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www.tvtechglobal.com Jan/Feb 2017

4K monitor review

OTT & streaming

Big Screen focus


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CONTENTS

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TV IS GLOBAL, SO ARE WE Welcome to the first issue of TV Tech Global! Our previous publication, TV Technology Europe, served a valuable function in the industry as a way for the European film, TV and online media marketplace to share ideas about media tools and tech and how to use them to reach bigger and better audiences. But territorial divisions, though they may have significance in corporate board rooms, are becoming anachronisms in the real world. We live and work in a global marketplace. Some companies have understood this better than others. While regional broadcasters and studios split hairs about regional rights, Netflix was expanding into 190 countries. The global nature of our industry isn’t just geographical. The participants and dominant players are increasingly less centred around a handful of English-speaking cities. Content is not only being consumed everywhere, in our connected world, is being made everywhere. TV Tech Global is your guide to the new global media ecosystem. We will explore production, workflows, distribution and tech innovation on all seven continents (yes, there is an Antarctic broadcaster too). We hope you’ll join us. Neal Romanek Editor nromanek@nbmedia.com

16 4K FOR EVERYONE? Our review of Ben Q’s new 4K monitor by DP Michael Sanders

30 LIVE FROM LONDON Woody Harrelson writes, directs, stars in one of the most technologically daring live productions ever attempted

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18 INTERVIEW: NAOMI CLIMER Naomi Climer, former president of the IET, talks about the radical – repeat, radical – effect technology is going to have on our business and society

Editor Neal Romanek +44 (0)207 354 6002 nromanek@nbmedia.com

Group Publisher Eric Trabb 212 378 0400 etrabb@nbmedia.com

Sales – Spain / Italy Raffaella Calabrese +39 320 891 1938 rcalabrese@nbmedia.com

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

Associate Publisher Vytas Urbonas 212 378 0400 vurbonas@nbmedia.com

Sales – US Atlantic & Southeast Michele Inderrieden 212 378 0400 minderrieden@nbmedia.com

Senior Account Manager Richard Carr +44 (0)207 354 6027 rcarr@nbmedia.com

Sales – Japan Sho Harihara +81 6 4790 2222 ho@yukarimedia.com

Sales – US West Pete Sembler 650 238 0324 psembler@nbmedia.com

STORAGE ROUNDTABLE Our roundtable, held in partnership with Quantum, concludes: It’s the workflow, stupid!

SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to TV Tech Global, sign up to our newsletter at www.tvtechglobal.com/newsletter/subscribe. Should you have any questions please email subs@tvtechglobal.com is published 6 times a year by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU

Editorial tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6002 Sales tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6000 © Copyright NewBay Media Europe Ltd 2017 NewBay Media Europe Ltd is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association

Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of TV Tech Global are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. LOGO

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01/03/2017 14:58


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GLOBETROTTING

January/February 2017

Grupo Globo becomes first Latin American AIMS member The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) continues to extend its international reach with the addition of Brazil’s Grupo Globo, the organisation’s first Latin American member. Japan’s Fuyoh Video also joins the AIMS in its AIMS Japan subgroup. Grupo Globo has signed on as a full member, while Japan’s Fuyoh Video Industry Co. has signed on as an associate member. Grupo Globo creates, produces, and distributes TV, music, news, film, and online content throughout Brazil. TV Globo’s programming is

broadcast through most of the country through five of its own networks plus affiliates. Globosat offers over 30 subscription TV channels supplying 24-hour programming. Fuyoh Video develops, designs, and manufactures broadcasting and industrial video equipment for a range of applications. The

company specialises in digital HD/SD equipment for TV stations, post production, CATV stations, and CS stations.

New UHD OB van for South Korea’s SBS South Korean broadcaster SBS has deployed a new UHD OB van, built by German system integrator Broadcast Solutions GmbH. The van, UHD 1, is based on a new Streamline variant, called Alphaline, with a reduced length in order to cope with the special conditions of South Korean roads. The OB van works with up to 12 4K/ UHD cameras on the basis of 12G-SDI UHD Single Link and offers sufficient 3G-SDI Quad Link gateways for monitoring.

The SBS OB Van works with 12G-SDI UHD Single Link format, using Ikegami cameras and vision mixers, with Evertz equipment for video-routing and multiviewers. After hitting the road, the OB van worked on the production of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating competition at Gangneung, South Korea. Broadcast Solutions teamed up with South Korean SI DongYang Digital (DYD).

Globecast enables African Cup of Nations coverage Globecast provided uplinks and contribution for the 31st African Cup of Nations 2017 held in host country Gabon. Globecast provided a full HD contribution and distribution service for African, European and Asian broadcasters as well as an IP platform. More than 15 major broadcasters from Europe, Africa and Asia covered the event, taking the Globecast live feeds. During the tournament, additional African channels also provided coverage depending on the teams playing. Globecast provided uplinks and contribution

by deploying two flyaway antennas (C- and Ku-band) in each of the four official tournament stadiums. Globecast managed the shipping and local logistics for nine HD satellite broadcast antenna kits representing a total of six tons of equipment. In Gabon, Globecast provided a team of engineers and a global coordinator from Globecast Reportage and its Nairobi subsidiary. In its Parisian facility (Paris-Archives/Serte), a dedicated team supervised and coordinated contribution links and international distribution

for each match. Globecast also provided two commentator posts (both French) and handled the insertion of sponsors’ graphical elements to enrich the live broadcasts from its Paris MCR. Globecast also operated a video file distribution platform, which provided the rights holders with about thirty minutes of new material per day, divided into a dozen targeted sections, as well as the live streaming of the games for exclusive Lagardère Sports editorials requirements. In the final, Cameroon beat Egypt, 2-1.


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GLOBETROTTING

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Silicon Valley takes stock of European VR Silicon Valley-based venture firm The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund) has released its first-ever European virtual reality (VR) landscape, which features European companies developing infrastructure, tools and apps for the VR ecosystem. The company released an AR (augmented reality) landscape last autumn. The landscape was created in partnership with LucidWeb, the French VR and webVR consulting agency, to depict the growth in the ecosystem,

with the hope of increasing investment and is based on research gathered during meetings and calls with regional VR providers across Europe. Close to 300 VR startups were identified and reviewed, of which 116 were selected to be part of the first release of the VR Landscape Europe. According to the report, the VR gaming industry remains the most competitive space with companies including CCP Games (Iceland), nDreams (United Kingdom), Resolution Games

(Sweden) and Solfar Studios (Iceland). More than half of the companies included are based in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden. France takes the lead in VR in continental Europe. Companies in VR post-production are developing 3D tools, which American software companies have recently acquired: Google acquired Irish Thrive Audio, Facebook acquired Scotland-based Two Big Ears, and Snapchat acquired London’s Seen/Obvious Engineering.

RTS accepting applications for UK student bursaries Bursary recipients will receive £1000 per year of their studies The Royal Television Society (RTS) has launched its Undergraduate Bursary Schemes for 2017. It will be investing over £75,000 to support UK students from lower income backgrounds. The RTS will offer 20 bursaries to students studying accredited TV production and broadcast journalism degree courses. A further five technology bursaries are available to students of computing and engineering at top courses at British universities.

The bursaries are aimed at students in less affluent circumstances with the goal of helping to widen participation in the media industries. Bursary recipients will receive £1000 per year of their studies, free membership in the RTS and affiliate membership of The Hospital Club – a private members club for the creative industries – while studying and a year’s free membership of the RTS after graduation. They will also have access to mentoring from RTS members and partners including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. “As an educational charity, the Royal Television

Society is committed to helping young people from diverse backgrounds,” said Theresa Wise, RTS CEO, “particularly those who display a real passion to work in TV, realise their potential and get a foothold on the careers ladder. The television industry is a fast-moving and varied one offering many different opportunities, and we are keen to hear from students wishing to pursue careers in all areas of the industry.” For more details or to submit an application visit: https://rts.org.uk/education-training/rts-bursaries. Deadline for submissions is 30 June, 2017.

HDMI forum announces new spec The HDMI Forum has announced an update of the HDMI Specification. The new version 2.1 supports higher video resolutions and refresh rates, including 8K60 and 4K120, dynamic HDR and increased bandwidth with a new 48G cable. Version 2.1 of the HDMI Specification is backward compatible with earlier versions of the spec. The new specification will be available to all HDMI 2.0 adopters and will be released early in Q2 2017, said the HDMI Forum. The new features will support a range of higher

resolutions and faster refresh rates including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz and dynamic HDR, aiming for ideal values for video depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider colour gamuts. 48G cables will enable up to 48Gbps bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support including 8K video with HDR. The cable is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices Game Mode VRR support features variable

refresh rate, which enables a 3D graphics processor to display an image at the moment it is rendered for more fluid and better detailed gameplay, and for reducing or eliminating lag, stutter, and frame tearing.


More info


OPINION

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The 2017 forecast UHD could be mainstream in 2017, but that’s just the beginning, says Ian Trow, senior director of emerging technology and strategy at Harmonic

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n 2016, video content and service providers continued to launch OTT multiscreen services, began dabbling in UHD, and embraced cloud technology in an effort to streamline video production and delivery as well as reduce costs. Many want to know, what’s in store for 2017? At the moment, we’re seeing increased interest in targeted advertising. I anticipate that 2017 will be the year that targeted advertising overpowers the spot ad, as video content and service providers look to provide a more personalised video experience and boost their revenue potential. Harmonic’s customers are transitioning from SDI baseband video compression headends to IP and software in an effort to increase flexibility and efficiency. It’s all about catering to user preferences, similar to what consumers experience in the streaming world. Transport stream splicing and viewer analytics are required capabilities in compression solutions moving forward. While targeted advertising used to be difficult for broadcasters and other service providers to implement, a connection between viewers and the transmission point now exists thanks to nextgeneration STB and cable infrastructure. Broadcasters, in particular, need to support this level of interactivity to sustain their advertising revenue and fight back against online and smartphone advertising. On another note, UHD TV is gaining momentum around the world. Recently, Strategy Analytics reported that the Western European UHD TV market shipped more than five million sets in 2015. What’s impressive is that Germany and the UK became the first countries outside of the United States and China to ship more than one million 4K TVs in a single a year.

THE YEAR OF UHD AND HDR? With UHD going strong, many people in the industry think that 2017 will be the year of UHD HDR. HDR will undoubtedly enable viewers to enjoy the ultimate television experience. But I believe it’s going to be limited to proof of concept, with a few operators delivering HDR to a limited set of screens. Screen availability is an issue. The majority of UHD TV sets in homes are SDR. Until there is an agreed upon industry solution for delivering UHD HDR to legacy screen sets, many video content and service providers will be reluctant to adopt HDR. Moreover, an end-to-end production workflow is needed. At the latter end of 2017 and early 2018, the industry will be in a better situation to deploy UHD HDR to the masses.

Expect to see more e cross virtuallisation betw ween broadcast an nd enterrprisse infrastructure e in 2017 In 2016, software-defined networking and cloud technology became hot concepts for OTT and multiscreen delivery, and that trend will continue in 2017. We’re seeing a rapid transition from CAPEX to OPEX service delivery models. Being able to manage the video production and delivery workflow for broadcast and OTT applications via standard IT hardware, over public or private cloud infrastructure, dramatically speeds up time to market for these services. A few leading broadcasters are currently trialing OPEX-based service delivery models for OTT and catch-up TV. Those trials will grow in size in 2017, for broadcasters as well as aggregation channels. Sports channels, in particular, appreciate the opportunity to quickly package content and

make it widely available to consumers. Expect to see more cross virtualisation between broadcast and enterprise infrastructure in 2017. Major enterprises, like hotel chains and automakers, love the idea of using production server capability for professional video applications, such as training exercises. Thanks to the internet, the functionality of video has become ubiquitous and is a standard feature in an enterprise domain. BANDWIDTH ISSUES On the cable side of the business, bandwidth is still a big issue. Video accounts for a very high percentage of total internet consumption. A recent report from Cisco claimed that by 2019, online video will be responsible for four-fifths of global traffic. While cable operators have been working on adding capacity to their networks, as with a highway, the more capacity that’s added, the more is used. Many cable operators are looking to transition to 1Gigabit connectivity, which they could achieve via software-based CCAP solutions that streamline the process and resolve space and power constraints in the headend and hub. Finally, 2017 becomes the year when streaming video quality is important. According to a report on US video streaming from Verizon Digital Media Services, 86 per cent of viewers say it is very or extremely important to get a TV-like quality experience every time they watch, on every screen they use. Viewers in Europe also demand a high-quality video experience. Compression optimisation technologies are emerging to help reduce operators’ network delivery and storage costs, increase their ability to reach more consumers over congested mobile networks, and enable a more consistent viewing experience with enhanced video quality and less buffering.


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OPINION

January/February 2017

Searching for OTT quality OTT delivery has given traditional broadcasters a fabulous new revenue stream. Quality of service issues are more important than ever says Penny Westlake, Interra’s sales director, Europe

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hen OTT offerings became mainstream in 2016, some called it the end of the television industry. That’s not entirely true. In fact, OTT services are driving new revenue sources for traditional content providers. Live sport channels in particular emerged as a huge growth opportunity for broadcasters and operators looking to make a splash in the OTT environment. While the NFL witnessed a double-digit decline in TV audiences, with Monday Night Football down 24 percent from this time a year ago, according to an executive at Fox Sports, online streaming numbers hit a record high during the Summer Olympic Games. NBC’s apps recorded 2.7 billion minutes, nearly twice the amount for all previous Games and had 100 million unique users, a 29 percent increase over 2012.

NBC’s app ps record ded 2.7 7 billio on minu utes, nea arly twice e the amountt for all prevvious (Olympic) Gam mes Beyond an increase in OTT sports channels, we’re seeing a rapid transition to a direct-to-consumer world. A recent survey by Pew Research Center found that as many as 24 percent of American adults do not have cable or satellite TV. Increasingly, cord-cutters are accessing OTT services through Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Moreover, streaming companies like Netflix are partnering with cable companies like Comcast, making streaming content more accessible and convenient.

RAMPING UP QUALITY CONTROL It’s clear that viewers are shifting toward watching content when and where they want it, and on any device. With the surge in online video viewing, traditional broadcast and payTV operators need to ramp up their quality control (QC) and monitoring operations. Here’s why: Consumers today have higher internet bandwidth than ever before and they expect the same high-quality, consistent viewing experience on secondary devices as they get with broadcast TV. If the quality is low, viewers will find an alternative means of watching content. Yet, ensuring delivery of error-free and high quality content is a challenging proposition. Content providers require a reliable set of QC and monitoring tools to stay competitive in the OTT environment. ENSURING OTT QUALITY In an OTT workflow, content is stored on origin servers, CDNs, as well as edge/cache servers. Depending on the location of the end user, bandwidth availability, and other factors, video is sent from one of these servers to the end user. Quality issues can arise at any of these delivery points, and content providers will need visibility into the entire workflow to ensure optimum quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE). An efficient QC solution will help content providers address these critical OTT delivery requirements through centralised management, checks of QoS and QoE, and real-time error alerts for problem detection and troubleshooting. Content providers should choose a QC solution that supports SD, HD, and cloud-based workflows, as well as 4K and HDR. As consumer demand for 4K HDR video

grows, 4K and HDR quality checks will be critical to assuring superior quality of adaptive bitrate (ABR) content.

Opera atorrs need d to ra amp up theirr quality y con ntrol (QC C) and d monittoring operatio ons In particular, content providers will want a QC solution that performs file integrity and compliance checks to ensure that the file or content being delivered is not corrupt and has been encoded per industry standards. If these requirements are not met, downstream tools may not be able to play out the assets accurately. In the OTT environment, this is especially important because there are a variety of devices with different form factors and players from a multitude of vendors. Content providers must make sure that the files play well on all devices. SOFTWARE FLEXIBILITY From a monitoring standpoint, in 2017, content providers will adopt software-based test and measurement solutions for OTT service delivery. Checking the quality of OTT services is very complex, and it’s constantly changing. Software-based solutions offer flexibility and better ease of expansion. This is particularly true in cases where multiple different types of services are being output from the same media center. Some manufacturers offer hardwarebased T&M solutions to reduce the number of potential variables that are involved; however, as the distribution of many services requires constant flexibility, and new services need to go online very fast, software-based solutions are the way of the future.


OPINION

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9

It’s Ctrl+Alt+Change for broadcast K.A. Srinivasan, co-founder of Amagi, believes OTT services have the power to break down geographical barriers by putting power in the hands of viewers

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t one of last year’s big trade shows, a senior industry leader quipped, “You are no longer watching TV. The TV is watching you!” Though the concept seems straight out of a sci-fi movie, we are indeed the closest we have ever been to “twoway television.” The ability of set-top boxes to relay information about viewer behavior to broadcasters enables content and advertising to be more addressable, adding a new dimension to delivering custom and targeted content on TV. While this phenomenon is prevalent in the US, and to some extent the UK, most other parts of the world are yet to catch up. This is set to change as viewers shift to OTT multiscreen viewing. Networks face an unprecedented challenge led by shifts in technology and behaviour. Only those that can adapt to the new democratisation and personalisation will be rewarded with continued business, content loyalty, and unit monetisation opportunities. SWITCHING TO AMBIENT CONTENT The 2016 US elections, and the ensuing political drama, have demonstrated the effectiveness of social media compared with TV. Increasingly, audiences are relying on social channels, as opposed to TV, for daily news. As social media platforms evolve into the primary information source, viewers will no longer switch to a specific program, channel, or “destination” on traditional TV or OTT channels. They will expect all relevant content to be a part of their social feeds. TV networks will need to find and deliver preferred content to audiences in an ambient fashion. As an expansion of ambient content, viewers will eventually get targeted content across their entire online presence.

BREAKING DOWN GEOGRAPHICAL BARRIERS Cloud technology has become ubiquitous in the last decade, bringing tremendous opportunities for content distribution. With cloud technology, owners can deliver content to fan bases, anywhere in the world, without having to set up a heavy CAPEX model. All media files can be simply pushed to the cloud and delivered on multiscreen devices. This format is also likely to cross over into an area that has so far remained dependent on traditional broadcast methods — live sports broadcast. Platforms like Facebook Live have seized upon the opportunity that live broadcast brings to OTT for both sports and news coverage. Does this mean that traditional broadcasters have nothing to gain from these platforms? BROADCAST IN 2017 AND BEYOND Disruptive technologies tend to level the field for everyone. However, if the market leaders are willing to adapt, they can maintain competitive positions throughout the market transformation. For example, as cord-cutting continues with millennials, companies such as Dish Network have launched their own OTT services. Sling TV, the service offered by Dish, has close to 760,000 subscribers, and is adding more channels soon. Live sports broadcast using Facebook Live or other cloud-based services could also see appropriation by the existing live broadcast ecosystem in near future. Breaking down geographical barriers could be the biggest game-changer as far as content creation is concerned. In the future, cloud-enabled collaborative platforms will simplify playout management for user-generated content. For example, a football match could be produced using a live streaming platform such as Facebook Live. By integrating important functions such

as commentary and graphics on a single cloud dashboard, the platform makes it unnecessary for service providers to be geographically co-located. A match being played in London could be streamed to Norway, with commentary from Manchester, and graphics done in Malaysia. With cloud, TV networks can move to a completely reimagined workflow, accessing the best resources in the business at a pay-per-use cost. Such cloud-enabled MCR will completely revolutionise playout management, benefitting content producers and broadcast companies alike. However, consumers will be the biggest beneficiaries of these technological advances. As democratisation of live content takes place, users can create their own sports channels and choose events that they are interested in. What’s more, they can eventually set up preferred camera angles and receive personalised feeds. Personalisation of this magnitude is likely to be a boon for account planners, media agencies, and advertisers, granting them deeper insights for more targeted advertising.

Aud dience es are relyin ng on sociall chann nels, as oppo osed to T V, forr daily news As control shifts to viewers in this new broadcast world, existing TV networks need to beef up their technology, delivery, and monetisation platforms to be accessible to viewers and advertisers. Their competition will not necessarily be other TV networks, but rather evolving content and social platforms that are becoming an integral part of audiences’ lifestyles. In this context TV networks need to ask themselves, “Are we watching the watcher?”


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PRODUCTION – CASE STUDY

January/February 2017

Serving content to those who serve British Forces Broadcasting Services gives the UK’s service men and women around the world a taste of home. Neal Romanek reports.

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ritish Forces Broadcasting Services is part of Services Sound and Vision Corporation, a non-profit charity tasked with providing British military personnel around the world with entertainment and information. Last year BFBS refurbished its studios, located outside London. With the motto “Serving those who serve”, the broadcaster delivers TV and radio around the clock with 15 TV channels broadcast via encrypted satellite to an audience of 25,000 in 24 countries and to Royal Navy ships at sea. The charity also provides 18 radio channels available on the same satellite and on local FM transmitters which operate from studios all over the world from Gibraltar to the Falklands. In 2013, a ten-year contract with the UK’s Ministry of Defence started a complete facilities upgrade of radio studios, satellite multiplexing and its TV playout facility in the UK. Systems integrator dB Broadcast rebuilt the BFBS playout workflow from the ground up. The new facilities feature SAM ICE channel-in-a-box with Morpheus automation, a Provys traffic system and IPV’s Curator Media Asset Management based on Cisco hardware, as well as Axon Synapse signal processing, Arbor mass ingest recording and NetApp storage. ACQUIRING CONTENT Some BFBS TV channels are live rebroadcasts of the UK’s public service channels, but with only a limited amount of satellite capacity, BFBS

has to choose the best of the rest from around 40 other TV channels, record and compile this content into bespoke channels for playout. BFBS content is acquired from a number of different sources, principally via the live feeds of other British broadcasters. Feeds from the major UK broadcasters are captured off-air and edited, or “cleaned up”, before being re-transmitted. The ingest team at BFBS edits out the broadcaster’s interstitial voice overs, time-sensitive calls to action and commercials and repackages the content for playout on BFBS compiled channels. The troops get a “best of” the home programming in relatively few TV channels “What we do is reverse engineer it and mark all the points of interest,” explains Hunter Adair, head of technology services at BFBS. Occasionally material is sent to BFBS via FTP or removable media. Old episodes of the classic series M*A*S*H still come on tape. And BFBS produces its own content too, including news. “For capturing the dirty feeds from broadcasters, we use satellite receivers. We have 10 receivers that are tuneable. We also have a mass ingest unite which allows us to ingest 24 channels simultaneously. It’s a piece of kit called Arbor Media Logdepot.” REACHING REMOTE LOCATIONS “We always have to think of various innovative ways of getting the media to the soldiers,” says Adair. “Some would say, just get your iPad out or your mobile device. But that’s not so easy when

you’re in the middle of a desert.” In some locations BFBS will put up a DTT transmitter, which will receives and distributes all the BFBS channels. Troops in the area can then plug a USB DTT dongle into a laptop to watch television in their bed space. BFBS uses DTH as well and uses four satellites which cover a large part of the globe. The DTH services are provided usingBFBS-branded set-top boxes, provided by Technosat, with BFBS’s own middleware inside. BFBS also provides gimbal dishes on British ships and some ships can use the bespoke BFBS Player which allows sailors to download content. 20,000 DVD’S UNDER THE SEA The nature of military deployment often means the audience is separated from a broadcast or streaming signal. To that end, BFBS has a huge DVD pressing service. The organisation authors and ships about 25,000 DVD’s per year and the time from it being captured on air to its arrival with a unit can be as low as week. “Our ambition is to provide the almost same quality and quantity of services as you’d get in the UK,” says Adair. “But how we provide that is always a technological challenge, the most important being that few locations have access to broadband internet, and not forgetting that the rights and security associated with delivering TV to our Forces overseas is immensely complicated.“


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PRODUCTION

January/February 2017

Remote production for a new era Sky Sports trialled a new remote set-up for live coverage of the Barclay’s ATP World Tour tennis finals. Elsie Crampton reports

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one of the viewers at home would have noticed anything different in what they were watching when they tuned in to Sky Sports’ coverage of the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. With the tennis underway in London’s O2, Sky Sports’ output was cut together some 19 miles away at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Osterley. Made possible by a remote production infrastructure put in place at The O2 by Gearhouse Broadcast, Sky Sports had previously implemented a traditional OB setup for its production of the tournament. “The remote production worked really well – we were able to cut the programme together from familiar surroundings using our usual workflow and equipment,” said Gordon Roxburgh, technical manager at Sky Sports. TAKING CONTROL On site at The O2, an MCR consisting of four racks was set up by Gearhouse for the tournament. The facilities provider worked closely with Sky to integrate the OB Riedel Artist frame with the broadcaster’s own internal Riedel system, providing 20 VoIP communication circuits

between the venue and base. “Our production team and director back at the studio had remote control of a sub-router,” added Roxburgh. “This allowed them to choose a selection of the host feeds and bring them in to our main production gallery. This is similar to how we would run a regular outside broadcast with feeds being ingested in to an on-site video server.”

With h the technolo ogy that’ss now availablle, the amo ount of broadcassterrs ma anag ging liive productions in this way y iss only y going to increase

its own programming that included interviews, highlights, studio analysis and live content from the practice courts. This included four brand new Sony HDC4300s – two studio cameras, both of which have drops of the practice courts located in the Sponsors Village and Fan Zone, as well as courtside. Two more cameras were set up in the player interview room and one capturing the Sky Sports commentators from their commentary box and when using the Skypad touchscreen tool. Additionally, Gearhouse’s in-house RF specialist Gearhouse Actis provided an RF camera with complete site-wide coverage for ENG crews to capture the tournament’s atmosphere around the venue.

Up to 16 feeds were brought into the temporary production gallery installed by Gearhouse from the tournament’s host broadcaster, ATP Media (for which Gearhouse is also providing facilities for). Content and feeds were also ingested from Sky Sports’ own cameras in place on site which were also provided by Gearhouse. In total Sky Sports had six additional cameras for the production of

MEANWHILE, BACK IN OSTERLEY The equipment integrated into the MCR’s racks supported the transport of a total of 25 video signals to and from Sky Sports in Osterley – mostly via IP. On site at its headquarters, Sky Sports’ 15-strong production crew, which included a director, vision mixer, two EVS operators and a technical director, cut together the live coverage. This included replays and


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highlights created on the other side of London from the action. To date, Gearhouse Broadcast has put in place a number of remote production infrastructures and has an extensive understanding of IP transport. “The developments that technology manufacturers have been coming out with is making it easier to produce this kind of programming remotely,” said Hamish Harris, unit manager at Gearhouse Broadcast. “A tournament like the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is a perfect test-bed for this kind of remote production set up. With just one court to produce coverage, we have greater flexibility to input the technology and connectivity needed to produce the programme from a different location. As a facilities provider, we really enjoy working with broadcasters like Sky to come up with new, more effective ways for them to create their content.” The remote setup gave both Sky Sports and Gearhouse valuable insight into how future coverage can be produced. “We purposely made more space available in the MCR’s racks than we needed to so that Sky Sports’ production infrastructure could be expanded. If the crew at Sky Sports wanted to do even more from HQ they could,” said Harris. Gearhouse has already been evaluating everything that was on site this

PRODUCTION

year and is looking ahead to what else could be produced remotely in future tournaments. By implementing facilities that allow Sky Sports’ crews to control the programming remotely, Gearhouse is delivering a number of benefits to the broadcaster. Having crews producing content from the familiar surroundings of their production base means there’s more consistent output. By having its personnel managing a production from HQ, Sky Sports is able to save time and reduce costs. With the two production crews operating in two different locations, the importance of communication becomes even more important. This is key to a successful remote production. “It’s vital that the on-site crew know what those back at base are doing and vice versa to make sure that everything runs smoothly,” said Harris. COMMUNICATIONS CLARITY The director or the production crews cutting content from their remote production base are more reliant on the local crew and the camera operators on site for feedback – the atmosphere of a live event doesn’t always translate in the feeds sent back to HQ. Having clarity in the communications is very important in these kinds of productions, so is having trust in all of the

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production crew to know their roles and carry out their jobs. “On the first day of the tournament, the production crews in Osterley muted their comms units when they didn’t need to speak to us here at The O2,” explained Harris. “That wouldn’t be the case if everyone was on site, we’d all be online all the time. So the camera operators had to get used to not having some of the crew in their ears throughout the entire tournament. And simultaneously, personnel back in Osterley had to have complete trust in the crews on the ground to set up and work out the best solutions when needed.” While certain aspects must be looked after on site, the cost and time efficiencies that running a remote production allows are becoming more obvious to broadcasters needing to do more with less. “With the technology that’s now available,” concluded Harris, “the amount of broadcasters managing live productions in this way is only going to increase.” Gearhouse’s experience in producing live events mixed with a knowledge of IP-connected and remote-enabled production allowed it to deliver Sky Sports a technical infrastructure which can be used for the future.


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PRODUCTION – OPINION

January/February 2017

Keep it simple Phil Rhodes warns us against taking our rampant consumerism into the workplace. Distinguishing between valuable tools and distracting trinkets has never been more crucial

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ith the Consumer Electronics Show just finished in Las Vegas, it’s never been clearer that a bounty of technological progress is upon us. Innovations along the lines of the world’s fastest slow-cooker or the lightweight barbell represent valuable opportunities to transform hard-earned cash into dust-covered clutter that fills cupboards and jams drawers. So proceeds our relentlessly consumerist society. And that’s fine, as long as we don’t take the same attitude to work with us. It might be a worthwhile New Year’s resolution to look again at how efficiently a production can move when the technology is kept simple. Given the century-plus history of film and TV, it’s logical that most of the productions people now consider inspirational were made without the benefit modern technology. At risk of raising the ire of every digital imaging technician on the planet, we can ask ourselves whether or not the modern video village and DIT cart are absolutely essential, providing complex, calibrated colour previews, backup and duplication, and even the creation of offline versions for editing. It can be a great creative tool, keeping directors and camera crews informed as to how things are going, and making it easier to ensure the sort of highly-polished results we often need. But let’s remember that some of the great achievements in cinematography – Blade Runner, perhaps, or Barry Lyndon – were made in the days where,

at the bleeding edge, the on-set preview was a flickery black-and-white video tap. The modern video village is, of course, desirable - and useful, certainly - but is it absolutely essential? Often, it isn’t. FINDING THE BALANCE Now, I’m not advocating a return to the Dark Ages. A lot of modern technology has already pointed us in the direction of leaner productions. Smaller, lighter cameras with better performance in less light can mean huge lighting trucks and generators less necessary. Or much the same sheer number of lights may be needed, but they may be LED based, smaller, lighter, and even battery-powered.

The trick is to figure e out the diff ffe erence be etween genu uinely y helpfu ul devellopm mentss and d th hin ngs whic ch have been de evelop ped because they can be markete ed Gimbals and drones, beyond their traditional aerial role, can replace a track and dolly or even an upscale piece of grip equipment such as a crane (though drones, of course, can be noisy, and attract their own red tape). These can all lead to faster-moving shoots which are more compatible with the increasingly stern price-to-

performance expectations of producers. So, somewhere between the simplicity of that traditional world of chalk clapperboards and the modern world in which a ruinously expensive camera system becomes obsolete in eight months is, presumably, some sort of nirvana The trick is to figure out the difference between genuinely helpful developments and things which have been developed because they can be marketed, and it’s easy to grab a few examples of those out of the air. Stereoscopic 3D is a good case study because the decided modesty of its success is widely understood, and because it provokes questions that we can usefully apply to future technological startups. Is it cumbersome to shoot? Yes. Is it expensive? Very. Does it actually work very well? Headaches and nausea are not encouraging signs. But compare high dynamic range. It doesn’t much change the required equipment, costs are limited largely to post production (though that isn’t to say that various parties won’t try to profiteer on it), and more or less everyone thinks it looks fabulous. The problem with HDR is that it means everyone at home has to buy a new TV - again which enthusiasts have already done for HD, 4K, and 3D as well. It’s going to be very tough to get it out there so punters can actually start paying for it. Similar concerns attend VR, assuming we accept that VR is applicable to filmmaking


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as opposed to a (potentially very good) new addition to games. The difference is that there’s a reasonable claim that HDR is being pushed because people admire it, whereas VR is being marketed for the benefit of service providers and equipment manufacturers. The people who will pay to produce it, meanwhile, should not be that rudely surprised by the realisation that an audience of millions, who must all own headsets and pay for the service, doesn’t yet exist. Still, at least VR is an application for 8K video. If we want to give the viewer the opportunity to look absolutely anywhere, more pixels are required.

Cam meras can ha ave sttaggering specifi fication ns wh hile being g alm most impossible to o grab hold of IN THE DETAILS In 2017, those may be the grand, strategic considerations. But at the sharp end, in camera departments or postproduction suites, the considerations may be more prosaic, but they can be just as expensive. One of the greatest losses felt by traditional camera operators is the convenient, shoulder-mounted form factor of

PRODUCTION – OPINION cameras used for newsgathering. It’s something of an irony that the first camera widely used for digital cinematography, Sony’s HDW-F900, actually was that shape, and received a lot of criticism from people more used to a Panaflex. What works for neither group is the ill-judged layout of many modern cameras (Canon, Sony, and Red have all transgressed here, though Canon have improved their offering with the recent C700). This isn’t to advocate a return to the bad old days of heavy HDCAM compression, but to point out that cameras can have staggering specifications while being almost impossible to grab hold of. Encumber the unfortunate crew with a cuboid camera and a six-figure, multi-kilo selection of video transmission, audio reception, focus pulling and other accessories, and suddenly we’re paying handsome rental fees to create framing glitches that cost more than just syncing the sound in post. KEEP IT SIMPLE Still, we shouldn’t complain too much. The reason we can get away with this level of luddism is frankly that so much production technology, from cameras to lights to the portable cooler

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that keeps lunch edible, is so good. Cameras have advanced far faster than both the TVs they feed and the opinions of the average viewer. Audio equipment has long been so good that, compared to even ten years ago, even the most modest gear can happily pass a quality control check. If a distributor demands 4K, fine. If the contract states the production will be shot at 120 frames per second, fine. The message is: Keep it simple; put the money into lighting, crewing, a longer and more painstaking grade, or even something as simple as more time, because an ultra-high-resolution picture of a mediocre scene is no less mediocre for all those pixels. All of this is particularly relevant now, as we head into trade show season, and many of us will be surrounded by salespeople and PR teams anxious to get their particular box of blinkenlights onto as many sets as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if the blinkenbox in question allows us to do something like, say, monitor our HDR images more accurately, as with Atomos’s excellent and affordable Shogun Inferno. The distinction between valuable tools and distracting trinkets has never been more crucial.


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USER REVIEW

January/February 2017

A 4K monitor for everyone BenQ’s PV3200PT aims to be a 4K monitor for everybody. Director of photography Michael Sanders puts it through its paces

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he BenQ PV3200PT 32in 4K UHD monitor is the company’s second offering into the high-end calibrated monitor sector and has been specifically targeted at video post production professionals. At £1099, the PV3200PT is one of the cheapest real 4K displays on the market, utilising a 3840x2160 IPS panel. As well as gaining a huge amount of screen real estate, the main advantage of using a true 4K display is that you can view 4K material without any scaling being used. Ergonomically the monitor offers the usual features, including the ability to be raised up and down, as well as being able to be turned 90 degrees into portrait mode - for those editing iPhone video, I guess. The monitor also has a built-in two-port USB3 hub and SD card reader. Video connection is via HDMI, Displayport and MiniDisplay Port.

A reasonably prriced monito or that off ffe ers ed ditors and otther crreativess, suc ch ass VFX arrtissts, a good confi fidence check that ottherss will see what they are e seeing The first thing you become aware when you use a monitor of this size is just how much easier work becomes. Whilst it’s true there are much cheaper 32in monitors available, with 3840x2160 pixels everything, from working on spreadsheets to editing, becomes easier. Although I must confess when using it in “office” mode, I set the Mac’s display scaling preference up a click otherwise the text was just too small for my 49-year-old eyes. On this basis alone, as a day-to-day monitor the BenQ is worth the money, but the story does not end there. CALIBRATION What sets this class of monitors apart is that their performance is calibrated to match specific standards, giving the user an extremely faithful picture, with brightness, gamma and colour rendition all set to exacting standards. Whilst an IPS monitor being used as a computer monitor

is never going to compete with a £20,000 OLED reference monitor, with the PV3200 there is now a reasonably priced monitor that offers editors and other creatives, such as VFX artists, a good confidence check that others will see what they are seeing. The PV3200 is calibrated to 100% REC709, as well as providing EBU and SMPTE colour spaces. BenQ are keen to point out that the monitors are first calibrated at the factory, with each unit coming with a certificate of performance. They have then gone one step further by having the

monitor (along with its smaller cousin the PV270) certified by Technicolor to meet Technicolor’s exacting, “Hollywood” standards. To ensure the monitor is always calibrated BenQ have developed their own software called “Palette Master Element”. They have opted not to use a built-in probe (presumably to keep the costs down) but instead use readily available hardware probes from X-rite such as the iDisplay Pro. The software works in the same way as X-rite’s own solution, running through a series of colours and greyscale, writing the calibration into one of two


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profiles in the monitor’s memory. Initially the verification part of the process failed with my iDisplay Probe, but during the course of testing the software was updated and the software passed the verification. I also understand BenQ are working with Light Illusion to enable the use of their advanced calibration software Lightspace CMS with the PV3200. PUCKER UP I particularly liked using the remote control puck. The remote is wired and plugs into a small socket on the back. As well as being able to access the monitor’s main settings, the monitor has three hot keys dedicated to the REC709, EBU and SMPTE colour spaces, making it very easy to switch between profiles to check work in the different colour spaces. One nice little touch is that the monitor will even remind you when it’s time to check the calibration. The puck is very handy and a wonderful alternative to having to root around the side of a monitor to change menu set-ups. However, one small misstep on BenQ’s part is that the buttons are not lit, so finding which one to press in a dimly lit edit suite is quite hard.

USER REVIEW FINAL CUT PROBLEM? In terms of testing; over the month I had the monitor I used it connected to a mid-2015 Macbook Pro, alternating between HDMI and the Displayport. In terms of input, the specifications are HDMI 1.4 and Display port 1.2, but as the monitor’s refresh rate is a maximum of 60Hz I cannot see that being a problem.

One nice little touc ch is that the monitorr will eve en remin nd you when itts time to ch heck the calibratio on To put the monitor through its paces I used Final Cut Pro X, Resolve 12 and Lightroom. As a test, I graded some rushes where I knew the face tone was off (due to an overly dimmed tungsten lamp), the sequence was then rendered to various files and online video sharing sites and then watched back on a number of dedicated TV monitors as well as laptops and ipads.

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All the pictures showed me what I was expecting to see, giving me a lot of confidence in the monitor’s performance. I did experience an oddity with Final Cut Pro X whereby the computer through AV foundation - assumed the monitor was at full brightness. With the monitor calibrated to the recommend brightness of 120cd/ m2, colour bars were very dark, and I could not see either the just above or well above black bars. Putting the monitor in to Rec709 at full brightness was better, but I could still not view the just above black bar.

VERDICT Whilst the 3200 does not have some of the advanced features of its direct competitors (the Eizo GC318 has a built in calibration sensor, and the NEC PA322 can display four HD signals side by side), it’s noticeable cheaper and performance seemed very good. As such, I would happily consider giving the BenQ desk space. With the explosion of in house facilities (usually consisting of a Mac Pro, Final Cut or Premier and a couple of monitors) producing work for the web and broadcast, accurate monitoring is becoming ever more important, especially with a number of producers insisting on shooting some form of Log and grading in house. Whilst there are number of monitors that perform well, only a very few are marketed as being anywhere near calibrated. For the price the BenQ does offer the user a confidence check at for a significantly cheaper outlay than its rivals and could be the obvious choice for a smaller facility or an editor’s home based system.


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INTERVIEW

January/February 2017

Engineering with wisdom Technology will have eliminated half the workforce in ten years. Neal Romanek talks with former president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Naomi Climer about the future of work and how diversity feeds tech development What has your experience at the IET been like? I’ve been on the board of the IET for quite a few years. I was President for a year until September 2016, and now I will be on the Board until September 2017 as Immediate Past President. It has been a privilege to play a senior role in the IET. It gave me the chance to make a difference and to meet an extraordinary range of people from all over the world from many different disciplines. I’ve been able to learn about other fields of engineering, and to try to influence people - such as politicians or teachers - to care

about how engineering could change the world. And of course I’ve tried to champion the need for diversity in engineering. What are the main issues being addressed at the IET right now? The IET championed the cause of ‘horizontal innovation’ throughout 2016. The Horizontal Innovation initiative aims to drive wider transfer of technology from one sector to another. It is a concept that all kinds of industries could benefit from, and it could give us the answers

to some of our greatest challenges. I’ve seen innovation between broadcasting and other industries that exploit audio/visual technology such as surgery, security and many other corporate environments. As part of the Horizontal Innovation Programme, small or medium-sized enterprises in the UK were invited to apply for funding up to the value of £35,000 to adapt and commercialise their technology to help solve a real-life healthcare challenge in the NHS. Also, the IET’s Engineer a Better World


INTERVIEW

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campaign, which launched in March 2015, has continued with several initiatives to encourage parents and young people, especially girls, to think about engineering as an exciting and relevant career. Initiatives have included Engineering Open House Day, Ask the Engineers and the Junior Board. In September 2016 the IET reported from its annual Skills Survey that 91% of companies agreed that employers need to provide work experience for those in education or training to improve the supply of engineers and technicians. As a result, the IET launched a new campaign: ‘Engineering Work Experience for All’ to champion the need for employers and universities to collaborate in offering quality work experience to engineering students. The campaign is designed to rally employers, universities, government and students to make a range of different, quality work experience opportunities more widespread. Each year the IET puts on an activity at IBC in Amsterdam to help us engage with our members in the broadcast industry. In September 2016, the IET collaborated with IBC for the eighth year running to produce a special interest publication, The Best of IET and IBC. This year is IBC’s 50th year, so we anticipate stepping up a gear to celebrate this milestone. Most people would agree that we need more women in STEM fields because it’s the right thing to do. But for the morally bankrupt among us, what’s the business case? You won’t be surprised to hear that I think we need more women in STEM fields. In fact, we need more diversity generally. There are a couple of reasons I think this is compelling, apart from thinking it would make STEM a better place for everyone to work First, there’s plenty of evidence - McKinsey, Gallup, World Economic Forum, et cetera - that companies, and even countries, with better diversity achieve better business results. The reasons the research gives for this include stronger innovation, better ability to connect with the full range of potential customer needs, balance between different styles leading to stronger decision making and so on.

AV is so ub biquitous that our industtry hass the opp portu unity to o bring g experttise that bene efits a much wider se et of userrs Secondly, partly drawing on that research, it seems likely that the technical outcomes will be stronger from a diverse team of engineers. It’s increasingly important that technology is designed and built with end users in mind. Ensuring that the team is representative of the

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whole spectrum of end users is important. Also with the way that technology is increasingly interconnected rather than standalone, it is essential that an engineering team not only able to design and build technology with an understanding of the users, but also that they can build relationships with many connected parties and collaborate with them for the lifetime of the technology. Although each individual has their own strengths – a diverse team is better equipped to cover the wide range of skills needed to develop connected technology.

However, research does suggest that roles with creative and interpersonal elements will be amongst the last to be automated, so I believe that human creativity will have a place in broadcasting for some time! The broadcast industry in particular will be struggling to make meaningful sense of all the data that they have about content and viewers – turning that data into knowledge and ultimately, wisdom. Ensuring that those using bots and algorithms are using the data in the most intelligent way will be an important role for engineers and creatives in the future.

Rese earch on the impact of auto omatio on and d artifi ficial intelllig gence sugg gestss tha at more than 50% of currentt job bs won’t exist in 10 yearss

Will the TV industry eventually become a pure “IT” industry? Will broadcast standards eventually be subsumed entirely into IT standards? The TV industry has become much more IT based than it ever was. Distribution has been transformed by IT-based methods, and production is following first with file based working and IP production. But even within the pure IT domain, I believe that the world of broadcast will have the opportunity to drive some standards. AV is so ubiquitous that our industry has the opportunity to bring expertise that benefits a much wider set of users. I can imagine a time where the pure broadcast hardware is minimal – even cameras will eventually just be a lens and image sensor with everything else happening in the standard IT infrastructure!

You’ve expressed interest in the potential of crowdsourcing, especially as it regards standards bodies. How can crowdsourcing be used more effectively? Looking at how the world is going to change in the future, I’m interested in how our hyperconnected society is enabling completely new models for things - from business models such as airbnb and uber to significant crowdsourced projects such as Wikipedia. Although I’m sure the process would need careful finessing, I can imagine even complex standards being developed very much as Wikipedia articles are – open to editing by all, peer reviewed and continuously evolving. My concern about our current standards processes is that they are quite slow while technology evolution is rapid. As an industry, I think we have a great track record of collaborating between companies and internationally. It’s crowdsourcing but with a select ‘crowd’! However, our industry is changing and there are many new players who are moving faster than our traditional processes. So I believe that our standards activities are ripe for evolution and I hope to see some of the established standards bodies taking a lead on this. How will automation and virtualization change the media industries and the way we work? I’m on a commission about the future of work, and we’re considering this topic in its widest sense. Research on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence suggests that more than 50% of current jobs won’t exist in 10 years. In the past, technology advances have created more jobs than they’ve destroyed, but this may not continue.

There’ss ple enty of eviidence e… that co ompan nies, and even n countrrie es, wiith betterr divversity y achie eve e betterr business results Who was really responsible for the Sony hack? Sorry, but I had to ask I’m obviously not an official spokesperson for Sony anymore, but I think it was pretty well publicised that the Sony hack was perpetrated by North Korea. I was based on the Sony Pictures Lot in California at the time of the hack – it was an extraordinary time. I learned a lot from this experience. I realised that although many things could have been done technically better to improve resilience against hacking, in reality if a well-resourced government decides to hack you, you probably won’t be able to spend enough to be 100% secure. However, knowing what you might do if a hack does occur can really make a difference to your recovery. For example, do you know how you’d contact thousands of staff if you couldn’t do it through their work email or your intranet?


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SHARPSHOOTER EUROPE

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Bosnian beauty on a budget

As a freelance cameraman in Sarajevo, Emir Dzunan gets to shoot some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, but at some of the lowest rates. Barrie Smith interviews.

Profile Name: Emir Dzanan Age: 29 Hometown: I was born in Sarajevo where I live with my wife and our daughter. Taste in music: Rock & roll - from Deep Purple to Alice in Chains. Favourite food: Bosnia and Herzegovina is, among other things, known for its food, which is really delicious.

What languages do you speak? Besides Bosnian I speak English and understand a little German and French. Occupation? I’m working as a freelance lighting cameraman and video editor. What qualifications or training have you acquired? I finished my secondary school with tourism and

then studied journalism at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo. As for my work with the camera, I’m self-taught. I can say that we’re lucky to live in a time when knowledge is truly accessible to all, thanks to the internet. A lot of things I learned from older colleagues and, of course, I’m still learning. Current assignments? I’m presently working on several projects. The most interesting is a documentary series about the highest peaks in Eastern Europe produced for Al Jazeera Balkans. For the purposes of the film, the crew climbs to the tops of the highest mountains. It’s dangerous sometimes. Have you been busy? In the last two years I have hardly had a day off — which is great. I hope it will remain so. How do you travel around the country? Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country. From Sarajevo it’s possible in one day to go to almost every part of the country and return, so I usually use my own car. Besides being small, Bosnia is

a country with incredible tourist potential. My ambition is to make a series about the things that Bosnia provides for potential visitors. Mountains, rivers, cities hundreds of years old, a mix of different cultures and religions are just some of the things that this country offers. The interesting thing about Sarajevo is that within a few hundred metres you can see the mosque, Orthodox and Catholic churches and a synagogue.

The budgets for filming here are certtainly the lo owestt in Euro ope. Clie ents often n ex xpect that fo or very little mone ey they can gett miracles Which are the best seasons to travel? Each season has its charms. During the winter, there are the Olympic Mountains just 20-30 kilometres away from Sarajevo. In the spring and summer you can go to the south and the beautiful city of Mostar, famous for the Old Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.. There are many places in Bosnia that are worth


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SHARPSHOOTER EUROPE

visiting to catch beautiful video. Unfortunately, the international media write about the negative things in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as war crimes, mass graves and a bad economic situation. I hope that will change soon. What types of productions do you usually shoot? I mostly do documentaries, but I also handle the production of commercials, various types of events, news. Which do you prefer? I prefer to work on documentary films because I like working in small teams. In this way there is more room for creativity and independence. What was your first ever shooting job? My first shooting job was for a local television station. The editor sent me to a government building in Sarajevo to film inserts. Although I had no previous experience of working in television, I somehow got the job done. Of course, what

I filmed that day was not very good, but it was a nice start for the camera and me to become friends. The camera was a Sony Beta SP. Most interesting assignments recently? One of my most recent assignments was shooting for the Al Jazeera documentary channel here in Bosnia. The topic was human trafficking and prostitution after the war in Bosnia and the role of the UN troops in all of that. What current equipment do you use? I am using the Canon XF100 and Canon 6D and I am very satisfied with the ratio of price versus quality. Of course, there are some flaws, but I think that Canon made a real revolution with their DSLR video in recent years. Other gear you have access to? Depending on the client’s needs, almost all equipment is now available through rental companies: cameras, lighting, audio equipment, you name it.

January/February 2017

What editing gear do you use? I use a PC with an i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, 16GB of RAM and a lot of hard drives. Adobe Premiere 6.0 currently meets all my needs related to video production. I have also used Final Cut and lately I’m doing a little bit in Edius too.

Durring the e shooting g of one of the documen ntariies, the sound recorrdist and d I ha ad to enter a minefi field For me, one of the best things that happened in the world of video production is moving from tape to card. Working with cards significantly accelerates and facilitates the process of editing. What is on your equipment wish list? The Canon C500 is currently on my wish list — and hopefully soon in my backpack! Best thing about your job? Definitely traveling, meeting new people, cultures.


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I think that there are very few jobs that can enrich a man spiritually and culturally as well as the job that we do What are the challenges in shooting in Bosnia Herzegovina? Like almost everywhere, the biggest problem in Bosnia is money. The budgets for filming here are certainly the lowest in Europe. Clients often expect that for very little money they can get miracles. But on the other hand, the positive thing is the establishment of Al Jazeera Balkans, based in Sarajevo and soon CNN for the Balkan region. Their arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina means more work for independent productions and freelancers. Worst thing about your job? Although it sounds paradoxical, one of the worst things in this business is people. People, who for some reason known only to them, will attempt to prohibit the recording and then, during a protest, try to destroy your equipment and smash

SHARPSHOOTER EUROPE

your head in. There are people who will make it difficult for you to do your job in many other ways. And of course, there is another group of people - those who don’t pay for the work that you’ve done for them. Dullest assignments and why? Those jobs where you have to wait and you wait — and at the end nothing happens. Tell us about your hairiest assignment? During the shooting of one of the documentaries, the sound recordist and I had to enter a minefield. At first I didn’t really think of what I was doing. But then one of the de-miners gave me a paper on which I had to write my blood type and sign that I’m there on my own responsibility. Then I realised that I’m doing something stupid. Luckily, all ended well. Also, there was one situation in Libya when the army took me and a fellow journalist at midnight to film Gaddafi. I had one of those big Sony Beta cameras and every time I pressed the record button you could hear a click and

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the guys who guarded Gaddafi pulled a weapon on us every time they heard that sound. A very interesting evening. How much 16:9 do you shoot? All the time. 4:3 shoots look a little weird these days. What country would you most like to shoot in? Iran. I’ve heard a lot about the country, about its natural beauty and hospitable people and this is definitely one of the countries that I would like to visit and shoot there. There are also some parts of the USA, Japan and China on my list as well.

Contact Name: Emir Dzanan Phone: +387 63 405 863 Address: Grbavicka 11 71000 Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina Email: emirdzanan@yahoo.com


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26

VR REPORT

January/February 2017

view – which increases to 270 degrees with eye motion. To get 360 degrees we swivel our necks around and if we look at a moving object for long enough we’ll naturally turn to look straight ahead at it. Unlike our eyes, our ears are designed to experience the world in 360 and will work out which direction the sound is coming from and how far away it is. That poses the question of whether we are all ready to experience 360 degree VR? Probably not, however 180 degree VR is a good place to start. That works for consumers who can reap the benefits that the VR experience offers and helps out the VR content providers who will save time and money by making experiences enhanced by VR. There’s really no point in 360 content if what’s behind you doesn’t actually add to the narrative!

Was 2016 really the year of VR? And why not? David Daniels, AV project director at the DTG gives his take on VR in 2016. Was last year the promised year of VR? Or do we still have to wait? And for how long?

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ast year was a major turning point for our industry with great change and innovation in many areas. However, we didn’t really see the fulfillment of the promise that 2016 would become the Year of Virtual Reality – a real disappointment for many of us. After discussion about whether VR was the next 3D early in the year, and with stories about significant VR investment in March, IBC 2016 really set the scene with much VR excitement and then October 2016 became ‘VR Month’ with launches from Google Daydream, Oculus Touch and Playstation VR.

180 0 degrree VR is a go ood place to starrt Throughout the year the DTG was heavily involved in an industry initiative to help make new VR experiences simple and interoperable for both content producers and consumers. This came to fruition at CES 2017 when the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) was launched with the goal to encourage the adoption of common, interoperable technical standards for end-to-end VR systems and plans to create voluntary best practice guidelines and

promote VR services and applications. These will certainly be needed to help this technology find its feet in broadcast. But why wasn’t 2016 the Year of VR? Many have mooted cost as the key obstacle while others cite VR sickness which can make exposure to the technology a difficult experience for some. My own view is that good VR content will be the key to driving widespread VR adoption. THE PROBLEM WITH CONTENT One issue with long form content in a VR environment is that it is very easy to be distracted by everything around you. In a traditional broadcast environment the director ensures that you concentrate front and centre on what’s going on. To tell a good long form story in VR requires some new rules about how to capture and direct a viewer’s attention. To this end, one of the first items on the newly formed VRIF agenda is to create production guidelines that help to steer creatives in the right direction, and to engender best practice in creation of compelling long form programming. Put simply, our eyes are at the front of our face giving us humans a 180 degree field of

MORE RESOLUTION Another issue currently preventing VR from being more than an impressive toy is resolution, effectively cramming a full 360 degree experienced into a UHD frame pushes the capabilities to the limit, especially for longer form content. So what we are seeing is the emergence of what may perhaps be interim technologies which concentrate on delivering 180 degree content in the shape of personal cinema. Devices such as the ‘Moon’ head-mounted display from Royole provide 1080 resolution per eye, with great audio built in making the experience of watching a full length movie possible to contemplate. So, if more resolution is the name of the game, where does that come from? UHD at 3840 may sound like a lot of pixels but when we spread these around a full 360 experience it doesn’t really cut it. Handily, we have the promise of more pixels, with the emergence of 8k (7680x4320). Until now I’ve struggled to understand how this benefits traditional displays, but giving a head mounted display this much more data to play may well be the leap needed to give us a great 360 degree experience. The final point to note is that current VR headsets are just the latest iteration of headmounted technologies we’ve had for years and the basic experience itself hasn’t actually changed very much. VR is too personal an experience and will remain so until we can get passed head mounted displays. Who wants to sit down and watch an episode of Strictly completely alone, or indeed the next big Arsenal game, as these are by their nature shared experiences. VR is about how you view, not what you view… so it’s never going to threaten broadcast as such, since that is about what you view, not how you view it.


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30

THE BIG SCREEN

January/February 2017

LIVE from London Woody Harrelson’s Lost in London LIVE transmitted live location drama to cinemas worldwide. Jon Silberg reports on the groundbreaking project.

O

n January 19, cinema audiences sat down to see actor Woody Harrelson break ground in the world of filmmaking with his liveto-cinemas “feature,” Lost in London LIVE. Written and directed by the versatile actor and co-starring Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson, and roughly 300 extras, Lost in London LIVE, based on Harrelson’s reallife misadventures, followed his character, covered with a single ARRI Alexa Mini, for about 100 minutes of difficulties and complications spread out over 14 actual London locations. The proceedings, distributed by Fathom Events, were uplinked via satellite to 550 theaters throughout the company’s network, followed by a live Q and A. The “live movie” was piped into theaters as a 1080i image stream with Dolby E sound at 9PM Eastern Time and concurrently throughout the US (plus a late night show in the UK). Harrelson promised that if the project failed, he will jump off the Waterloo Bridge into the Thames. No jumping was recorded.

A NEW LEVEL OF CRAZY Co-produced by Ken Kao of Waypoint Entertainment, the film was inspired by criticallyacclaimed German film Victoria, also all shot in one take. The makers of that film, however, took several passes at the action rather than risking sending it all live to cinemas. When Fathom CEO John Rubey and live producer Vicki Betihavas were interviewed before the event, the latter was overseeing rehearsals and still working on determining technical and logistical aspects of the head-spinning endeavour.

A lo ot of thiis seems straightforw ward, unttil yo ou’rre drillling g down n into th he sp pecifi ficss of pullling thiss all togeth her “We loaded in Sunday,” said Vicki Betihavas. “Tomorrow we have the synch tests. The development of the film itself has happened over several months” - still a fast pace for even a traditional theatrical feature - “and we’ve been planning the production for weeks. Now we’re finally testing and rehearsing.”

“When Woody Harrelson approached us with this concept last October,” said Rubey, “we thought it was one of the best ideas we’d ever heard. I don’t think anyone’s attempted anything as elaborate as this. We’ve done events multicamera, one location,” he said of sports and musical presentations Fathom has been known for, “but one camera and 14 locations through the streets of London? Never done anything like it! We’re taking crazy to a whole new level. There might be technical glitches in it or whatever, but you have to embrace that!” “A lot of this seems straightforward,” offered Betihavas, a veteran producer of complex, live events, “until you’re drilling down into the specifics of pulling this all together.” TRANSMITTING Cinematographer Nigel Willoughby, whose credits include Downton Abbey, pre-lit the 14-location night shoot and was instrumental in working through the complex camera logistics, which required a single operator to capture the action and scripted moves with the Mini. The operator was entirely wireless – a first assistant pulled focus remotely and the image output (as


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Log-C 1080i) was sent wirelessly to the DIT, who added some colour balance live. A Domo HD transmitter, supplied by London’s RF Broadcast, was built into a backpack which contained the transmitter, four batteries, and sound equipment, carried by a grip. The transmit backpack was connected to the Arri Alexa Mini by an umbilical cable. Whilst the camera was recording on board, live video was transmitted through the transmitter and by a total of 54 antennas. The transmitter ran at just 100mW, relayed by a chase car running 4W for in-car scenes. The event marked the largest single RF camera job Broadcast RF has ever done.

You u’ve go ot to emb brac ce what’s never been done beffore Betihavas admitted they were working with a “net”. A second Mini and operator followed so there would be something to cut to should there be a problem with the A-camera but, depending on where they are in the story, this camera would be able to provide little more than a cutaway to some buildings. There was also a full tech rehearsal dead rolling off one of the Sony nonlinear playout systems that was used to play out the titles. Betihavas notes that the system is similar to the EVS setup frequently used on her other projects, but the production was unable to find an EVS system that could handle the 23.98 frame rate.

THE BIG SCREEN

LIVE SOUND Though shooting Lost in London LIVE was a daunting proposition, Betihavas noted that from her POV, the audio was even more so. Every speaking actor will be wirelessly miked. It is still to be determined if there will also be an omnidirectional 5.1 mike mounted to the camera. There were approximately 54 receivers for dialogue and a sound mobile unit, housed with multiple ProTools workstations to play out music and then that audio will be relayed to a studio, where a mixer at a Studer mixing console will oversee the Dolby output. This, of course, is not the type of live event on which Rubey and Betihavas have previously collaborated. Fathom has presented multi-cam music and sports events out of fixed venues with control rooms, but they describe Lost in London as being a “location film shoot.” Everything’s wireless and there’s no infrastructure. Betihavas has never faced the level of challenge for headset communications in any previous project. “Beyond the RF for the actors,” she said, “The whole comms operation is enormous. We’ve got eight different comm channels. Engineers are in what would traditionally be called the ‘live gallery’ and there obviously has to be communication with the camera team and the script supervisors,” - there’s one to cue the actors and one to cue the operator and assistants for camera choreography. “Everyone doesn’t want to hear what everyone

31

else is saying. There will be something like 200 radios and that alone is quite a complex operation. Just in terms of RF, the technology involved is more than Wimbledon or British Open golf.” GETTING ONBOARD Extending the concept that this is a movie, not a television broadcast, she added, “Usually, you think about title sequences months down the line. How do you open the show, close the show, how does music flow? Suddenly, we’re doing ‘postproduction’ at the same time that the structure of the film and the performances are being finessed.”

In n terms of RF, the technolo ogy invo olved d is more e than Wimble edon Before returning to rehearsals, Betihavas said, “I’ve got a bunch of very excited technicians. They’re all very seasoned and they’re all loving this challenge.” “You’ve got to embrace what’s never been done before,” Rubey summed up. “The longer you’ve been in this business, the more you’re taught to avoid most of what we’re doing here. But when you have someone like Woody Harrelson - and he surrounds himself with top people who want to make the best film they can in a way it’s never been done before - you don’t second guess that. You get onboard.”


32

MAKING THE GRADE

January/February 2017

Grading life at 120 frames Shooting Ang Lee’s experimental Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was an epic technological feat. Grading and mastering the film was no less daunting. Penny Morehouse reports.

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o tell the story of a soldier who returns to the USA damaged by his time in Iraq, director Ang Lee tore up the cinema rule book. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was shot at 120 frames-per-second (fps), with high dynamic range and extended colour gamut, and in 3D. For those fortunate enough to see it in its native format, the result is startling. Far from the cool detachment of the traditional 24fps frame rate, Lee’s 120fps puts you right in the action. It is not just that this is a window into the world of the story: you are absolutely there, with shell casings flying past your face. To make Ang Lee’s vision a reality, Sony Pictures called in some experimental technical and creative support. Canadian Ben Gervais has been a camera assistant in his time, as well as a broadcast engineer and a postproduction technician. Today he is a workflow consultant, and on Billy Lynn is credited as “technical supervisor”. “Working with the studio, we decided to shoot at 120 frames because that would give us the flexibility to create the multiple formats that would be shown in theatres. From 120, we can

easily generate 60 because it’s exactly half the frame rate, and we can generate 24 because it’s a fifth,” he explained. “Ang likes to push boundaries and he wondered what watching the film in 120 would look like. No one had ever seen it before,” Gervais said. “With the help of Christie Mirage digital projectors, and media servers from 7thSense Design, we tried it – and it blew our minds. When the lights came up after we saw it the first time, we were all just sitting there stunned. We knew we had to show this to audiences, because it’s remarkably different from what people are used to seeing.”

Ang likes to push h boundaries and he won ndere ed what watch hing the film in n 12 20 would d look like. No o one e had d ever seen it beffore The plan was not just to shoot in 120 frames 3D, but also to make it deliverable, at least to the small number of theatres set up to show it – which means finding a solution to post at 120 frames. That’s 120 frames per second over

an hour and 53 minutes – times two for 3D stereoscopic – 1,627,000 frames, give or take a few thousand. REALISM AS A GUIDE “Ang wanted a very realistic look, to immerse people in Billy’s experience,” Gervais said. “On set, he and DoP John Toll went for a flatter, more natural look, as light didn’t have to be so contrasted or dramatic. “We used realism as a guide. The high frame rate means you see much more than you would normally see in a movie, and Ang wanted to make the audience feel what it was really like,” he added. “What does the heat of Iraq feel like, when it is so damn hot that the light is oppressive? That is something most people never get to sense.” “Ang was insistent that we do the DI in 4K 120 stereo and so at that point, I looked at every vendor to see who could provide a system that plays back real-time 120 frame 4K stereo,” said Gervais. FILMLIGHT SOLUTION FilmLight stepped up to the plate, and Baselight was identified as the platform that would allow


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the filmmakers to see what was actually shot and how the movie was coming together during production and post. “Once we actually got the Baselight X in, we discovered that the system could handle a lot of what we needed to do in conform too, which really saved us in many ways,” he explained. “For example, we had to deal with frame blending a lot - experimenting with having different frame rates in the same scene. We were using an external software package to do that but it also needed 50 frame handles. How do we take a completely conformed movie and expand every shot with 50 handles? It just so happens that Baselight’s Timeline Sort tool has that ability.” That flexibility, even at a low level, meant the team could ‘trick’ Baselight into doing exactly what they wanted it to do. A lot of viewing was done through Baselight too, in their DI lab in New York. “With a 120 frame 4K stereo movie, you’re talking about 300 to 400 terabytes of data. It’s not quick to render, it’s not quick to move over the network, it’s not quick to do anything. So to move the playback functionality into Baselight meant that, aside from a little bit of caching time, we had pretty much instantaneous feedback, which made DI on the 120 frame version possible.” COLOURISTS During production the team had three Baselight systems to play back dailies. These systems were packaged up and shipped out to Morocco, which stands in for Iraq in the battle scenes, and then shipped back to New York for the final post, not least because of the huge amount of data accumulated – over 100 terabytes for the final conform. It was here that the Baselight X was added to the project. Colourist Adam Inglis worked on the movie for

MAKING THE GRADE

three to four weeks, setting the looks for the full 120fps 4K 3D version. Inglis’s colleague Marcy Robinson then came on board to finish off the colour and grade all the other deliverables – apart from the additional grading for Dolby Vision HDR, which was handled by Doug Delaney. “The ambition of Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk was intimidating, a new cinema format that had never been done before,” Inglis commented. “The format was so integral to the look of the film that we had to grade in full 3D/4K/120fps with all the technical difficulties that came with that. “My trepidation was eased somewhat since we used Baselight for the grade,” he said. “I’ve graded on Baselight since the very early days of DI, back when 2D/2K/24fps was itself a daunting prospect. It’s always been a system at the forefront of innovation, but with a foundation so solid that it can adapt to new challenges.

Witth a 12 20 frame e 4K K stere eo movie e, you’rre tallking g abo out 300 to 400 terab bytes off data a “I only had a week with DoP John Toll to set the look of the film before he had to leave for another project,” Inglis recalled. “We initially planned to just set looks for each scene but by the end of that week we had a grade on the entire film. I cannot think of another grading system I would have rather have on such a demanding job. When going out on the frontier, you need the best survival equipment available, and we had it with the Baselight.” FINISHING “Whenever we ran into an issue, we would say ‘there must be a tool on Baselight that lets us do this’, and usually after a little bit of searching – this is a very complex tool as well as powerful – we would find that thing. Like the timeline sorting,” he explained.

33

“Another challenge we had was, because we had our in-house VFX artists rendering into the Baselight directly, we would get through a lot of versions very quickly. As soon as they would version up we would have it.” As technical supervisor, Gervais wrote a significant amount of custom code to keep track of versions, EDLs and more. “I thought it was going to be really tricky to keep track,” he said. “Then I thought, what if we put a Baselight wildcard in an EDL? “I was pretty sure it was going to break it,” he admitted. “But we did a test and it worked. It would match all the versions of that VFX shot, and it would ask us which one we wanted to use. Things like this make for really handy timesaving. They simplify and speed up what you are trying to do.” He added, “Baselight X can play back both eyes at 4K 120Hz and at the same time allow creative multi-layer grading plus 3D geometry correction. By providing the very high frame rates for real-time uncompressed playback combined with an interactive grading system, Baselight X provided a pretty smooth creative and immersive experience. Steve Chapman, CEO and co-founder of FilmLight said of Billy Lynn, “You really have to see this film to understand the experience. It is absolutely unique and a very different task from normal colour correction. “In the first few seconds you realise you haven’t seen anything like this before,” he said. “The suspension of disbelief is almost immediate. We never see fast panning movement in film or if we do it’s choppy and blurred. The HFR experience of Billy Lynn is pin-sharp. Anything that might be fake - makeup, facial expressions, and of course colour correction - is immediately exposed. It’s a risky strategy for any filmmaker, but one that really pays off for Ang Lee in Billy Lynn.”


34

OTT FOCUS - OPINION

January/February 2017

In 2017, Content Providers Will Take Control of Their OTT Future Jacques Le Mancq, president and CEO of Broadpeak, looks at quality of service in OTT.

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he global OTT devices and services market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.6 percent between 2016 and 2020, according to the latest report from Research and Markets. Going forward WIn Western Europe, in particular, Parks Associates found that OTT video usage is expanding, with 55 percent of UK broadband households and 51 percent in France watching TV programming and movies online. As OTT video consumption continues to rise, video quality is becoming increasingly important. One in five viewers will abandon poor experiences immediately, regardless of genre. Given the explosion in OTT viewing and significance of high video quality, 2017 could be the year that content providers stop depending on pay-TV operators in terms of whether or not they’re able to guarantee quality of service (QoS) for subscribers. Traditionally content providers have relied upon a CDN as a service to make content available to viewers through the internet. However, everything does not always run smoothly once the video leaves the content provider’s premises. THE GOOD NEWS So what’s the solution? The good news is that solutions do exist for content providers to take control, and they’re not only limited to big players. Content providers don’t need to follow in the footsteps of Google and Apple and Netflix and build their own CDNs to deliver a better quality of experience (QoE) to their customers. Through a combination of CDN selection, local cache, and origin server technologies, content providers

can effectively and economically gain control over the delivery of all their video content and find better and better ways to optimise it. The origin server is a key component in the OTT delivery chain. Origin servers package content together in multiple adaptive bitrate formats. Having the capability to process content on-the-fly, responding to user requests, content providers can significantly reduce their storage space requirements as well as support advanced recording capabilities for cloud-PVR, catch-up TV, and network time-shifting applications to increase monetisation. Hosting an origin server also gives content providers the freedom to choose any DRM for content protection – which is important in the OTT multiscreen world. In addition, they can work with several CDN as a service providers. INTELLIGENT DECISIONS By now, most of us understand that when it comes to CDNs, there is not always one choice that is the optimum for all possible content delivery scenarios. Using a CDN selection tool, content providers can dynamically gain insight into the instantaneous quality of several CDNs and make immediate, intelligent, and automated decisions depending on the context of various networks, subscribers, and their devices. Taking into account parameters such as geographical area, QoS, and price, content providers can successfully balance traffic between multiple CDNs to boost QoE and reduce video delivery expenses. On top of this, content providers can combine several CDNs at the same time for video

delivery, without introducing any overhead or requesting the same piece of content more than once. End-users experience better quality than what could be reached with a single CDN, even if it was the best one. GOING FORWARD We anticipate that content providers will start deploying local caches directly into telecom or cable operators’ networks, where the most popular content is stored. Streaming content from a location closer to the end-users can dramatically reduce latency and network congestion, resulting in higher video bitrates, faster start times, and uninterrupted viewing sessions. Local caches can be used to deliver both live and on-demand content. Considering that popular content can represent over 80 percent of the video traffic, caching at the ISP level substantially reduces CDN service costs. SEIZE CONTROL To conclude, viewers have a lot of choices today. Delivering a superior QoE and QoS is a key way that content providers differentiate themselves in the marketplace, retain viewers’ attention, and generate revenue. Of course, this task isn’t necessarily easy. This coming yeare will be the year that content providers finally seize control of the situation to provide an ever improving quality of service to their customers as well as get control of costs, especially those costs related to CDN services. It seems cleaer this will be accomplished using a range of technologies, from CDN selector tools to local caches and origin servers.


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OTT AND STREAMING

January/February 2017

Riding the Brangelina wave Steven Kelly, UX Designer at Ostmodern, explains how in the OTT world content scheduling is as important as the content itself

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t’s now easier than ever for companies to make video accessible to users online. Video on demand products are now widely available in most regions around the world on almost every device with a screen, and the depth of content available today is colossal. In 2015 alone, more than 400 original series hit the small screens – a number which has ballooned since then. While users now have total control over what they watch, this isn’t entirely helpful in reality. Most of us have grown up with television and have relied on experienced editorial teams to curate and schedule our viewing experience. We gravitated to certain channels that we trusted to have the content we liked. These channels, in turn, created specific content to match that expectation, and so it continued.

Opening up all content and expecting users to take the place of curators themselves is sometimes just too high a barrier for VOD adoption. So how do users decide what they want to watch when they arrive at a VOD product, and how are they navigating this sea of content at the moment? CULTURAL RELEVANCE Most people aren’t entirely aware of the things that influence their own decision making process. Topics they’ve read about, friends’ recommendations, or even seeing actors in the news all help steer users subconsciously through a catalogue. Tapping into these moments can be a great tactic to encourage more content views. But most products aren’t designed, nor do they have the editorial workflows, to adapt to these events. The ‘Brangelina split’ created a massive media storm. It led to this spike in views of Mr and Mrs Smith shown. A film that was years old suddenly captured similar levels of traffic to some of the latest releases. Last year, during the US Presidential election, there was a massive spike in searches for one particular Simpsons episode from 2000 that imagined an absurd future where Donald Trump was president.

CONSIDERED RELEASE SCHEDULING How regularly content is released also has an impact on how quickly shows gain traction with audiences and how long they stay relevant for. Experimenting with different release schedules can promote new user behaviours around content. Releasing all content at once encourages users to binge and gives them the control, yet this can have a negative impact on how likely they are to chat about the content with friends and family. Releasing weekly, instead, allows people to catch up, which encourages content discussion leading to more long term traffic, but prevents people from binging. Releasing all episodes at once leads to a massive spike but also massive drop, whereas releasing weekly creates a steady build. Further research is needed to discover what method leads to higher overall views.

Mr and Mrs Smith traffic spike

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Searches for Simpsons Donald Trump

GUIDING USERS IS THE HARD BIT In general, we see digital products gain more traction the more they improve people’s real world experiences. When thinking about how VOD products impact users’ lives, we need to remember what people are using them for in the first place – to be entertained. In the 21st century we seem to be increasingly time poor and have even more forms of media seeking to fill the free time we do have. Figuring out the decision making process for users, and designing products that adapt to it, is a big challenge for product designers in the immediate future. Having good content is just the start. Guiding people to it and giving them a reason to watch it is the hard bit. Having a flexible back-end system that enables content to be managed easily, and with the means to respond to live events, has become increasingly crucial to retaining users. Yet such a system needs to allow for both automation and editorial input. For example, user analytic tools are important in not only providing retrospective insights. They can be employed to draw the user deeper into available content. We are likely to see more and more products using automated sections such as “most watched” or “other users are searching for” as a means to keep viewers watching. Although automation can help surface content in your catalogue, for instance when Brad and Angelina split up, it can only react to trends rather than to news, which is a subtle but important distinction. Additionally, this will get the user to Mr and Mrs Smith, but without strong and reliable accompanying metadata it doesn’t necessarily take the user deeper. It raises several questions about the onward journey from Mr and Mrs Smith: does the user want to see more Brad Pitt films, or more from Angelina Jolie? Or, would they go deeper into the content catalogue if they were recommended more ‘husband and wife’ movies?

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AUTOMATION SHOULD WORK WITH CURATION All of this points to the need for a technical system that allows for a more curated approach, the ability to react to news, and to compile a richly organised journey. Consider, for example, how a flexible VOD product could have responded to the number of celebrity deaths in 2016, curating archive films, interviews, and discussions about that particular celebrity in a manner that was tasteful, timely and engaging for viewers.

Experimenting with different release schedules can promote new user behaviours around content In this respect, editorial teams need to be set up with the right workflows to put together collections that can move the user beyond their first motivation and keep them interested. This can mean the need to contextualise the synopsis,

is something that will give users a more relevant experience. A small number of editors with a single flexible content management system should be able to provide different front ends of a product because of its relevance to different regions, or even people. Taking advantage of upcoming events is extremely valuable, too, if an editor can plan for it. Building a specifically curated collection in response to the release of a sequel could expose not only the existing back catalogue of other movies in the franchise but could just be built around a series of “Making of” or “Interviews” buried deep within the content catalogue. In all these cases, although there is the possibility that analytics and strong metadata could automate, and contribute to, this journey, they don’t provide the nuanced experience that curated content management can achieve. It is also worth noting that in measuring user reactions it is much easier to respond to user feedback when the content owner is in control of what they are showing on the product. ONE TECHNICAL SYSTEM, MANY DIFFERENT PLACES Finally, the decision for how to schedule releases of content might be different for the same content in different territories, to different user groups or on different platforms. To have the ability to manage releases therefore could be more a matter of the way in which users consume the content in the Middle East, say, compared to users on a premium service in Norway. This can of course be managed by rights but is also a powerful tool when it comes to marketing content on your product.

An SVOD site’s experiments with content release schedules

or change the accompanying artwork but only for as long as it is relevant. It’s also worth considering that the news of Brangelina’s split is probably more interesting in certain parts of the world or to certain users. Being able to target this highly curated content

Rather than just having a strong content catalogue, it is clear that having the appropriate technical systems, and setting these up to be used effectively by editors, to help contextualise and promote that content, will be essential in the battle Global to keep viewers engaged in a VOD product. LOGO

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38 OTT AND STREAMING Will linear TV leave the mainstream January/February 2017

What threat does online media pose to linear TV? Can the two live side by side, or is linear TV doomed? Niall Duffy of Renegade Thinking gives his take Indies

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e are witnessing demographic shifts in the age of linear TV viewers, with millennials and younger consuming more content online, and increasingly mobile, social media outstripping TV as the primary news source, YouTube showing the Champions League and Europa Cup Finals, Twitter streaming the NFL, and Facebook Live. The broadcast industry has gone from seeing social media in particular as having only marginal impact to something far more threatening. This potential threat was neatly encapsulated in a recent Royal Television Society (RTS) event ‘Social media muscles in on TV’ which had Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on the panel. However, the panel members emphasised that they: • Operated distribution platforms, enabling content makers to publish their content, and were not content makers themselves; and • Already had established partnerships with existing broadcasters, rights and content owners

The implication was that social media may offer more opportunities for content owners or producers rather than threaten their existence. ERA OF COMPETITION This is not the first time that disruption has caused concerns for linear TV broadcasters. The deregulation of TV in the 1980s and 90s focused on increasing competition through programme quotas and licensing more channel capacity. The most significant impact came from digital thematic channels at the time more TV capacity was seen as heralding an era of competition, greater consumer choice and where Public Service Broadcasters would no longer be relevant. Of course, this did not happen in that way. These new channels needed content – but highquality, and well produced high-quality content costs money – which most thematic channels operators did not have . The winners from that deregulation were actually the people who were predicted to be the biggest losers – the producer-

broadcasters. They were the only ones with the talent, resources and budgets to produce highquality content. It is only many years later that the successful thematic channels could afford to commission originated content. The intent was to broaden the market (as shown in the diagram in red) and deliver niche segmentation rather than diminish the existing players. With hundreds of channels, the thematic genre-based broadcasting model was an effective means of providing more choice. The impact on production was more mixed. Programme quotas opened the market for independents and there

For broadc cast tech hnology vendors, the e markett forr specia alist ha ardware is on nly going one wa ay – down n was a demand for more content but there was not the same increase in budgets, which were stretched further. The ‘atomisation’ of production


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– the ability for smaller new entrants to compete) – did increase. This was enabled by lower cost file-based HD cameras, but it did not radically alter the cost or process for making content. SOCIAL-ISM So what will be the impact of social media? The first impact of social media has been to massively increase ‘atomisation’ of viewers to the point of ‘hyper-segmentation’, where it is now affordable to serve segments that are very small The first effect may be to generate even more revenue for existing content producers, just as the multi-channel model generated a new wave of revenue in the 80s and 90s. This reinforces the conclusion that the producerbroadcasters are content owners rather than just broadcasters. But there are threats. This time social media coincides with the dramatic fall in the cost of production of technically high quality content. Whilst smartphones and consumer video

cameras may not meet the UHD (or even HD) standards of traditional broadcasters, this is not an issue for social media. New formats, such as AR, VR and 360 may bypass broadcasters altogether. This enables far greater democratisation of the production market and the minimum equipment investment for a production company making

New form mats, su uch as AR, VR an nd 360 may byp passs broadc casterss altog getherr high quality content has never been lower, and importantly the route to viewers is no longer bound to broadcasters. But is this good news for production companies? The growth in demand for content on social media may well fuel demand for their services, but the pressure on cost is also likely to increase, and so yet again they face a world of “more for less, please”.

STAYING RELEVANT For broadcast technology vendors, the market for specialist hardware is only going one way – down. Whilst not yet a ‘meteorite’ moment, it will be essential for traditional broadcast technology vendors to embrace cloud technologies if they want to stay relevant. We are moving inexorably towards a binary market in ‘broadcasting’ – we will have the known high-end world of premium content commissioned by big broadcasters and global OTT providers, where production values remain high, and technology innovation will be expected to drive operational and infrastructure costs down. At the other end, we will have the chaotic and brave new world of atomised markets and production processes - where it’s all about personalisation, mobile, on-demand, produced by commoditised tools and systems. For those willing to adapt and embrace the change this is a compelling opportunity.


40 OTT AND STREAMING

January/February 2017

How to compete with the OTT heavyweights Will broadcasters get left behind by the OTT giants? Not if they build their own CDN’s. Edgeware CEO Joachim Roos explains how

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he transformed landscape of TV has put streaming and OTT ahead of traditional broadcasts in many ways. As its subscriber numbers ballooned, Netflix decided to build its own network to deliver high quality content instead of exclusively using CDN-as-a-service. Amazon Instant Video uses its own Amazon Web Services (used by many other companies including Netflix) to deliver its streaming services. With OTT now playing such an important role for audiences, how do broadcasters or smaller independent content owners compete?

BUDGET SPACE RACE The first thing is the production quality of content. Netflix has ploughed a lot of money – a predicted $6 billion in 2017 – into making its own high-end original content. This has all certainly helped to justify Netflix’s monthly subscription costs to viewers. But traditional broadcasters can more than hold their own when it comes to original production, or at the very least rights acquisition. Of course they’ll never individually spend billions on original content production, but they don’t have to service a global audience. Netflix’s The Crown had a massive budget of £100m, the biggest ever for a single series. But if you take that spend and average it out across the countries that the show is available in (all 190 countries where Netflix is available), the cost for each territory is just over £500,000. Compare that with the £30m that Sky spent on the production of Fortitude, initially only available to Sky Atlantic viewers in the UK. Of course Sky will then sell the global rights to the show to other broadcasters, making a decent chunk of money back, but the higher initial outlay still sits with the broadcaster. LIVE IS KING Another huge ace up the sleeve that broadcasters have over OTT juggernauts is live programming. The cost of live sports rights remain as high as they are because audiences want to watch their favourite teams live, not a few hours after the rest of the world on a catch up or OTT service. Even so, viewers want to be able to watch that

live content on services delivered by IP. You can now watch live BBC channels through iPlayer, and Sky channels can be watched using apps on platforms like PlayStation and XBOX. And this is where the real work of the delivery network takes place, broadcasters can compete with OTT giants with live delivery but their CDN infrastructure needs to be up to scratch. Building your own TV CDN rather than renting space from a third party provider is one of the big factors in making this happen.

Bro oadcassters’ in nfrasttructures need d to be able to beat th he tweet With a dedicated TV CDN, services can be delivered faster, without buffering, delays or glitches. Latency is a particular pain point for viewers of live content – especially sport. Broadcast infrastructures need to be able to “beat the tweet”, as it were. No one wants to find out their team scored a goal or won a game via social media. With the right TV CDN in place, this can be limited to almost sub-second delays, compared to traditional broadcasts. BUILD IT YOURSELF But isn’t building your own TV CDN infrastructure only for the likes of the Netflixes of the world? The short answer - no.

The regional specificity of broadcasters is a bonus. Of course someone with as many subscribers as Netflix is well positioned to use its own TV infrastructure rather than hiring space from third parties, but on the other end of the scale, so are services with a big audience in a small region. Take the BBC iPlayer for example. The online service only serves the UK, which is densely populated in comparison to many countries. The amount of requests the service receives is impressive. 2016 was the best year yet for iPlayer, with 243 million monthly requests on average. A business case model we’ve put together at Edgeware tells us that it makes fiscal and operational sense to implement your own TV CDN infrastructure when you have more than 250,000 users watching content on your service for a minimum of an hour a day. The BBC iPlayer, according to its own figures, has an average of almost 8 million users watching for an average of 30 minutes – just shy of 4 million watching for an hour. So while it looks like smaller broadcasters or content owners might find it hard to compete with the OTT/streaming new kids on the block, a higher spend on quality programming, the benefits of live TV and regionally concentrated numbers of users means that with the right infrastructure, there’s much more they can do to continue to engage and hold audiences.


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OTT CASE STUDY

41

Streaming Peace around the world Peace One Day used Telestream’s Wirecast to connect with global audience using social platforms including Facebook Live. Jack Przwalski reports

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eace One Day is a non-profit organisation founded in 1999 with the mission of promoting global unity and international cooperation. The organisation has produced a global event where live TV broadcasts and satellite links have connected participants around the world to promote a message of peace. Last year, Peace One Day harnessed live streaming over social networks to connect with a global audience, exposing over 1.5 billion people to its message. In 1999, actor and filmmaker Jeremy Gilley wished there could be a single day when all countries vowed not to wage war. That year he established Peace One Day. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution formally establishing the UN International Day of Peace, a Peace Day of global ceasefire and nonviolence to be held each year on 21 September. Since 2001, the event has grown to become a global phenomenon. In 2015, Peace Day messages reached an estimated 1.5 billion people and Peace One Day had gained a global audience of 709 million people. HARNESSING WORLDWIDE LIVE STREAMING “In previous years, our concert has used a combination of live TV broadcasts and satellite links to remote performers and contributors,” said Nicholas Hine, head of the film department and senior editor at Peace One Day. “Building on past successful Peace Day concerts we decided to try something completely new for us, we have used social media extensively over the past few years

but never to broadcast a day long event, filled with challenging and engaging live interviews, live music performances and pre recorded material.” Streaming the day’s events on Facebook Live over a period of 12 hours allowed more people than ever to be a part of the annual event and helped Peace One Day come closer to achieving its aim of institutionalising Peace Day. On 21 September, 2016, the organising team produced a series of live and pre-recorded events, a mixture of segments lasting from 15 minutes to over one hour, highlighting individuals and organisations around the world. Using Wirecast, Telestream’s live streaming product, pre-recorded events and interviews as well as live events were integrated into a single,

The whole day y’s sttreaming was ru un by a graph hic de esigne er who only y ha ad a few prac ctiice runs with the e softw ware before the big show day seamless production that included interviews with actor and Peace One Day ambassador, Jude Law, Nick Fraser, editor of Storyville and founder of Yaddo, Oscar-winning filmmaker John Battsek and many more VIP supporters. The live broadcasts were broken down into bitesize streaming chunks, highlighting various activities throughout the day. With the application of Wirecast, Peace One Day was able to economically produce and broadcast a range of new and engaging content with high production value. “Previously, we employed a combination of satellite communication and TV to create and broadcast material, but this year the addition Wirecast provided us with a much less costly, but high quality content creation and delivery solution,” said Hine. The production workflow comprised two HD

cameras, Sony FS7 and the Sony FS700 with Convergent Designs Odyssey 7Q+, connected via HD SDI to a Mac Pro with Blackmagic Decklink cards, which served as the source for prerecorded content and was itself running Wirecast to create the live stream. “One of the stand-out qualities of Wirecast is how easy it is to use, which was critical for us,” remarked Nicholas Hine. “The whole day’s streaming was run by a graphic designer who only had a few practice runs with the software before the big show day. The system was great: it was seamless and super easy to use. We had a mock studio set up with 4 point lighting in our office - really very simple - grass roots if you like!” “Wirecast is a fantastic, rock-solid piece of software that we will continue to use. We are looking into streaming these events a few times a year. This year’s event was a great success,” concluded Hine. “We’re still analysing our audience figures, but we’re confident that we have exceded the previous years and the new figuers will be released on peaceoneday.org very soon, so stay tuned.” FACEBOOK LIVE Telestream claims that Wirecast is the only crossplatform live streaming production software to enable capture, live production and encoding of live streams for broadcast to multiple servers and platforms simultaneously. One Wirecast feature gaining attention is its integration with the Facebook Live API. System features include streaming to pages, profiles, groups and events, the option for branded and sponsored content and place tagging, and live viewer and engagement tallies to monitor viewing audiences. “Peace Day has grown to become an event of global significance and it just makes sense for the Peace One Day team to be harnessing the power of live streaming and Facebook Live production,” said Scott Murray, Telestream’s VP of marketing.


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ROUNDTABLE

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Roundtable: All roads lead to workflow

TVBEurope hosted a roundtable in partnership with Quantum on the future of storage for broadcasters. It became clear that storage problems are rarely technological - they’re almost always cultural. Neal Romanek reports.

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ast November, TVBEurope hosted its latest industry roundtable at London’s Soho Hotel. Held in association with Quantum, the afternoon’s theme was storage for the broadcast industry - what are broadcasters’ current storage needs, what storage solutions will new media technologies require, issues of data protection and the impact of cloud technologies. Participants in the conversation were BT Sport innovation producer (pictured, l. to r.) Quantum’s regional sales director, Christo Conidaris, Daragh Bass, Sony head of IT and workflow solutions, moderator Jeremy Bancroft of MAC, Niall Duffy of Renegade Thinking, BBC Sport head of post production Lawrence Windley , and Viacom senior director of broadcast and production technology Rod Fairweather. What quickly became clear in the free-ranging discussion was that you can’t make decisions about your storage needs without a clear understanding of your workflow. PUSHING IT TO THE LIMIT Every one of the roundtable participants cited the problem - so ubiquitous it’s a cliche - of

ballooning file sizes and absurd shooting ratios pushing storage capacity to its limits. It’s a truism of modern life that no matter how much storage you have, you will always fill it. Quantum’s Christo Conidaris noted that the media industry has a unique propensity for gobbling up storage. Quantum supplies storage products for a range of sectors, from biotech to government to fossil fuel companies. Conidaris said: “One thing that’s interesting about the media and entertainment industry is you guys really push technology to its limits, whatever you’re doing, whether it’s storage or cameras or networks. We’ve found that the adoption rates for new technologies is usually higher in the media and entertainment than in other industries.” His statement surprised the group, who seemed to feel that their organisations were very conservative in adopting new technologies slightly proving Conidaris’ point. No matter how much tech you have, in the TV industry, it’s never quite enough. But unlike other industries, the final product at the end of millions of TV euros spent is a set of

files on a drive. And with data itself the final fruit of everyone’s hard labour, it’s no surprise that broadcasters want to hang on to as much of it as possible for as long as possible. Costs of storage are coming down (although Sony’s Niall Duffy suggested the “Brexit effect” is reversing that in the UK, with storage prices rising since the June vote), but Viacom’s Rod Fairweather pointed out that the endless hunger for storage negates any economic benefits: “The cost goes down on storage, but the amount we’re producing goes up, so we never get the benefit of this stuff getting cheaper.” Technology – in every sphere of our lives – allows for greater speed of deployment and amplified leveraging of an organisations skills, and has allowed fast deployment of new companies and new projects, but the agility conferred by technology has sometimes led to an abandoning of methodology. The dream that technology will solve what are essentially issues of planning and thinking inevitably boomerangs to create a host of difficulties later. “When broadcasters talked about being ‘agile’ as a method, they rushed into things,” noted


44 ROUNDTABLE

Duffy. “But what we’ve realised is that the sheer joy of being able to start small and focused has now resulted in: ‘Oops, actually we didn’t structure it properly’. And we’ve let it expand to a point where it’s no longer what we really wanted, because we didn’t think about what we wanted. It’s like building a house without a foundation, because we wanted to start quickly on the ground floor. “We’re a very immature industry in many respects. Our problem with archive and library is that we don’t know what we’re going to do with it, because we’ve done none of the analytics, we don’t know how much it costs, and we’re terrified of losing something.” HOUSEKEEPING “It’s always been an issue ever since the first videotape was created: nobody’s good at housekeeping,” said Viacom’s Rod Fairweather. “Nobody ever gets thanked for chucking something out. But you can get fired for chucking something out that shouldn’t have been chucked out. Whoever threw out the original Doctor Who’s was vilified for life. Until we change that culture, no one’s going to risk their jobs by unnecessarily deleting things.” One reason for the vagueness around storage is that it’s not often clear who is paying the bill. The roundtable observed that if long-term storage was charged to a production rather than being absorbed by the broadcaster, you would see

ballooning shooting ratios drop dramatically, and thrifty shooting would be the order of the day. If a production isn’t paying for storage, their mindset is that the storage is free. “A producer may insist that he wants to bring back all 3000 hours of content he’s shot,” noted Duffy. “But when you analyse it, the long-term cost of that is tens of thousands of pounds per year.”

One thing that’s intterestiing about the me edia and d enterttainmen nt ind dustrry is you guys re eally pu ush tech hnolo ogy to itts limits, whatever you’re doing “But If you charge that back to an actual production, they’ll be very quick to say: ‘Oh, no. We don’t need that any more,” quipped BT Sport’s Daragh Bass. “And if you do decide to keep all that, there’s the cost of the time it takes to look at the material and decide what has value,” added Viacom’s Fairweather. “That adds hugely to the costs of a productions.” BBC’s Lawrence Windley believes that production teams haven’t really absorbed the reality of everything digital storage implies. “As an industry the production side of the industry hasn’t caught up with the long tail that these things have. You’ve done your online edit

January/February 2017

and conform and had your cappuccino in Soho, and you think it’s done then. And in the days when you would then go home with a box of tapes, that was it. But now, that digital content sitting on servers somewhere still needs to be catalogued and looked through. With us, there are time pressures. The production teams go on to the next project and no one has the time to sit with an archivist for four or five days.“ Moderator Jeremy Bancroft added that in many cases, those teams not only aren’t available to sit with an archivist, but they’ve entirely disbanded, having been brought together solely for a single production: “And you can’t find that knowledge and skill (of an archivist) anymore. If it isn’t captured at the time of production, it’s probably lost forever. IT’S THE WORKFLOW, STUPID Windley confirmed that beyond the deceptively simple issue of “where to keep your stuff” lies the foundation of a broadcaster’s workflow - its entire production ethos. “It’s amazing how much we’ve talked about workflow, even though we started with talking about storage and library and archives. It very quickly goes into a conversation about workflow and decisions.” “We still haven’t really thought through the kind of workflows that we need,” said Sony’s Niall Duffy. “We’re still in a world where we inevitably come back to technology choices. That’s the way the industry thinks, with the creatives often


ROUNDTABLE

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leaving it up to the engineer to come up with a solution. And the engineer gets quite excited by the technology rather than the process. But I think we’re finally beginning to see that change, with companies like SDVI who are talking about supply chain management. When you’ve got a clear view of what your supply chain is and how you want to manage it - which every other industry outside ours does - it doesn’t become an issue of technology choices. Instead it’s: What do I need?” BT Sport’s Bass is looking for alternatives to on-premises storage. He sees an opportunity in rights holders taking responsibility for the storage of all assets related to project with broadcasters taking over only at the playout stage: “There are more opportunities where the rights holder is also the distributor and you don’t store anything locally. You pull it down as you need it and they manage everything on your behalf. You have access to it now, but in a week’s time, say, your access runs out.”

The cost goes dow wn on stora age, but the am moun nt we’’re producin ng goes up, so we never get the e bene efit of th his sttuff getting cheaper Bass said BT Sport had the advantage of building being able to build storage workflows from scratch when it started in 2013. “We decided we needed rules from day one. And they were rigid. We had really strict deletion rules for all the different types of content. It was a ‘keep’ decision, rather than a ‘delete’ decision.” Fairweather said that the needs of Viacom, which oversees a wide variety of stations, and the producers that support them must navigate a complex path in content storage. “It depends on what type of editing you’re doing, what scale, what timeframe. Our workgroup sizes are all very different. A cloud environment may be more appropriate for storage if you’re working in a collaborative environment, but there is no one correct storage solution. And that’s one of the reasons making decisions about storage is so difficult. There is not one answer. We have promo producers sometimes working individually. Some of our workgroups in small regional stations may not have a lot of technical support. Or we may be working with a big Soho company. Our solutions are much more complex than how big, how fast.” RESISTANCE TO MAM Even given the obvious need to organise workflows and storage, content owners are often willing to make short cuts on tech that doesn’t

have an obvious relationship with what ends up on screen. With everyone with an internet connection becoming a potential broadcaster, there are a million headaches in the making for all those who attempt mass storage and archive without a proper asset management system or workflow in place. At the end of the day, for the TV industry, cost of operations is tiny compared to the cost of rights. So we still have this model of even if it seems expensive, it’s not when compared to rights. But compared to other industries, the things we do are extraordinarily expensive. So if you look at a publisher – and there are so many of them trying to get into video - they don’t really know who to speak to, so they’ll go to a broadcast systems integrator and they will literally fall off their chair: ‘How much?! Asset management’s not free?’”

We still ha aven’tt reallly thought thro ough h the e kin nd of work kflows th hat we need d “Sometimes it’s very difficult to find the money for those things,” added Bass. “They may be buying a lot of cameras and high-end gear and ambition, but when it comes to buying an asset management system the question is: ‘What will I see onscreen for that?’ Well, nothing. But it will manage all your content. ‘Can we not do that in Google Drive?’.” But Niall Duffy said that some big broadcasters were no less stingy: “To be fair, I’ve seen so many broadcasters cave in on that too, rather spending the money to do a MAM properly, because they can’t

see an ROI on MAM. And it’s not that they can see an ROI on storage either, but they’ve got production screaming at them saying ‘We have to have this!’. They’re not saying ‘We have to have a MAM.” QUANTUM STORAGE Fifty years ago, most of media storage consisted of cans of film and reels of tape in boxes on shelves with paper tape labels. If you wanted something, someone had to physically retrieve it with their hands. Now, media can be stored almost literally anywhere. Often, as in the case of cloud storage, it’s stored in no one place in particular – a bit like the electron only deciding on a location still once you want to access it. How appropriate that it was Quantum hosting a roundtable on a subject which has the infinite scalability and infinite variability that mirror something as hard to pin down as particle physics. We are entering a phase in which the “where” of storage is becoming increasingly meaningless. Less and less does media is media stored in a real place in any practically meaningful way and as a result the conversations around storage become increasingly esoteric, until media storage begins to look like an arcane philosophical discipline. What the Quantum roundtable made clear is that the way forward for media companies is not: Where do I keep this stuff? But: For what purpose am I keeping this stuff? And how do I best evolve my workflows and my mindset to secure that purpose into the future. The question is not where. But why. (This piece also appeared in the Janury 2017 issue of our sister publication TVBEurope)


46

EVENT

January/February 2017

London calling BVE is the second biggest TV tech trade show in Europe. BVE event manager Daniel Sacchelli tells us what to expect this year Why do people come to BVE? What does it have to offer, apart from being a UK meeting place? BVE has the advantage of kicking off trade show season. We have had the whole of the year to reflect on what happened in 2016 – both politically and technologically and how that has affected our industry. BVE’s free seminar programme is packed full with both educational content and inspirational speakers – hearing from CTO’s from top facilities including Pinewood Studios and Molinare on the future of Post with the evolution of internet based services such as IP and OTT to exploring the VR cameras on the market in the Cinematography & Lighting Theatre. What is the show offering this year for the first time? We have launched several new initiatives for 2017. With the explosion of virtual reality, we have launched the BVE VR Experience, which gives visitors a chance to view VR content from leading production companies including BBC Earth, Happy Finish, Sky VR and Surround Vision. BVE will host discussions on the applications of VR throughout all five of our theatres and exhibitions from cutting edge manufactures such as Sennheiser. For an improved visitor experience we have also welcomed back the BVE App, making planning for the show easier and giving greater visibility of what is going on in and around the show. Finally for 2017 we have introduced the BVE Meeting Service. This creates a streamlined approach for both exhibitors and visitors to set up meetings with relevant parties only. Meaning more time to discuss worthwhile sales and deals – which is always a good thing!

What are some of the new technologies and markets that are appearing at the show? This year we have fully embraced convergence. IP focused technology is now something all broadcast engineers have to deal with. We have teamed up with Connected Media Europe who will be presenting a stellar seminar programme tackling the challenges we are seeing crop up more and more, including IPTV, OTT, mobile, social and the cloud. We have also made an assertive step to include the creative services in to the BVE fold. The corporate world is creating a vast amount of content at incredibly high quality – exhibitors such as NewTek and TSL Systems will be showcasing their solutions which are perfect for that sector – including TSL System’s newly launched ‘studio in a box’ solution.

The e corpo orate world is creatin ng a va ast am moun nt off conte ent at inc credibly high quality y In Esports – SAM will be presenting LiveTouch, a complete replay, highlights and production system for studio and sport applications. Imagen, is launching Version 5 of its enterprise video platform. With its global service already being used by the Premier League, it’s a great bit of cloud technology allowing broadcasters to manage archived and future content. What’s new this year in the conference streams? I am immensely proud of the conference BVE has to offer this year. Spread across our five theatres Cinematography & Lighting, Production,

Post & Workflow, AV, Integration & Live and The Screen @ BVE, we have 120 hours of free seminar content for visitors to enjoy. We have partnered with both Connected Media Europe and, for the second year, will host the Streaming Forum conference, which will address all the major challenges and advantages of the future in an IP based world. One of the primary constants across all of our theatres is VR. The growth of the VR market is set to soar over the coming years, affecting all of our sectors in different ways. In the AV, Integration and Live Theatre Tom Nelson, Creative Producer at the Royal Opera House, will explore the possibilities of using VR technologies to enable production teams to better design the stage, whilst over in the Post & Workflow Theatres we will be taking an in depth look in to the considerations of broadcasting VR before application. VR has certainly disrupted the industry and at BVE 2017 we are ensuring that we leave no stone unturned. Will there be any return to BVE North? Or any other localised or speciality BVE events? At this time there are no plans for BVE North to return– however we are teaming up with an increasing number of strategic partners and associations which will extend our reach beyond London and the South East and encourage visitors from a greater geographical diversity to attend the show. What is your background? How did you come onboard BVE? I began my career in both the broadcast and exhibition industries simultaneously, ten years ago at IBC. Working as part of the conference production team, I delivered four IBC events before joining what was Emap to work on Bett, in the Education Technology sector, I shifted my allegiances internally and joined BVE in 2013. What feedback have you had about BVE and what people want to see? What we hear time and time again is that BVE serves as a great platform for visitors to have intimate discussions and get hands on with kit. To create an even better service and encourage closer relationship building we have launched the BVE Meeting Service. Ahead of the show exhibitors can see and contact relevant visitors whom have stated an interest in their products and services– allowing for a more structured experience at the show and a more streamlined approach to selling. Our ambitions for the future far outweigh anything that people have seen from us so far and we’re very excited about some of the developments we’ll be announcing in the coming year.


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TV Tech Global January/February 2017  

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