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www.tvbeurope.com

Business, insight and intelligence for the media and entertainment industry

August 2017

The new reality AR / VR /AI

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TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

Welcome

EDITORIAL Content Director: James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com Editor: Jenny Priestley jpriestley@nbmedia.com Senior Staff Writer: James Groves jgroves@nbmedia.com Contributors: George Jarrett, Neal Romanek, Philip Stevens Sales Manager: Peter McCarthy pmccarthy@nbmedia.com +44 207 354 6025 Senior Account Manager: Richard Carr rcarr@nbmedia.com +44 207 354 6000 Digital Director: Diane Oliver Human Resources Director: Lianne Davey Head of Production: Alistair Taylor Managing Director: Mark Burton Designer: Sam Richwood US Sales: Michael Mitchell mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv +1 (631) 673 0072

It’s time to get real B

efore I joined TVBEurope, I didn’t really pay that much attention to augmented reality. In truth, I didn’t really know what it

to follow. It’s virtual reality that seems to

was – something I suspect most laymen would

have caught

agree with. Now, of course, I am starting to

the public’s

learn more about AI, AR and VR and how all

imagination

three are becoming major players in what we

the most so far,

watch, and how.

particularly in

AI is probably the least explored so far, but

gaming, but

Japan and Korea Sales: Sho Harihara sho@yukarimedia.com +81 6 4790 2222 PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS NewBay Subscriptions: The Emerson Building, 4-8 Emerson Street London - SE1 9DU

that certainly looks to change as applications

content producers

like IBM Watson become more prevalent.

are starting to see the benefits as well. In fact,

Wimbledon has already shown what it is

Paramount Studios has recently gone so far as

capable of thanks to the launch of ‘Fred’, its

to appoint its first ‘futurist in residence’ to help

Watson-enabled app that was available to

it explore opportunities in new and emerging

Email subscriptions@TVBE.co.uk

users at this year’s Championships. Sport is

technologies while US magazine Slate has just

also very much involved with AR – again, prior

launched their own weekly live VR talk show

TVBEurope is published 12 times a year by by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU

NewBay is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association

3

to joining TVBEurope I knew little about the

(more on that next month). While it might

technology even though it stared me right in

take a while for us all to be rushing home and

the face every week on Match of the Day.

plugging into our VR headsets, a new reality is

Apple launched its new AR development

on the horizon…and broadcasters need to get

platform at its WWDC event in July and is

on board. n Jenny Priestley

expected to include the technology in iOS

Editor

11. And when Apple leads, consumers tend

© Copyright NewBay Media Europe Ltd 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of TVBE are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Allow eight weeks for new subscriptions and change of address delivery. Send subscription inquiries to: Subscription Dept, NewBay, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 7BR, England. ISSN 1461-4197

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03 TVBE August Welcome_V2 JG.indd 1

Philip Stevens Production and Post editor

Neal Romanek Technology editor

George Jarrett Business editor

20/07/2017 11:19


4 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

In this issue

10

Opinion and Analysis

“Piracy is going absolutely nowhere anytime soon” - Dan Pringle, owner, director, White Lantern Film, gives an overview of the current and future state of content piracy

Feature

26

Jenny Priestley hears from Resh Sidhu, virtual reality creative director, Framestore, about passion, imaginary worlds, and crazy ideas

04 TVBE August Contents v2 JG.indd 1

Production and Post

16

TVBEurope speaks to Patrick Hall, head of post, LA Productions, about how the UK’s boutique studios are increasingly delivering feature-worthy end-to-end projects

30 Feature

Muki Kulhan looks at why broadcasters need to keep their eyes (and minds) wide open to the realities of mixed and immersive storytelling

Business

32 Feature

Five industry experts look ahead to IBC2017

38

George Jarrett reports from EditFest London

20/07/2017 16:58


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6 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Opinion and Analysis

The VR content conundrum Seth Barton, editor, MCV, looks at the hype surrounding VR, drawing comparisons from the gaming undustry

Not-so-virtual problems

Now, that doesn’t sound like a huge success,

The key problems are power and content – to

but once again, it’s almost certainly going to

create immersive experiences that look as

be mobile where VR makes its first inroads.

good as today’s ‘normal’ games requires an

The BBC has recently launched its new

immensely powerful desktop PC – something

Taster VR app – and the key thing with this is

that most people just don’t have. That aside,

that you don’t need a VR headset in order to

wo years after Facebook’s acquisition

game design for VR titles has proved that

enjoy it, just choose the ‘no cardboard’ option

of VR trail-blazer Oculus Rift, Mark

most games do not simply transfer over to VR.

on launch and move your phone around to

Zuckerberg appeared on stage at a

They have to be built from the ground up, or

explore the video as you please. You may have

Samsung event at Mobile World Congress

significantly reworked, and with a small install

seen similar implementations of 360-degree

and declared that “VR is going to be the

base, that’s a financial issue.

video in your Twitter timeline too.

T

most social platform.” It was a big, big deal,

Having three players in the gaming VR

It’s this kind of easy access VR that has to be

a personal endorsement of Facebook and

market is arguably making things harder still

the future. Yes, YouTube has been streaming

Samsung’s bold push into VR.

for developers. Both HTC and Oculus are

360-degree video for some time, but it’s the

very publicly funding developers to create

integration into apps such as Twitter that

VR dream has been somewhat tarnished

content for the fledgling platform, and there

bring this kind of content to the attention of

by a big dose of old-fashioned reality –

is no doubt that Sony is too, behind the scenes.

the mainstream.

made most visible by Oculus knocking

However, exclusivity deals attached to that

nearly $200 off its $600 VR bundle over

funding are then depriving all three headsets

at Mobile World Congress after all. I’m still not

the summer.

of games at a time when they need it most.

sure about that ‘most social platform’ line, but

Skip ahead a couple of years, and that

The hype around new technology – specifically new gaming technology – almost always outweighs the actual demand. Interest in any device is always at a peak before you can actually buy it – even if it turns out to be the best thing since

mobile is the next step.

‘The VR dream has been somewhat tarnished by a big dose of oldfashioned reality’

the iPhone.

The remaining barriers for 360-degree video are the usual pair: bandwidth and content. People are used to getting their VoD these days, but the bitrates of 360-degree video mean that downloads are still commonplace. We’ll need to see video compression improve,

Alarm bells began to ring when Oculus went

or bandwidth rise, before we can expect

on sale exclusively from its own website, which

And with gaming still the mainstay of VR

was barely any different from how prototype

content, that’s a major problem that could

units had been sold in the preceding years.

limit takeup.

It was hardly the huge launch some were

Maybe Zuckerberg was right to talk up VR

So, it certainly doesn’t look like hardcore

such convenience. Then there’s the content conundrum. After all, you can’t simply go about shooting everything in 360 degrees – it’s simply

expecting. It was soon joined by the HTC

gamers are going to be the ones exploding

inappropriate for most content. And while

Vive and the PS VR, which are both capable

VR content into the mainstream. But that’s

the kit is becoming more accessible, with

headsets. In fact, the Vive is arguably superior,

not to say that the format is dead and buried

kit such as GoPro’s compact and affordable

as it came with handheld controllers and room-

just yet.

Omni system, it’s still a trade off between

based positional tracking from the off; while the PS VR is a capable device built to a budget.

interactivity and quality for the viewer.

Mobile again

One day soon though, we should at

Samsung, in the meantime, has been using

least achieve my VR dream, that of a

a slow-builder rather than a popular explosion.

Oculus positional tech to create its own

high-end 360-degree video capture rig

Gamers are usually a key early adopter for

smartphone-based headsets, under the

emplaced in the best seat in every single

technologies like this – they certainly helped

Gear VR brand. It’s been giving away

Premier League ground in the country,

drive HD TV sales before there was any HD

millions of these to customers buying

allowing for live games to be streamed in

content bar games consoles. However, for

compatible phones. Meanwhile, Google

VR across the world, and millions of fans,

them, VR isn’t the must-have new thing,

had its similar, cut-price Cardboard (literally)

from Manchester to Malaysia, Newcastle

with the most dedicated gamers backing

headsets, and now has a cross-manufacturer

to New Zealand, to all inhabit (and pay for)

technologies such as 4K and HDR instead. The

VR platform called Daydream – only to

a single virtual seat.

lack of any VR headset support from Microsoft

date, there are barely any handsets on

for the Xbox is particularly telling.

the market that actually support.

So, VR is undoubtedly here, but it looks to be

06 TVBE August Opinion_V2 JG.indd 1

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8 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Opinion and Analysis

Three ways broadcasters can improve QC operations in the designated folders. For instance, let’s say

Closed captioning checks

a broadcaster receives files from hundreds of its

Closed captioning was developed primarily for

content providers via file transfers to a folder. All

the hearing-impaired, as well as those learning

files need to be scanned and sorted out based on

a non-native language. In Europe, the video

T

the parameters and then, depending on the type

programming distributors have standardised DVB

of the file, appropriate actions need to be taken.

subtitles. Governments have regulations that

By Penny Westlake, director, Europe, Interra Systems he broadcast industry is undergoing a radical transformation. OTT video consumption is

By utilising a QC solution with smart folders,

require video programming distributors to transmit

often fully integrated with a MAM system,

closed captions so that viewers who are deaf or

that revenues for online TV and video in Western

broadcasters can dramatically speed up this

hard of hearing have full access to programming.

Europe will more than double from $6.40 billion to

process. Smart folders offer rule-based, content-

Typically, in Europe, broadcasters and professional

$14.64 billion between 2015 and 2021. Moreover,

aware, automated QC for verifying files. With smart

producers of online content would adhere to

video is being viewed in higher resolutions. SNL

folders, the QC solution automatically recognises

the EBU-TT and EBU-TT-D specifications, although

Kagan expects more than 100 linear UHD channels

content by identifying the content structure and

often additions to the specifications are made, to

to be available by the end of 2017, and HDR-

various content characteristics, such as resolution,

increase the quality offered by a particular service.

enabled consumer devices are beginning to

frame rate, and aspect ratio. Once content is

become available on the market. Supplying a

recognised, the QC system verifies and executes

to ensure synchronous captions coincide with their

seemingly insatiable market with output to myriad

action on content as specified. This can be as

corresponding spoken words and sounds to the

devices in myriad formats inevitably means more

simple as recognising that a file is corrupt, and

greatest extent possible and are displayed on the

complex production and distribution workflows,

messaging an inbound transfer system to stop the

screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.

and these require QC solutions that can keep

transfer, or more sophisticated, such as defining

Furthermore, complete captions must run from the

pace with this fast-moving scenario.

workflow actions, perhaps identifying and sending

beginning to the end of the programme.

soaring, with Digital TV Research predicting

In today’s complex video streaming world, it’s

a file for auto-correction.

even more important for broadcasters to have

From a QC perspective, broadcasters will want

Broadcasters require a QC solution that checks closed captioning at multiple levels for presence

Guaranteed detection of embedded subtitles

of closed captions, presence of a specific type of

and provides pertinent information about what’s happening during video processing and delivery

Subtitles are a necessity in terms of enabling

of closed caption dropouts than the specified

workflow. If the quality of service suffers, consumers

viewers to watch programming in an unknown

threshold. Having a QC solution that can ignore

will look elsewhere for content.

language, as well as supporting viewers who are

music is advantageous so that false positives are

deaf or hard-of-hearing.

not reported when background music is present

an effective QC strategy – one that dives deep

Aside from choosing a QC solution that offers comprehensive checks and exceptional quality on

Within the broadcast industry, burnt-in subtitles

closed captions, and detection of a higher number

in the file for which the corresponding closed

a wide range of devices, there are several other

are embedded within the video frame and

often overlooked, yet essential, functionalities that

cannot be turned off by the viewer. Burnt-in text

broadcasters need.

may appear within the region of a video that

keep track of closed captioning compliance in

captions are absent. It’s also a good idea for broadcasters to

contains black bars. Oftentimes, they are detected

case there is a regulatory inquiry. Advanced QC

Smart folders

as “video dropouts,” causing false alarms to be

solutions will provide an option to write out the

Most QC solutions use watch folders. Users can

reported by the QC solution.

closed captions so they can be checked later for

designate any accessible folder as a watch folder,

The best way to resolve this issue is by choosing a

compliance purposes.

and the QC solution scans the folders for incoming

QC solution that automatically checks for burnt-in

new files. As soon as a new file is detected, it’s

subtitles while analysing video. Broadcasters can

Conclusion

picked up and scheduled against a test plan

define the area in which the subtitles are expected

Using an integrated QC solution that offers

for QC. Users can specify filters to pick up or

to appear in a video. If the restrictions get voided,

advanced features like smart folders, detection

ignore files based on file extensions, minimum

the QC solution reports an error specifying the

of embedded subtitles, and closed captioning

file size, etcetera. Watch folders can’t handle

erroneous area. It’s important to look for a QC

compliances, broadcasters can deliver flawless

complex workflows where multiple types of files

solution that supports a wide range of languages in

video on every device, in the most efficient and

(with different parameters) are being dropped

order to reach the most viewers possible.

cost-effective manner possible. n

08 TVBE August Opinion_V2 Jg.indd 1

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10 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Opinion and Analysis

The P word By Dan Pringle, owner, director, White Lantern Film

K-Shop

spending it on an activity deemed not entirely

film K-Shop in the UK and a refreshingly constructive

satisfactory has become exponentially more of

chat with distributor Bulldog, we established that it

a factor in our decision-making. The net result?

would do little to no harm to sales if all streams were

Less risks taken on expensive three-hour trips to

collapsed together. The film’s release ended up

the cinema unless we are absolutely sure the film

with a traditional delayed schedule from theatrical

iracy. Okay, let’s talk about it…because I

in question is guaranteed to thrill. For everything

through to SVoD (with Sky) but it became clear

guess we have to, really.

deemed ‘worth a punt’, there’s Netflix, and for

early on that the risk of considerable damage from

anything deemed even iffier, there’s piracy.

a same-day strategy would have been low. In

P

So where to start? I’m a deeply objective

critical thinker, so I’ll always chew the grizzle hard on

I’m framing this model largely around youth,

fact, when chewing on it further, the concentrated

both sides of the moral argument, but for the sake

but I would say it is growing equally applicable

marketing push would have probably converted a

of getting the ball rolling, let’s kick off with a simple

amongst families with young children, for which

few more earnest viewers.

conclusion: piracy is going absolutely nowhere

the cinema trip has become just too big a

anytime soon.

percentage of their collateral income. Factor

life cycle, and I was well versed to the growing presence of piracy within the low budget space,

Three features into my production company’s

Why? It’s an iceberg-sized situation, but let’s start

into all this the plethora of entertainment and

with the speed of our lives and how our relationship

leisure choices vying for that money, and the

but for K-Shop, I was determined not to let the

to content has mutated in recent times. Note: I’m

ocean of content available from an oversaturated

cynical gnomes bed in. To weigh the film’s

in with the royal ‘our’ here and framing myself as a

film and TV market, and it’s safe to say we are

success would be to exclusively judge it on what

consumer first, but rest assured I’ll tackle professional

now firmly in the era of the consumer god, and

it was intended for; a career positioning exercise.

thoughts before we’re done.

no amount of anti-piracy legislation is going to

Ultimately, that objective has been fulfilled, and

combat the ubiquitous attitude that the content

granted me the chance to have a more well-

simply isn’t worth the risk.

funded crack at getting the core value back into

So let’s reminisce on how things were back in the day of days when the filmmaker was god. He/ she deployed their film to the theatres and the

But where do we go from here? Fuelled by

cinema again.

masses queued round the block. Be it Casablanca

micro-budget adventurism and the serial furnaces

or Ben Hur, you got what you were given, and you

of Netflix and Amazon, the catacombs of the

of laptop openings and illegal streams clicks, it’s

probably went back and watched it ten times,

Kodi box are becoming increasingly displaced

going to take something more revolutionary than

regardless of what you thought. There was no IMDB

of breathing space. With this, I feel the shrugs of

film itself. The way in which content is created

or Rotten Tomatoes, and even if it stank, it was

audience apathy will only bed in further, and this

and distributed needs a wholesale shake up,

blessed escapism.

all leads me to the thought of a singular solution for

and whilst the big online players are helping, their

the ongoing sustainability of independent movie

monopolisation of the market is making SVoD less

making – collapse the window now.

lucrative for indie players.

Fast forward to the present, and our lives are now turbo-charged, high-speed chases in comparison. The average employee works longer, commutes

Sure, studios can maintain their existing tent pole

But let’s be realistic. In order to stem the tide

Until that point, I’m campaigning for the end of the window, and in the meantime will settle for

further, earns less and subsequently has increasingly

relationships with chains by preserving time before

limited recreation time. The pressure on that time

online release, but for everything else, just get on

audiences watching K-Shop illegally and paying

has grown and as a consequence, the risk of

and flood it out there. Following the release of our

with their oh-so-precious time. n

10 TVBE August Opinion_V3 JG.indd 1

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12 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Opinion and Analysis

Taking the guesswork out of 360-degree filming By Paul Scurrell, chief executive, Timecode Systems

It’s also a time-intensive way for editors to search

around the crime scene of a drama? The

and align content when it gets to the edit suite.

potential of 360-degree filming is massive, but

And then there is the issue of camera control.

without an efficient, robust production workflow

Do all the cameras have sufficient power to last

and a cost-effective way to generate VR-style

for the duration of the shoot? What about the SD

output, the use of 360-degree content by the

verything you read about producing

cards? Has every camera been configured with

professional broadcast community has so far

360-degree video will say it’s a whole new

the same settings? Are they all recording? Most

been limited.

beast when it comes filming and post

operators of 360-degree multi-camera rigs have

E

production. Achieving the VR-like format that lets you look up, down, left, right, and behind, not

their fingers very tightly crossed during a shoot. The lack of a professional workflow could be

What professional crews want is to be able to start and stop recording all day long without the hassle of having to disturb filming in order to slate

only requires investment in a special camera or

one reason why, despite the buzz surrounding VR,

cameras manually, and to know all cameras

custom multi-camera setup, it also demands a

we aren’t seeing more immersive content from

and even separate sound recordings are

large dose of patience. You’ll hear that to capture

our favourite television programmes. The incentive

synchronised at the point of shooting. They

wraparound views, you can’t think about filming

to create VR output is definitely understood by

want to feel completely confident that

in the same way as traditional video. You’ll be told

the broadcast community. By giving viewers the

all cameras are shooting with the correct

to throw all the rules of multi-camera shooting out

option to immerse themselves further into a show

configuration and need to be able to identify

of the window and to accept that, due to the

by stepping directly into the shoes of a character

and eliminate errors in camera settings and

complexity of the set up, convenience usually

or contestant, 360-degree filming offers an exciting

problems with memory and power promptly

has to take precedence over quality. You’ll be

opportunity for production teams to create

to reduce the risk of content being lost due to

led to believe guesswork is the best that can be

engaging new formats and to inject new life

the malfunction of a camera. They simply don’t

expected when it comes to capturing content.

into established programmes. Who wouldn’t

have the luxury of time and unlimited budgets

But surrendering quality and control goes against

want to watch a sports event as if they were

to correct mistakes and manually search and

every instinct of professional filmmakers.

running alongside one of the players, or snoop

sync huge volumes of content. n

One of the main challenges for professional broadcast production teams looking to diversify into producing 360-degree content is capturing and producing VR content to the same high standards, and with the same efficiency, as mainstream multi-camera filming. Aligning multiple files from a 360-degree multi-camera VR rig into a professional workflow, particularly when this includes separate audio, is time-consuming due to the manual process of synchronising and stitching multiple audio and video recordings. The cameras used in multi-camera VR rigs are typically GoPros or similar, and are primarily designed for consumer use, meaning they don’t generate timecode as a synchronisation reference. A workaround has been to use some kind of visual or audio cue to mark the start of a take. However, timecodeslating cameras, using the clap of a slate for example, can be disruptive to the creative flow of a shoot and is an added annoyance to everyone from the artists in front of the camera to the

The SyncBac VR rig

producers and DoPs working behind the lens.

12 TVBE August Opinion_V4 JG.indd 1

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14 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Opinion and Analysis LiveLike was involved with providing VR facilities for the French Open tennis at Roland Garros

VR as a game-changer Andre Lorenceau, founder and CEO, LiveLike, talks about the challenges of the virtual world

V

to create experiences that are needed to sell

In VR, as with the smart phone, the focus now

headsets... when there haven’t been enough

should be on why the excitement is there,

headsets sold to prompt developers to create

and the industries on which VR can have

these experiences. This, coupled with varied

the greatest impact – now and in the future.

user experiences across multiple devices (such

But strangely, we see much more scepticism

as nausea, resolution and controls) has created

around VR than we ever did with the smart

R was once thought of as a science-

a narrative around VR as failing. This couldn’t

phone. The smart phone simply changed how

fiction dream, but in 2017, that dream

be further from the truth.

we communicate, where VR has the potential

has become reality. Children of the

‘80s grew up consuming pop culture filled with VR, AR, flying cars, and so on. They have grown up to become the engineers of the world designing new technologies, and their childhood dreams are becoming reality before

to change how we experience the world.

‘Once we combine the immersion of VR with the social nature of humanity, we’ll begin to see this industry take off’

our eyes.

The solution So, what needs to happen for VR to turn the corner? One, we need to solve gaming: where the chicken and the egg manifests most. A lot of noise has been generated about licensed games like Batman: Arkham VR, but indie

In 2016, 6.3 million headsets were shipped, and the industry generated $1.8 billion in

In fact, this sentiment is natural – all cutting-

studios have been pushing the envelope of

revenue. And it’s just the beginning: Samsung,

edge technologies are initially met with

what is possible and showing how VR is distinct

Google, Facebook and Microsoft are

criticisms. This phenomenon is so widespread

from other gaming. Touch controllers like

continuing to double-down on their VR efforts.

that it is even named! We call it “the trough

Oculus and Vive change how gamers interact

of disillusionment”, and every new innovation

with and are immersed in these new worlds.

various industries – gaming, entertainment,

goes through it. For example, before all smart

Yes, licensed content is key to continue selling

advertising, sport and beyond. However,

phones had a touch screen, there were a wide

headsets, but indie devs are paving the way

despite the buzz and excitement, there remains

variety of form factors and experiences on the

for the future of gaming in VR. We will see an

a healthy level of scepticism towards the

market. Different companies offered multiple

influx of M&A by big companies and adoption

industry. There is also a chicken and egg issue,

interpretations of what the smartphone today

of methodology perfected by indies, who are

where software developers must be prompted

would become.

creating the roadmap for future AAA content.

The growing impact of VR can be felt across

14 15 TVBE August Opinion_V3 JG.indd 1

20/07/2017 16:24


TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

15

Opinion and Analysis Secondly, we need to create compelling

used for every major sports broadcast, altered

Even live events like sport have declining

non-gaming entertainment. The media

reality basically started with the ‘yellow line’ in

viewership given the plethora of options

industry as a whole has been eager to adopt

football, and so on.

for today’s consumer. VR is another way

VR technologies. High profile filmmakers have

VR is the next frontier for sports broadcasting.

broadcasters can bring back the wow factor

already begun incorporating VR – Alejandro

Most fans will never have a true courtside

G. Iñárritu, for example, recently developed

experience, know what it feels like to throw

a VR film on illegal immigration, calling VR

down a 360 dunk, catch a touchdown pass, hit

the mainstream by one key technological

“an art in itself.” Creatives recognise that

a homerun. VR alone can transport us to offer

leap: social. Putting on a headset can feel

VR has the unique capacity to elevate the

these new experiences in a way that no other

extremely isolating. The likes of Facebook and

emotional connection you feel to a story by

medium can.

Twitter have taught us to be more connected

creating a fully interactive experience.

to live sports. But all in all, VR is being held back from

with each other than ever – making the

Still, major entertainment properties like

‘The growing impact of VR can be felt across various industries – gaming, entertainment, advertising, sport and beyond’

films and TV have yet to make the leap, and are instead dipping their collective toes in the water until the adoption curve can catch up.

isolation even more affecting for today’s user. When we can use the headset to connect people, we’ll see more activities in VR. These shared experiences are what make interactive entertainment take off. Remember, Playstations and Xboxes were

Sport – a key

kid’s toys until their users grew up and

This is where my bias comes in. I’m CEO of a

Major broadcasters and sports teams have

demanded a connected, online experience.

sports VR company, and I believe sport is the

already begun to experiment with the

Again, social gaming fuelled massive

key to the future of VR. Why? Sport has been

technology. This has tremendous viewer

companies – look at Blizzard’s WoW, Xbox

a driving force for multiple new hardware

benefits – everyone can sit courtside. It’s

Live, Halo 2, Bungie’s Destiny, Overwatch.

adoptions: cable was buoyed by ESPN, tiny

not only viewers, but also broadcasters who

cameras were created to be placed in the

see tremendous value. That’s because we

the social nature of humanity, we’ll begin to

catcher’s helmet, HD didn’t take off until it was

watch TV differently from how we once did.

see this industry take off. n

Once we combine the immersion of VR with

5.5 & 7 inch FULL HD Waveform LCD Monitor

SINCE 1996

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14 15 TVBE August Opinion_V3 JG.indd 2

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20/07/2017 16:24


16 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Production and Post

The rise of the one-stop-shop TVBEurope speaks to Patrick Hall, head of post, LA Productions, about how the UK’s boutique studios are increasingly delivering feature-worthy end-to-end projects

“Efficiency was key in developing the kind of workflow that would allow us to produce a drama like Broken, which is certainly our largest endeavor to date, and one we are

W

all incredibly proud of,” confirms head of hen you think of a series like Broken

years. Aided in part by ongoing tax breaks, the

post at LA Productions, Patrick Hall.

– the latest six-part drama to be

gross value added for the UK creative industries

“These are projects that just a few years

broadcast during one of BBC One’s

accounted for more than £80 billion and 1.71

ago would have been unheard of for such

coveted 9pm prime time slots – it’s easy to

million jobs, according to the latest economic

a small team to take on. When I started

imagine dozens of production companies

estimates report, giving it a leading place on the

in post, we were still using a mixture of

and post production professionals coming

global stage. At the same time, we increasingly

cutting formats, including film and linear

together to help bring each episode to life.

have more and more choice when it comes to

tape. I even remember stacking up a tower

Broken was written by Jimmy McGovern and

what shows to watch – and on what device –

of 9GB drives in an array just so we could

stars Sean Bean, who plays a Catholic priest

thanks to companies like Netflix and Amazon.

online a single episode.”

presiding over an impoverished Northern parish while struggling to come to terms with his past. The reality of how the drama was created,

In an EY survey on the future of TV in the UK, a

“At that time – and for quite some time

steady growth in independent production was

following that, editing, grading and VFX

shown to be helping to fill in the gap. Along with

work continued to be limited at only the very

however, is completely different. The entire

the large, well-known shops, a growing number

high-end facilities and projects, because the

production of Broken, including edit, conform,

of boutique studios brimming with ideas and

technology just wasn’t there and was certainly

grade and visual effects, was delivered

talent are starting to make their mark – and as

not affordable for the mainstream,” he recalls.

not by several industry giants, but by a

the technologies becomes more accessible,

“Today, things are completely different: cost

single, independent Liverpool-based studio:

studios big and small now find themselves on

of technology is no longer a restricting factor.

LA Productions.

a more equal footing. The same survey also

The ability to cut multiple formats, in real time

highlights a shift away from the cost-cutting

across multiple platforms and devices and

with its post production arm, LA Post, represents

that characterised many strategies during

then continue working in high-res to deliver

the perfect example of just how much the UK TV

the recession, and towards efforts to drive

VFX shots and grades on a modest budget is

production landscape has changed in recent

efficiencies into the business instead.

just incredible.

Founded in 2000, LA Productions, together

16 17 TVBE August Broken_V3 JG.indd 1

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TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

17

Production and Post

“Companies such as Blackmagic have had a

“Once we had picture lock, we then sent

For Hall, however, the most important factor of

big part to play in leveling that playing field.

everything straight into DaVinci Resolve, where

all to what allows a boutique studio to create

Much of the work we did on Broken could have

we had all the shots relinked, and then began

such impressive work remains the creative team

been completed in the free version.”

the conform and grade with the help of five

behind it. “You don’t have the luxury of time,

foundation look up tables (LUTs). This all helped

and it’s all about being multi talented so that

producing the best possible results as quickly

to create further efficiencies in our workflow.

one person can do a multitude of different

as possible, the LA Productions pipeline is

Features such as Resolve’s ColorTrace were

tasks as a generalist,” he concludes. “For all of

continually being assessed and refined.

especially helpful when it came to delivering

us at LA Productions and LA Post we just want

“If we invest heavily in a product or solution,

multiple versions for international distribution.

to make the best film and television possible,

we expect that solution to last, so we look

Copying final grades across took seconds -

and for that the skill of the creative team is

at maximising its shelf life well over and

rendering a complicated, time-consuming

paramount, and remains the deciding factor on

above its initial use,” Hall reveals.

process relatively straight forward.”

any project.” n

With a workflow entirely geared towards

“We also run a tier system, so if we invest in new front end machines that need processing power, our older front end machines that they replace then become our back end machines, which in turn become workhorse machines for simple processes.” Shot in 4K on the Varicam, all of the rushes for Broken were captured in ProRes 4444 XQ. Post production began with the offline edit, which was completed in Media Composer. Using Fusion Studio’s Avid Connect plug in, the LA Post team then sent all their VFX shots into Fusion while the project was still in the rough cut stage. “The fact that we could work on both the edit and the VFX simultaneously was incredibly useful. It meant that when we came to do the online effects, we could simply refer to the existing Fusion files that we’d already created and then tweak them based on the online materials,” Hall continues.

16 17 TVBE August Broken_V3 JG.indd 2

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18 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Production and Post

Bundesliga in 3D Philip Stevens talks to the team bringing a new dimension to player profiles

T

of the top six clubs that were needed for the innovative presentations they had planned.

360-degree cage “We set up mobile scan rooms at the stadia,

here is always a challenge to find new and

which were part of the concept,” says

innovative ways of presenting on-screen

Taprogge. “These looked a bit like cages, as

data – especially to dedicated sports

they were enclosed and 360 degrees round.”

fans, who are hungry for ever more detailed

Inside these ‘cages’ were 70 Canon EOS

information. As part of its four-year contract with

5D cameras placed at strategic positions to

the Bundesliga, Sky Sports Germany is seen to be

capture images of each player from every

pushing the boundaries of AR technology.

angle of the 360 degrees.

For the 2015-16 season, the broadcaster used

“We were working to a very tight time

Ncam’s tracking system – integrated with Viz

schedule,” reports Taprogge. “We only had

Virtual Studio and Viz Engine – to create AR

one minute for the player to walk into the

graphics. More recently, Sky Sports Germany has

cage, be photographed for three different

taken a further step and introduced specially

versions, and then walk out. That was a

created 3D images of most players in the league

challenge in itself – but we had previously

in order to enhance player comparisons, mega-

carried out some intensive testing, so

facts or the team line-up information.

things could work smoothly at each of the

“Just before the beginning of each

‘capturing’ sessions.”

season, the Bundesliga organises a media

He says that the first club to be

day at the clubs’ venue,” explains Sebastian

photographed in this way was Borussia

Taprogge, senior manager, sports, programme

Mönchengladbach. Unfortunately, the team

development and innovation, Sky Sports DE. “At

arrived in their white shirts, and this presented

these events, the players and managers appear

a problem with the photography and lighting.

so that the league itself and Sky Sports DE as a

“But we managed to sort out the difficulties

main live partner can collect images, videos

and all was good in the end.”

and other assets that can be used throughout

As the sessions continued over the following

the upcoming season.”

days, improvements were made to the lighting

It was at one of these sessions that the

and to the positions in which the players stood

broadcaster was able to collect the 3D images

in the ‘cage’.

One of the finished results from the series of image captures

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18 19 TVBE August AR Viz_V2 JG.indd 1

20/07/2017 09:41


TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

19

Production and Post Post production procedures “Once the images were completed, they underwent considerable post production using the ZBrash modelling programme. This is designed to render three-dimensional objects. With 360-degree lighting, you are always going to run into the issue of having reflections in the eyes – so that had to be treated by the post production people. There were slight adjustments that had to be made to some ears, noses and parts of the skin before we had the finished avatars.” Taprogge explains that each file size was huge – each player equalling about one million polygons. “Once we had the completed images, we were then able to

70 cameras in a circular ‘cage’ captured the images needed for the on-screen presentation

around the player, enabling viewers to see the

Vizrt, takes up the story: “It’s actually an

“All textures, shading and any animations are

can see the minute details, such as tattoos.

extremely simple integration. Using Viz

included in the fbx import. The workflow is

Artist, we do a standard import of the fbx

exactly the same as importing any other 3D

to use a Spidercam at the Allianz arena and

files – that is, the models of the players.

object into our system.”

place the 3D models over the background.

feed them into a Viz engine.” Gerhard Lang, chief engineering officer,

This integration places the player models

Lang says that as the introductions are made

details on the player and the 3D rendering that is happening in real time – if we zoom in we Taprogge concludes: “We have been able

This is a really good way of using the avatars

as 3D objects in our database, then the

for each player, he can be seen to ‘walk’ into

– standing as 3D models on the pitch.The results

designer modifies them as needed.

the foreground. “We can do a 180-degree move

were great.” n

18 19 TVBE August AR Viz_V2 JG.indd 2

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20

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Production and Post The Piero Augmented Reality can analyse where a player scores his goals

A unique 3D solution Philip Stevens speaks to Piero Sports Graphics to learn more about its latest 3D solution

L

aunched in April 2016, Piero Augmented

So, what was Ericsson’s brief from BT Sport?

Flexibility

“We provide readymade solutions to our clients,”

Noyer goes on to explain that the Piero

emphasises Noyer. “It’s prêt-à-augmenter!

technology is not bound by specific studio

We work closely with our clients to tweak and

limits. The limitation usually comes from the

improve the solution for specific requests. It’s

talents’ ability to move within the virtual

more a dialogue rather than a brief.”

space while maintaining an engaging story.

Reality enables broadcasters to overlay

“Human interaction with AR and staging are

Producing in real time

more limiting than the technology. A large

productions and sports games. It allows sports

Without having a specific brief, what information

studio is preferable because it opens up more

analysis graphics to be produced instantly, either

does a designer need about the possible shots to

possibilities for real size one-to-one scale effects.

by a system operator or by a presenter using a

be used in the live programme?

Producers and talents need to be able to

3D graphics in real time during live studio

tablet device. “Piero Augmented Reality is a part of Ericsson’s

“Fortunately, the Ericsson Piero AR solution

change their mind during rehearsal, so AR sets

does not have to worry about this. We provide

need to be flexible. Designing a rigid AR set can

Piero product suite, the real-time sports graphics

very specific AR effects for sports analysis. The

lead to a lot of frustration.”

software specifically designed to enhance and

shows tend to integrate the graphics rather

analyse sports for broadcasters and TV service

than the other way around. Most important for

providing the licence to use the software, Ericsson

providers,” explains Vincent Noyer, head of

implementing AR is to be flexible, extremely

trains a client’s staff in the use of the solution.

Piero Sport Graphics. “Piero is used by over

versatile and adaptive during the production.”

50 broadcasters around the world to deliver

He adds that last-minute changes are not a

The Piero system is very user-friendly. Alongside

Like so many others in the broadcast environment, this technology is ever-changing,

stunning, fast and accurate analysis graphics of

problem. “We have little pre-scripted, pre-defined

so is Noyer prepared to reveal what is up ahead?

sports programming and to enhance broadcast

graphics. Everything comes to life as the shows/

“There are a few ideas floating around in our lab

presentation of international sporting events.”

games go on. Our renderer is real-time and

as we work on more and more sports and with

The first user of the software system was BT

the solution we offer is all based on speed of

more and more customers.”

Sport, and it has been extensively used for

execution. As the game is played we can choose

both studio presentations and various games,

what type of graphics are best suited to support

including football and rugby. The graphics

the pundit’s story.”

are projected on to the studio floor in 3D

Speaking of rendering, Noyer states that it is

Understandably, some things are best kept under wraps until the launch! Noyer concludes, “The Piero solution is unique, as we have found that it really brings

allowing the presenter to illustrate the analysis

easier to start with an idea and work towards it

to life third party sports data. Traditionally,

sequence without cutting away from the studio

within the renderer capabilities. “All renderers

this analysis was done by cutting away to a

environment. This technology integrates readily

have pros and cons. The technology is rarely the

2D or 3D rendered sequence, whereas now,

with major studio tracking systems and a host of

limit in this day and age. Creativity can get you

we can bring it seamlessly into the studio,

sports data service providers.

very far with a limited renderer.”

allowing the presenter to engage with it.” n

20 TVBE August VR Ericsson_V2 JG.indd 1

20/07/2017 11:24


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24 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Production and Post

The power of augmented reality Marlon Etheridge, team leader of graphics development, NEP The Netherlands

E

with a full range of managed broadcast

opponent. It all comes down to who has the

services and media solutions for remote,

best deal. The contestants take it in turns

cloud and studio production, host

to open boxes and receive the same offers

broadcasting, post production and visual

from the banker at the end of each round.

effects, AR, media asset management,

The only thing they do not know is whether

ndemol Shine UK is part of Endemol

CDN, VoD, digital media services, playout

their opponent has decided to make a deal

Shine Group, the global content

and uplink communication.

at any point.

creator, producer and distributor

NEP is one of the few broadcast and media

Endemol Shine UK set out to look for ways

with creative operations in over 30 different

services provider to own and operate its own

in which it could give Deal or No Deal a

markets, with a portfolio of over 600 revenue

broadcast IT facilities and cloud native IT

‘prime time’ twist.

generating formats across scripted and

media infrastructure. The company is a

At the beginning of 2017, NEP The Netherlands

non-scripted genres; coupled with digital,

front-runner in photorealistic AR in daily

captured a five-camera live entertainment

gaming, and distribution operations.

sports programmes, large entertainment

production in a 360-degree virtual set

Endemol Shine UK is behind a diverse

shows and location sports productions

with calibrated physical elements. It made

range of hits including Big Brother, Black

including carpeting and virtual advertising.

use of its AR platform ‘CUBE’.

A prime twist

usage of techniques like AR plus proof points

international game hit show is back with

Double Deal or No Deal is the ultimate test of

from various entertainment shows resulted

a twist: Double Deal or No Deal.

judgement as two players go head to head.

in a partnership in order to develop a

Players require the same level of luck, but

pilot, which took advantage of these

with the added pressure of outwitting their

radical changes in TV productions.

Mirror,, Benidorm, Broadchurch, Peaky Blinders and Deal or No Deal. The latter

NEP The Netherlands provides broadcasters, telcos and rights holders around the world

24 25 TVBE August NEP_V2 JG.indd 1

Showing Endemol Shine UK the successful

20/07/2017 09:42


TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

25

Production and Post Making the impossible possible

including the tracking of the cameras,

shown on screen. In addition, the set is easily

AR is the integration of digital images with the

rendering and keying, as well as game logic.

interchangeable when selling the format.

live video environment in real time. Unlike VR,

As in painting and photography, lighting is

In the case of Double Deal or No Deal,

which creates a totally artificial environment,

crucial to a photorealistic set.

physical elements are placed in a virtual set

AR uses the existing environment and overlays a new reality. The movement of the studio

in which multiple cameras are set up, so that

‘AR is the integration of digital images with the live video environment in real time. Unlike VR, AR uses the existing environment and overlays a new reality’

cameras also directs a virtual camera in the 3D augmented environment so the output precisely matches the camera view. The augmented layer becomes integrated with the real-time camera view. For the viewer, it becomes one total experience.

the camera perspective and angles in the augmented studio is exactly the same as the perspective in the isolated opponent’s studio. Because all cameras – crane, dolly, camera on a tripod and even handheld – are fitted with the latest tracking technology, the picture looks very tight in every shot. The graphics

Together with Endemol Shine UK and Park

are realistic and retain perspective, regardless

Lane, NEP created and designed a virtual

To get the virtual studio as realistic as possible,

of the angle. The audience’s perception

set within the live augmented set, to capture

shaders, lighting, environment and the right

is not affected by the large green screen in

the pilot episode. The first contestant was in

approach are essential. The multiple rendering

the studio, and the tension is still felt. Thanks

the studio set together with the presenter. His

tools makes it possible to render physical

to strategically placed screens, the public

opponent was in a visual and audio isolated

elements into the virtual environment.

was able to see exactly the same as the

green screen multi camera studio setting and

viewer at home.

was live rendered into the live augmented set. Not knowing what the opponent has

Bringing the wow factor

Carefully designed and rendered shadows

With AR and the CUBE platform, the set is highly

and reflections made the final result look real.

decided gives the game an extra dimension,

flexible and adaptable – by show, or even

With Double Deal or No Deal, Endemol Shine

which has been visually captured based on

by scene. It offers the possibility to interact

and NEP created a challenging, highly realistic

different elements of CUBE – part of the end-

with the set, because in composition and

combination of a physical and virtual set in a

to-end workflow and full capturing process,

colour, the set is able to react to the situation

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26 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Feature

A virtual pioneer Resh Sidhu, virtual reality creative director, Framestore, was recently named as a leading pioneer in VR by Marie Claire magazine. Speaking to Jenny Priestley, she talks passion, imaginary worlds and crazy ideas

R

afraid of what we’d just said we would do but so excited about designing for this completely new device. And the Tokyo Motor Show was only eight weeks away so it was a phenomenal project.” After her success at AKQA, Framestore reached

esh Sidhu is at the forefront in the world of

developer kit headset,” she explains. “At the time,

out and asked if Sidhu would be interested in

virtual reality (VR). Talking to her about the

I was creative director for Nissan and it just so

working at the VR studio they were setting up in

subject, you quickly get a sense of how

happened that the universe gave me two great

New York. So, she left her home in London and

passionate she is about VR, which also comes

things – Nissan had reached out and said ‘we

moved her young family to the Big Apple. She’s

across in her award-winning work for the likes of

have this brief for you, the Tokyo Motor Show is

now returned to London where she’s taken up a

Red Bull, Nivea, Warner Bros and JK Rowling.

coming up, we have these concept cars, we want

wider role for Framestore, working on VR as well as

to find a cool way to attract a younger audience.’

AR, AI and all immersive content, something she

her career in 1998 designing gaming packaging,

And literally the next day the DK1 landed in the

says “seems to change every day”. She explains:

where she got her hands on a very early version

office and there was this ripple of excitement.

“You go to sleep thinking you’ve discovered

Sidhu trained as a graphic designer and began

of Flash. “I was fascinated by the way I could take

“That moment always reminds of when my

a tremendous amount about AR and VR and

still graphics and turn them into motion graphics

dad brought home the Commodore 64 for the

new headsets and you wake up and five more

and the way that engaged people and the

first time,” says Sidhu. ”We didn’t come from a

headsets have come to the market or suddenly

way it made something memorable,” she says.

rich background and when my dad brought

there’s an update and they’re able to do

“Since then I’ve been looking for experiences

home that computer it transformed our lives. We

something they weren’t able to do before! Haptics

that gave people moments to escape and really

were thrown into these imaginary worlds. It would

are coming onto the market every day. And new

memorable interactive experiences. For me, it’s

be many years later when I found myself trying

experiences are being released from studios like

always been about taking whichever technology

the DK1 and saying ‘this is just like that’. For me

ourselves, and indie developers as well are kind

was available and using that as a device to tell a

it was a revolutionary moment where I believed

of dabbling into the dark arts of VR. We’re seeing

story. I always have this kind of philosophy when

in this device even though it was very big, it was

people who are trying to create something that

working with clients to ‘fish where the fish are’ –

clunky and there were only a few experiences

pushes the medium and excites and provokes the

wherever your audience is, whichever tool they’re

that you could do, but it was an eureka moment

conversation. Every day is like having to do your

using to engage, that’s where as a brand you can

for me because I really felt like something new

homework and I love that, I find it so exciting.”

be present.”

had landed and it was going to change the way

After moving on to become creative director at

With such a new medium that’s changing every

we interact and change the way I as a creative

day, Sidhu admits it can sometimes be baffling

digital agency AKQA, Sidhu led a multi-disciplinary

director could tell stories. We literally rang up

to both clients and consumers as they try to

team across a wide client base, working with

Nissan and said ‘we have this crazy idea, we’ve

understand the terminology involved. “Sometimes

the likes of Nissan, Xbox and L’Oreal. She says

got this new technology that no-one knows

we’re still trying to formulate the language for

she often found the projects that scared her the

about, and those cars that you’re creating that

this new medium,” she admits. “We’re still trying

most were also the ones that she would be most

no-one knows about, how about we merge them

to work out what content is native to it. So

exhilarated by. “It was at AKQA when I got my

together and take it to Tokyo Motor Show?’ and

everybody’s terminology and approach to it is

hands on the first Oculus DK1 which was the first

they were totally up for it. And we were slightly

different. But I think in the next few years you’ll see

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TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

Resh Sidhu

27

Feature

Paragliding with The Hawaii Tourism Authority

that level out and there’ll be some best practises and natural language that everybody agrees upon. I think that will help bring a normality and more understanding about what we’re trying to talk about and what we’re trying to say. It’s like the early days of filmmaking or mobile experiences, sometimes it’s hard to encapsulate what it is that you are creating when it’s a combination of everything.” Framestore has been leading the way in creating VR projects that have captured the public’s imagination. One project that brought VR to the masses is its Fantastic Beasts and Where to

Find Them VR experience, which was released on Google Daydream in November 2016. Sidhu says her team’s work on the experience was helped by Framestore’s 30 years experience in VFX. “What’s magical about the history of Framestore is that they’ve always been able to adopt the latest technology and enable clients to tell stories on those platforms in the most interesting, the most visually stimulating ways, whether that was the early days of making music videos and pioneering in the visual effects of that to epic films like Harry

Potter and bringing Dobby to life.”

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28 TVBEurope

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Feature

Framestore’s Fantastic Beasts VR experience “What’s lovely is that we’ve been able to draw on

where we had game engine coupled with a

One of the big issues for Sidhu is the quality of VR

the expertise of the existing teams, for example

live action video and the seamless interaction of

experiences that are being released to viewers.

we find that the visual effects supervisors are

allowing someone to experience something and

She worries that some of the content being made

almost like the vanguard of VR because they’ve

then come back and try the different islands. It

available isn’t up to scratch. “You see a lot of

been working in 360-degrees throughout their

really got people engaged and understanding

content that is meant for broadcast, meant for TV

careers. When we worked on Fantastic Beasts

that each of the islands could offer something

or YouTube, and you see it being shoe-horned into

and Where to Find Them, having our VFX

different and it was a really powerful experience.”

VR and it doesn’t work,” she explains. “I think that’s

supervisor who’s been involved in the film’s visual effects and bringing that understanding and pipeline into VR had a tremendous impact on the process, the understanding of what we could use from a technical and visual point of view, and the quality of the overall experience. So we are a group of people who are used to

the big mistake that people make. I think VR needs

“Think about content as built to live, not built to die. If you can think about VR in that way then you’ll be able to monetise it” Resh Sidhu, Framestore

creating with new technology.”

content that is native to the medium. That requires anybody that wants to consider VR as part of their brand or even as part of their business strategy to treat it like any other medium, step back and ask where does VR fit into the strategy? What can we use VR for that no other medium can do? What can we use AR for that no other medium can

Another project Sidhu worked on while in

do? We’re still in the very early days of doing that,

New York was creating a VR experience for the

So does Sidhu see a role for VR in broadcast?

but some brands are leap years ahead, they’re

Hawaii Tourism Authority. It involved taking users

“I think there is a trend for VR to tell stories,” she

investing in VR, they’re investing in technology, in

on a paragliding tour of the different islands,

says. “We’ve seen a lot of VR content that is

the expertise, and even though they’re not putting

something she says the team were instantly

documentary based. I was recently at Sheffield

out content, they’re testing strategically when is it

excited about. “We created that in game engine

Doc/Fest and saw a tremendous amount of VR

right to put out the content.

so that you have interactivity, because what

content that was showcasing real-life stories and

“We’ll see more and more consumers in the

we’ve found with VR is that a lot of passive VR just

what VR enabled the user to do was empathise

next few years engaging with that content. That’s

isn’t exciting people as much as it used to in the

with that story. I think sometimes with traditional

going to be the trick, people are going to be

early days. People are looking for a moment of

mediums and broadcast mediums, we become

hungry for that content. News, entertainment, all

interaction, a moment where they can be part

desensitised to everything and it’s so tragic. I’m

of the broadcast channels, if they’re not already

of the experience, part of the story. By adding

a parent of two kids and you see the news and

thinking about VR they should be! For me, being

that degree of interactivity and allowing the

suddenly you’re not engaged in the story and

inside my next Netflix series in VR is something I

user to paraglide over the islands, it really set the

yet it’s so tragic. What VR enables us to do is

dream about and imagine all the time. People ask

emotional connection and it set the tone of the

connect to that in a much more emotional way

me what that’s going to be like, and I say I don’t

experience. That was a tremendous learning curve

by placing us into the heart of the story, it takes

know but we’re definitely on our way to making it!”

for the team, it was the first hybrid experience

us a step further.”

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August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

29

Feature So, does Sidhu see a day when we all rush home

“I’m not sure that people will be going home

was when people did the experience and were

from work and fire up our VR headsets rather

and watching a movie together as a family

like ‘this is amazing, this is great’ but they wanted

than the TV? “One of the things I’m very mindful

in VR but they might be in a series where they

more! They wanted to interact with more beasts

of is that VR is never going to replace existing

are controlling the narrative and the kids are

and explore more. It was so fulfilling to hear that

mediums. It’s not meant to,” she says. “I remember

following a story while mum and dad are following

because that’s exactly what we had wanted

when the mobile phone arrived, when the first

their own narrative and yet they’re able to

to do.

big phone came out it was a ridiculous amount

come off the device and engage together

of money. It was only early adopters or rich Wall

with what they’ve just experienced. I think it

Fantastic Beasts VR experience was part of the

Street individuals who were able to have these

will absolutely transform our lives and that will

strategic approach from day one and that’s how

huge phones and we all thought isn’t it cool but

be a super exciting notion.”

we are encouraging our clients to think about

we never, ever fathomed that it would develop

“Being able to release episodic content for the

it,” Sidhu explains. “We always say think about

Sidhu imagines a world where VR will be an

into something that is literally as smart and as fast

accompaniment to already established mediums.

content as built to live not built to die – it should

as a computer in your back pocket. I would never

“Any great idea that already has a huge fan

have a long shelf life, not a short life. If you can

have imagined that. And people are watching

base is a ready made recipe for success for VR,”

think about VR in that way then you’ll be able to

content on it in a way that has changed and

she continues. “You take any great idea, create

monetise it, you’ll be able to be more strategic

transformed the way that we are delivering

content in VR, make it episodic, then people

about the content you put out and consumers will

content. It’s the Netflix model, the content that

are going to want to buy that. I think that’s

be able to download content at their leisure.

I want when I want it. That’s a transformation in

why Fantastic Beasts was such a success,

behaviour.

because of the legacy of JK Rowling, you have

today and knowing you can download another

“I think VR will be another medium that

“Imagine heading home on your journey

this huge fan base. There are very few projects

experience that is not necessarily the narrative

accompanies other mediums. I do not think it is

that have a fan base from the young right

that we know, maybe it’s a split narrative following

here to replace any of them, it will find its own

through to old. My parents and my Gran love

one of the characters like BB-8 in Star Wars when

place. The challenge that we have is what kind of

watching Harry Potter down to my ten-year-

he goes off screen, what happens over there? To

content will people want and what will they do? I

old who adores it. When we released the VR

me that’s what VR can add, it’s an element

definitely think it’s a very social platform.

experience, what I found creatively satisfying

of discovery!” n

LET’S TALK

stand 3.C59 (hall 3)

ibc@mediagenix.tv www.mediagenix.tv

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30 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Feature

Don’t Blink

Muki Kulhan, executive digital producer and managing director, Muki-International, looks at why broadcasters need to keep their eyes (and minds) wide open to the realities of mixed and immersive storytelling

C

At the recent MediaTech 360 Summit in June, I was lucky enough to be part of a panel that tied in both of those core propositions, but with the focus centered around immersive storytelling and sensory experiences, and how important it now is for broadcasters to really push boundaries and increase the value not only for their own brand, but most importantly, the viewers. We all agreed this industry has made a nice circle during the last 20 years and welcomed the change in how we create and consume. As someone who has experienced first-hand this shift in interactive production and audience engagement since the early ‘turn of the century’ red button stunt days at MTV, we knew that

lose your eyes. If you have them open

It’s now pretty common and often entertaining

a fun, retro game like ‘Ad-Break Pong’ in the

again and have continued reading

to integrate this type of alternative content in

middle of an MTV Hits commercial would work.

(I thank you in advance), you’ve

order to give a bit of jazz hands – In some cases

Why? Because it was simple. Nowadays we can

just blinked. As you repeat this action, all

quite literally, citing Jeremy Vine’s election night

craft simple storytelling in the virtual, 360-degree

around the world there are hours upon hours

soft shoe, hot-stepping around a virtual map of

space to take our viewers on a much deeper

of revolutionary new content being created,

the UK.

journey, such as the BBC’s amazing, emotional VR refugee story We Wait.

new production houses being started, new live experiences streamed, new code being developed and new hardware being crafted, all in the name of the fabulously modern and skeptic-defying formats that we call Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality.

‘Imagine watching the World Cup on TV, and being able to take a virtual penalty kick right there in your living room’

Within our worlds of broadcasting and

Next up, augmented stories – how, why, what next? The good news about AR is that it will allow us to show off our environments and tell a story in a different way, be it long-form, short-form or live.

production, the ‘Reality Family’ of content that

While tying in AR into a broadcast production

are siblings V, A, M, (and introducing, the new

is still in the early stages, it gives us the exciting,

cousin ‘S’, for Sensory Reality), are now more

However, if you put green-screened news

thrilling chance to go back to basics, and keep

than just a bunch of trendy buzz words that

studios to one side, the value propositions for

things simple and fun while we experiment.

hovered over us the last five years. They’ve

broadcasters to MR, VR and AR content are

managed to stand a mini-test of time to grow

still a bit like newly discovered gold mines.

is when a client asks, ‘What do I do?’ Starting

into a popular way to add value to many shows

Except that this time, the channels are no

with a big white blank canvas means that world

and brands, with fans now expecting different

longer the canary, but the gems waiting to

is yours, and anything can happen. The very

ways they can experience and connect with

shine, with some of the biggest opportunities

first thing to consider are the fans. Those lovely,

their favourite programmes. And, over the next

being around ground-breaking revenue

die-hard, sometimes brand-new, often curious,

five years, these formats are likely to become

and commercial areas (cue new term

attention-fickle, let’s-keep-their-attention-fans.

part of our required, core deliverables for major

‘interactive brand partnerships’), and the

Who are they, what do they want, how will they

productions around the globe. And that’s a

all-important, pure entertainment value

watch their content, and how will you educate

good thing.

that is clever storytelling.

them about it? What is going to make your UX

One of my favourite questions in the world

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August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

IMAGE SOURCE: YouGov Report: The Current and Future Market for Virtual and Augmented Reality (May 2017)

31

Feature

compliment the broadcast so much that it’s

environment, the story you can tell can invite

in real time? Why not? With the right production

a seamless integration, yet still stand out and

viewers to replace a flat screen experience with

tools, devices and marketing around it, these

be unique?

interactive, three-dimensional graphic overlay

are stories waiting to be created. It’s

The audience’s needs will totally dictate

layers, virtual ‘social reality’ communities and 3D

just a matter of taking chances and doing it,

how you tell your story, and which format you

geo-mapping for post-TX or in-between episode

and educating the masses as you go along.

choose, how you make it, and where you

experiences. As an extension of the show, an

showcase it. It’s also good to think about what

AR experience can enable fans to choose their

Quick reality cheat-sheet

the fans might not know, and create something

own adventures and create new ways to be

With change comes fear, and it’s easy to

so new that they become early adopters. Should

immersed, while also collecting valuable data

become quickly daunted. So, here’s a quick

you gamify your story or keep it a narrative

along the way, via gaze-recognition and virtual

cheat sheet. AR kit demos and kooky new

companion piece?

check-ins.

headsets are becoming more popular, but

Bilawal Singh Sidu, a creative technologist, mixed media storyteller and VR/AR evangelist based in India, summed this up perfectly in his recent article in Virtual Reality Pop when he wrote “It’s about figuring out what unique affordances each medium gives you, and

they are still in their infancy stages, crawling

‘AR will allow us to show off our environments and tell a story in a different way’

then natively storytelling to the strengths of

through a soft play hype curve and finding their legs. 3D mapping will come in handy for remote productions, and one of my favourite new buzz phrases out there for VR/AR/MR is ‘social immersiveness’. In fact, don’t be surprised to see the words social reality in

each medium and platform… Think 360-

the dictionary soon.

degree video in-browser versus HMD, mono

Imagine watching the World Cup on TV, and

versus stereo 360 versus stereo 180 versus

being able to take a virtual penalty kick right

The industry’s Big Kahunas

photogrammetric video versus light field,

there in your living room, immediately revealing

There are dozens of top-notch media folks who

game engine versus pre-rendered versus

your stats and accuracy, all at the same time

champion these formats, who, like me, do not

hybrid VR… It goes on and on, but know that

as it’s happening live! Or being mesmerised by

want to blink and miss out on this exciting time

whatever you choose to build – AR, VR, MR

Planet Earth II, then holding up your device to an

of change. I admire them for having the guts

– it’s all spatial computing and the learnings

AR feature that lets you go on safari with David

to do one simple thing: get out of that ‘safe

you undertake in one subset will undoubtedly

Attenborough, and have instant info about that

zone’, grow a pair of kahunas, and experiment.

transfer to the other.”

animal. And why not throw in some rock and roll

Just to see how their audiences will react to it,

to your augmented avatar and virtually stage

by pure trial and error. After all, it’s why we’re

push out and experiment with, especially as

dive during a live Metallica concert, jumping

in production in the first place, to share our

companion content to shows before, during

into a crowd of hundreds of other fan avatars all

passions with the rest of the world, literally and

or after TX. In this alternative, augmented

sharing the same experience in the same space,

virtually, of course. n

This is why AR is a good virtual boat to

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32 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Feature

preview IBC

As the broadcast and media industry’s annual trip to Amsterdam approaches, TVBEurope asked a number of market analysts and industry figures to take time out of their preparations and reveal their thoughts and expectations for IBC2017.

The potential of live streaming By Jake Ward, business development director, Groovy Gecko

L

it isn’t without its challenges, giving broadcasters

audiences for broadcast programming. Adding

yet another platform to think about, live social

additional live interactive content before, during

streaming is an innovative way to engage

and after transmission can help engage and retain

audiences. It can help augment broadcast

audiences. Live streaming into social media has

content or serve as a new form of advertising and

long been the domain of brands and marketers

brand engagement.

but now content owners are seeing it not only as

ive streaming has grown massively in

a channel to help promote broadcast but as a

popularity over recent years and the ability

Live streaming for broadcast

to stream live via social media platforms has

Broadcasters are beginning to see how live

begun to revolutionise the media landscape. Whilst

streaming increases engagement with larger

broadcast channel in its own right. Over the last year alone we have streamed Wayne Rooney’s Testimonial and the Professional

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TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

33

Feature Footballer Association Awards into Facebook Live,

with content when it offers them the opportunity

broadcasters the potential to engage a modern

content that you would normally expect to find on

to have a unique interaction or influence action

audience in a way simply not possible previously.

a standard broadcast channel.

somewhere else in the world.

I look forward to yet another year of innovative

Facebook itself has been seeking to create its

By combining the innovate technology of

new experience being created in which this

own programmes for the platform, having already

live streaming and the unrelenting power of

interactivity can be used to build deeper and

commissioned a number of programmes which

social media, live social streaming offers

more immersive experiences. n

will debut on the social networking site complete with advertising.

An engagement platform Around pre-recorded programming such as drama, live social platforms can offer a great way to drive engagement.

Hollyoaks for example has produced a lot of highly interactive content across a broad range of social this year delivering live Q&As while on location so that the audience can interact with the cast along with in depth discussions about issues raised on the programme. For sponsors there is a growing opportunity to use these platforms to co-create great content with the programmes they work with and thus increase the value of the partnership. As mentioned above, many companies are already using live streaming into social platforms as a branding tool. It is only relatively recently

THIS

that we have seen broadcasters use it in this way. The key always is of course to ensure the stream doesn’t seem like a glorified advert, but is instead something engaging and compelling. Alibi successfully demonstrated this with its Escape Room stream, Framed. Taking inspiration from one of its hit shows

Crossing Lines, the programme was shot and live

fans were able to take part. By commenting on the video or taking part in polls, they assisted the

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34 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Feature

The future is bright for HDR By Jeromy Young, CEO, Atomos

On the production side almost every current

our own high brightness panel technology. But

cinema camera is already capable of capturing

that brightness also needs to be controlled. We use

the extra dynamic range necessary for HDR. Even

complex algorithms, our own operating system and

so, many content creators are still confused about

a simple user interface to give cinematographers,

how to work with it. The weak link, until now, has

camera operators, director and producers a visual

n the past 12 months, HDR has finally gone

been monitoring the image from these cameras.

representation of what the final HDR image will look

mainstream. More and more affordable

How do you shoot HDR on set when the Log or Raw

like. With our tool set the user can easily examine all

consumer TV sets now come equipped with

image viewed natively appears flat and washed

aspects of an image to make sure they are suitable

HDR, mobile devices like the latest iPad are also

out? And how do you do it when your on-set

for HDR. Common mistakes like overly noisy blacks

going HDR, and an increasing number of film and

monitoring devices aren’t yet capable of displaying

or cut off highlights can easily be avoided.

television productions are now being mastered in

Dolby Vision or HDR10?

I

the formats. YouTube also launched support for HDR

We took the early lead by developing the

When we first saw HDR, we knew this would be a significant change to the industry. We worked

playback in late 2016, giving many independent

AtomHDR engine and launching out first HDR

with these makers early on to ensure that we could

content creators their first chance to use HDR. On

product back in February 2016. We use clever

make HDR monitoring work seamlessly with their

the standards side Dolby Vision and HDR10 both

mathematical formula to transform the Log

cameras. Proper monitoring means the artistic

continue to fight for the right to be the defacto

gamma image into one that is closer to what

integrity and creative intent of the content creators

professional standard, while the BBC and NHK have

people are used to viewing. The increased

can be maintained. I truly believe that with these

pushed on with their use of Hybrid Log Gamma for

brightness range at capture also means you need

affordable devices we will be able to bring HDR to

easier delivery to consumers.

to display more light. Unlike older monitors, we use

the masses. n

Why is an audio network solution worth considering? By Dan Page, brand manager, DiGiGrid

experiences. No recording engineer or producer in

core advantages of the SoundGrid-based DiGiGrid

a studio using a networked audio system wants to

products. Firstly, the flexibility of the network

be a network engineer, worrying about IP addresses

allows them to use any space for any purpose.

and subnet masks. It just needs to work, and offer

Without the finite limits of analogue tie-lines and

O

real advantages.

other traditional infrastructure, they can place

ver the last few years, audio networking

So why is a network solution worth considering?

the audio interfacing pretty much anywhere;

has become much more prevalent, with

A traditional infrastructure installation for a

all that’s required is power and a single network

multiple network formats supported by

recording studio would generally involve an

cable. Even if the building infrastructure doesn’t

many different manufacturers. However, there is

analogue cabling and multiple patchbays to

totally accommodate every possibility or option,

a definite lack of understanding or appreciation

achieve the desired flexibility. And if we follow

it’s neither difficult nor expensive to run in a single

within the user community as to why they should

this route, it can deliver the required functionality -

extra CAT6 cable. Any space can be repurposed

consider an audio-networked solution over a more

albeit for a price. Studio designers largely stick

for recording. For Fenix, this removes bottlenecks

traditional interfacing solution.

to this, as it’s a safe bet. It may not be cutting

associated with moving sessions between rooms,

edge, take advantage of technology

making space scheduling and studio bookings

networking offer largely similar solutions. Dante,

developments, or be particularly imaginative,

much easier to handle.

AVB, Ravenna and SoundGrid all deliver high

but it works. But facilities of this nature have to

channel count, low latency audio; from a user’s

be able to adapt and deliver cost effective

strive to succeed in today’s competitive market

perspective, choosing the most appropriate

solutions for their clients, and while the traditional

place, they should be looking for ways

solution may be based on a bit of product

route can work, it’s an expensive solution.

to offer their customers more flexibility, better quality

In many respects, the different flavours of audio

knowledge, the wider industry acceptance of

Fenix Studios, a multi-room space that

TAs studios, rehearsal facilities and media spaces

and more bang for their buck.

one format over another, or even a brand name

incorporates recording, mixing, editing and

they associate with. But from an operational point

rehearsal spaces, has gone down the network

cost effective answer to more flexibility and

of view, the choices can offer wildly different

solution route with great success, based on two

more productivity. n

32 33 34 35 36 37 TVBE August IBC_V2 JG.indd 3

Networked audio solutions offer exactly that; a

20/07/2017 15:23


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36

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Feature

The new productivity shift By Dr Andrew Cross, president and CTO, NewTek

IP makes a production part of a network

accessible from anywhere in the world. Multiply

infrastructure, which is connected to every

that by every company in the world that knows

computer and cell phone in the world, and

it needs to create quality video to communicate

more – think light bulbs and toasters! This is

regularly and be successful. With this type of

T

unprecedented in human history. Additionally,

productivity shift, the possibilities are staggering.

changing moments: the realisation of IP workflows

to produce exponentially more video while

transition efficiently and with as little disruption

for video.

maintaining high quality on ever-shrinking

to your current infrastructure as possible. Some

budgets. Nowhere is this more apparent than

industry proposals are looking at new camera

the advent of file-based workflows. And, at the

in live sports production, where demand for

connectivity standards, replacing one cable

time, many people thought moving away from

content is so prevalent that companies that once

with another. Some require installing super-high

a tape-based workflow was a mistake. Today,

produced ten shows a year are now being asked

bandwidth networks. Some require both. These

however, these types of workflows no longer exist.

to produce 100 or more.

are potentially expensive predicaments for

here are a handful of points in time when

SDI runs parallel to the infrastructure but cannot

an entire industry fundamentally shifts and

talk directly to other devices connected on a

The challenge ahead

pivots in ways that change it forever. We

network. IP can.

Now, the other big challenge facing the industry

are at the precipice of one of those rare industry-

In the past, one such relevant industry shift was

Similarly, the move away from SDI to IP-based

Professional broadcasters are being squeezed

Imagine the costs. Imagine what you have

with IP-based workflows is how to make the

producers that lead one to believe IP-based

workflows isn’t about a single specification or

to pay your crews. Imagine your best talent

industry-imposed technology shift like the move

getting away because you can’t pay them what

to 4K resolution. IP is a resolution agnostic format

they’re worth. Imagine trying to maintain quality

bi-directional IP-based workflow using the SDI

that is a fundamental change in the way video

standards with high turnover among your crews.

cameras you currently own and without changing

is produced.

An IP workflow allows you to maintain your

workflows are still a work in progress. But what if you could reap the benefits of a

or upgrading your network infrastructure? What

best production talent in a central location that

if there was a way to take what you already

to liken the difference between SDI and IP

receives camera feeds remotely from wherever

have invested in and transform it into a robust

to replacing one cable for another. This is

the action is. This is how production companies

and powerful IP-based workflow right away?

understandable. Essentially, they both connect

are scaling as the demand for high quality video

Without making any significant new investment

something to something else in a workflow.

continues to rise. It is already happening and it will

in anything?

But the difference reaches far beyond just

continue to drive demand for more efficiency on

connection—it’s like comparing a walkie-talkie

the broadcast side of the IP framework.

The traditional mindset of broadcasters is

to a smart phone.

IP workflows will continue to democratise our

It doesn’t seem possible really. But at my company, NewTek, that is a problem we’ve been working on solving over the last 10 years. We not

trade whether we like it or not. The advantages

only see the future but we believe we are making

The reality and the promise

are too numerous and enormous to mention here.

the future. And the future is far closer to fulfilling

There are several underlying reasons why IP-

Think of an individual producer who can only

this promise than most people realise.

based workflows will forever replace SDI for

afford four camera inputs today having access to

Big change is underway. It’s what I love about

video workflow.

more cameras than he could possibly ever use —

our industry and what we do. It’s never boring. n

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37

Feature

Handling complexity with workflow automation By David Schleifer, COO, Primestream

Qx IP | Qx 12G REAL-TIME EYE

C

omplexity is how we accomplish great things, but workflows that are complex are often prone to error. Broadcasters

are faced with the challenge of balancing the process of delivering creative results, against staffing and infrastructure limitations. Generally speaking, people are good at tackling complex tasks. In most cases, we document the workflow so that we can refer back, and we create a training plan so that we can bring in new people at a later date. This overhead will have an associated cost, and this is where workflows can be compromised, products rushed and creativity restrained. As we will see at IBC2017, technology is now readily available to solve these problems. Workflow Automation gives broadcasters a way to codify a workflow and relieve users from repetitive or difficult tasks. Errors can also occur in complex tasks as settings, metadata or other criteria must be entered in a consistent way, and processes need to be followed methodically to get the same results every time. In some cases, with metadata for example, you may not even know that you have been doing it wrong until you try to retrieve those archived assets at a later date. We define Workflow Automation as the ability to trigger and complete actions based on status, metadata, user action, location or other critical criteria. The systems that were designed ten years ago were very good at processing what were, at the time, difficult tasks like encoding. Today, those tasks can be accomplished with off-the-shelf hardware or products from different vendors. Now we need a solution to tie it all together, eliminate the tedious tasks and reduce the workflow complexity. Our experience has shown us that the best solution is a hybrid with the scripting/ automation tool defining the workflow, and with

IP, 4K/UHD + HDR Generation, analysis & monitoring With Qx 12G, you have fast access to all the essential test & measurement tools for hybrid IP, 12G-SDI and HDR environments.

Comprehensive HDR / WCG visualization and analysis tools include signal generation, a CIE chart, luminance Heat-map, and waveform / vectorscope.

An advanced IP toolset for SMPTE 2110* and 2022-6 offers Packet Interval Timing Analysis (PIT) for rapid diagnosis of issues like packet congestion. There’s also a Packet Transmission Profiler for stress testing video networks.

Additionally, Qx 12G performs fast, automated UHD and HD physical layer analysis, using RTETM (Real-time Eye) technology. It’s the ultimate hybrid test & measurement solution.

the ability to leverage third party components anywhere along the way. While broadcasters need the ability to manage

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technical facilities and changing requirements, their primary goal is creating great content,

*Upcoming software release

supplying it within the required formats at a viable cost. This is where Workflow Automation excels. n

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Business

Cutting the narrative f irst George Jarrett reports from EditFest London

On the plus side, television drama was revered

Editing for television

as ‘the new cinema’ and documentaries were

Richard Cox, whose many credits include Happy

soaring in their breadth of subject coverage and

Valley, Doctor Foster, and Last Tango in Halifax,

journalistic prowess.

talked about what happens in a new series.

Five years on, EditFest was about the pure

“The directors and editors want to be the lead,

hen American Cinema Editors (ACE)

craft of editing and the unique freedoms and

but for me it is a bit of a poisoned chalice because

first brought EditFest to London, debate

responsibilities that editors have to handle honestly.

the first episode has to set up the characters and

EditFest 17 gave us windows on editing for TV,

the story, and it does not really move along. You

W

was dominated by the move away from

film, the incredible volume of rushes that came with

cutting documentaries, and editing movies. A

have to create situations, and you have the execs

madcap digital shooting ratios, the flat lining of

wonderful finish to the day was 90 minutes in the

over it like a rash,” he says.

budgets and the associated reduction in allocated

company of double Academy Award-winner Pietro

editing assistants, and the cramping of schedules.

Scalia, ACE, who won for Oliver Stone’s JFK and

Execs were bomb-shelling editors with notes, and

Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. Renowned for his

(Sherlock, The Last Detective, and Doctor Who)

cuts left by long-gone directors were treated like

11 collaborations with Scott, Scalia has also worked

responded: “We wanted to give Sherlock a modern

yesterday’s cold coffee.

with Rob Marshall, Sam Raimi and Gus Van Sant.

reboot twist because it was a year since the last

On the matter of the latitude for changing something well established, William Oswald

years Base Station

Camera Unit

3G HDSDI 2x2 or 4x0 Composite Video 1x1 Audio 8x8 Genlock 1x1 Time Code 1x1 GPIO 3x3 Tally 1x1 Serial Data 3x3 Ethernet

TV Tech TOC 5/2017.indd 1

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39

Business series had gone out, plus it had a Victorian episode

in order to deliver what was essentially required as

“The thing you have to be careful of is that you

in the middle of it,” he says. “You just want to push

house style.”

don’t lose your audience. Do not lose track of

Oswald talked about getting a rhythm going in

where you are in the story. You need to be able

Sherlock, about a script full of fractured narrative,

to follow where everybody is, so there is a timing

sequences, global view street maps and chemical

and the use of story misleads. Why did he hold a

to how you bring the split screens up and how

symbols to take stories further. “You have to find the

very long shot on Sherlock? He says: “Benedict’s

long you hold them for,” Smith says. “I will cut the

form for each particular show,” he says.

performance is so strong, and then you don’t really

narrative first and pick the performances I like,

want to cut away at all, or only occasionally.”

and will put down a straightforward conventional

that form slightly further on.” Oswald used visuals like text, montage

Caroline Bleakly (Monarch of the Glen, Death

in Paradise, Lewis) expanded on the issue of

In an era when crews over shoot rushes, Cox

edit. I go back and ask myself where I can play

pushing on an episode of a long established show –

had a surprise when he worked on episode five,

about with it. I make the drama work, and then

Midsomer Murders.

series two, of Happy Valley. “Sally Wainwright did

try and spice it up, and bring the boxes in to make

one episode in series one, the first time she had

it more interesting.

“I was invited to join because (in season 18) an extra episode was commissioned and the two

directed, and then directed four episodes of

in-house editors were unavailable,” she says. “How I

series two. She tends to under shoot and I think it

for episode three while another editor got dailies for

approach joining a long standing series is to watch

is because she wrote it. She will often just do one

episode four. I got two or three weeks to put a cut

many episodes. What takes over is the individual

take,” he said. “I had to say please do more.”

together that I was happy to show to the director or

craft; as editors we cannot help but slightly change something or do it in a way that is unique to us.” On the ‘own skill’ issue Bleakly had to

John Smith, ACE, has more credits than just

“They cross boarded the series. I would get dailies

the execs,” he adds.

about any editor working. Leaving Las Vegas and

Editors are not asked to do dubs any more.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers being two of his

Rates are not rising, and budgets are not always

succumb. “The audience (of Midsomer) has

gems. Smith talked about the Fox reboot series 24:

ripe enough to allow any given editor to fulfill

certain expectations. It is a particular and slightly

Legacy, for which Kiefer Sutherland is a producer.

their original vision. The good news is that lots

heightened style of crime drama, and I had to

He cut six of 12 episodes, and met the editor, Scott

of new writers are appearing and masses of

learn that. It did not come naturally, because my

Powell, who had cut 60 episodes of 24. First up

drama series are being made. “TV is filling a gap

instincts were to make it a bit more visual and inject

was a discussion on how often Smith could use

in cinema. You can tell a story in much more

some pace. I had to undo that process in my head

split screens.

detail,” says Cox.

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Business

Steven Worsley,Tony Cranstoun, Sylvie Landra, Sian Fever, Jake Roberts, Job art Burg

The art of documentary editing

How do editors deal with biographical docs and

The session ended on the issue of moral compass.

This area of post involved ACE members Mathilde

archives? Chris King (Amy, Our War, Welcome to

King says: “The moment you make a cut it is a

Bonnefoy, Zoe Davis, Stephen Ellis, Chris King, and

Lagos) explained that an archive researcher would

conceit. If you accept that and think everything

Gordon Mason.

have done an initial sweep of everything out in the

goes, really you have your own ethical compass

media about any subject.

that is going to tell you how far you can or cannot

Ellis (Children on The Frontline, and Watani: My

Homeland) talked about day one. “It is like opening

“My assistants will have put all that into various

go. As long as you are not downright lying there is

up a new script. It is organic: you have to start by

bins,” he says. “I will watch stuff in a chronological

watching material. I don’t go in with any pre-

way, which may take two or three weeks. I then

conceptions of what it is about. To begin there is

try and get a feel about the story and what the

Editing feature films

no roadmap.”

structure is, what the life is about, and then I quickly

The speaking team here was Tony Cranstoun, Sian

start editing after that.”

Fever, Sylvie Landra, Jake Roberts, and Job ter Burg,

Mason (Hermitage Revealed, A Girl Called

Georgia) adds: “Some directors are more prepared

Ellis adds: “It is always worth spending as long as

honesty. It is a constant juggle.

who spoke first. His credits include Winter in Wartime and Black Book.

than others. Sometimes you have an outline script

possible before you touch the narrative. You

or a treatment they have written. Depending on

are just finding out what speaks to you in the

the subject, you may have a more detailed script

story. But quite often there is a lot of pressure to

I watch the dailies, I am figuring out a way to put a

of what they wanted to shoot.

start cutting.”

scene together. I try and do it by getting down to a

“Basically, you are given the material first and

Watching the material and breaking it down

“One trick I use is to cut without any sound. So if

bunch of selects.”

then start shaping it as to what you have actually

into assemblies was the agreed way forward.

He used clips to emphasise something editors

got rather than what they hoped they would get,”

Mathilde Bonnefoy had the biggest dramatic

often discuss: “We often talk about editing as re-

experience while cutting the film Citizenfour with

structuring scenes or sequences, or entire reels, or

director Laura Poitras about illegal mass surveillance

the endings of movies, while at the core of what we

Ellis is producing his own films so he can get

by governments. It was a strong story but lacked

do is usually trying to balance out a scene involving

involved on the first pitch. “There are a lot of walled

evidence; the two of them had 40 minutes of

the very intricate moments between people.”

gardens in filmmaking,” he says. “The editor has

quite solid rough cut when suddenly the director

been employed to come in on the first day of the

revealed she had received encrypted emails from

Mr. Bean’s Holiday) used three short clips to elevate

edit, and everything has been shot. I am not sure

someone claiming to have the proof they lacked.

the subject of shape.

that is a brilliant way of making films.”

That person was Edward Snowden, and Poitras met

he adds. Big issue one was getting involved much earlier.

All of the panelists agreed that editors should be involved from the off, and talk to cameramen

and filmed him in Hong Kong. “The footage of Snowden revealed the existence

Cranstoun (The Royle Family, Queer as Folk, and

“They have a kind of introduction like a very small set, then they have escalation towards a climax, and then there is a return to normality,

so from day one they know what the story is.

of mass surveillance by the US and UK governments.

which is pretty much the art thing for a film in

Editors must be there, even if they don’t start

Laura came with a trove of extraordinary footage

general. And they also encapsulate the theme

cutting a film for eight weeks. Davis talks to the

that completely changed the situation. It became

of the film within the scenes,” he says.

DoP if she can to find out what formats are used

a film about courage and we took Snowden as the

“Shape really interests me. I have worked on a

for the shoot.

centerpiece to show the tension of personal fate.”

lot of comedy and in recent years I have cut horror

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41

Business movies. And I find that the application that you

“The first scene in the town is what Taylor Sheridan

bring to comedy as an editor is very similar to when

was trying to say with his screenplay. Sometimes

favourite films – JFK, Gladiator, Good Will Hunting,

you cut horror. Comedy builds up to a gag, and

pace or perceived pace can be about context,

and Black Hawk Down, which included the most

horror is the same thing. It is a reveal,” he adds.

not necessarily about running time,” says Roberts.

difficult scenes he had ever cut from the point

Editors then are happily multi genre. Landra (The

Scalia took the audience through his work on his

of view of geography and positional awareness

Fifth Element, Fairwell my Concubine) observed:

Eleven movies with Ridley

regarding the talent, and some of the most

“I like doing pop promos, commercials and movies.

Moderator Carolyn Giardina, the technology editor

demanding shooting ratios.

I do not know if I have any style but what is of

with the Hollywood Reporter, asked Pietro Scalia

interest to me is to get the style of the story I am

how he starts to build a scene.

telling, whether it is 30 seconds, three minutes, or feature length.”

“It starts when I read the script and get a sense of

“Ridley shot it with 11 cameras. He would limit his shooting to maybe two or three takes a day. He decided to shoot a full action sequence in

what a scene is about. I usually make notes on the

one take with multiple cameras,” said Scalia. “So

script so when I get the material from the previous

eight to ten minute takes meant coordinating

as editors out in the real world is something you

day on the set it equates,” he says. “It is one of the

all the actors and having Steadicam operators

bring with you into the cutting room. Your sensibilities

best moments seeing the actual footage coming

running with the actors. There were fixed cameras,

come from your gaze.”

to life.

helicopter shots and A and B unit. I was getting 100

Cranstoun adds: “Your own personal experiences

Landra showed clips that summarised what all editors feel about floods of dailies featuring brilliant acting. She says: “Every morning I am happy to go back and see what they have done. There is a music to what actors are doing.” Roberts (Long Way Round, The Riot Club, and Mr.

Burberry) used clips from Hell or High Water to make

“It is about the complexity in shots, tighter schedules, and managing the large amount of dailies.” Pietro Scalia, film editor

his points, the big one being the value of putting scenes back as they were intended.

minutes of material, and it was vast to sift through.” The complexity of knowing where everybody and every chopper was in such big scenes required Scalia to ask the technical advisors for timings and character geography. “In real-time Ridley thought he was going to capture everything, that he had it all. Movie time is not real-time. You still have to break it apart. The

“It is happening in front of you. After my initial

difficulty for me was that I had all the material but

“We cut this film for six months and we went

viewing and my assistants have put the material

had to break it apart so I could be at different

through all the usual rounds of notes from execs.

together I make mental notes of what I react to –

places every time.” Understanding the geography

Then we had to go through three test screenings to

things I like about performances. Those impressions

was key. He said: “When we put the film together it

push our score up to Hollywood norms. And after all

are key to me,” he adds. “After I screen the dailies

was very hard to understand where everybody is so

that we had a locked picture but David Mackenzie

with Ridley I get some more input, but before I start

we suggested to Ridley that he should explain. We

and I went back into the edit suite and cut seven

building I read the script one more time.”

needed to get the audience back on track, so a

minutes out of the film,” he says.

When he does build, it is with large brush strokes.

Hell or High Water is a neo-Western movie in

“I don’t spend much time in the minute bits. I find

little scene with a blackboard signaling which team is where was shot.”

which two Texas Rangers await two bank robbing

the connections in the performances and the

brothers. After going back and savaging anything

hardest part is always those first two steps,” he says,

like it’s getting more, because of the logistics and

extraneous from the movie, the big issues for editor

“Once you get them in place you build off that.”

how it is shot. It is partly the amount of material,”

and director were about indulging themselves with

Scalia admits that watching the material is tough

Scalia concludes: “Over the years is seems

he says. “A lot of times I might have two or three

long scenes of Jeff Bridges and Marcus Hamilton

when shooting ratios are heavy. “I don’t just look at

cutting rooms active at the same time. One will

sitting and chatting as their characters wait, and

selected takes. I watch everything. I can see how

be in Southern France where Ridley lives; one will

some extraordinary improvisations by the Howard

the shooting day actually evolved, and the choices

be in London, and sometimes when we move

Brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) as they playfully

that the director and the actors have made,” he

to LA to do previews we might set up another

enjoy probably their last dusk.

says. “It’s valuable to know the material.”

cutting room.” n

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TVBEverywhere

Capitalising on the interim VR period By Ashley Cowans, VR producer, co-founder and CEO, VR City

I

As well as East City Films, I now run a company

It’s not necessarily all about the headset

called VR City, and for two years we have

experience. It might not work for everything, but

created emotionally transformative experiences

there’s also Google Cardboard, on the phone

in VR, and it all began with a documentary.

and on the desktop. Not hugely immersive

Witness 360: 7/7 is a film about a lady who

granted, but still a way of watching VR content

t’s Sunday morning after The Grand National

had survived the London bombings on 7/7 in

and Nic, the marketing manager from ITV,

2005. The film puts viewers in the shoes of this

and I are sat in the back of a cab making

lady, both on the day itself, where she was on

strongly suggest that one day we will all own a

our way to Liverpool station. The taxi driver

the tube carriage as the bomb exploded; the

good quality headset, but in the interim, I want

asks what we’ve been doing in Liverpool,

immediate aftermath when she realises she

VR to be part of people’s lives today. But there

and we explain that we’ve been producing

has survived; and the ensuing ten years,

is still a gap to be bridged, and I believe that

360-degree highlights of the Grand National

where she has suffered from flashbacks,

bridge is social media and VR in the form of VR

for ITV. Expecting a blank response, we got

PTSD and depression. The experience of

light, 360-degree video. Which brings me back

the opposite.

making this film opened our eyes to the

to ITV, our taxi in Liverpool and horse racing.

“Do you mean VR highlights? Will I be able

possibilities of VR linear filmmaking and how

and at least people in scale can be reached. Now, I’m a great believer in full-blown VR, and

Last year, ITV won the TV broadcast contract

to watch it on my Playstation VR?” asks the

it can connect people to others, inspire

taxi driver.“Yes, it will be up on YouTube in an

empathy and give them experiences which

years of being on Channel 4 and the BBC, it

hour” is our reply.

are otherwise simply not possible.

was back on the “people’s channel”. ITV spent

So Nic and I caught the train back down to

Keen to explore this, we followed Witness up

for all of the UK’s horse racing. So after 32

£30 million for the privilege and is dedicated

London, the video went live and we began to

with another documentary. This time we won

to bringing the sport to a much wider and

think that the world could finally be ready for VR.

a commission from Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Arts

younger audience, to make it the home of

Now, let’s wind the clock back by about two

Council and Site Gallery to make Indefinite, a

racing, and to bring people closer to racing

and half years. It’s November 2014. I was eight

film about the UK’s indefinite detention system.

than ever before.

years into running a production company called

This film premiered at Doc/Fest and again

East City Films, and I had just been introduced to

was very much about putting viewers in other

entertaining and inclusive, bringing well-known

VR as a medium for filmmaking.

people’s shoes to understand what they have

TV talent such as Ed Chamberlain from Sky Sports

gone through both physically and emotionally

and the greatest jockey of all time, AP McCoy

was confronted by a series of websites selling

in a world so few know anything about. The

to front the shows. But not only are the TV shows

GoPros hacked together, a rabbit hole of

recognition and reach of this film was vastly

already appealing to a wider audience, ITV are

stitching tutorials, and strange sounding software

increased when it was licensed to the New

really thinking outside the box when it comes to

by the name of AutoPano Giga.

York Times.

social media.

As I leapt into this exciting new world, I

I read all about Palmer Lucky and his $2 billion

As well as the above, we’ve work with brands

Its TV coverage has so far been fresh,

With its first major broadcast of 2017, the

sale of Oculus Rift to Facebook, discovered

and broadcasters such as the BBC, Lexus, RBS,

four-day Cheltenham Festival, ITV chose to

that the phone company HTC was launching a

Laphroaig, and Lagavulin, and even created an

commission VR City to create 360-degree

headset, and read various reviews of the Matrix-

experience with the Dalai Lama.

video highlights on a daily basis, to be posted

inspired Sony Morpheus. But what really stood

But even though these have all led to

on Facebook and YouTube by 8pm that

out to me was the Samsung Gear VR. Unlike the

the creation of some truly transformative

same day. The big focus being getting the

Rift, the Vive and the PlayStation, they actually

experiences, in my view there is one nagging

360-degree content out fast while it’s still

had a headset available to buy, so I headed

flaw – they haven’t been seen by many

relevant, and being accessible to as many

down to the Samsung store and bought a

people. No matter what people say about

people as possible, driving their engagement

phone and a Gear VR.

how VR is going to be huge at the moment,

to the sport and to ITV’s coverage. Full

not enough people own a headset today. 6.3

immersion via headsets was, in this instance,

still lives with me the most today. In Catatonic

million headsets shipped in 2016. Worldwide. 4.5

entirely secondary.

you are transported to an early 1900s insane

million of those were Samsung Gear VRs, three

asylum as a patient sitting in a wheelchair.

quarters of a million were PlayStation VRs and

video can be a slow process, far slower

Pushed around by a nurse and bombarded by

the remaining million or so made up of the Vive,

than conventional video, but in this case

a series of shocking scenes, and with the clever

Oculus Rift and Google Daydream.

we simply didn’t have that sort of time. With

The first film I watched in the Gear VR is what

combination of a physical connection between

As you may be aware, creating 360-degree

For year one these are okay numbers,

our knowledge of certain cameras systems

your real life seat and the wheelchair, along

especially when you bear in mind that the

and improved workflows, we accepted the

with extraordinary sound and images, you really

iPhone’s first year sales were around 6.2 million.

challenge and took a step into the exciting new

feel like you’re there. It was this film that led me

It’s all about how you spin it. But lest we forget

territory of fast turnaround 360-degree video

to expand what I do for a living.

there are more ways to watch VR content.

event coverage.

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43

TVBEverywhere Immersion

Head-mounted display “Top marks for ITV as lighter content appeals to wider audience”

Google Cardboard

Smartphones with gyroscope

360 desktop Player Licensed by

Reach With a crew of 12, VR City was at the Cheltenham Festival filming, stitching and editing on site to create three-minute highlights packages of each day. We had five carefully selected cameras, shot to a tight script and dropped rushes off to the edit as we went.

360° VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Filming up until 3.45pm, we then wrapped cameras and pushed on through to stitch and edit the highlights video by 7pm. This was then posted on ITV’s YouTube and Facebook pages at 8pm each evening, bringing fans an almost immediate view of the day’s racing from an entirely new perspective. The response was fantastic. Across the four days, the videos gained just shy of two million views on Facebook and YouTube. It was clear that this approach had started to fulfill ITV’s promise of giving a fresh audience the best seat in the house. So we’re pleased to say that all of this lovely success led us to the biggest race on the calendar, the people’s race, The Grand National. This time we employed eight cameras

our master of his craft Conan Roberts held it all

And much like our taxi driver I mentioned earlier,

and a publishing time of 10am on Sunday

together. At 11pm we had a finished 360-degree

if you had a PlayStation VR, Daydream, Gear

morning, giving us a little more time to stitch

highlights video for upload the following

VR or Oculus Rift, you might just have found the

and edit.

morning. Truly, for ITV’s viewers, this was closer

content in a headset too.

We had a link from Ed Chamberlain to open the video, Oli Bell who introduced the race itself

than ever.

This is the reality of the industry right now,

Once again, the results were astonishing as

and I am excited that ITV were bold enough to

from the track, and Matt Chapman who gave us

this single video racked up 1.4 million views in

recognise this. VR in television has the potential

the lowdown from the betting ring.

just 48 hours.

to be many things in the future, but for the time

We were bringing the traditional TV show that much closer with the 360-degree highlights. We had full support from Aintree, giving us

So what we love about what we did with ITV is we ignored the usual VR rules and created a workflow that enabled us to deliver

being, social media is a very valid place for it to reside. At VR City and ITV, we are looking at the

access to the weighing room, the parade

360-degree videos when the story was still

state of the VR landscape at present, investing

ring, the cherry picker, the follow car, the

fresh in people’s minds. We hit YouTube and

in its future but also focusing on the best way

commentator’s box and the track itself. And

Facebook very hard, meaning that nearly

to capitalise on the medium today. It’s a long

come 6pm the rushes from eight cameras came

3.5 million people saw unique footage from

journey to the mainstream for VR but ITV is

rolling in, the stitching went into overdrive, and

the racing.

taking a clever route. n

42 43 TVBE August TVBEverywhere_V2 JG.indd 2

20/07/2017 15:07


44 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Technology The Technicolor Experience Center has worked with scientists to create a realistic simulation of a colony on Mars

A new world inside a new world Technicolor is designing the virtual world that we will all live in someday. Neal Romanek reports

W

hile Elon Musk builds yet another space

“The more immersive the experience, the higher

Deploying content much closer to the viewer,

the data,” says Limor. “Streaming and being able

rather than from a server in a farm in Sweden,

to get it in the same way we’ve got OTT content

allows for a much more immediate interaction

is a challenge. At present, things are mostly in

with the user.

download format. “Delivering more immersive content brings a

“Bringing content closer to the edge will give you the opportunity to predict what content is

ship with dreams of colonising other

host of new challenges, but the first thing is the

necessary and then bring that closer to the users,”

worlds, Technicolor is creating a new

backbone of the data delivery has to be stable.

says Limor. “You need to come up with some

There has to be an efficient low-latency way of

intelligent ways to predict what the user is going to

getting it to the user.”

do. We want to come up with new ways to do that.

world right here on Earth. In June, Technicolor celebrated the opening of its Technicolor Experience Center in Los Angeles.

This problem of latency is one that is not easily

If we just treat immersive content like traditional

Technicolor has often been at the forefront of

overcome, especially with the file size arms

video, in a linear fashion, we won’t be able to take

imaging innovation, starting with its industry-

race, content always ballooning to fill the size

full advantage of what the tech has to offer.”

transforming three-strip film process in the 1920’s –

of its container. How do you get these gigantic file

the 4K + HDR of its day. But today, Technicolor

sizes in and out of a user’s living room – or phone –

experiences are going to push developers up

isn’t just trying to produce more realistic images,

or (insert future device here) instantaneously?

against the boundaries of technology – and of

it is trying to produce a more realistic reality.

Developing a new ecosystem

Increasingly ambitious, large-scale immersive

physics. How do you have a truly instantaneous

Cloud troubles

global interactive experience when you come up

The sheer amount of media data is the main,

against the limitation of the speed of light?

Josh Limor, VP of technology and ecosystem

and most obvious factor. You should also factor

development, Technicolor Production Services,

in latency – the more pixels, the bigger pipes you

More important than tech

leads the team dedicated to pushing the

need, notes Limor. Locating things in the cloud can

But all this capture and delivery technology will

boundaries of VR, AR, MR – and that synthesis of

be another hurdle contributing to latency.

be useless without the artists to drive create the

all three that we are all anticipating. “Immersive

“Our eyes are extremely sensitive to any kind of

content” seems to be the blanket term for now.

delay,” Limor points out. “So bringing things closer

it. If creative aesthetics and audience desires are

Gamers have the opportunity for increasingly

and closer to the edge will help. That’s the way

not in sync, the entire proposition of immersive

immersive experiences and we’re in the opening

we see the industry going as far as distribution. If

content will have just been an interesting, but

stages of mass 360 videos, but what happens when

you have the interaction occurring closer to the

essentially purposeless, technological exercise.

we reach fully immersive, interactive experiences in

home – or the viewer – you’ll have a much higher

a world of several billion media addicts?

quality experience.”

44 45 TVBE August Technology_V2 JG.indd 1

content – and audiences who want to experience

“What’s interesting is how this changes the whole platform of storytelling,” says Limor.

20/07/2017 09:48


TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

45

Technology “Typically a storyteller is able to control the

What is TV anyway?

Devices

perspective of the user at all times. You can control

The Technicolor Experience Center hasn’t left

The endless marvels of a virtual entertainment

focus with depth of field or sound or through other

behind traditional TV viewing. It’s just that the future

space still have to rely on some sort of delivery

tricks that we’ve learned over time. But now some

TV may not be what you think it is.

technology. Maybe a hundred years from now, our

of the companies we work with are exploring the

“We wonder if you can you enhance the

media will be directly beamed into our brain. But

question of what is an interactive story. We see

experience by adding virtual elements that are

for now, our principle delivery system is the mobile

people using not just traditional VFX platforms,

part of the story or allow the user to control content

device and old faithful – the TV. But what will be the

but also incorporating game engines. And game

in some way,” says Limor. “Can you use the wall

hardware that will be in every home/car to allow

engines can do things like “gaze directed”

space around the TV? Can you use the table

seamless access to this new virtual world?

storytelling, where you can insert content based on

in front of you as part of the experience of the

where the user is looking.”

content? We have projects exploring these and

Limor. “Remember when mobile phones were

New technologies are allowing for instantaneous

“We’re in a very nascent stage in this,” cautions

how you might start crossing over from a traditional

bricks, and comparatively impractical to how

switching of image elements. Limor points to the

flat world into this mixed world and how this mixed

they are now? We’re in the early steps of this new

The Mill’s “Blackbird” engine, which is a motion

reality world can give you much more than you

technology, and we have a long way to go in

capture system for shooting vehicles. The motion

can currently experience today.”

making this technology something that will be

of a car can be captured live with the Blackbird

The message that seems to be implicit in the

vehicle and instantaneously replaced with any

Technicolor Experience Center’s research is that

more of a part of our day to day lives.”

other car in The Mill’s library, using real lighting from

we shouldn’t think of the immersive entertainment

will adopt a virtual entertainment ecosystem, there

the environment.

While the jury is still out on how quickly people

space as bound to a fixed screen - or to a single

is no shortage of economic models that are being

“These kinds of crossover elements become a

device of any kind. We might be entering a period

considered. There’s no shortage of money to be

very interesting space,” says Limor. “Many think of

where screens might not be the carriers of images

made, experiences to be had, technology to be

NewBay 1 15/06/2016 14:59 MR as justConnect putting HP.pdf a virtual object in a room, but

at all, but will themselves be projections within a

explored in this new brave new virtual world ahead

it brings up more questions than that: what is that

bigger virtual reality, arbitrary frames for content to

of us. But is it something people really want? In the

crossover from the virtual world into ours, and how

appear in, all existing in a fully virtual entertainment

future they’ll be able to take a virtual walk around

do those two spaces interact with each other?”

environment – a living room within a living room.

the block to think about it. n

The global resource portal for media technology content C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

NewBay Connect now offers even wider content for its registered users, is easier to navigate and provides users with dedicated weekly newsletters offering a digest of the latest content and carefully selected content from its themes of the month. Why join NewBay Connect? Free and easy to use: stay informed with the latest industry white papers, opinion pieces, web seminars and case studies that affect your business and your career. •

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44 45 TVBE August Technology_V2 JG.indd 2

Editor Neal Romanek nromanek@nbmedia.com +44 (0) 20 7354 6002

Sales Manager: Pete McCarthy pmccarthy@nbmedia.com +44 (0)207 354 6000

Campaign Manager: Warren Kelly wkelly@nbmedia.com +44 (0)207 354 6000

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20/07/2017 09:48


46 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Audio

The sound of VR Back in April, Grand Central Record Studio launched its own VR audio division - GCVRS. Head of VR Mike Hill looks at the evolution, and everlasting potential that the trending medium offers in the audio sector

V

R has been waiting on the fringes

The applications of both mediums also extend

for decades. Reinvention followed

beyond advertising, brand-building and gaming.

reinvention, iteration after iteration, yet it

They can be used very effectively in specialist

has only been in the last couple of years that we

training within both the medical and military

have really seen the technology emerge onto

industries for instance, and can also serve as

the mainstream.

an incredibly engaging tool for education. At

It’s an exciting time, comparable with the way

GCVRS, we worked on a project for the Natural

the smartphone evolution dramatically changed

History Museum last year that brought prehistoric

how we communicate on mobile devices in

creatures back to life in VR whilst highlighting

the space of ten years. VR and 360-degree

to people the rapid increase in extinction

video are on the cusp of transforming immersive

with today’s wildlife. It seemed to be a huge

experiences across a spectrum of industries.

success in classrooms across the country, as

But what does it mean for the creatives?

children watched the content on smartphones

360-degree video and VR both have

within Google Cardboard headsets. The sound

incredible potential, and whilst they share

for these films is something we had a lot of

one huge similarity in offering the viewer a

fun designing, and it was one of the first films

full 360-degree perspective of the action,

on YouTube 360 to feature a fully trackable

it is important to note that they are still very

360-degree spatial sound mix.

much different mediums for brands, agencies

The initial roots of our new specialist division,

and film-makers to explore. 360-degree video

GCVRS, began taking shape over eight years

offers the viewer a further perspective on a

ago when our VR technical lead, Steve

story or environment that they are not used to

Lane, and technical director, Ivor Taylor,

headphones would always be required to

experiencing in 16:9 view. VR, on the other hand,

started exploring the possibilities of spatial

hear the full effect. Fast-forward to today

opens the door to interactive experiences that

sound and how it can and cannot be used

and it is impossible to ignore the ever-growing

allow the viewer to be part of the content itself.

in the mainstream mediums for advertising

presence of people watching content on

Both mediums are relatively new but if harnessed

and marketing. Spatial sound had limitations

their devices in their everyday lives; from

correctly, can be used as an extremely powerful

in its reach due to the fact that unless you

the daily commute to sitting by the pool

storytelling device.

had a swanky cinematic speaker set up,

on holiday, people are constantly watching

46 47 TVBE August Audio_V3 JG.indd 1

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TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

47

Audio

content on their phones/tablets and most

Having worked in 360-degree/VR alongside

generate this content. But as it turns from niche

importantly for us sound lovers, they are listening

production companies, agencies and brands

to mainstream, the demand for high-end

with headphones. This gives us the potential

for the past two years, we realised that

production is soaring. Therefore, sub-par audio

to create immersive spatial sound without the

while there is a significant difference in the

will no longer do. That is why we felt the time

need for users to have expensive multi-speaker

approach to designing spatial sound and

was right to fully launch our new division, GCVRS,

set ups.

mixing in a three-dimensional space, the

to specialise in high-end spatial sound design

importance of having an audiophile in charge

and 3D mixing.

An often frustrating part of working in audio post is that sound is an afterthought in the

of the sound rather than a programmer is

production process. It can be an incredibly

extremely important.

powerful tool when used correctly, but sound is not often given the chance to lead the narrative in traditional AV content. In the world of 360-degree/VR, this paradigm has been flipped on its head: 360-degree/VR gives sound just as important a role in the narration as the visuals. By using spatial sound (i.e. 3D audio, fully trackable

With full support across Facebook, YouTube and Twitter alongside the development of more affordable ways of shooting and

‘These new immersive mediums, no matter how they evolve, are here for the long run – and the race is on to see who will master them first’

watching 360-degree/VR, the consumer reach is expanding rapidly. And as the technology grows and grows, and the hardware improves, this reach will only get bigger. There is an obvious level of scepticism when something new pops up in our industry

within a full 360-degree environment) we not

and it will take time for creative teams to use

only heighten the immersion of the experience

the medium to its full potential. There are lots of

for the user, but we can also direct them to

new tricks to learn, new workflows to finesse, and

where the filmmakers want them to be looking;

Why spend lots of time crafting great sound if

whole new approaches in the way ideas can be

for example, audio cues coming from your back

the end result suffers because a sound mixer is

exploited but these new immersive mediums, no

left to help you turn around and focus on a

not implementing the final sound in to the VR

matter how they evolve, are here for the long

particular part of the storyline. Sound has never

build? With 360-degree/VR being increasingly

run – and the race is on to see who will master

played a more important role.

embraced, demand is clearly growing to

them first. n

46 47 TVBE August Audio_V3 JG.indd 2

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48

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com August 2017

Data Centre

Reanalysing the structural shift IABM DC recently published the 2017 Global Market Valuation and Strategy Report. Lorenzo Zanni, research analyst, IABM DC, takes us through the findings

I

technology infrastructure is taking place as the industry transitions to IP-based systems. Previous generational technology upgrade cycles typically involved the “forklift upgrade” of existing technology with a newer version of the previously

ABM DC, a joint venture between the broadcast

overall market revenues in 2016 were at levels last

deployed solution. Examples include the transition

and media industry vendors association, IABM,

seen in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

from black and white to colour, analogue to digital,

and Devoncroft Partners, has just published

and SD to HD.

the latest edition of its annual market sizing and

The shift continues

strategy report. The Global Market Valuation and

Looking behind the headline number, it’s clear

systems are still yet to be finalised, potentially

Strategy Report (GMVR) is the only industry-wide,

that the structural shift in the industry is continuing.

delaying projects, while raising concerns over

collaborative market sizing and forecasting initiative

The gap between products and services widened

interoperability in multi-vendor deployments.

that benefits from direct participation from a wide

further in 2016, continuing a trend that began

However, while IP has yet to translate into a major

range of media technology sector participants

in 2011. Revenues from hardware and software

spending driver for end-users, with all parts of the

– and covers the supply of both products and

products (and associated support revenues)

industry now working together on interoperability

services. It is universally acknowledged to be

represented 43.3 per cent of the total industry in

initiatives and with new, common standards and

the ultimate source of knowledge within the

2016, or $22.07 billion, up 0.9 per cent versus 2015.

codecs coming online, the move to IP-based

broadcast and media technology industry, widely

The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR)

infrastructures is beginning to gain momentum,

used by vendors and investors for benchmarking

of product revenues from 2012-2016 was -2.08

as demonstrated by end-users’ buying intentions

performance, identifying industry trends, preparing

per cent. Revenues from services accounted

revealed in the latest IABM End-User Survey.

for M&A activity and market entry research.

for 56.7 per cent of the total industry in 2016, or

Standards for IP-based production and delivery

$28.91 billion, up 3.3 per cent versus 2015. The

New business models

following a sharp decline of 6.3 per cent in 2015,

compounded annual growth (CAGR) of services

This generational technology infrastructure change

modest growth has returned to the broadcast

revenue from 2012-2016 was 0.20 per cent.

is part of a wider shift in end-user business models.

The headline finding of the 2017 GMVR is that,

and media technology market. The aggregate

There are a number of factors that are impacting

Technology is only one component of the business

revenues for all media technology products and

the market, many of which look set to continue

transformation process for media companies,

services in 2016 was $50.97 billion, up 2.3 per cent

over the next several years. Most profoundly from

and today it is a means to an end rather than

versus the previous year. Despite the increase,

a vendor perspective, a generational change in

an end in itself. Business model changes require

48 49 TVBE August Data Centre_V3 JG.indd 1

20/07/2017 09:46


TVBEurope

August 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

49

Data Centre enterprise-wide business transformation that

is in traditional hardware face a tricky transition

computing power, to playout and archive, all while

involves everything from operational practices to

period as they move to software, while funding this

prices for these services continue to become more

company culture. Where necessary, technology will

through the continued delivery of hardware to a

and more competitive.

be deployed to support the needs of the business.

stagnant or shrinking hardware market. However,

Therefore, suppliers should not expect media

for the same market size, profitability – the driver

revealed by the GMVR. For example, workflow

companies simply to replace older technologies

for investment – looks set to improve significantly as

orchestration grew in 2016, OTT managed services

with new versions of the same. Instead, they

media technology vendors continue to command

increased by 17 per cent, and the market for IP

should work to become an integral component

a premium for their industry-specific software

routers also continued to grow at a CAGR of 16.06

of broadcaster’s strategic focus on thriving in an

solutions, replacing low-margin hardware income

per cent between 2012 and 2016.

environment of changing consumer demands as

lost to IT vendors for their COTS platforms.

There are also significant market opportunities

“As we go through this structural shift and

power shifts to the viewers with an ever-increasing

transition gradually from hardware to software

New opportunities

and from Capex to recurring revenue streams, the

4K is also playing a role in the structural shift. While

GMVR reveals potential areas of high growth within

The new paradigms

delivery of content in 4K remains largely the realm

the industry for vendors to consider,” says Peter

As consumer media consumption patterns evolve,

of pay-TV operators and some SVoD providers,

White, IABM CEO.

and the number of OTT, streaming and SVoD

content creators are future-proofing their media by

services increases, broadcasters are demanding

capturing and post-producing it at high resolution.

number of media choices.

technology solutions that are more agile and

Another factor which continues to impact

“The static overall market reflects the change to new business models and the change in product mix that the market is going through at present.

flexible. Some of these solutions require the

the industry in certain regions is government

While the overall revenue potential of projects is

establishment of new pricing and revenue models

regulation. These include mandates for localised

reducing as software becomes the norm, their

for both buyers and sellers of technology products

content, issuance or delay of new broadcasting

profit potential increases because of much lower

and services. End-users are moving to Opex-based,

licences, auctions of broadcast spectrum,

material costs for vendors. We cannot compare the

software-driven business and technology models

and next generation broadcast standards.

present-day industry with the one we were in even

to deliver the agility and flexibility they need to

We are also seeing the continuing growth of

five years ago; this is a new market with plenty of

keep up with viewers. Vendors whose background

cloud-based solutions ranging from on-demand

opportunity for innovators.” n

s ar in

eb

W

Thought leadership meets lead generation Content creation, marketing, and delivery: TVBEurope offers the platform to educate our audience through your webinar. Our position in the industry will allow you to present your content via interaction with a global audience while generating qualified leads COntact details

Sales Manager Peter McCarthy +44 (0) 207 354 6025 pmccarthy@nbmedia.com

TVB Europe Webinar HP.indd 1

48 49 TVBE August Data Centre_V3 JG.indd 2

The benefits of a webinar include: • TVBEurope will act in the capacity of an independent facilitator and moderator • Topics of discussion to be set by the client or in collaboration with TVBEurope • Can take the form of either a Powerpoint presentation or a webcast • Unlike a 1-2-1 conference it is not restricted by geographical or temporal factors • Live Q&A session to encourage dialogue • Ideal for lead generation • Ongoing promotion following the webinar’s transmission

Senior Account Manager Richard Carr +44(0) 20 7354 6000 rcarr@nbmedia.com

Standard webinar marketing campaign utilising three separate NewBay Europe digital broadcast platforms: • 5 x e-blasts • Advertisement on each of the three sites: TVBEurope, TV Technology Europe, and NewBay Connect • Advertisement included on multiple newsletters sent across the three databases • All generated leads to be shared with the client • Follow up correspondence/reminders to all non-attended registrations • Permanent hosting on each of the three sites

US Account Manager Michael Mitchell +1 631 673 0072 mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv

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50

TVBEurope

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Data Centre

Live and kicking T

A new report has found that consumer appetite for ‘live’ content is still strong, despite advances in technology and widespread digital adoption. Dan Ison, head of media and entertainment at Deloitte UK, explains

Live radio also remains extremely popular. Against the backdrop of surging online music subscriptions and the widespread capability to create personal playlists, radio represented about 74 per cent of audio time in 2016, while on-demand music was only 17.2 per cent. In the B2B world, the live ‘experience’ remains popular. The events industry shows that global trade show revenue has risen every year since 2010 and is forecast to continue to grow, to generate around 40 billion by the end of the decade.

he concept of a fully virtual world has long

of all revenues for companies in the top 100. TV

The future: live forever?

been predicted. Digital capabilities have

production and distribution was also the most

But what of the future? Will live entertainment

been improving exponentially over the last

profitable sub-sector, generating combined profits

continue to monetise strongly? Will TV and radio

of £2.6 billion, up 57 per cent year-on-year.

continue to be consumed predominantly live?

few decades, and, with the dawn of the smart phone ten years ago, many felt that it would not

Live content plays a significant role in the

be long before we gave up physical interactions

continued financial success of television. The

vibrant, as people attend events for a wide range

entirely, favouring virtual workplaces and

majority of TV is viewed at the time of broadcast,

of reasons, some of which cannot be replicated

‘socialising’ with other digital avatars online.

rather than time-shifted. Many fans need to

digitally, such as socialising together, often in

watch their favourite sports team play live and

pleasant locations. When the social, relationship-

across business and leisure seemed to compound

uninterrupted – the age of the smartphone and

and trust-building aspect of trade fades, then

the view that we were about to immerse ourselves

notifications means that it is very difficult to be

events may be able to migrate online.

into a virtual world. In the world of business,

cocooned from finding out the score of the big

sophisticated high-resolution video conferencing

game. Broadcasters know this, of course, and

as it continues to deliver memorable experiences

suites were being rolled out, enabling participants

are therefore willing to spend big on the rights.

that cannot be easily replicated in digital format.

to feel as if they were in the same room as those

The 2016/17 season was the first of a new Premier

on the other side of the table to them. Webinar

League broadcast rights cycle, and resulted in an

provide one indicator about the prospects for live

attendance and video calling were increasingly

average increase in central distributions of around

broadcast content in the future. Most broadband

becoming common practices.

45 per cent to each club.

connections in the UK should be capable of

At the same time, technological advances

In the entertainment sector, music, TV and film streaming has steadily grown in popularity inline with improved connectivity and device evolution. Catch-up TV and on-demand services were proving popular for busy consumers that do not want to be tethered to TV guides. Yet, despite all of the technological

Demand for live business events should remain

Live entertainment should remain strong, as long

For broadcast, the current demand for radio may

supporting streaming audio. Yet demand for live

‘Humans are social beings, and it may always be the case that people use technology to enhance live consumption – not to avoid it’

advancement, demand for live content lives on.

radio via platforms built for on-demand remains strong. The majority of requests (between 60 and 70 per cent) for iPlayer Radio are for simulcast. But it is the slew of recent announcements relating to TV offerings that is perhaps most telling for the future demand for live content in the years to come. A multitude of different digital platforms

People still like to attend live events, whether in a

have recently announced investments in reaction

business or entertainment capacity. And perhaps

More than half of Premier League clubs’ revenues

to and in anticipation for intrinsic demand for

more importantly, live content remains valuable

in 2015/16 came from broadcast – just over £1.9

scheduled TV.

and commercially lucrative. Deloitte’s recently

billion – a figure that has essentially doubled

published Media Metrics index – a ranking of the

since 2008/09.

For instance, Amazon has recently launched Amazon Channels, a suite of live TV channels

top 100 largest UK media companies – found

Sport is not the only driver for live content

featuring content from Discovery, Eurosport, MGM

that three of the largest media sub-sectors (TV

consumption, however. The latest must-watch

and others; Twitter signed 16 live-streaming deals,

production and distribution, information publishing

episode of your favourite TV drama or reality TV

spanning concerts, sport and drama; YouTube

and events, and advertising) all generate much

series has to be consumed live and uninterrupted.

offered several Champions League matches;

of their revenue and profit from the consumption

Viewers often ‘second-screen’ in order to react

and Facebook will broadcast 20 live baseball

of live content. These three sectors collectively

to the events they are watching live on social

games and 46 live Mexican football matches to US

generate 81 per cent of the revenues of the top

media channels and discuss with friends through

audiences in the coming season.

100 media companies in the UK.

instant messaging platforms. Being able to say “I

Live, in the digital era, would appear to still

saw that” or, “I was there” is still highly valued in

be alive. People still go to trade fairs, business

TV on the right channel

the market. It’s a similar story in the world of music.

conferences, live music gigs and the theatre.

When looking at the top 100 index, television

In 2015, the total live music audience reached

Catering for this demand will have to remain

production and distribution was the largest sub-

27.7 million, generating £904 million in revenue.

core to the business strategies for many media

sector in terms of revenue (£40 billion), average

Live music audiences are growing every year, and

companies. Humans are social beings and it may

revenue per company (£2.1 billion) and also

are boosted by streaming services, rather than

always be the case that people use technology to

accounted for the largest share (41 per cent)

replaced by it.

enhance live consumption – not to avoid it. n

50 TVBE August Data Centre V2 JG.indd 1

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Recognising and rewarding the achievements and innovations in product and service development

ENTER NOW!

ENTRY DEADLINE: 4TH SEPTEMBER 2017 www.newbaybestofshow.com SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: 8th September WINNERS ANNOUNCED: 18th September Brought to you by:

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TVBE August 2017  
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