frame-accurate clip that drops right into our edit systems. Apart from the cost control and workflow automation benefits of DIVA, another massive benefit comes from the level of data security that it provides. In October 2019, we were subjected to a ransomware attack but managed to keep all of our TV and radio channels on air, partly due to the isolation of data that is managed by the DIVA system. DIVA allowed us to continue operations without disruption which was invaluable. When DIVA was acquired by Telestream, we were happy to see that this critical business solution was in safe hands. We have used Telestream Vantage to manage our media transcoding and workflow automation, also for over 10 years, so we have enormous trust and confidence in Telestream as a key technology partner to M6. twitter.com/tvtechnology

We use Vantage to automate every stage of our media workflows, from content ingest, delivery to edits, encoding for playout, and VOD. Vantage is integral to our systems at every stage—so much that we now have two separate Vantage domains (one for post-production and one for broadcast) with over 120 different media workflows.

ONE SIMPLE WORKFLOW The power of Vantage working

with DIVA is evident in one simple workflow—when a user decides that a piece of content is needed, our M6 production management system sends a request to Vantage, which then passes this request to DIVA. DIVA knows where the content is stored, retrieves it and returns the file to the correct Vantage workflow, which could trigger transcodes to broadcast or VOD formats, delivery to edit systems or many other processes. The key point is that the process is totally automated, reliable, and incredibly efficient. Without these systems from Telestream, our operations at M6 would be much more labor-intensive, more costly, and less secure. We look forward to seeing even more integration between Vantage, DIVA and the other products from Telestream, including the Lightspeed Live Capture system that we used to provide our Replay Services during the 2020 UEFA Championships. l Alexis Bureau is “responsable mediaflows” at Groupe M6 and “chef de projet ingénierie - direction technique” at Métropole Télévision. He can be reached by at Alexis.Bureau@M6.Fr. For more information visit www.telestream.net.

buyers brief Bitcentral Oasis Oasis is a collaborative media asset management software and media workflow solution for news production and archiving. Its field-centric approach lets teams instantaneously deliver video, images, scripts, and other metadata remotely by connecting remote journalists with studios, allowing them to push stories faster to on-air, social media and digital outlets. By allowing any internet-enabled device to upload content, news teams can maximize the value of existing media in the newsroom and by reporters in the field. Oasis scales beyond a single newsroom into a group-wide MAM. z For more information, visit https://bitcentral.com.


equipment guide | station automation & media asset management

News Channel Nebraska Relies on Aveco Automation USER REPORT By Mike Flood Founder News Channel Nebraska

NORFOLK, NE—NCN was developed with a vision to be the only in-state, independent television network of its kind. It is part of Flood Communications, honored by Inc. to be listed as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America this year. As part of our growth, we’ve become the largest broadcast newsgathering force in Nebraska, with 15 radio stations, seven TV stations, and an active online community. For coverage, we have divided the state into eight zones, currently televise three regional live-sports games at a time and have (so far) two zones of live 24/7 news-sports-weather. News story production feeds quickly into NCN’s regional news portal.

FULL-TIME EFFICIENCY Since launching in 2015, we’ve consistently pioneered new TV technology and with plans to expand and become more efficient in our operations, we came across Aveco and were impressed with their technology and their people. It’s critical to be staff-efficient in full-time news channels. Aveco co-developed the first NewsWheel automation years ago with former CNN technology head Ken Tiven and that model fit perfectly with our plans. By combining efficient news production automation, master control automation and media asset management in the same system, we can scale with great efficiency, and continually improve on-air production quality. We saw what Aveco had accomplished with other major media companies–ESPN, Fox, Televisa,

CNN, TV Today, and ETV and were especially impressed with their IBC Innovation Award in 2019 for a 24-news channel/24-studio project involving 5,000 reporters. Their type of NewsWheel efficiency was stunning and we’re adapting this to NCN. Aveco’s automation system controls Harmonic Spectrum for ingest-and-playout, Aveco Redwood graphics-and-video players, Panasonic 4K PTZ cameras, production switcher, audio mixer, routing switcher, and is designed to maximize news production efficiency through its proxy-based media asset management tied in with our Apple and Adobe editing platforms. Our football and basketball games use TriCasters in vans feeding via LiveU into our centralized Aveco master control. We use AccuWeather for forecast updates every 10 minutes, with our weathermen going live from California and/ or Minnesota when needed. It’s a terrific combination. While we operate mainly in English, Omaha has the 45th largest Hispanic population in the U.S. and there’s great growth in our Telemundo TV station KOHA and radio station KBBX Lobo. Production and sharing of news in both English and Spanish is a great

experience for our team and helps pave the way for future growth.

EVERFORWARD STRATEGIES We’re honored to have EVERForward Strategies in Lincoln, Ne. as our project management team. Lisa Guill and Mike Fass both have vast experience in new channel launches and innovative TV system designs. NCN mainly does news-sportsand-weather but our local entertainment programming, such as “Quarantine Concerts,” have been very popular, along with our Nebraska Huskers Football and Basketball shows and live English-and-Spanish coverage. We’ve won numerous awards but what’s most gratifying is our deep daily engagement with the communities we serve. Our approach is to use the best tools in TV technology, along with a great staff, to serve all of Nebraska in one news operation, while greatly increasing local coverage—and do this with a high level of automation that lets us be solidly profitable. It’s great to see this working! We appreciate our technology partners, such as Aveco, Harmonic, LiveU, Panasonic and others— we’re poised for meteoric growth and are confident in our ability to scale quickly and efficiently. l

NCN uses Aveco automation solutions to deliver news, sports and information to eight zones of coverage.

buyers brief ENCO ClipFire ENCO has added new features ClipFire television automation system, which provides a comprehensive platform for managing and automating broadcast production and integrated channel playout tasks including ingest, media asset management, graphics, live production, and multi-channel playout automation. ClipFire can now ingest and play out multiple video channels simultaneously, with support for SDI and NDI inputs and outputs. Onthe-fly transcoding enables effortless playback of mixed file formats and resolutions, while the new native Clip Editor allows users to adjust in/out points and merge clips directly within the ClipFire application. A new, resizable L-bar automates live video squeeze-backs to accommodate wrap-around graphics for sophisticated visual experiences, while dynamic graphic overlays can be automated for real-time information display. z For more information, please visit www.enco. com.

Mike Flood is founder of the Nebraska News Channel and Flood Communications, a reporter for NCN and an attorney at Jewell & Collins. Founded in 1999 Flood Communications now owns eight radio stations. In 2015, Flood launched Norfolk’s first TV station and has since added new TV stations in Columbus, Beatrice, Sioux City, Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island. He can be reached at mflood@newschannel nebraska.com. For more information visit www.aveco.com.

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equipment guide | station automation & media asset management buyers briefs SDVI Rally Insight SDVI’s Rally Insight data analytics service helps media supply chain operators make faster, more informed decisions by collecting, filtering, and presenting the most relevant analytics needed to support data-driven optimization. Accurate, granular cost and usage data enables operators to understand the true cost of their content preparation, improve accountability with more relevant reporting, and make more-informed decisions about taking on new projects. Tightly integrated with the Rally media supply chain platform, Rally Insight makes it easy to visualize and analyze all the data being collected at every step of a supply chain and to use custom metadata fields to filter data for media-specific analytics. Rich graphical dashboards organize enormous amounts of data and facilitate easy reporting and custom charting. z For more information, visit https://www.sdvi.com.

Florical AirBossX AirBossX is a comprehensive, intuitive master control automation software-based solution that supports all common broadcast equipment, giving facilities the tools to fully automate their workflow. The modular architecture of AirBossX helps reduce costs by allowing stations to expand operations without altering the core software and is equipped with an intuitive user interface that offers operators flexibility and simplicity for optimal user experience and error mitigation. z For more information visit https://www. florical.com.

Dalet Dalet Pyramid Accommodating both digital-first and linear end-to-end news workflows, cloud-native Dalet Pyramid enables a collaborative Storytelling 360 approach to multiplatform production and distribution. It builds on Dalet’s Unified News Operations where planning, content creation, asset and resource management, playout and multiplatform distribution have been combined into a single platform that enables production of fast-breaking, digital and live news, current affairs shows, and more. The new agile architecture design facilitates collaboration at story-level with the industry’s first Storytelling 360 approach and enables a truly virtual newsroom. z For more information visit https://www.dalet.com.

Pebble Pebble Automation Pebble Automation is a powerful centralized ingest, content management and multichannel solution, controlling mission-critical operations for broadcasters and service providers, and is scalable from one to hundreds of channels. The platform’s distributed architecture enables broadcasters to utilize resources over multiple servers. Its extensive range of device drivers allows the freedom to deploy technology suited to each channel, whether it’s legacy SDI devices forming an integral part of channel playout, or the newest IP technologies as they’re added to a facility. Deployable on-prem, in virtual machines and in the cloud, Pebble Automation offers exceptional system resiliency. z For more information visit www.pebble.tv.

PixelPower Gallium Workflow Orchestration

Imagine Communications ADC Flex

Gallium Workflow Orchestration is a virtualizable technology platform for managing content workflows and automates multiplatform live and file-based content delivery. The modular technology platform allows broadcasters to execute workflow tasks with media content in either traditional playout automation chains or through innovative techniques designed to enhance single or multiple channels in linear, OTT or on demand. It also allows users to automate linear channel playout or automate addition/removal of graphics, branding or logos; package content or regionalize/localize content according to business demands; create VOD and catch-up content for multiplatform services; take advantage of Opex pricing models and software only playout for the flexibility of future proof software updates. z For more information visit https://www.pixelpower.com.

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ADC Flex is an intuitive, flexible and highly configurable enhancement to Imagine’s ADC playout automation platform. A suite of clean browser-based user interfaces, ADC Flex enables operators to monitor and control channels, schedule ingest and manage content from any location―providing operational efficiencies, while maintaining mission-critical functions. With its modern HTML5 user interface, ADC Flex is readily tailored to broadcasters’ specific operational needs, offering an identical look and feel whether on-prem or at a remote location―all that is needed to communicate is a secure data connection. z For more information visit https://

imaginecommunications.com.


equipment guide | station automation & media asset management buyers briefs Crispin (A Sony Group Company) CORE

Tedial aSTORM

Crispin’s CORE is an adaptable option that fits users’ current needs, addresses future planning and can be combined into a hybrid model that can be deployed as a traditional onprem solution, virtualized, cloud, or any combination. CORE also supports disaster recovery and provides true system backup via installation models combined with new web tools for remote control of the user facility. Crispin’s webRPX allows playlist control for both master control and NewsWheel playlists from anywhere on the network. With more than 20 years of user feedback, webRPX is based on Crispin’s legacy playlist product, creating a new and improved playlist tool that offers dynamic features for a fast-paced environment, giving users even more powerful tools for day-to-day operations. Timeline View also enables users to monitor, control and edit multichannel systems through a linear view of all channels, via web browser.

aSTORM is a cloud-native, cloud-agnostic, cost-effective content storage solution with a microservices-based architecture that abstracts the applications of a media’s multisite physical location and access method. It provides a media abstraction layer so users (and integrated systems) don’t have to be media- or storage-location aware; they need only to request the media and it can transfer content to another storage location for production use in editing during ingest (growing media files) and transcoding on the fly, including the ability to partially restore content. In addition, aSTORM provides an advanced service set that manages content as a single entity, regardless of the complexity of the format or files. Component-based assets, DCP, IMF, UHD/HDR, live feeds (ST2110). aSTORM is also the key enabler for a NoCode Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) for media.

z For more information contact sales@crispincorp.com or visit https:// crispincorp.com.

z For more information visit www.tedial.com.

Amagi Amagi for News Amagi for News is a service designed to help companies take advantage of the rapidly growing demand for news on FAST Channels. Key features include support for multiple live source ingest and protocols (Zixi, SRT, NDI, JPEG XS); schedule integration, MAM and MOS support, built-in graphics, data driven tickers; breaking news support for automatic live recording and playback and live auto captioning; advanced programmatic TV advertising and content replacement workflows; includes a server-side dynamic ad insertion stack with AI to create, convert, or translate ad breaks whether they are missing, cue tones, or non-standard SCTE-35 markers—with manually override as needed. z For more information visit www.amagi.com/ or write to cloudandme@amagi.com.

products & services marketplace POWERFUL MULTICHANNEL TRANSCODER Apply Discount code to check out Holidays1

Tested to work with Atlas™, Wowza®, and Adobe Flash servers Grooming for OTT, Mobile and IPTV Can be configured with 2, 4, 6 or 8 GPU’s

sales@dveo.com +1 858 613-1818 www.dveo.com

Adapts MPEG-2 streams to H.264 for Hotel, Cruiseline, University, Resort feeds

Down converter ability to convert all HD services to SD

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people on the move For possible inclusion, send information to tvtech@futurenet.com with People News in the subject line.

DANA ZIMMER

JAN LANGE

DANIEL BIZET

MIKE BARON

President of Distribution Nexstar Media Group

Chief Revenue Officer Grass Valley

International Sales Manager Dielectric

Senior VP, Sales & Strategy, Americas Friend MTS

Nexstar Media Group has promoted Dana Zimmer to president of Distribution. Since joining Nexstar in 2019, she has overseen the distribution of the company’s content portfolio across cable, satellite, telco and digital media, including 199 local stations and NewsNation, Nexstar’s national cable news and entertainment network. She has also led retransmission consent agreements with MVPDs, and content negotiations with Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC and CW.

Grass Valley has appointed Jan Lange as chief revenue officer. He will oversee the company’s go-tomarket strategy and global sales team that enables customers to deliver live content with a focus on live production. He will be responsible for expanding the GV Media Universe cloud-centered customer base and growing revenue through new partnerships. Lange has 25 years of experience in various leadership positions including at Avid and Media Broadcast.

Dielectric has hired Daniel Bizet as its international sales manager for Latin America. Bizet joined Dielectric after working for Broadcast Electronics for more than 30 years, most recently as its Latin America sales manager. During his time in Venezuela, Bizet served as a dealer for BE as president and owner of Professional Broadcast Supply and led sales of broadcast equipment and radio station turnkey solutions nationwide.

TED GRIGGS

HAYES STAMPER

CATHERINE RAY

IAN GODFREY

Managing Director of U.S. Business Gravity Media

Product Marketing Manager Chyron

BRIAN MARSHALL

ROBIN ADAMS

VP, Sports Products & Strategy DMED Technology

Worldwide Sales Director, TSL Products TSL Inc.

Gravity Media has hired Ted Griggs as its managing director of U.S. business. He will oversee Gravity Media’s North American operation. In his previous role as group president and strategic production and programming leader at NBC Sports Group, Griggs oversaw production, programming and digital content for seven regional sports networks, including direct management of business in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

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December 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

Chyron has added Hayes Stamper to its marketing team. He will focus primarily on products for the broadcast news vertical, including CAMIO, AXIS, an order management system, and composite imagery; and Chyron’s myriad graphics offerings. Hayes has been involved with MOS workflows since its inception almost 20 years ago.

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VP, Design Services

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution has hired tech leaders Catherine Ray and Brian Marshall to its executive staff. Ray leads a development team that develops the design and UX building blocks and insights that help activate a brand’s identity. Marshall leads the sports product team helping shape the development strategy for the industry-leading ESPN digital product portfolio.

Mike Baron has been hired as of senior VP, Sales & Strategy, Americas at Friend MTS, overseeing business development for its anti-piracy services for new and current partnerships and responsible for sales and marketing strategies as well as strategic growth plans. With 25 years of experience, Baron has held positions with Super League Gaming/Virtualis Studios, Deluxe Entertainment Services and Fox Sports Enterprises.

President, TSL Inc.

Ian Godfrey, formerly of Telestream, has been tapped as president of TSL Inc., the company’s U.S.-based lead office, and head of Control Systems. Robin Adams has been hired as worldwide sales director at TSL Products. Adams was most recently vice president at EditShare. Prior to that, he held leadership sales roles at EVS and Quantel.



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