November 2016 I Issue 6 I Volume 36
AIMS Year One
Best Of Show
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2016: WHAT THE FLUX! From the beginning of 2016, we were assaulted by the spectres of the unknown. IP, VR, HDR, 4K. We knew these things were coming, but when and how – and why – were still open questions. Video on demand continued to be a runaway catalyst for change too, with the Netﬂix and Amazon juggernauts dragging the TV industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century. And then there was that little referendum put to the British people, with an outcome that shocked even its supporters. As a result, the British pound tumbled, producers began to second guess their schedules, post houses starting worrying that half their staff was going to be sent back to Europe. 2016 was not a year of stability. The universal watchword was “ﬂux”. Then there’s the future. Scientists have said that CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be kept at 350ppm if we hope to maintain the Earth we’ve been accustomed to living in. This year we permanently crossed the threshold of 400ppm. The vision of a thriving media business is laughable if a global threat like climate change remains unsolved. Given the TV industry’s inﬂuence in mobilising and educating people worldwide, we at TV Tech Europe feel an urgency to understand the causes and effects of climate change and to act aggressively and responsibly based on that understanding. In this issue we feature a piece by Aaron Matthews, head of BAFTA’s industry sustainability programme, who serves us some hard truths. What we have learned in 2016 is that our industry is amazingly quick to adapt to, learn from, and – especially – to capitalise on changing priorities. There’s no change without opportunity, and I’m convinced that opportunity will be the watchword for 2017. See you there!
Neal Romanek Editor firstname.lastname@example.org www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
BEST OF SHOW WINNERS Profiles of the winning products in our IBC Best Of Show awards
INTERVIEW: LOUIS HERNANDEZ, JR. We talk with the head of Avid about his revolution in creative collaboration
26 2016 REVIEW: VR Did VR deliver on the promises made at the beginning of the year? Or is it another 3D?
Award-winning director Ang Lee invents a new type of filmmaking with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
As the Alliance for IP Media Solutions approaches its first birthday, members share their experiences
INVENTING THE ‘REALIES”
ONE YEAR LATER
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
Broadcasting for our lives
Floods in Österreich, Austria in July of this year
Scientists tells us that climate change is the greatest existential threat humans have ever faced. So what is the TV industry going to do about it? BAFTA sustainability manager Aaron Matthews throws down over the future of our industry - and our planet
s my colleagues and friends will attest, I am an upbeat person. I am, however, unable to describe the severity of the issues climate change will create for us without using expletives. So instead, I will merely describe the challenges we can expect before the end of the century: a global temperature rise between 2 and 6°C, bringing severe food shortages, extreme weather, mass extinction and global climate refugees estimated to number 200 million by 2050. Fuck! This almost certain destiny is unavoidable without the kind of effort which has so far proven to be beyond our capabilities. THE INDUSTRY RESPONSE Our industry’s response to the above must be twofold. We must immediately reduce our carbon footprint, and we must also choose the role we want to play in making sustainability a societal norm. To date, a handful of editorial pioneers have shown us what cultural leadership can look like, but broadly speaking, our output does little to promote a low carbon lifestyle. “The trick to success here,” suggests Winterwatch exec Tim Scoones, “will not be worthy green programming, but bringing
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
sustainability into the mainstream and making it culturally normal. We’ll make that a reality with open, industry-wide discussion.” On carbon reduction, the industry has broadly sought to identify the footprints of individual productions whilst paying little attention to the overall impact of our buildings and supply chain. For me, this lack of oversight of the broader agenda is the elephant in the room. We are not going to be able to recycle our way out of this one! Credit where credit is due, some broadcasters are stepping up to the plate on carbon reduction. Sky smashed their 25% reduction target. I have every confidence they will reach a new ambitious 50% goal. Conversely, other broadcasters and manly film studios have failed to produce environmental action plans that address the root of the issue. Considering what is at stake, it is simply not good enough. FAILURE AT THE SENIOR LEVEL The albert carbon calculator seeks to lead the industry to a carbon friendly future. The initiative has been well received by industry observers: “It is very good indeed to know that there is a project preserving our resources, those which would otherwise have been replaced by yet
more depredations on the natural world,” says broadcaster and environmentalist David Attenborough.
“We are not going to be able to recycle our way out of this one!” Part of albert’s aim is to identify green suppliers, another is to encourage a realistic conversation about the challenges we must address as an industry. Supported by an army of production managers we have done some great stuff on production. Our track record of creating a more strategic approach at senior levels, however, has been far from fruitful. Diary cancellations have been frequent and industry players have been hesitant to contribute modest sums of money to support the work. PARIS OPPORTUNITIES Quite remarkably, we have a ‘get out of jail free’ card. The Paris Agreement concluded with a partially legal binding framework, tasking each nation to over-deliver on a reduction strategy to be reviewed every five years. An international agreement of this kind has never been reached before and could pave the way a rescue. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
However well executed, the plan doesn’t outline a suggested role of each sector. It is our responsibility to interpret and act on that ourselves. I believe we must collaborate and take the next steps, which are actually achievable: 1. As individuals we must state publically that, whatever it takes, we all want a world where warming is kept below 2°C (or less) 2. We must come together and look at the full value chain of content production, distribution and consumption, assess what is possible and what our priorities should be and move the whole industry to 100% renewable power as an absolute priority 3. We must improve our carbon literacy rather than refusing to engage for fear of uncovering inconvenient environmental truths in our professional and personal lives 4. Crucially, we must decide the kind of editorial cultural leadership we would like to show our audiences Having recently surveyed the industry, gaining responses from CEOs and PMs alike, it is clear
that individuals across the industry want action. 97% of our survey respondents want more action, citing access to green energy and a change to editorial portrayal of climate change as priorities. But intention must translate into action. Talking about this inertia is ‘green dragon’ Deborah Meaden, “People shouldn’t feel tasked with behaving well. They need to be supported in understanding the obstacles we are all facing and then get on and do it. The reality is that those who don’t will risk feeling irrelevant.”
“Sky smashed their 25% reduction target. I have every conﬁdence they will reach a new ambitious 50% goal” “We are looking for our suppliers to support us in our corporate sustainability objectives,” adds Bal Samra, managing director of BBC Television, “The wheels towards an environmentally responsible BBC are in motion.” If, however, we continue to solely focus on
mapping the carbon footprint of our productions we will literally report ourselves into the grave. If we fail to inspire audiences to laugh, cry, gawk, and at the very least, understand climate change, then we will have let slip what is, in my mind, Europe’s largest hope at mounting an appropriate response. This is not polar bears, it is in fact the only way to do business if we seek to preserve human culture and society.
“It is clear that individuals across the industry want action” If you, like me, feel that we could be doing more, then you are not alone. We have collected signatures from our most senior industry peers who recognise the need for change. They’ve pledged their support, but action must follow. I believe that climate injustice is the greatest wrong of our time, we must think of it as we do slavery and suffrage. These historic atrocities were overcome, not by governments, but by grass roots movements, and this gives me great hope.
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
IP Reality Check Before the industry stampedes into an all IP future, Peter Schut, CTO of Axon, thinks it’s time for a reality check.
hilst the transition to IP is inevitable, it is clear that the road ahead is not without pitfalls and distractions. Customers and manufacturers alike face a steep learning curve as we move into an IT-centric environment. For those trying to navigate their way through this shifting landscape, it’s time for a reality check. IP IS NOT THE END GOAL At the time of writing this article, it could be argued that today the barriers to IP outweigh the opportunities. Currently, IP is less reliable than SDI, more expensive and harder to control. In its basic format, Ethernet does not work in a broadcast environment as it is built around a best-effort delivery strategy. However, there is no doubt that it will become the backbone of our industry: with protocol enhancements, it will prove to be more convenient, more flexible and eventually cheaper. However, what we should not forget is that IP in itself (or Ethernet, a safer name as Layer 2 is not yet dead) is not the final goal – it is a path to the next stage. As an industry, we must prepare for a future where data centres will manage the vast amount of the processing we will need to perform, and these may not necessarily be located close to the action. These data centers will be limited to Ethernet I/O and this makes the future backbone of our industry Ethernet-centric. It is this end goal we need to keep front of mind. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL Whilst our future lies in Ethernet, what is becoming increasingly clear is that every application needs its own specific technology – one standard does not fit all - and this is leading to confusion amongst broadcasters and manufacturers alike. Taking a snapshot today, it looks like TR03 will become the production standard with separate elementary streams for video, audio and data. It will be a timed and low latency format. ST2022 is most definitely a contribution standard. It has all data in one stream - audio, video and data locked together in one. ST2022 is nothing more than packetised SDI with embedded audio and data. This is good for contribution applications where you do not want to mess with individual payloads. Playout, however, is a completely different game, supported by different formats - from SDI,
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
uncompressed IP to files. The result is transport streams with highly compressed data payloads. They could live in an ASI stream and move increasingly into Ethernet all the way to your home. ELVIS (SDI) HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING How does a broadcaster start to plan the move from SDI to IP? Let’s be realistic here. Our industry has a tendency to carry old formats for decades (we still sell composite video products) and the move to IP will not change that. SDI is not dead, despite the marketing hype. It may now be viewed by many as a legacy format, but SDI remains a mature and reliable interface that our customers use and trust. Over the next 5 years we will slowly move into the IP domain, but for today we must navigate a hybrid world with its center of gravity in SDI. Whilst SDI and Ethernet will live side by side for the foreseeable future. EARLY ADOPTERS’ PAIN IS OUR GAIN Every step-change relies on early adopters, but broadcasters brave enough to lead the charge towards IP face the same problem: a lack of native IP products. Whilst their new infrastructure cores are based on IP, the surrounding environment is still dominated by SDI. Some are now reintroducing SDI routing because IP routing is simply not maturing fast enough. The great thing about these early adopters is the experience they provide to our industry, to both manufacturers and users and for that we should be grateful. Somebody has to start, and they are doing it. They are dealing first-hand with latency and control issues, bullying along the major IP switch manufacturers as they struggle to overcome the challenges of delivering a completely different approach to IP routing. Their pain now will hopefully be our gain in the future. THE BATTLE FOR OPEN STANDARDS To move forward we need a commitment to interoperability and open standards - a few standards to keep us in business but not so many that it becomes too expensive to be commercially viable. Whilst the debate on standards ensues, manufacturers must perform a balancing act, choosing to respond or bide their time.
Schut: “Every application needs its own specific technology – one standard does not fit all”
Support for ST2022 is a case in point - the first step taken in the IP domain of any serious magnitude. As previously mentioned, this standard is designed for contribution/long haul applications. Whilst Axon has worked closely with the EBU, VRT and industry partners to deploy 2022 in such initiatives as the LiveIP project, from the outset we saw the limitations of the standard in live production applications. Whilst we have championed AVB (Audio Video Bridging) as an effective alternative, the industry continued to focus on ST2022 for live applications, turning a blind eye to its limitations. Now the blinkers are off and TR03 is the new kid on the block, with a technical recommendation in draft to become ST2110. I believe TR03/ST2110 will be a much better standard for live applications, but there is still some way to go. AIMS on the other hand is an organisation that wants to make sure our industry is backing a single horse instead of hedging our bets on every horse in the field. With over 50 members including Axon and other major players, AIMS has become the body it was intended to be, driven by a clear mission to eliminate fragmentation and maximise hardware and software interoperability. WHERE NOW FOR AXON? Axon’s strategy remains both customer-focused and pragmatic. We are committed to delivering products and hybrid solutions that the industry needs as it moves from SDI to IP, providing control for these products with our latest NMOS-ready Cerebrum software platform. Axon remains agnostic, working on the next generation of products where Ethernet is the default and SDI is finally put to rest with the respect it deserves. Though we all have hope for the future, currently IP is less reliable than SDI, more expensive and harder to control. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
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ANALYSIS - BREXIT
The big breakup During the 2016 London Film Festival, the BFI convened a discussion panel of industry leaders to explore the effects of the British exit from the EU and brainstorm strategies for coping with it. Neal Romanek reports.
ow will Brexit affect the British and European media industry? A discussion panel hosted by the BFI tried to answer the question no one wants to think about. Guests included Peter Dinges of the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Gael Egan producer at Potboiler Films, Alex Hope, MD of VFX house Double Negative, Stan McCoy, MPAA president and MD for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Dimitra Tsingou, COO of Protagonist Pictures. The panel was moderated by Isabel Davis, head of international at the BFI Film Fund. BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, in her opening remarks, drew a picture of a BFI working at full tilt to deal with the upheaval of the Brexit vote: “On the morning of Brexit, by 7:30, I had received two really important emails. From Peter Dinges from German and from the CNC in France.”
“If we focus too much on economics, then we will lose the main thing, the audience” EUROPEAN SPLIT The first concerns raised by the panel were about the practical impact Brexit will have on production. Double Negative’s Alex Hope pointed out that 29% of his company’s staff is European. “What we don’t want is to have freedom of movement suddenly turn off,” he said. “It will restrict the growth and the potential of people in this country.” Peter Dingus oversees the health of the German industry and has never seen immigration as negative: “In Germany, we have nine borders. We try to profit from this situation. One of the ideas is to build up our tax relief system. We make sure foreign countries know how to build up our industry.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
“I agree without the freedom of movement we will have serious damage to the industry without Europe.” Creative Europe is an organisation that has been essential to growth and development in the media industries all across Europe. With UK’s future relationship with the organisation in question, UK production companies are worrying about the potential impacts, including funding. “We made a three million pound film this year, and we had to make one million in presales,” said Potboiler Films’ Gael Egan. “We could not have done it if we couldn’t guarantee to our European partners that we were going to make a European film.” While some have tried to assuage anxieties by pointing out that a British exit from Europe might not take place perhaps for several more years, producer Egan said the effects are being felt now. “One thing you have to bear in mind is how long it takes us to make a film. We’re planning a film now that’s going to be made next year or the following year. One thing we’re facing is the issue of ‘what are things going to look like in three years time?’ Certainty is one of those things that every industry needs.” CURRENT FLUCTUATIONS The economic repercussions of the Brexit vote are, of course, one of the primary concerns. “We have already found some difficulties with currency fluctuations,” said Protagonist Pictures’ Dimitra Tsingou. “That has had an impact which will need to be addressed.” The MPAA’s Stan McCoy, the voice of US interests in British production, said that US investors will continue to see an opportunity to make money in the UK: “We’re excited about
the great movies being made in the UK. US studios have put about five billion pounds into making movies in the UK in the last 5 years. We see that as an investment and a vote of confidence. Whatever the circumstances, the US studios will be looking to capitalise on that investment and looking to see that the UK is a moneymaking market.” McCoy added: “I’m fundamentally an optimist. If you look at the reasons why all that investment was put in the UK, the fact that the UK was in the EU was not at the top of the list.” IT’S NOT JUST THE ECONOMY, STUPID Peter Dinges underscored a conviction that film and TV have an inherent value that extends beyond economics. “We shouldn’t focus only on economic issues. If you talk markets, markets, markets, you shouldn’t forget the thing that is unifying us. Our values - democracy, freedom, peace. We should keep this in mind. Film is a mighty tool. it has a lot of influence on opinion building. We have to make films that travel across borders. We have to share opinions with each other. If we focus too much on economics, then we will lose the main thing, the audience. We should remember that Europe is bigger than the European Union.” Gael Egan agreed: “One of the causes of Brexit was a huge dissatisfaction and unhappiness in the UK population. We should be looking at why, and see if we can make a difference with the stories we tell. We are constantly - and rightly - accused of not being a diverse industry.” The discussion made clear that there is no silver bullet in resolving Brexit. As Davis said in her closing remarks, “This feels like a conversation we should be having on a regular basis.” www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
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IBC REVIEW - INTERVIEW
Avid at the centre When Louis Hernandez Jr. took the reins of Avid in 2013, he advocated an open-source revolution in workflows and opened the door to industry input via the creation of the Avid Customer Association. Some viewed the new Avid with caution. But with most vendor profits flatlining, the uptake of Avid’s Media Central platform grew by 47% in the second quarter of this year. Neal Romanek spoke with the Avid CEO about the company’s strategy for success and the outlok for the media industry. We are in a volatile time for the media industry. What are the biggest challenges for content producers and the companies serving them? As tools have become cheaper, content has exploded. As a result there’s a lot more competition in the media business. The good news is you can reach more people now, but the bad news is the economic model for reaching them is quite different from how it used to be. Content consumption has gone up about 50% in the last ten years, which is an amazing statistic. Not many things in our lives can do that – we run out of time. Humans want to connect through storytelling. The problem though is that the 50% increase in viewing doesn’t match the now 400% increase in content choices and availability.
“That wrenching noise you hear is those big gears that used to be so proﬁtable trying to transition into a much more distributed economic model” I’m on the road 80% of the time, talking to clients mostly. Those running any of the major media companies always tell me some of version of the same problem. The need for quality is more intense than ever because the dramatic increase in content has created so much noise in the system. And you also have to make that content more available to more channels and devices which costs money, and yet the ad conversion rate is so much lower. Everybody feels like they are doing a lot more for a lot less. That wrenching noise you hear is those big gears that used to be so profitable trying to transition into a much more distributed economic model where you have to be a lot more efficient. How do you participate when the economic model is changing radically and still be relevant to your community?
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
What has the role been for the Avid Customer Association, now that the organisation has matured? Many people at first thought the Avid Customer Association was a vendor-specific organisation. But it is strategic leaders in the media industry trying to navigate together. We’re up to about 6000 members now. The reason the Association has become so vibrant - and some people, not us, were shocked by it – is that so much is changing. I felt like somebody, anybody, needed to step forward and attempt to lead this. Also, I’m a software person. I’m not a hardware person. And that’s why we’ve built things the way we have. What do think of the work of AIMS and other standards bodies? We’re AIMS members. We think AIMS is a great idea, but the issue I sometimes have with all these organisations is that standardising proprietary tools is not your answer. I think you’ll go from 25% cost of connecting down to 15%, which is good – but it should be zero. And if we all just used open platforms we wouldn’t need to have this discussion This industry is dealing with its heritage and is trying to standardise because it’s a business pressure. But if we were white-boarding it, we wouldn’t have all these blocks, it would be a more seamless connection. These open standard-based systems are prevalent in many other industries and also prevalent at earlier stage companies in the media industry. Avid is a member of all those standards bodies – about 38 of them, which is part of the problem. One of those standards bodies is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. That’s not a good sign to me.
“The intention wasn’t to make it harder to become a storyteller, but that’s actually what has happened” More people than ever are able to make and distribute content. But is this democratisation of media paying off financially? The democratisation of the creation and consumption of media doesn’t mean there has been economic democratisation. In fact, it’s the reverse. The yield term has gotten tighter, and fewer people make most of the money. So it’s an important distinction. If you think about music, the top 1% of musicians make almost 70% of the revenue. Fifteen years ago, it was more like 40%. But www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Louis Hernandez Jr. addresses the Avid Customer Association at Avid Connect, its annual pre-NAB event
the amount of content and choice is dramatic and the revenue allocation per is much more fragmented. And that’s true in all forms. So I want to make sure we don’t confuse the fact that there are more ways for you to consume and think that equals the economic reality. I actually think that the reason you’re seeing such intensity, is if you’re not at the top of the yield curve, you’re having a tough time making it. Maybe you’re in a category of company where investors don’t mind that you’re losing money right now. Or you’re on the other side of the yield curve and you want to optimise what you’ve created. You see this in the film industry. The thinking used to be that movie studios would have a portfolio approach. You’d have some indy films and some mid-market films and some big budget films. That’s pretty much gone. It’s all big blockbuster films for the major studios. Why? They’ve learned through this yield curve model that success with having a known brand with known music, known actors and a known director is much more likely and the adjusted failure rate is much lower. You don’t have a lot of small films from the majors anymore and a lot of them have just shut down those indy brands. Music’s even worse. It’s become much more concentrated, in terms of who makes money. That’s the economic
unintended consequence of the greater connection of creator and consumer through digitisation. The intention wasn’t to make it harder to become a storyteller, but that’s actually what has happened.
“This is an industry that has a heritage that’s rich and romantic” What is going to bring about the evolution that the media industry needs to survive? I think the IT groups are going to force it – and non media-savvy IT companies - because that’s how they operate and that’s how most of the rest of the world operates. This is an industry that has a heritage that’s rich and romantic, and it enjoyed a time when the niche was profitable enough that you could use what you perceived as best of breed proprietary systems and just connect them all together. I think those days are gone. The two forces at work – and sometimes working against each other – are the culture of the organisations in the industry and theeconomic reality. I believe that there are very few organisations are changing because of a cultural bias toward being agile, it’s because economic reality is setting in.
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
IBC REVIEW – IP TECH
Burston and Hussey with Blackmagic’s new Teranex Mini IP Video 12G units
The Internet Protocol:
Making the connection for live production IP began to hit its stride at IBC2016, with real solutions beginning to stand out above the hype. David Fox reports.
ccording to many companies at IBC, this is the year of IP production. Those of you who have been using IP connections (or Ethernet networks) for editing and post-production for at least a decade might wonder what the fuss is about, but moving a few files around between computers is not the same as handling a live sporting event over a network. Live production using IP is difficult. So, why do it? The problem is that moving to Ultra HD using current broadcast infrastructure isn’t easy either. 3G-SDI cables can only handle HD, so you either need four of them for UHD (quad-link SDI), or use some sort of compression, or you move to IP, which has some additional advantages…
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
“Playout moved to IP about ten years ago,” but only now is IP really becoming usable for live production, and “the take up is really quite strong,” said Chuck Meyer, CTO of Grass Valley. “It isn’t so much that the customer wants IP for the sake of IP. They want what it enables,” particularly in terms of quickly taking a piece of content and making money out of it. Another big attraction is doing live remote productions, “using distributed resources.” However, you need to build “a different type of video factory,” he said. IP is also not necessarily the cheapest option, although Meyer believes it will be justified by total cost of ownership (even if some of the equipment will cost more), “because it is so much more flexible and easier to allocate capabilities and capacity
elsewhere. You really don’t need the stack of kit you used to. The native cost may be more, but the optimised cost may be less. Also, the fact that so many processes can be done simultaneously means greater efficiency.” “If you want the same workflows as you can do in SDI, moving to IP is pointless,” said Nicolas Moreau, Sony’s product marketing manager, IP live production and workflows. “IP gives the opportunity to do so much more with the same equipment, or to decentralise equipment,” whether for remote production or to make it easier to share resources or people between shows. “If you want one of the world’s top vision mixers to work on an event in Paris, they could stay in London and do it from there.” www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Adamopoulos in VRT’s control room at IBC, with some of the awards the project has won
Moreau: Sony is “making a commitment to deliver interoperability”
A crucial element in moving to IP is being able to drag your existing investment in SDI along with you, which is why Sony’s IP starter kit includes two SDI-to-IP gateways, two IT routers and its Live System Manager software (plus two years of technical support and training - including four days face-to-face). “This is the best smart way to go,” he insisted. “This can become the core of your system, and as more IP-native products come out, you can add them. That’s the beauty of IP. It’s so modular. It means you don’t have to start big.” Although “most manufacturers are now talking to each other”, users need to conduct interoperability tests, as there are still differences, said Moreau. SANDBOXED IN Belgian station VRT has spent the last year working with the EBU and manufacturers to trial live IP production, and used it for children’s programming around Euro 2016 and the Olympics. There was a demonstration of what it could do at IBC, with a studio on its stand linked to IBC TV’s gallery about 500m away via a single fibre. There was a back-up control room on the stand, but it wasn’t needed. “We’ve proven it works, and it keeps working,” said Leonid Adamopoulos, producer/ director, VRT Sandbox. “One of the big advantages of production over IP is that we can switch much more easily between control rooms, wherever they are,” he added. “Remote production is the biggest advantage [of www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
IP]. With one control room you can control three or four productions in one day, and they can be 100km away. It’s the future. It will not be stopped.” LIVE GIGS Snell Advanced Media is in the process of deploying its first fully IP systems (with BCE Luxembourg due to go live in 2017), and its latest release products have moved from 10Gbps to supporting dual redundant 40Gbps and 25Gbps network interfaces. “If you want to get maximum performance go 25Gbps, but the best bang for your buck is 40Gbps, which is four lanes of 10Gbps,” advised Sandy Kellagher, director of software systems, live production and infrastructure, Snell Advanced Media.
“It isn’t so much that the customer wants IP for the sake of IP. They want what it enables” He is seeing a lot of interest in using lightweight compression, such as TICO or SMPTE VC-2, which allows UHD acquisition at 10G, “but as 25G and 40G becomes prevalent, the desire to use compression will go away.” 100Gbps systems are already in development, and SAM was using 1U switches with 32x 100G interfaces at IBC. “You can break each out into 4x 25G, which means that
each switch is capable of handling 1,000 3G-SDI signals in 1U.” “Where the complexity lies is not so much in being able to route video, it’s in the whole system, including audio synchronisation and timing, and fully redundant control,” he added. WHAT ABOUT SDI? As UHD requires four 3G-SDI cables to carry the video, anyone wanting SDI, but also wanting only a single cable, could use 12G-SDI. OB companies would like to see it more widely used, but not many manufacturers support it. Blackmagic Design is probably the most prominent, and its senior communications manager, Patrick Hussey, believes that while IP may be where the market is going, SDI is where it’s at now, “and it’s not going to change over night.” However, in the long term, he said, IP “will make updating and improving existing systems much easier,” and Blackmagic has started to add IP to its line up, developing a 10Gbps Ethernet switch, and looking at how it can add IP to its existing products, such as monitors and cameras. A key product will be the new Teranex Mini IP Video 12G, which will convert any SDI video to IP for transmission over Ethernet, using TICO 4:1 compression, “which is one of the more open standards,” said Hussey. “The encoders are visually lossless, with only about two lines of latency. However, that means you don’t get a clean switch. For clean switches you need one frame delay,”
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
IBC REVIEW – IP TECH added Hersh Burston, senior product manager, broadcast products. Two of the €433 devices would be useful to connect places that don’t have normal broadcast connections, as they only require a single Ethernet cable.
“If you want one of the world’s top vision mixers to work on an event in Paris, they could stay in London and do it from there” Adding IP to its products will also allow them act as a virtual VideoHub, as each has its own IP address, and Blackmagic’s software can identify IP devices on a network and have them work together. PLUG AND PRAY “SDI made it so easy to get interoperability because it was so highly defined, but this made it difficult to create different workflows. However, IP has lots of variables and changes quickly,” said Meyer, which is why GV and others set up AIMS “to get everyone driving together to interoperability.”
There is a lot of talk about standards. “But that’s not good enough,” insists Moreau. “The focus should be on the applications they can do.” Working with third-party manufacturers, Sony now has a complete portfolio of products for live IP production, supporting multiple standards through its Networked Media Interface. “The goal will be convergence of multiple standards - there won’t be a single standard.” Some standards, such as TR-03 (for Transport of Uncompressed Elementary Stream Media over IP), will be widely supported, but in other areas, such as timing or device discovery, agreement is still a way off. “As new standards emerge, we will adopt them - either through software or firmware updates,” he promised. OUTSIDE BROADCASTS As ever with new technology, OBs are the early adopters. “IP system orders are now taking off, with large scale systems on air,” said Marco Lopez, president, Grass Valley, such as Arena Television’s three new triple-expanding, IP-based UHD trucks (OBX, OBY and OBZ), which are built around 3Tbps routing networks from Cisco.
Want cloud-managed IP connectivity from virtually anywhere? Find out more at IBC.
“The demands of a 4K/UHD signal are much more easily met with an all-IP network,” said Arena managing director Richard Yeowart. Its new trucks provide “greater flexibility going forward”, are “future-proofed and better able to one day roll out HDR [high dynamic range] and higher frame rates as and when they are required,” he added. “For us, the biggest advantage was the seamless workflow,” said Jamie Hindhaugh, COO, BT Sport (which OBX is being used for). “We didn’t have to do anything different on our end to reap the benefits of the 4K/UHD and IP technology. This is clearly the right direction for the industry, making it possible for us to provide both HD and 4K/UHD content in parallel for our viewers.” OBX went on air with the world’s first all-IP UHD broadcast covering football in September, while OBY did its first transmission for Sky Sports on a rugby match in October. An important aspect of the rollout of IP for Lopez is getting the control systems right. “We don’t want the operators to have to know if it’s SDI or IP they are dealing with.” However, some things that are routine with SDI are not so simple in IP, so there is a lot of development still to do.
Visit us at NAB New York
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
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Ang Lee invents the “realies” IBC2016’s Big Screen keynote session featured a sneak peek at Ang Lee’s new film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It was a tour de force of HDR, 3D and Dolby Atmos, at a 120fps frame rate. Is it the first step in an entirely new kind of filmmaking? Neal Romanek give his take.
ng Lee was the star of IBC’s Big Screen keynote lineup, and the revered director brought with him a remarkable technology demo. The director elevated stereoscopic With his Life of Pi, the director elevated 3D to an art form. Now he has taken high frame rates (plus 3D, plus high dynamic range, plus Dolby Atmos sound) to a new level with his new feature Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. IBC Big Screen head Julian Pinn interviewed Lee in front of a packed IBC auditorium, which was treated to an 11 minute clip from Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, intercutting the character’s combat experience during the occupation of Iraq and his platoon’s participation in a frenzied Super Bowl halftime show. This was the first public showing of the footage outside the US, and with the best set up imaginable: 3D HDR projection by twin 4K Christie Mirage laser projectors at 28 footlamberts each, at 120fps. Topping Lee’s showing of the footage at NAB, the IBC Auditorium was rigged with a Dolby Atmos sound system.
“To get even a simple shot to look good takes a lot of work” The screening left most delegates stunned and with a vague sense they were looking into one of the possible futures of filmmaking. Peter Jackson’s Hobbit experiments in high frame rates had left some sceptical about its effectiveness in narrative storytelling, with the greater image information in high frame rate footage revealing too much detail, underlining the artifice of moviemaking, distancing viewers rather than drawing them in. But the Billy Lynn screening showed that in the hands of an artist, high frame rates - at 120fps, twice the frame rate of The Hobbit - create an entirely new palette for moving picture storytelling. IBC is by and large a technology conference. The ideal would be to have analysed Lee’s Billy Lynn HFR footage (in high dynamic range stereoscopic 3D) with hard-headed pragmatism,
TVTechnology November 2016
coldly evaluating its pros and cons as a possible future format. But Ang Lee’s employment of the technology was so masterful, that assessing its technical merits was virtually impossible. It was like listening to Yo Yo Ma play the theremin. You were stuck wondering: Is this technology truly the future of music, or am I just being dazzled by a genius who can make anything sound good? THE HFR EXPERIENCE For the first minutes of watching the 120fps footage, it was hard to shake that “video look”, the sense that you were watching something cheap and ordinary. Whether that effect is the result of a lifetime of indoctrination into the “magic” of 24fps, or our brain’s assigning “commonplaceness” in direct proportion to the rising frame rate, is still an open question. But eventually, the “video” effect gave way to the sense of looking through the screen at another reality. It wasn’t quite the feeling of looking through a window – although with a lesser talent at the helm, that might have been a natural conclusion, and high frame rates in sports coverage will capitalise on this “window” effect –
but more like seeing an alternate, flesh and blood world carefully manipulated by a storyteller. Capturing images at 120fps has some interesting implications for content creation. The higher frame rate – once the heights of 120fps are reached - eliminates all motion blur, so onscreen action and camera movements are perfectly smooth and images have perfect clarity. The traditional cinematic frame rate of 24fps requires the brain to do a lot of interpolating of the missing motion. Taking into account motion blur as well, a significant portion of a 24fps or 30fps film is literally left to our imaginations. But 120 fps, which offers many times more visual information, produces an unsettling sensation of being dragged into a real event. ANG LEE’S FILM SCHOOL Ang Lee was as impressed as the IBC delegates when he was introduced to high frame rates for Billy Lynn. On Life Of Pi, he had become frustrated with how strobing and motion blur detracted from the performances, and he began to look toward higher frame rates. “Different combinations of frame rates and resolutions each have their own chemistry,” Lee
The production employed Real D’s TrueImage virtual shutter software, which allows the creation of virtual shutter of any shape, size and duration and the easy elimination – or augmentation – of motion blur and strobing artifacts. The use of the software has been key in mastering formats at different frame rates. Ang Lee said that most cinemas around the world can show Billy Lee in 2K 120fps, but its likely that most viewers will see end up seeing the film fraction of its ideal frame rate.
observed. “The original plan had been to shoot Billy Lynn at 2K 60fps. But after you pass 100 frames per second, the strobing goes away. Once I saw the (120fps) image, I realised we were going to have to rethink how to make the film.” This new higher frame rate opened a Pandora’s box of challenges for the production team to tackle. Beyond the technical issues, the hyper-realism of 120fps revealed every artificiality of the filmmaking process. “The aesthetic is different when you see all that detail. You just see everything. It was really intimidating,” Lee confessed. “Things we have done for a hundred years in movies, we couldn’t do. And that’s scary. To get even a simple shot to look good takes a lot of work.” Ang Lee’s forte has always been directing actors, but even this skill was challenged by the new high frame rate. “The scary part is you can see the acting. So I had to change my direction to the actors. Usually an actor will have an exterior or interior goal, but for this film we had to be subtler and multidirectional. The performances had to be internalised, and as a director I had to put thoughts in their minds – sometimes conflicting thoughts. Every take I had to give them five different directions, just to try to keep the performances fresh and alive.” This kind of filmmaking doesn’t (yet) lend itself to improvisation or run & gun shooting. The crew did six to eight set ups a day, and camera movement was kept to a minimum. Lee laughed: “Dollying in 3D is like trying to move a refrigerator.” Lee repeatedly said how humbled he was by the technology. Rather than viewing the new tools as an amplification of his own auteurship, www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
he saw a vast new set of challenges to overcome and skills to perfect. He has observed that changes in frame rate have subtle, but potentially profound effects on audience perceptions. “Each frame rate and resolution seems to produce a different mind set. At 120 frames per second, you’re dealing with a sharper audience, and your eyes get more greedy. As we move into higher frame rates, we’ll have a lot to catch up on – we’ll even need changes in the way actors hold themselves and in the writing itself. Moving forward, I would like to rely less on the story arc and more on intuitive experience. I think that’s more reflective and more satisfying.”
“Dollying in 3D is like trying to move a refrigerator” DEEP DIVE A follow-on, “technical deep dive” panel discussion added Lee’s long-time editor Tim Squyres, Sony Pictures Entertainment head of production technology Scot Barbour, and the film’s technology supervisor, Ben Gervais. Gervais said the production went to a lot of commodity hardware to manage the massive workflow. The team were aware of how experimental the project was. “Lots of times, we’d make an advance and then say, ‘What do we do now?’. I look to other industries to borrow ideas. We used a lot of VFX processes for our dailies.” Gervais noted that one of the benefites of working in a 120fps source medium was it was easily reduceable to lower frame rates, with 120fps a multiple of 24, 30 and 60fps.
HFR READY? So the inevitable question is will high frame rates be accepted – let alone embraced – by audiences? As James Cameron almost singlehandedly dragged an industry into the 3D world, Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn could be a pivotal point for high frame rates. Or not. A cynic could argue that we’ve already had a long trial with higher frame rates. After all, we have been presented with the option of 24fps at the cinema or 30fps at home for decades. And after careful comparison, the almost universal consensus is that 24fps means quality, art, transportation to another realm - not 30. It is not impossible that humans require some kind of artifice, some kind of distancing effect, a “once upon a time”, for us to fully embrace the magic a narrative has to offer. Maybe we got lucky with a 24fps cinema industry. Maybe the higher frame rates that Thomas Edison had originally recommended would have made the cinema a novelty, but not the land of dreams that dominated the 20th century. The truth is until we see these technologies widely used – and used in a variety of circumstances by a variety of talents, we can’t fully know what they have to offer – and what nuances of storytelling they represent. High frame rates could, we might discover, have nothing to do with movies at all. They may be a doorway into a new artform altogether – the “realies”. Until the newest formats – and the technologies to produce and exhibit them – get into the hands of young geniuses in their parents’ basements, we won’t know their full potential. Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn could open the door to a new format of hyper-realist filmmaking that the industry would do well to give a good trial before we cast it aside – 3D style - for not delivering hoped for economic returns. To quote Lee himself: “It’s humbling. We have to step up our game.”
November 2016 TVTechnology
IBC BEST OF SHOW
IBC2016 Best Of Show WINNERS NewBay Media’s Best Of Show awards were again a highlight of the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam. After reviewing dozens of new products, our panel of industry judges chose the following as the best on display at IBC2016
ARTEL VIDEO SYSTEMS DLC510 satellite scanner and demodulator The Artel DLC510 Satellite Scanner and Demodulator offers satellite operations and engineering departments a quick and accurate solution to finding errant satellite signals without complicated test equipment or highly skilled operators or engineers. Dual RF inputs, DVB-S2X support, and the recently adopted ETSI Carrier ID transmission coding make the DLC510 suitable for any satellite or operations department. The DLC510 is compatible with Artel’s telcocertified DigiLink platform or the newly introduced InfinityLink broadcast media transport solution.
APERI Native live IP infrastructure Aperi’s software approach to IP production infrastructure aims to follow proven data centre best practices for reliability, flexibility, and resource control. Aperi believes service-oriented architecture is the way forward through the changes occurring in live media production, distribution and networking and the transition to shared cloudbased IT infrastructure.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
AVID Avid Spark telestration tool The Avid Spark telestrator is a fast-turnaround live sports enhancement tool that enables on-air commentators to draw and add graphics to video content in real time, adding visual enhancements and giving audiences great insight into gameplay. The Spark engine is equipped with a 2-channel video server which allows a relevant recording to be played directly to air from the Spark system.
BLUEFISH444 KRONOS video & audio I/O cards The Bluefish444 KRONOS range of video, audio, and data processing I/O cards will extend the features of the widely adopted Epoch video cards used across the broadcast, feature film and post-production markets for production, projection, editing, animation, compositing, colour correction, restoration, digital intermediate, 3D and IPTV workflows. With the choice of HD BNC SD/HD/3G connections, or SFP+ interfaces enabling greater than 3G SDI and SMPTE 2022 Video over IP standards across 10Gbps Ethernet, KRONOS aims to cater for emerging technologies as they mature and make interfacing between emerging video over IP standards and existing video and audio standards accessible to industry standard users and manufacturers worldwide.
The Quantum120 is a large frame fixture for broadcast, motion picture, or photography. The fixture is completely self-contained and has a silent, passive cooling system without fans, ensuring that no ambient noise will disrupt photographers and videographers and will allow them to focus on capturing the perfect shot rather than their lighting fixture.
Broadcast Ultrasoft is a software tool that provides a solution for any broadcast station to work cost effectively and fast by employing rapid processing structures, collaborative tools, off-the-shelf hardware and future-proof technologies, as well as IP-based workflows. Broadcast Ultrasoft runs browser-based using cloudtechnologies that enable the users to work from nearly everywhere. The software can be hosted both in private and public cloud storages of the enterprise.
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
IBC BEST OF SHOW DELUXE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES GROUP Deluxe OnDemand OneWorkflow The Deluxe OnDemand OneWorkflow for 4K UHD is a cloudbased end-to-end workflow solution. Provided as a managed service, it enables broadband cable engineers to support 4K UHD without the risk of investing in nascent technologies and incurring massive upfront costs to set-up new in-house formatting processes, encoders, routers, storage, staff and other required elements. The OneWorkflow for 4K UHD solution gives a cable operator the ability to capitalise on the 4K UHD shift and monetise a new service in as little as 60 days, or simply modernise their brand and create competitive differentiation.
EDGEWARE Edgeware TV CDN To cope with the demands of audiences requiring unicast delivery of TV content, Edgeware has developed a TV-dedicated content delivery network. The TV CDN architecture saves bandwidth or the need for traditional general-purpose CDNs. Edgeware’s TV CDN technology keeps copies of popular TV shows closer to the viewer – on the network’s edge - and streams them from there. Each copy only needs to be sent across the network once and can be played multiple times.
MAKE.TV make.tv live video acquisition and management The make.tv Live Video Cloud (LVC) platform enables broadcasters and publishers to acquire, manage and distribute video content submitted by content professionals and amateurs. It can be integrated within a broadcast environment or made available standalone.
EVERTZ evEDGE Evertz has released evEDGETM a next generation platform for SDVN solutions. Evertz’s evEDGE gives customers additional scalability and flexibility in their IP infrastructure. The evEDGE is a software defined compute and routing platform that meets the needs of smaller facilities looking for a cost effective way to migrate to IP, while enabling larger facilities to build using a distributed environment.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
Your brain might need a second to catch up.
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IBC BEST OF SHOW PLANAR/LEYARD Leyard TWA Series The Leyard TWA Series is a line of fine pitch LED video walls available in 1.2 and 1.8 millimeter pitches. The Leyard TWA Series is architected to support the highest in pixel density and features a flat panel design, including a 16:9 form factor optimised for the most popular high resolution standards.
PRIME FOCUS TECHNOLOGIES Promo Operations Module Prime Focus’s Promo Operations module automates work order administration and provides an end-to-end workﬂow for promo creation. This includes integration with Broadcast Management Software (BMS), review and approval processes, post-production, versioning and hand-off for play-out resulting in increased efﬁciencies and cost savings. The module also allows for workflow orchestration, review/approval tools, mid-strap/end-strap graphics, versioning and monitoring.
SACHTLER FSB 10 Tripod
ROSS VIDEO Carbonite Black Solo Production Switcher Carbonite Black Solo is a production switcher for smaller productions designed to offer the performance of the Carbonite Series Production Switchers. The Carbonite Black Solo includes four keyers plus a transition keyer, for DVE and Media Wipes, as well as one high quality Ultrachrome chroma keyer. Solo also comes equipped with 2 MiniMEs for use in event production or for secondary outputs. Each MiniME has two keyers of its own - providing Solo with nine keyers in total. Solo’s feature set also includes a MultiViewer and Four MediaStores for animated graphics and stills. Solo can also be used with ViewControl, a touch screen user interface that integrates the live Solo MultiViewer into a touch screen control panel.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
Sachtler’s FSB 10 is an entry-level 100 mm fluid head tripod for operators working in news, documentaries and wildlife. It is the first FSB Series fluid head with a 100 mm bowl and offers users an affordable entry into the professional 100 mm class. With a higher payload than the 75 mm FSB 8, the FSB 10 can handle up to 12 kg (26.5 lbs) and allows users to employ a range of system configurations. The FSB 10 operates reliably in a wide temperature range from -40° up to +60°C.
SEMTECH CORPORATION GS12090 Retiming Cable Equaliser/Cable Driver Semtech’s GS12090 12G UHD-SDI bidirectional retiming cable equaliser and cable driver is a next-generation integrated circuit that enables equipment manufacturers to design and manufacture a broad range of products that meet the demands of the television industry as it transitions to next generation UHD-SDI infrastructures. The GS12090 is a low power, configurable multi-rate re-timing cable equaliser and cable driver that supports rates up to 12G UHD-SDI. It can be configured to equalize or drive signals over 751 coaxial cable. It is aimed at use in applications with limited space for connectors, including broadcast video servers, modular I/O cards, PCIe cards, portable recorders and players, and more.
SMALLHD 1303 HDR Monitor SmallHD’s 1303 HDR is a small form-factor HDR full high-definition monitor with the ability to accurately display HDR images. The 13-inch HDR monitor has the full feature set that SmallHD premiered at NAB with its larger (17in, 24in and 32in) HDR Production Monitors. The sharpness and brightness (1500 NITs) of the 1303 makes it suitable for camera assistants pulling focus. It also takes up a small amount of space and can easily be transported and powered via off an Anton/Bauer battery pack. For fully wireless operation, a Teradek or Paralinx HD video receiver can be mounted between an A/B battery pack and the monitor.
TELEMETRICS PT-LP-S5 LP Servo/Pan Tilt Head The new PT-LP-S5 robotic pan tilt head is the latest in Telemetrics’ PT-LP-S4 series and represents the 5th generation of the company’s robotic camera systems. The new S5 line includes Telemetrics advanced servo technology enabling higher payloads and smooth, quiet on-air operation delivering breath-taking results.
VIZRT Viz Story social media and online publishing tool Viz Story is a browser-based application that takes content ingested either directly from cameras or a MAM system and lets users edit content, add voiceovers and graphics and automatically export and upload – in native formats – to online and social media platforms. Functions include transitions, voiceovers and broadcast-quality graphics. Users can select desired platform-specific aspect ratios in-system and queue them up for uploading to social channels. Viz Story aims to control everything from ingest to publication with only a single user operating a single interface. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
2016 REVIEW - ACQUISITION
The year in acronyms VR, HDR and IP were the three technologies that hit the media mainstream in 2016. They all have a future, but what kind of future? Chris Rhodes takes a closer look
t’s much easier to sum up a year in a paragraph if that year had a particular identifying characteristic, and that’s been easy, recently. The world of film and TV acquisition has frequently had a single “next big thing” for several years running, particularly in the shape of stereoscopic 3D. Many of us didn’t really like the idea. 3D was always motivated far more by the commercial need for there to be a next big thing than any widespread viewer demand for it. Of course, commercial needs haven’t gone away, and neither has 3D, but progress has at least diversified. This year, depending on our predilections for acronyms, has been big for VR, HDR and IP. It’s a matter of opinion as to whether virtual reality is being deployed either to create a market or to satisfy one. Consumer interest stems principally from the Oculus crowdfunding project, suggesting at least some support from real-world buyers, although recent political meddling by newly-rich founder Palmer Luckey has drawn disapproving glances. Also, while the grassroots support suggested by the original Kickstarter success is enviable, VR is, like stereo 3D, undoubtedly a rerun. The roots of it go back to the middle of the 20th century, although current approaches stem visibly from the headsets of the late 80s. VR also has at least as many ways to provoke nausea as 3D, and several more besides. These are technical problems, and probably solvable. Work on reducing the lag between detected head motion and displayed view motion is part of that. Perhaps most crucially, miniature displays designed for smartphones and tablets have made it possible to increase the viewable resolution from a sub-HD picture that was horribly inadequate to a slightly-beyond-HD picture that’s only slightly inadequate. If there’s an application for 8K pictures, VR, with the need to fill the complete human field of view, is the place for them.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
The problem, at least in relation to the TV industry, is not really technological. VR completely changes the way content works by removing a director’s control over what the audience is looking at. In a computer game, which is possibly still the killer application for VR, the player’s ability to look around the action is a plus. In conventional film, the ability to look away from the action is nonsensical. A glance at YouTube’s VR content, which allows users to use a conventional monitor and pan the virtual camera around with a mouse, reveals that much current material has exactly that problem. It often works alarming like a very static computer game. More thinking is needed here.
“VR also has at least as many ways to provoke nausea as 3D, and several more besides” HDR BEYOND THE DEMO High dynamic range pictures, however, are as easy to like as they are difficult to do properly. The problem HDR seeks to solve is simple: when we shoot a picture of a sunset, the on-screen sun doesn’t project our shadow on the wall as it would in reality. Practical implementations don’t quite achieve that, but the Dolby or Sony demonstrations make it clear why HDR is popular with artists and businessmen alike. It looks absolutely fantastic, and as such it should be easy to sell. The problem is that those demonstrations involve equipment which costs far more than a retail product possibly can, and the retail products can be a bit underwhelming by comparison. Let’s be clear: they look good, but they don’t quite have the jaw-slackening beauty of the high-end demos. This situation is not assisted by the bandwagonjumping enthusiasm of people who reworked the firmware in their standard-dynamic-range displays, slapped an HDR sticker over the model number, and showed them at NAB this year. Yes, there’s a place for low cost displays for quick previews, but let’s not call them something they aren’t. Unlike VR, the problem with HDR is not how to use it. We know what we want to do with it. The issue is the requirement for some fundamental advances in display technology before we can have the very best of it in our living rooms. On the upside, we now know that most of the equipment used for high end drama has been capable of producing HDR images for years. Brace yourself for the re-release of 3D productions in new HDR 3D.
IP FLEXIBILTY Both HDR and VR are about spectacle. IP, conversely, is only really of interest to people involved in putting together OB trucks or TV studios. The problem, if any, is that it’s partly about saving money, by replacing expensive, industryspecific SDI hardware with commodity computer networking gear, but that doesn’t really save much at the moment.
“Brace yourself for the rerelease of 3D productions in new HDR 3D” The sort of networking equipment required to provide the same unadulterated pictures as SDI is at the very highest end of current product lines, and it’s at least as expensive as the equipment it’s replacing. This is likely to change, though: the continuously improving price-performance ratio of computer gear is practically guaranteed. Beyond price, benefits also stand to be wrought from the flexible routing and bidirectionality of IP networks in general, where a network can be entirely defined in software and an OB camera site can send or receive power, communications and video down a single line that’s vastly lighter and cheaper than triax. The real challenge is standardisation: anyone who’s been involved with conventional computer
networking will be aware of the bottomless pitfalls of configuration and compatibility, and it’s essential that video over IP is well-standardised. Bodies currently involved include SMPTE and EBU, alongside domain-specific organisations such as the Advanced Media Workflow Association, Video Services Forum, the Alliance for IP Media Solutions and the Audio Engineering Society. Add to this the various manufacturers and end users and there’s a big enough group involved to make decisiveness and clarity difficult. It seems inevitable, however, that IP is going to happen, and the general attitude does seem to involve appropriate concern about standardisation problems and overcomplexity. A warning here comes from the MXF file format, an attempt to be everything to everyone which became so overcomplicated that it risked being nothing to anyone, and only works now because de-facto standardisation has boiled it down to something reasonable. Too often, of late, there’s been an overwhelming push for a particular technology, and quite often one identifiable with those commercial needs we discussed earlier. If there’s a single identifying characteristic of 2016, it’s variety. We’re not suffering the single-technology tunnel vision of 3D. HDR is beautiful, IP has potential, and VR might be spectacular - if we can only figure out what to do with it.
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
2016 REVIEW – VR
Get (head)set for VR
USA Network/Amazon series Mr. Robot was accompanied by a mass simulcast event VR event
They told us VR was going to be the big technology of 2016. Was it? Michael Burns reports
his time last year interest in virtual reality was largely confined to experiential installations and the games industry. In 2016 on the other hand, you’ve not been able to move for some mention of it. The launch of Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive early in the year heralded the arrival of serious VR playback for consumers, while specialist GoPro and Red rigs, and semi-automated cameras like Nokia’s OZO, are now delivering high quality 360° capture. Sol Rogers, founder and CEO of Rewind feels 2016 was definitely the year of 360° video content, particularly with Samsung’s launch of its Gear VR and Google’s announcement of the Daydream HMD for mobile VR. “However, until the last few months the public was largely unaware of the power of the devices they carry with them every day,” he adds. “It wasn’t until ‘Pokemon Go’ became an overnight phenomenon that people began to realise just how much could be done using a simple smartphone. We’re getting to a point where there is enough good content to justify investing in VR, and there will be something available to excite and engage everyone.” Several new ventures were set up to service demand this past year. January saw Manchesterbased dock10 launch a 360 VR content service,
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
with 360° access to The Voice UK one of its first projects. Head of 360 production Richard Wormwell, observes a ‘huge amount of publicity and hype’ around the different types of technology available, both in capture and display: “I don’t think that it’s a question of the public being ready for VR, it’s more a question of the technology living up to the expectation of the hype.”
“We’re getting to a point where there is enough good content to justify investing in VR” Another recent startup is Factory 42, an immersive content studio set up by former Sky channel head John Cassy and BAFTA-winning director Daniel Smith. “Everyone is learning and experimenting,” says Cassy. “The tech is moving quickly. More devices and better devices are becoming available at prices consumers can afford. But if you look at the long term technological possibilities, it feels like we are still in the VR Stone Age.” THE YEAR OF EXPERIMENTATION Futuresource Consulting published a report on VR earlier this year, entitled “Virtual Reality: Niche or
Mass Market?” Michael Boreham, senior market analyst with the firm gave us an update, stating that 2016 has been ‘the year of experimentation’. “VR is still taking baby steps with a great deal of work,” he observes. “PlayStation VR (PSVR, launched in mid-October) with PS 4/Pro, and the launch of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio console next year, will open up the console game arena and further raise con-sumer awareness of VR. Important work is being undertaken in the broadcast community, with a number of high profile sports trials, which included the Olympics, Premier League and Bundesliga football from Sky, BT and Fox Sports, as well as the NBA from Turner Sports in the USA.” IN SEARCH OF A BIGGER AUDIENCE “This is the year that VR has come of age. It’s on everyone’s radar,” agrees Mike Davis, creative director at Atlantic Productions. “But we have to recognise that it’s going to be a while before it reaches a bigger audience, if indeed it does. “I think the analytics that come out about who is consuming what [on PS VR] will be the first good guide as to how much people want something other than games,” he adds. “What stories do they want to engage with? Is it purely experiential rides, or do people want www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Factory 42 produced a VR experience inspired by the English National Ballet’s Giselle
Manchester-based dock10 launched a 360 VR content service in January
dramas? I think we are starting to test the waters for the appetite that’s out there, rather than what industry insiders assume - they rarely get that right.” One of Atlantic’s VR experiences is David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive for London’s Natural History Museum. It was filmed at the same time as the company’s major BBC One series of a similar name, using 360° rigs in a submarine and in the water. However Atlantic financed the VR component independently. Davis explains that museums, commercials, marketing and the luxury travel market are all keen on VR, but senses TV broadcasters have been more reluctant to get involved.
“I think we are starting to test the waters for the appetite that’s out there” “The Mr. Robot VR Experience (a 13-minute VR narrative that complements the hit Amazon series) is a rare example of a big TV drama production that has recognised that you can excite an audience with VR,” Davis says. “But will that trend continue, or was that just a novelty?” EMERGING CONTENT The increase in available technology and experimentation also poses some problems, not least badly produced VR. “There is a lot of poor quality content out there and that is a risk to the sector,” says John Cassy. “If a consumer experiences bad 360 or VR the first time they put on a headset, it is going to have a negative impact on whether they put on a headset www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Home is a 15 minute piece of immersive VR content for HTC Vive, made in collaboration with the BBC
for a second time. A lot of current 360 video feels gimmicky - but there is some excellent stuff being made. True, VR is harder to find outside of the established game sector. But there are some great examples emerging. For Factory 42, truly interactive VR is one of the most exciting creative opportunities around.” Factory 42 has just produced an immersive VR experience inspired by the English National Ballet’s Giselle, by award-winning choreographer Akram Khan. Created using a custom workflow and a mixture of Nuke for stitching, Maya and Blender for trails and 3D and Misti-ka for stereo compositing, Giselle VR was one of the first pieces available on Sky’s new VR app, launched in October. One of Rewind’s recent productions is a 15 minute piece VR for HTC Vive, in collaboration with the BBC, called Home: A VR Spacewalk. “It has proved to be incredibly popular, and demonstrates a whole new type of storytelling that will become increasingly accessible to consumers through VR technology,” says Sol Rogers. As well as Home, the BBC has been trialling a fair amount of standalone VR this year through its Taster initiative. “The reaction has been one of delight and wonder,” says Zillah Watson, editor of the BBC’s internet research and future services. “Audiences at festivals and events have been filled with awe by Home, with joy by the magical VR fairy tale The Turning Forest, have time-travelled to 1916 for Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, and come face to face with the migrant crisis in We Wait.” THE MAIN FEATURE Game engines like Unreal or Unity are a common component in current VR production across the
board. For example Rewind used Unreal 4 to create Home, with asset model-ling in 3DS Max and Maya. “I think mixing with game technology will make the best use of 360°,” predicts Mike Davis. “You can have really engaging stories on rails, but there are points where you can get involved, where it suddenly evolves out of conventional visual storytelling.”
“If you look at the long term technological possibilities, it feels like we are still in the VR Stone Age” “We’re starting to see the shift away from content being requested as additional to the main event, as was with The Voice UK, to creative agencies commissioning 360° content as the main feature,” says Richard Wormwell. “We recently worked on a project called iS-cream for BBC3, a four-part horror show shot entirely in 360°. The whole production ran though one of dock10’s studios and galleries in the same way a traditional TV production is filmed. We had the director, producers and production teams in the galleries. All 360 camera rigs were feeding live into dock10’s infrastructure, so that the production team had live previews of what was happening on the floor. Sound, lighting and audio changes could be cued live, so that the person taking part felt that their experience was real, and not part of a studio set up. [Clients] are starting to understand the power fully immersive experienc-es can possess.”
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
2016 – SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
Integrating 2016 This year Broadcast Solutions unveiled its 12G OB van, the Alphaline
In 2016, German systems integrator Broadcast Solutions GmbH saw its role expand to adviser and tech agony aunt in 2016. The company’s business development director, Peter Jakobsson, tells their story
or the broadcast industry and for us at Broadcast Solutions GmbH the 2016 was characterised by change and transition – and no wonder. This year’s hot topics - the rise of 4K, UHD and HDR, as well as the transition to IP-based infrastructures - left broadcasters in uncertainty. On several recent projects our clients wanted to go to 4K and, of course, they were also aware of emerging IP structures. But there are always teething issues with new technology, and this time the leap is very long. We have spent a lot of effort in educating ourselves and performing various compatibility tests in order to safely guide our customers. We have always been proud to be an independent and advisory system integrator, and we see this becoming increasingly important. The role of acting as an advisor to our customers has really gained momentum this year. With our expertise and experience in building OB vans and studio infrastructures we are always at the forefront of technology developments. We want to provide optimised solutions to our customers, yet enable them to be flexible enough to meet future demands. We do so in three ways: as a system integrator, a consultant and as distribution company with an innovative products portfolio.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
TAKING AIMS Living this approach we not only react to manufacturer developments but also actively take part in the standardisation processes necessary. It was a logical step to take part in the AIMS initiative – as the organisation’s first system integrator – and participate in the standardisation efforts that are key to the further development and acceptance of IP-technology in the broadcast world. This pays off directly within our customers’ projects and our advisory function. But in our view, the transition process to fully IP-based infrastructures will be an ongoing effort with hybrid solutions bridging the gaps between the two worlds for some time still. Another step for us into the future is the addition of software based tools into our products portfolio. With the need for software driven, fully IP-based solutions in mind, we promote new cutting-edge tools. Understanding the needs and challenges of our customers is paramount for the success of our company. I give you an example: Our Streamline family of pre-configured OB vans is very successful, but we faced some resistance in South East Asia. So we listened and created the “Alphaline” variant, which is simply a more compact version of the Streamline, and now we see clearly we are gaining momentum. We already delivered one of these “Alphaline” OB vans to South Korean broadcaster KBS. This turned out be one of the first 12G OB vans worldwide. This
OB is actually a hybrid, since it uses 12G SDI-UHD single link as well as 3G-SDI-UHD 2 SI quad link, as not all system components were available in 12G. This perfectly reflects the transition state the industry is in right now - we have to deliver working solutions, regardless of the flaws of developing technology and regardless of the sometimes overly optimistic statements in manufacturers’ glossy brochures. TRANSFORMATION The success story continues for our Streamline OB Vans. By design, all of the Streamline OB vans are upgradeable to full 4K functionality, so it is nothing out of the ordinary to produce them with the same benefits as the HD versions: short time delivery and price advantages. With several Streamline 4K OBs delivered so far, we are proving that 4K has already arrived and is sought after by customers. This years’ IBC, which labelled itself the “IBC of transformation” was another proof for this change. At IBC2016, Broadacst Solutions received an order for five OB Vans from NEP Europe that will solely work in 4K and – apart from a 30 plus camera OB van – will be based on the Streamline type. It will be intriguing to follow the adoption process of 4K, HDR and IP-based infrastructures in the broadcast industry and how users and clients react to this challenge. Needless to say, we at Broadcast Solutions GmbH are ready to assist with both expertise and advice for today’s and tomorrow’s technologies. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Key broadcast connections for the AV systems integration market Breaking down the boundaries to successful broadcast integration solutions
At the worldâ€™s largest AV systems integration show, leading manufacturers showcase the latest broadcast products and solutions. From cameras to visual systems, to tracking and control solutions, the show is a hotbed of broadcast technologies and networking opportunities.
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CASE STUDY – OB
Driving mobile UHD on fibre and satellite BT Media and Broadcast hits the road with the first OB truck in the UK to transmit multiple HD and UHD visions simultaneously via fibre and satellite. Elsie Crampton reports
he outside broadcast arm of BT Media and Broadcast, is parking its brand new hybrid fibre and satellite UHD links truck at major Premiership football and Rugby Union venues across the country. The outside broadcast vehicle in question, named TES52, is the first OB truck in the UK with the ability to transmit multiple HD and UHD/4K visions via fibre and satellite simultaneously. “The fact that this vehicle can do three UHD visions on fibre and one UHD vision on satellite at the same time is such a unique feature,” explained Mark Wilson-Dunn, VP at BT Media and Broadcast. “We have other trucks that can do two, soon to be three UHD visions on fibre, but having the UHD on fibre and satellite simultaneously makes this truck really special!” Systems integrator Megahertz’s design team worked closely with BT TVOB engineers to provide this flexible UHD vehicle capable of transmitting pictures both through its roof-mounted, Ku-band, satellite antenna and via BT’s own fibre network, which connects over 150 major sports venues and news outlets across the UK. BIG EVENTS The new truck is primarily used for the big, high profile events, according to Wilson-Dunn, who explains that the idea of this mobile unit was born when one of BT Media and Broadcast’s customers, who executes UHD fibre delivery for Premiership football, wanted to access a clean vision, two ‘dirty’ visions, plus a satellite backup vision, from a single mobile unit with just one man on site. “For them it’s about being economically smart but also it’s also about resilience,” said WilsonDunn. “They can now offer video feeds to third party takers without compromising the ‘one plus one’ service for their own UK broadcasts. Also,
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
satellite delivery allows any user to provide UHD from non-fibred venues.” BT Media and Broadcast provides a delivery service from all the major sporting and event locations in the UK, via fibre and satellite, to broadcasters and production company headquarters. The TES52 sits alongside the outside broadcast production vehicle, accepting multiple feeds which are then compressed, multiplexed and fed to the broadcaster via the BT Tower in London. At each point, including the input and outputs of the link truck, careful quality monitoring takes place to ensure that the signal arrives in excellent condition. CONSTRUCTION CHALLENGES The main challenge during construction of the TES52 was fitting everything inside the allocated space, according to Wilson-Dunn, who also noted that chassis weight limits affect not only the construction of the truck, but driver hours when the truck is in use. “The other challenge was that UHD technology has only just started hitting phase two,” he said. “During phase one, it was not mature at all. Now the technology is a little
established but there’s still some future growth or development that needs to happen particularly when it comes to compressing encoders into a smaller form factor.” The TES52 is a step up from TES51 UHD truck that Megahertz also built in 2014, and offers greater encoding capability. It is also fitted with two 750W amplifiers and built on a 7T Iveco Daily chassis. The TES52 monitors multiple signals via a 4K Miranda multi-viewer on to a Sony 4K screen, with two 4K/HD Marshall monitors for additional qualitative signal monitoring and an HD Phabrix for test signal generation and checking. The truck supports up to sixteen fibre links in HD mode, or three 4K/UHD and four HD links, using the intelligent video networking platform (IVNP) and BT’s core MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) network. Its on-board, 192-port Snell router is capable of handling a mixture of 4K, 3Gb/s and HD baseband signals, and ASI transport streams. Wilson-Dunn pinpoints the encoders as one of the key technologies on board, particularly the Ericsson MPEG4 system, which allows the truck to provide either three UHD visions or twelve HD visions out. “It’s the volume of video services that you can get out of the truck which is incredible.” www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
PREMIERE IN HULL The TES52 was put to work the very first day it was delivered by Megahertz, covering a football match in Hull. “It delivered 12 MPEG-encoded HD visions on its first outing. That’s quite remarkable - no other truck in the UK can do that.” It also stopped off at the IBC show in Amsterdam, where it demonstrated how live UHD/4K content passes through the vehicle by providing visitors with a live view of two rugby matches in three different manners, one of which involved the use of the new Ericsson HEVC encoder and one of which saw the truck run HEVC over satellite. “We had three visions going into that particular truck in two days, all in UHD, which we believe was a world first.” Wilson-Dunn is unreserved in stating that BT Media and Broadcast lives and dies by the capabilities of its live production vehicles on site. “For live event coverage, failure is not acceptable,” he said. “We have to be totally confident in the service that we deliver and having a reliable truck is absolutely essential and that’s why we worked with Megahertz as a systems integrator.”
Since Amsterdam, it has covered an average of one event a week in UHD, the highlights of which include a Welsh Rugby Union event in Llanelli, a Premiership football match in Leicester and the October 20 Manchester United Europa cup match. “At the moment, the rights for most UHD services are a bit nebulous in terms of third party takers, but
we were convinced that in time there would be a requirement for a UHD third party feed to become available and that is indeed happening,” concluded Wilson-Dunn. “We have requests for third party feeds for other sports now too. So having three encoders or a truck capable of doing three encoders in UHD is fundamental to the future of our business.”
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
The view from
AMP Visual TV launched its new Millennium Ultra-HD OB, the Signature 12, in June
What new tech did French broadcasters adopt this year? And what are their plans for 2017? Catherine Wright reports
rench broadcasters tested 4K, HDR and VR in 2016 but have yet to push the button on big rollouts for live production. Some, however, are getting close to making the switch to 4K, and service providers have been investing and upgrading to anticipate future requirements. On the whole, it’s safe to say that French broadcasters have been taking a slow approach to adopting UHD for capture, production and transmission of live events. Many of them got burnt by investing heavily in 3D technology when it was all the rage and hyped by manufacturers, only to find viewers never really wanted it. And it wasn’t too long ago that they all had to make the switch to HD technology. Most therefore decided to play it safe in 2016 by conducting trials without making a big commitment. 2016 was the year of the Euros, and TF1 was one of the broadcasters involved with the UEFA in producing and transmitting some matches in UHD to telco Orange‘s new 4K set-top, launched in time for the competition. The setup involved 12 of Sony’s HDC-4300 hybrid cameras. “We found it worked well on a technical and editorial level. There were less close-ups and slow-mo shots than with HD, but the images we saw on Orange’s set-top box were a big improvement on the HD ones,” says Olivier Ou Ramdane, TF1’s MD for new business.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
But the broadcaster doesn’t say when it will adopt the technology more extensively, notably for capture: “We are working on it and can’t reveal more at the stage. But we think that we have overcome most of the technical barriers. And more and more TV sets and set-top boxes have been acquired by the public,” hinting that it could be quite soon.
“With HDR and especially HFR, you can really see the difference. But manufacturers are not there yet, we are still waiting for the cameras” VR SPARKS NEW INTEREST One of the novelties in 2016 has been VR, particularly as it could relate to live sport. TF1 tested 360° live video with 4K during a FranceRussia friendly football match in March 29. The trial enabled the broadcaster to test stitching technology from French start-up VideoStitch, with compression provided by Grenoble-based Keepixo, encoding by Harmonic and global integration from Via Access. The production was supervised by AMP Visual TV, and cloud computing specialist Akamai dealt with transmission. 360° specialists Digital Immersion, based in Paris, provided the 4K 360° camera set-up and one which was not 4K.
“The test was a success, we tried different setups and it was one of the first live transmissions using live 360° 4K technology. We have been working on several proof of concepts since then to test 360° capture with our partners who we feel now master the production aspects. Our roadmap in 2017 is to work on the immersive experience itself and the interactive side of things,” Ou Ramdane describes. He views VR technology as “becoming mature. There are less technical problems with the cameras but we need to work on how to get people to use it.” The group also tested HDR during the match. “We post-produced content using the HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Phillips/Technicolor formats. The idea was to spot the difficulties and identify what capabilities needed to be developed. We wanted to compare the different images produced and what their strengths and weaknesses were and the problems for transmission. We also looked at the live production of HDR and the conversion to SDR for our HD SDR antenna,” he describes. According to Ou Ramdane, the HLG option worked the best, enabling the broadcaster to work on an end-to-end workflow. “The post production tools for Dolby Vision are not yet available and we had to post produce the end-to-end workflow with a London-based post outfit,” he explains. So more tests are on the cards in 2017 “depending on opportunities with our partners,” www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
4K transmission of UEFA used 12 Sony HDC-4300 hybrid cameras
Euromedia’s Nomad 4K-compatible van
he concludes. The company still needs to test the HDR to SDR, notably on the colour correction. THE NEW MILLENNIUM AMP Visual TV was the service provider involved with TF1 on the Euros. The company used its brand new Millennium Ultra HD OB, the Signature 12, launched in June, which included the 12 above-mentioned Sony HDC4300 cameras. The company also provided a dedicated 4K production and graphics unit. According to François Valadoux, executive VP and CTO: “We were still using UHD 1 phase 1 technology which in my view does not really make you go ‘Wow, this is really better than HD’. Especially for sport. But we are doing a lot of work inside the 4EVER-2 consortium on UHD phase 2, because with HDR and especially HFR, you can really see the difference. But manufacturers are not there yet, we are still waiting for the cameras.” The company was also involved in TF1’s 360° trial, and Valadoux is quite enthusiastic about the technology, for which there is an increasing demand, mostly from production companies creating live content for the second screen. “In October, we launched a new dedicated unit called 360 Factory, together with Digital Immersion, who we worked with on the TF1 trial. The idea is to meet the demands of broadcasters and production companies for VR on a wider industrial basis.” CANAL+ KICKS OFF Canal+ has decided to progressively go down the 4K route for its live sports coverage in 2017. “We are a premium broadcaster and bringing the best viewing experience to our public is in our DNA. Many French households have already bought UHD TV sets, and we want to bring them content they can watch on those sets,” confirmed Jean-Christophe Dekeyser, Canal+ head of UHD projects. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
The group started commissioning TV drama and film content in 4K a year and a half ago, and this will be hitting the screen at the end of the year. The broadcaster also made several 4K tests on sport events, the last one being the Rugby Top 14 final in Barcelona in June, which also employed Dolby Atmos sound. In May, Canal+ also launched a 4K premium package available on Orange’s 4K Livebox set-top, which aired the Top 14 final.
“I am not convinced that 100fps for capture is such a good idea, we are very happy with a 50fps rate for capture and production” “I can’t say exactly when, but we will be bringing more UHD live sports to our subscribers from 2017 on-wards,” says Dekeyser. “We are working with our service provider Euromedia on this, the aim being to not have double production units, one for HD and one for UHD side by side but the same van for both UHD and HD and downscaling from one to the other for our viewers who do not have 4K TV sets.” In his view, there is no need to wait for HFR: “I am not convinced that 100fps for capture is such a good idea, we are very happy with a 50fps rate for capture and production.” The broadcaster is aiming to get a UHD HDR end-to-end production line up and running in 2017. “That is one of our strategic goals,” he agreed. Pubcaster France Télévisions tested VR during tennis grand slam tournament Roland-Garros, The group, which pioneered VR tests on last year’s tournament, trialled a more elaborate set-up this year including VideoStitch’s professional standard 4K and 360°camera, the Orah 4i, as well as compression and encoding from another French startup, Firekast. The group also worked with PushPull TV, a company creating interactive TV software
solutions to test remote control of VR in front of the TV set. The trial also employed Samsung’s Gear VR headset and YouTube Live 360 player, as well as Intel’s Quick Sync encoding technology. According to insiders, the Orah camera was a big improvement on the previous year’s set-up, but some blurring of the images still occurred. It has also been testing UHD at Roland-Garros. But the novelty in 2016 was the testing of HDR, and notably HDR encoding in real time. The test compared HDR images on Samsung LED and LG OLED TV sets and was conducted using HDR10 and HLG10 formats and compared high dynamic images with low dynamic ones. HYBRID AND MULTI-FUNCTIONAL Euromedia is France’s largest service provider and, since 2015, has ramped up its investment in 4K. “Our broadcast customers increasingly require 4K for capture, even if they switch back to HD for transmission. For the most part, they have not yet decided to massively adopt 4K for capture even if some are on the brink of making that switch. So we upgraded to be able to meet their one off requirements and be ready for when they decide to go for it,” explains Euromedia CTO Gaël Tanguy. The company has opted for hybrid solutions when: it upgraded three OB vans with kit that includes SAM’s Kahuna 9600 switcher, or GVG’s K-Frame switcher which supports SD, HD, and 4K environments, as well as Sirius 800 routers. “We totally refurbished those vans from scratch,” Tanguy says. The group, which has subsidiaries across Europe, including CTV and ACS in the UK, has renewed its broadcast camera fleet with a large number of Sony HD 2500 and hybrid HDC 4300s, upgradable to 4K, HDR and HFR shooting. The company also launched a compact OB van in the summer, the Nomad, which is HD and 4K compatible and can work with up to nine cameras. Big investments which it hopes will pay off sooner rather than later.
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
The year the
walls came down This year marked the biggest paradigm shift in the history of the industry, says Ephraim Barretts, sales director at Rascular
ow many of us can claim to be visionaries, if you take the definition to be “a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like”? But if you look at it as “thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom” (thanks, Google) – then it’s something that we should all be aiming for, especially now. Just how many people at the start of 2016 predicted the degree of change we’d see – or at least start to see – this year? Yes, change – some might say turmoil - has become the industry watchword over at least the last decade. But this year has been different: it was clear by NAB that a paradigm shift was underway. After decades of operating within the same fundamental model, the walls around our world – what was the broadcast world, or “vertical” – are crumbling. IBC2016 took what we saw at NAB a step further: we are moving ever-faster to an IP-based and to a lesser degree (at least initially) a cloud-enabled future. We need to distinguish here between content production/playout and distribution. Of course in markets around the world – though at massively varying speeds and penetration – viewers can choose how they watch and what they watch courtesy of internet-delivered content. But IP as the fundamental protocol for production is going to be as much a shift as the ability to stream. This isn’t like the move to HD. This is a complete structural shift. It’s odd to look back even as recently as a year ago when the introduction of IP was being discussed – and had been tried in some cases –
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
but was still far from being the 2016 talking point it has become. There’s still challenging standards work to be completed in terms of a native videoover-IP protocol. But looking at the efforts of organisations like AIMS, progress appears faster than many thought. We welcome the fact that the organisation’s priority “is to bring IP solutions to market that offer complete interoperability, are based on open standards, and integrate seamlessly into media workflow environments to foster industry innovation and efficiency.” CONTROL SOLUTIONS We at Rascular are software designers who create PC-based video playout control and media management systems. Bespoke or off-the-shelf, our applications work across SDI and IP technologies. This allows media companies the control they need across hybrid playout environments. So how is our subsector being affected? We’ve been approached multiple times this year about what control solutions we offer for live real-time encoders for streaming and linear pay-TV. We are now well advanced with our third-party integration plans. We’re also exploring social media publishing to TV and what the integrated control possibilities are in that regard. Of course, this IP trend dovetails with the increased use of virtualised playout technologies. When it comes to these, the same issues surround control as in the physical world: operators have to be able to press a button onscreen and know it will do what they want, immediately. Users still need to
make things happen in a time-critical universe. At this point, software designers are having to focus on getting the main functionality of their product correct, not on wider issues like control. ORCHESTRATION Looking at media management, the same challenges appears whatever the protocol, ensuring that critical media for secondary events is where it should be, when it should be. Our experience shows that there’s a gap between what an overarching MAM system takes care of and what automation/scheduling does. For either to handle secondary events – now and next, for example – across multiple channels generally requires bespoke work that costs or simply isn’t possible. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking to a SDI branding device or an IP playout encoder with that capability. It doesn’t matter whether it’s virtual or physical. We now hear the word “orchestration” used when asking how to automate. What do you automate? How do you manually intervene? How do you control all of this? This is in reference to this new hybrid SDI/IP world. The answer is more of the same based on our ongoing work with encoding companies. Of course, this transition won’t happen overnight. This will take time but the process is accelerating at a rate faster than anyone anticipated. As software designers, we have to be able to abstract the operator interface and be able to replace the hardware or software it’s controlling underneath without operators really knowing. 2016 has been a real eye-opener. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Streaming threats, streaming opportunities Video streaming is more than replacing linear playout with an IP infrastructure. Dan Castles, Telestream CEO and co-founder, says streaming offers a new set of opportunities – and challenges – for broadcasters who want to stay relevant
he availability of quality content, and especially live content, over the internet is proving disruptive to many traditional business models. Streaming is available to the filmmaker with a phone almost as easily as it is to a TV studio. Anyone can become a professional broadcaster in minutes. But there’s more to it than just pressing record on a smartphone. To maintain tight control over the viewer experience, there are decisions to be made regarding the cost of distribution, video quality and reliability of systems. Having these controls and building viewership of their own website and app are the keys to profitability in streaming video for broadcasters and content owners. According to the 2016 Big Broadcast Survey Global Trend Index from Devoncroft, the most commercially important issue over the next few years is multi-platform content delivery. The truth is that we are seeing an inevitable transition from linear transmission to streaming to the extent that within ten years there will be no satellite television it will all be HTTP-based. The challenge facing the industry is how to keep pace with changes in consumer preferences as they migrate from linear television channels to OTT. The critical issues are access and convenience for the consumer, balanced with the monetisation of content by broadcasters, content owners and aggregators. FACEBOOK LIVE: THREAT OR OPPORTUNITY? From my perspective, one of the most significant recent developments in video streaming came when Facebook Live was introduced. The integration of live video on social platforms allows access to a huge audience using a medium that broadcasters are expert in. Facebook Live can become a second screen for forward-thinking broadcasters. Once they have paid the big bucks for the right to televise a sporting event, social networks can be used to provide essential value-added content and build audiences and viewer loyalty. Applications can vary from additional camera angles to discrete broadcasts of training sessions or interviews with players.
35 TVTE Telestream Review_Final.indd 2
There is no doubt that OTT will supersede linear TV – it is just a question of when. In the same way that the telephone landline network has been revolutionised by mobile technology, we will see a merging of streaming and live linear TV channels.
“Within ten years there will be no satellite television - it will all be HTTP-based” IP STREAMING SPECIALISTS For broadcasters to make the migration what they need first is the technical infrastructure to support their commercial operations. The latest buzzword is ‘IP’, but what they are actually talking about is a swap of current SDI infrastructures with essentially SDI over Ethernet. That does not translate into an expertise in IP streaming to the consumer. Many companies that have built an enviable heritage in traditional broadcast hardware have, overnight it seems, become specialists 35
in IP-based broadcast environments. Sadly, this cannot be the case. It just is not possible to acquire that knowledge and experience that quickly. What works in other industries does not necessarily work in broadcast. I believe that there is only a small and select group of technology vendors in the market today that possess the resources, products and support systems to help organisations develop their streaming architecture. Today, mainstream media content can be routinely streamed to audiences, but it is still secondary to the primary linear channel. Bu as OTT evolves to replace linear TV broadcasts as the platform of choice for consumers to access their desired content, consumer expectations will rise as they demand better quality and more reliable HTTP delivery options. In the meantime, I caution organisations to look carefully under the bonnet before selecting a streaming technology partner. Just because a company makes an encoder which provides content that is subsequently streamed, this does not make that encoder manufacturer a streaming expert. n November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
One year later AIMS, the Alliance for IP Media Solutions, was formed at the end of 2015 by companies looking to solve the growing problem of interoperability in a post-SDI world. Born out of a few casual conversations between CEO’s, the organisation rapidly expanded and in less than a year has been joined by over 50 member companies. We asked some AIMS member companies to reflect on their experience of the organisation over the past year and offer their perspectives on the transition to IP-based production tech
Navigating the AIMS roadmap BY MIKE CRONK, AIMS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD & VICE PRESIDENT OF CORE TECHNOLOGY AT GRASS VALLEY
he use of Internet Protocol (IP) has revolutionised many industries, from factory automation, to healthcare to telecommunications. For our industry it offers great potential as well. The ability to distribute content in new ways, the ability to flexibly “spin up” new channels much more quickly than before, and the ability to support new formats such as UHD and HDR without wholesale infrastructure rebuilds are but some of advantages IP offers. However, one year ago the broadcast industry was facing a huge challenge with regard to the adoption of IP. That challenge was fragmentation. As recently as IBC2015, the industry was awash with multiple, mutually incompatible proposals for how video, audio and metadata would be carried over IP in live and studio applications. As a result, at IBC2015, it looked like we were headed for the same sort of fragmentation we had become accustomed to in our industry where tape formats are incompatible and multiple file exchange formats exist for the same application. Fast forward to now and the future is much brighter. All major players in the camps which were offering different proposals for IP interoperability have agreed that the emerging standard, SMPTE ST 2110 - now in drafting - will be the preferred method of interoperability. As never before in the history of our industry, seven key organisations (AES, AIMS,
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
AMWA, EBU, IABM, VSF, and SMPTE) co-sponsored an interoperability event at IBC2016 in which over 30 companies demonstrated interoperability over IP. 100% of the technologies demonstrated in this event were on the “AIMS Roadmap”, a common set of interoperability technologies which are based on truly open standards and specifications.
In short, in the ten months since the founding of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) in mid-December of 2015, the industry has coalesced on a roadmap for IP interoperability. How did AIMS help to generate such progress in such a short time period? I’d like to suggest three things.
COMMON PURPOSE First, AIMS was founded on a powerful idea: that the value of a network is directly proportional to the number of people (and companies) using the network. In other words, there was a force field in place to encourage companies to work together. In the same way that having a common protocol on top of IP, HTTP, resulted in new business opportunities for hundreds of thousands of companies, a common set of IP protocols for broadcast offers opportunities for everyone involved. Fragmentation of our industry was not in the interest of most companies in the industry. AIMS provided a voice to those companies for whom IP interoperability was important. Second, AIMS sought not to create a new protocol, but instead to leverage the good work on-going in our industry from our most prestigious standards and specifications bodies, namely AES, AMWA, EBU, VSF and SMPTE. These organisations are strong proponents of open standards and were already engaged in work to come up with a common set of protocols for IP interoperability. Rather than choosing to back proposals from individual companies, AIMS chose to weigh in on the open standards and specifications coming from organisations like AMWA, VSF and SMPTE. Such organisations follow a more stringent, collaborative development process than individual companies and so their standards/specifications typically have greater longevity and clearer intellectual property licensing policies. Lastly, and critically, rather than seek to replace the work of any existing organisation AIMS sought to augment and support the great efforts of these already existing standards organisations. AIMS’ mission is “to foster the adoption of a common, ubiquitous set of protocols for interoperability over IP”. With that mission, AIMS keyed on two aspects of “fostering adoption” which supported the work of these organisations: promotion of the AIMS roadmap and providing technical feedback to AMWA, VSF and SMPTE. Organisations like AES, AMWA, VSF and SMPTE typically don’t do much promotion. AIMS, through its marketing working group, became their biggest cheerleader, advocating for the technologies these organisations were developing. Additionally, since so many AIMS members were in the middle of implementing these technologies, AIMS, via its technical working group has been able to identify gaps in the proposals and provide feedback to AMWA, VSF and SMPTE. By not competing with AES, AMWA, EBU, VSF and SMPTE and supporting their efforts in complementary ways, AIMS found a niche and has made strong progress towards fulfilling its mission. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Cooperative marketing, the AIMS way BY ANDY WARMAN, AIMS MARKETING WORKING GROUP CHAIR & DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT LINE MANAGEMENT, SERVERS AND STORAGE AT HARMONIC
hen we think about marketing it conjures up images of organisations promoting products and services, and the process by which they bring them to market. It is almost always a competitive activity with vendors looking to win mindshare of customers. AIMS was founded by members that would otherwise be competitors, so it is tempting to think that this would create a difficult environment for the marketing activities of the AIMS Marketing Working Group, which is responsible for the outbound messaging of AIMS. AIMS marketing efforts, “to foster the adoption of industry standards for the broadcast
and media industry as it transitions from SDI to IP”, have enjoyed great success, with membership well in excess of 50 vendors and end users, phenomenal attendance at AIMS interoperability demos and events at NAB and IBC 2016 with customers asking vendors for AIMS compatible products. None of this would have been possible without cooperation from members in both the AIMS Technical and Marketing working groups. Being part of the AIMS marketing team, and seeing the market respond to the AIMS initiatives has been both rewarding and enlightening. As the Marketing working group chair, I have had the privilege to work with many of the industry’s
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
The VSF and AMWA interopability test at the Fox Network Center near Houston, Texas in August
marketing and product management leaders. Everyone involved volunteers their time, because we believe the AIMS approach is the preferred approach to IP interoperability as laid out by the AIMS roadmap. AIMS marketing efforts started with representatives from 12 member organisations, a desire to make the AIMS roadmap the defacto standard for IP-based production and playout workflows, and NAB 2016 less than three months away. By the time NAB arrived there were 32 members and a huge amount of momentum behind interoperability demos, not only at the central booth showcasing 16 members, but at 20 other member booths spread throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center. AIMS even had a booth, manned by members taking turns to make sure there was always an expert available to answer questions.
TVTechnology Europe November 2016
A LANDMARK IBC The build up to IBC2016 allowed us to reach new heights. Membership continued to grow, with one or two organisations joining each week and a great deal of press activity as the numbers increased. Since interoperability is so important to IP workflows being plug and play, AIMS worked in conjunction
“Membership continued to grow, with one or two organisations joining each week” with AES, AMWA, EBU, IABM, IBC, SMPTE and VSF on the IP Interoperability Zone. Co-located with IBC TV, an all IP production system used to create programming during the IBC show, it provided an ideal setting for interoperability demos that encompassed IP transport of SMPTE ST 2022-
6, VSF TR-04 and TR-03 (the basis for SMPTE 2110, currently in draft) video and audio between devices, PTP timing showing how synchronisation can be achieved in a network environment, and discovery and registration, which demonstrated how to find and connect to IP enabled devices on a network. Over 30 vendors took part in the event. And members reported great responses to interoperability demos on their own booths. AIMS marketing efforts are not just centred around membership, interoperability demos and trade shows. The focus now is on how to enable adoption, and let the industry better understand the technologies and ways in which real world systems can be deployed. The media and entertainment industry’s response to AIMS has been exceptional. We anticipate many great things in the future as IP becomes more pervasive and replaces workflows that were once dependent on SDI.
The VoIP view BY MANICA PRESIDENT JOHN BURTON, CTO MARC LEVY, AND DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT LAURA RICHARDSON
t Macnica, we’re pleased to congratulate AIMS as it approaches its one-year anniversary. By any measure, AIMS has accomplished a tremendous amount in a very short time to raise the profile of livecontribution video-over-IP technologies. Much progress has been made in the drive to create open standards for IP video transport, but there’s still work to be done on the new ST2110 standards. ST2110 is based on the VSF Technical Recommendations TR 03 and 04. This standard is currently in draft form. AIMS doesn’t develop the standards – it is an industry body with a mission to promote open standards. While many AIMS members are video equipment manufacturers, Macnica – a developer of intellectual property for video-over-IP transport – is coming at this from a slightly different angle. Macnica has a long history in high speed networking and Ethernet switching, and that history has given us insight into the challenges of migrating broadcast studios from dedicated cabling to IP-based infrastructure.
As the standards solidify, the focus will shift to the underlying requirements for robustness in challenging real-world networks. For example, ST2022-7 (Hitless Diversity) is a key requirement for redundancy in the studio environment. During the August 2016 interop, a small subset of companies, including Macnica, participated in the ST2022-7 testing. We would like to see that number grow. AIMS has adopted a “big tent” strategy by bringing together as many companies as possible to help move video-over-IP technologies forward – and this can only result in stronger and more open standards in the long run. Considering the number of manufacturers rushing to jump
on the ST2110 bandwagon, AIMS has done an admirable job of uniting the industry. Additionally, planning is underway for a compliance testing program that will allow products to be certified as compliant by an independent third-party organisation. Macnica is involved in the working group to structure this program. So what’s our net impression of AIMS’s first year? Great progress, with the foundation laid for a bright future. We look forward to seeing the industry adopt a comprehensive, flexible, scalable, and interoperable set of standards. For our part, Macnica remains committed to supporting these standards and bringing quality products to the industry.
“AIMS has adopted a ‘big tent’ strategy by bringing together as many companies as possible” Macnica saw the inevitability of a transition from baseband SDI to IP as the primary means of moving uncompressed media streams throughout a broadcast studio and began developing intellectual property that leveraged our networking expertise. We have seen the VSF interoperability testing grow from four participants including Macnica in 2012, to well over 30 companies at the most recent interop event in August 2016. AIMS played a large role in driving up this participation. These interoperability events are an opportunity for companies to verify interoperability of their solutions and identify ambiguities or inefficiencies in the standards. CRITICAL FOR BROADCASTERS We believe that well-defined standards for IP transport, with products proven to be compliant to those standards, are critical for leveraging the flexibility offered by this migration. AIMS is uniting key industry players to enable this migration and has also united important industry organisations around a common goal. www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Macnica engineer David Culley at the IBC Interoperability Zone
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
Save the Date IBC2017 Conference 14 â€“ 18 September 2017 Exhibition 15 â€“ 19 September 2017 RAI, Amsterdam
Where the entertainment, media and technology industry does business
TV tech’s biggest night The full list of the nominees and winners in this year’s TVB Awards for outstanding technical achievements in the broadcast industry
he third annual TVB Awards were held on 20 October in London’s spectacular Grand Connaught Rooms. The TVB Awards, hosted in partnership with TV Tech Europe by our sister publication TVBEurope, honour outstanding achievements in the broadcast technology fields. This year’s gala featured a lifetime achievement award for industry luminary John Holton. In addition to developing the first character generator widely adopted by UK broadcasters, Holton became a regular contributor to the success of the IBC conference in Amsterdam, heading up the trade show’s exhibition programme. And the winners are...
LIVE PRODUCTION The challenging area of live production is a refined art, and successful productions rely on many component parts working in orchestration to deliver the end result. This category recognises the teams working together to deliver the best in live sports broadcast, live broadcast, and live broadcast sound. LIVE SPORTS BROADCAST Aperi - Aperi delivers on the IP promise at the EURO 2016 Avid - ARD and ZDF embrace Avid MediaCentral for Euro 2016 and Brazil’s summer Games Cinevideo SRL - UEFA Champions League Final 2016 – Milano EVS - Innovative workflow for ITN Productions’ The Football League www.tvtechnologyeurope.com
Gearhouse - file delivery network for ITV Sport at EURO 2016 Net Insight AB - Net Insight and SVT deliver remote production over largest distance in Europe Suitcase TV - All-IP remote production trial at UEFA Euro 2016 (WINNER) LIVE BROADCAST PRODUCTION Feature Story News - Live Streaming of Historic U.S. Presidential Visit to Cuba VRT - EBU LiveIP project (WINNER) MOOV - Custom built 8 camera liveproduction fly-away for the PSA World Tour ABC/Presteigne Broadcast Hire – Good Morning America On Safari Aspera/BASE Media Cloud for delivery of cloud-based solutions for FIA Formula E Deluxe MediaCloud/MP & Silva – European NFL delivery LIVE BROADCAST SOUND ITV - The Sound of Music Live National Theatre Live – Hamlet Riedel/EBU - Eurovision Song Contest (WINNER) SIS Live - Rugby World Cup
PRODUCTION AND POST Highlighting the innovation coursing through the veins of the production and post sector, this category rewards those pushing the envelope in image capture, broadcast audio, and post production. ACHIEVEMENT IN IMAGE CAPTURE Aveco - Take 2 Studio production
automation by Aveco with partner SWR Germany Canon - Canon UK / Offspring Films / VMI and Mark Payne-Gill for Monkeys: An Amazing Family Elemental Technologies - High Dynamic Range Video Processing The Garden Productions Ltd - All Aboard: The Sleigh Ride (WINNER) ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND Mark Briscoe (head of audio, dock10) - The Five Robert Edwards and this team - Britain’s Got Talent, including Live Shows 2015 BBC R&D - The Turning Forest (WINNER) BBC/The Sound Alliance - BBC Proms ACHIEVEMENT IN POST PRODUCTION Quest TV - 2016 Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Quest UK BBC Studioworks - Eastenders Dock 10 - Happy Valley series two (WINNER) Dock 10 - Match Of The Day Timeline Television - Muhammad Ali: The Greatest (BBC Sport/BBC 1)
INFRASTRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT The infrastructure category highlights the work being done in systems integration, archive digitisation, and media asset management. IBC BEST OF SHOWSTANDOUT AWARD Bridge Technologies Nomad Mediabank SaaS product Make.tv x.news Information Technology - x.news v2.0 (flexible panels upgrade) (WINNER)
November 2016 TVTechnology Europe
TVB AWARDS ACHIEVEMENT IN ARCHIVE DIGITISATION BBC - BBC VE Day: Remembering Victory BFI - BFI National Archive (WINNER) Mediabank SaaS product TMD - TMD powers new cultural archive project at RTÉ ACHIEVEMENT IN ASSET MANAGEMENT/ SYSTEMS INTEGRATION Tedial - MAM and BPM platform for WIN TV. Distributed Regional News and Production Network Vizrt - The PGA’s MAM installation Imagine Communications - Sky Italia (WINNER) Cantemo - Cantemo Portal implementation for Endemol Shine Australia TSL - Marjan TV Networks case study: TSL Systems
TVBEVERYWHERE The TVBEverywhere category pays homage to cutting edge systems being used in programming and content provision across the industry. This year’s awards recognise VoD/catch-up and mobile TV provision, social media integration, and multiplatform production and delivery.
NewTek - TriCaster Advanced Edition and Facebook Live enable TRT World to report attempted coup in Turkey TV ANYWHERE SOLUTIONS: VOD/CATCH UP AND MOBILE TV Ericsson - VOD infrastructure solution (WINNER) DVEO - Atlas Media Server Edgeware - Edgeware TV CDN – Dedicated TV service delivery architecture Simplestream - BoxNation Netgem - Netgem’s multiscreen 4K TV solution for Post Luxembourg
SUSTAINABILITY MULTIPLATFORM PRODUCTION AND DELIVERY Elemental Technologies - SDI over IP Transport Harmonic and NASA - NASA TV UHD (WINNER) Simplestream - At The Races TV5 Monde/Pixel Power – StreamMaster Vizrt - Vizrt infrastructure for Expressen TV SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION BBC Productions - Coverage of Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS (WINNER) Quest TV - 2016 Le Mans 24 Hour race on Quest UK Shotglass Media - Shotglass Media for X-Factor
Our new Sustainability category was introduced this year to recognise the work being done across the industry by individuals, productions, and organisations to improve the sector’s engagement with sustainable business practice. SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION BBC Blue Peter production team (WINNER) Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures (BBC Natural History Unit/CBeebies) Eastenders (BBC) Loose Women (ITV) INDIVIDUAL AWARD Suzanne Dolan, BBC Tim Scoones, executive producer, BBC Natural
History Unit Steve Smith, freelance director & sustainable production consultant Wendy Wright, BBC drama (WINNER) BUSINESS AWARD RIMMS Band Films (WINNER) Powerline
HALL OF FAME The new Hall of Fame initiative has been created to honour the individuals, organisations, and technical advancements helping to shape the broadcast and media technology sector as we know it today. The Hall of Fame awards recognise three specific areas: INNOVATION AND R&D AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT Newstag - Newsshow as a service VRT - EBU LiveIP project (WINNER) Timeline Television START-UP/RISING STAR AWARD VESET (WINNER) V-Nova Accedo LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD John Holton (WINNER)
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