Page 1 March/April 2017

Acquisition focus

Enterprise video

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A TRIP TO THE AMERICAS We’re delighted to introduce our Latin America and Caribbean special. A huge market, in part united by an Iberian heritage, good coverage of the burgeoning LATAM media industry has, in our opinion, been lacking. We start to scratch the surface with this issue’s look at the Vitec Videocom factory in Costa Rica, which manufactures Vitec camera support brands from Sachtler to Oconnor to Anton Bauer. We offer thoughts on the new subtitling laws in some Latin American countries. And we do a study of a new type of Jamaican TV. We look forward to an even bigger and better relationship with LATAM media companies in the future. This is also our acquisition special. In addition to our regular Sharpshooter feature, we have a review of the Canon 5D Mark IV. And since we are TV Tech GLOBAL, we felt it necessary to take in the entire world with a look at the shooting of the NASA/IMAX collaboration, A Beautiful Planet, showing now at an IMAX screen near you. To get our magazines delivered to your email, go to our website and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll also qualify for tech briefings and other TVTG-only features we’ll be rolling out later in the year. Neal Romanek Editor


18 READY FOR A NEW KIND OF TV Jamaican broadcaster ReadyTV is providing an alternative to expensive calbe services

13 USER REVIEW: CANON 5D MARK IV Does the new 4K DSLR live up to its predecessors?

32 MANFROTTO IN THE JUNGLE Costa Rica is an environmental paradise – it’s also a great place to make camera gear



How do you select a camera for filming the entire world?

NAB is here. Check out some of the new products making their debut

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March/April 2017

Digital Content Governance: managing the unmanageable Now that you’ve got all this content, how are you going to manage it? Nick Pearce-Tomenius, sales and marketing director of Object Matrix, explains the importance of Digital Content Governance

ny video producer knows that when it comes to creating video, it is all about maximising its value. And that means getting the right piece of content in front of the right audience at the right time. With ever-growing catalogues of video content, multiple versions, and increasing file sizes due to new video formats and high resolution video, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. And that is where Digital Content Governance (DCG) comes in.


automation. They very often treat disk the same way they handled tape, with manual processes. This both causes bottlenecks and introduces errors into the workflow. It also means that media companies are wasting valuable resources on managing storage rather than more beneficial functions. The result is, more often than not, a number of un-managed storage silos, made up of everything from high end scalable NAS to USB Drives.

DELUGE OF UNSTRUCTURED CONTENT The main problem with the deluge of content and huge file sizes is that it requires a whole different skillset and toolset to manage, and naturally a lot more storage space. Without the right structures and processes in place, it is all too easy to misplace content you have previously created, which very often leads to content producers having to reshoot footage, often at great expense. Couple that with fact that innovation in the media industry has happened at such a fast pace, and it is no wonder that it is challenging for media companies to keep their staff skills up-to-date. Only five years ago, engineers were managing physical tapes, so the move to a file based world and IP is quite a difference. In this new world of media production and delivery, one of the biggest mistakes made by media companies is the lack of integration and

DIGITAL CONTENT GOVERNANCE Clearly, if organisations wish to profit from their content or build a successful community they need their hands on their data 24/7 to use, re-use, re-shape and re-use. Digital Content Governance platforms enable that, but they also focus on the whole package required to protect, curate, share, distribute and audit digital content. Ultimately it is about ensuring a number of crucial factors: • Maximising value • Easy search • Ensuring content is authentic • Protecting data • Business continuity • Future-proofing content • Access controls • Maximising Value It stands to reason that you can only generate revenue if you know what content you have, can

find it easily, and know how you are allowed to use it. If your content is sitting on the shelf, that is not going to be possible. Not only that, but to properly generate value from content, it often needs to be accessed fast. Given the need for high definition files, that could be literally tens or hundreds of terabytes needed in a hurry. If that content has previously been archived, getting it back out of archive can be a pain. On the other hand, if it is sitting in public cloud, there will be a big cost associated with getting it now. If you don’t mind waiting then the costs are much more acceptable, but that simply doesn’t work in many media organisations that need to benefit from on-demand workflows. Digital Content Governance enables organisations to access their content when they need it and in timeframes set out by the businesses. EASY SEARCH One of our maxims from way back rings true today as much as it did in 2003 “If you can’t find it, you don’t have it”. With an increasing volume of data coming in and out of facilities, metadata management is as important as protecting the content itself. The ability to search based on up to date, and relevant metadata, helps unlock content’s value. Loosely coupled metadata and content will always make for an inefficient or impossible process.


Using MAMs (media asset management) solutions substantially increases the ability to find. But as mentioned above there is a risk in looselycoupling the MAM database and the storage where the media resides. If metadata is not embedded or associated with the essence where the essence lives, then MAM can become more like “Maybe Asset Management”.. DCG platforms protect the metadata along with the essence for the lifetime of the content. Using APIs enable future proof, integrated and automated workflows that ensure content can be found even if media asset management is not available. DCG platforms can also automate the extraction and indexing of any embedded metadata which will also vastly increase the efficiency of find. ENSURING CONTENT IS AUTHENTIC In a world where some institutions and organisations feel increasingly free to bend the truth, we need to know our content is authentic and that it has not been altered or tampered with. Can we prove the rushes from the interview with a politician or financial analyst tally with the message portrayed in the edit? Digital preservation practice provides options for data immutability and ensuring content cannot be deleted until the business, or law, sees fit. DCG platforms make multiple copies of content on ingest using checksums (digital fingerprints) to ensure its integrity from day one and throughout the lifetime of the content. DCG can ensure rushes are immutable throughout their lifetime can place retention policies on the data such that not even administrators can accidentally delete it on a bad hair day. PROTECTING DATA Digital preservation is a massive deal in the media industry, with many companies required to comply with internal or external regulations around the preservation of their digital content. Digital preservation processes ensure content is protected at ingest and ensures it remains protected throughout its lifetime. However, this requires regular integrity checking of data which can be a costly exercise with legacy technology. How many media companies regularly follow good LTO management practice? Ensuring business rules are enforced, such as access rules and retention periods ensures that content does not get accidentally deleted. Automation and integration are also key to removing manual steps that introduce opportunities for error. DCG platforms handle all aspects of good digital perseveration practice from continuous content protection and multiple copy protection (on and off-site) business rules support.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY If the lights go out at a facility so too the chances of continuing revenue generating activities. Using incumbent platforms that rely on legacy archive and backup practices do not guarantee the continuity of business operations. It is a fact that data loss or loss of access to data can lead to catastrophic loss of revenue for any sized company. Relying on manual procedures, scripts or the skills of individuals within an organisation does not provide levels of redundancy and automation required to get a business running when outages occur. The ideal scenario is for staff to be able to easily switch to the location where data is accessible, whilst using the tools they are used to using for their craft. DCG platforms provide automated and integrated business continuity functionality ensuring work can continue despite any outages. Implementing automated, asynchronous replication of metadata, data and user access information ensures that everything that is needed will be available at the DR location. Integration of DCG platforms into the end user ecosystem (ie, they do not have to learn new skills) also makes this a non-disruptive process.

I t s ta a n d s t o rea ason that y o u c a n o nly y g e n e ratt e r e v e n u e if y ou kno ow what c o n t e n t you u have, c an n f in nd it e a s ill y, a n d k n o w h ow w you are a l l o w e d t o u se it FUTURE-PROOFING CONTENT There are a whole wealth of articles out there discussing how to create the perfect ‘forever’ archive. Truth is, whilst the manufacturer may declare that the media will last a hundred years, the machines required to read the format will likely not. It is also questionable whether or not the format of the files themselves will be supported. With this in mind, organisations need to implement platforms that make it easy, or even automatic, to migrate content to new storage platforms or formats. Migrating content from different formats of offline media (LTO etc.) is non-trivial and vastly increases the TCO of those platforms - ask any system administrator about the joys of data migration. If data resides in silos of dumb storage then migrating the data, and metadata, to newer platforms poses a problem for many organisations. Quite frankly, it is a right royal pain, so much so an entire industry has grown up around it.


DCG platforms provide functionality to ensure future proof access to content with the minimum of manual intervention: • Migration in place (MIP) allows content to move from older, legacy hardware to newer generations of hardware within the DCG platform and with no manual intervention. • Process in place (PiP) does what is says on the tin. It enables content to be processed where it resides, on the storage platform. This means content does not need to move around to have simple processes performed upon it. Examples include: • In PiP, metadata embedded in the content itself can be automatically indexed and thus makes searching for content much easier without manual logging. Formats like AS11/AS10 can be dropped into a DCG platform and it will become very easy to find as its metadata will be automatically extracted and indexed for search. • NMR ( is working on the ReCAP project which will advantage of DCG platforms that provide PiP services. • It is not inconceivable to have PiP performing tasks to transform content from one format to another. As a format of PDF/MOV/JPEG becomes obsolete, it will be possible to inject algorithms into the DCG platform to transform legacy formats to the new standard. The functionality to provide those services is available today. Automatic and systematic processes. Again, hands free. ACCESS CONTROLS If content generates revenue, then it is crucial to ensure the control of access to that content throughout its lifetime. Providing searchable audits of every action during the lifetime of the media is essential, as it means you can track exactly what has happened to that content and who has access it. If your media is on dumb NAS, removable media or tape you have no idea who has had access to the content. DCG platforms can offer native, searchable audits of every action from ingest, moves, deletions, attempted deletions and most importantly, read. It has to be said that audit is also possible with public cloud accounts if the user logins are granular to individuals performing the actions. With all these bases covered, organisations will be able to focus on the important things, such as how to generate income from their prized assets and not spend money and cycles on managing the infrastructure that houses them. A good Digital Content Governance platform that integrates into the way you work and enables automation keeps everyone happy from the editor, to the CTO and the CFO.



March/April 2017

Boost OTT quality with peer-assisted delivery Adam H Lewis, president & CEO of the Voddler Group, explains that OTT can be a bigger headache than broadcast, especially when it comes to ensuring a quality viewing experience where every member of the service not only enjoys the content but also acts as an edge server, some of the content that might have been coming from the CDN now flows from one consumer to another. In this scenario, a ‘hybrid distribution model’ can control that published content to the network and control what content is available and to whom. Intelligence in the management software can allocate the resources according to demand. To the OTT service provider, it looks like any other CDN architecture. However, rather than the content being held on central and edge servers, it is distributed among the attached devices of subscribers.


his rise in the consumption of on demand content in recent years has led to the emergence of the OTT service provider, a force often viewed as a threat to traditional broadcasters. However, when it comes to ensuring the viewer enjoys the best possible quality of experience, an OTT service provider faces challenges the broadcaster does not. Indeed, the Internet is not under the OTT service provider’s control in the same way that the broadcaster owns the physical chain of distribution. When an OTT service provider outsources delivery to content delivery networks (CDNs), these businesses face the exact same challenge. It means a lower quality of experience for consumers who live in areas of poor broadband capacity, which in turn leads to revenue loss as the viewer turns elsewhere to source content. PEER ASSISTANCE The good news is that the OTT service provider can bypass the limitations of the traditional CDN

network model by using peer-assisted video delivery, thus ensuring higher levels of quality for the end viewer. A classic CDN design centres on a hub, with content replicated at a number of edge servers located closer to the customer which perform the final delivery. However, better performance requires more edge servers, which are expensive to set-up and run.

A peer-asssisted sollution is infinittely y sca alable an nd becom mes more effi fficie ent as th he nu umbe er of subscriberss grows This puts the OTT service provider at the mercy of the CDN and its decision to make a CAPEXintensive commercial decision to invest in edge servers and to locate them wisely. Peer-assisted video delivery provides a very large number of edge servers without the consequent costs, making OTT video more attractive and economically viable. In this model,

MULTIPLE BENEFITS Hybrid peer-assisted video delivery does not replace an existing CDN, but complements it by offloading the current centralised streaming from a single bottleneck. A peer-assisted video delivery model can eliminate intellectual property piracy risk as well as the storage and connectivity load within the peering network, as complete pieces of content are not stored on any one device. ‘Slices’ of content are distributed among a number of subscriber devices, meaning no single computer can reconstruct the whole. Digital rights management can be enforced, as existing user and rights management systems can interface with the delivery mechanism, as can any digital rights management layer. Peer-assisted video is also financially attractive to both CDNs and VODs, as it offers the only alternative for increasing their capacity and offerings (such as Live TV), without incurring exponential costs. A peer-assisted solution is infinitely scalable and becomes more efficient as the number of subscribers grows. Content can be hosted in smaller slices in multiple locations as additional subscribers join, meaning more subscribers are close to the peers hosting the content they want to watch. This allows OTT service providers to guarantee the best quality of experience for viewers, no matter how rapidly the service grows.

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A knight of Malta

With its generous tax incentives and even more generous sunshine, Malta is a lure for European production. Producer-shooter Ben Borg Cardona invites us to join him

Profile Name: Ben Borg Cardona Age: 30 Occupation: Producer and director of photography. But as a filmmaker, you wear many caps Family: I just asked my girlfriend to marry me (she said yes), so at the very beginnings Languages: Maltese, English Where did you grow up? London born, but grew up in Malta, where I live today. It’s the heart of the Mediterranean with direct connections to wherever I need to be. What training have you had? When I was eight years old I found a dusty Pentax 35mm camera and fell in love. My dad shot pictures for a student newspaper, and he taught me the basics. Since then I have never put a camera down. At 18 I started as a photojournalist for a national newspaper. Then I was lucky enough to become the international stringer correspondent for AFP.

Current assignments. Where, doing what, shooting for whom? We run a local production company, Pineapple Media, focusing on advertising but we also do feature film services. Our assignments vary from day to day, working with advertising agencies on television commercials for local and international markets. Once we even shot a thousand Romans storming an ancient stronghold! Most recently, we finished a large production for an international airline. It was a five day shoot and loads of locations around the island, and some stunt work. It was a lot of fun. How did you get into video production? It seemed the natural progression from still photography. All I know how to do is capture images, understand how they should be lit, where the camera needs to be for the story, what lens conveys the emotion. So with Roger Zammit, my business partner, we set about creating some promo trailers which showcased our talent in production, from there we got our first production job. Where did you get the name, Pineapple Media? Somewhere at the bottom of a pint glass, a brainstorming session with Roger Zammit.

Does the Maltese government encourage production for local companies and foreign units? The Malta Film commission is extremely supportive of film production on the island but, at present, we’re more geared towards film servicing as opposed to film production. There’s money available for independent productions here, but there is a push happening here for more local film production. Foreign productions coming here are eligible for a 27% cash rebate amongst other incentives to shoot on the island. This year alone we have had the new Michael Bay film, Director Luc Besson has been here, the Assassin’s Creed video game and a few others.

Foreign prroduction ns coming here are elig gible for a 27 7% cash h rebate e amon ngst othe er in ncentivves to shoot on th he island If you are importing purchased or rented gear, does Maltese customs sometimes make life difficult? Being an EU country importing and renting gear is usually problem free, if it’s coming from within the European Union. When coming from



outside, some delays are to be expected. Usually our biggest concern is shipping times, because everything has to come to Malta by plane so shipping costs and delivery times vary greatly. Where have you been for the last few years? I’ve focused on building the production company, producing larger projects, building a creative and technical team around us, whilst working as a camera op on some of the features and TV series that have been shot on the Island.

Itt’ss a stun nning counttry to shoot in n, the e qua ality of liight is breath htaking g Have you been busy? Busy is kind of an understatement right now. We’re constantly shooting and creating new ideas. It’s a very exciting time, coupled with the fact of my recent engagement, planning the wedding…I’m a bit hectic.

March/April 2017

Given Malta’s geographic location, is all year round shooting possible? I’ve shot 365 days here. It’s a stunning country to shoot in, the quality of light is breathtaking. There’s an old line that Malta enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year. I don’t know if it’s exactly 300, but it’s damn close.

it depends on the time of year the shoot is scheduled. If you shoot around September, then you are chancing it a little. I’ve seen a few sets suffer weather damage over my career, but fortunately never any serious injuries! The island is 27 kilometres across, so we are prone to varying weather conditions.

If the light is so clear and abundant in Malta, what do you do for artificial light to balance fill light on talent? The light in Malta is sometimes very tricky. In winter the light is lovely and seldom needs much help to make subjects look good — just a normal bounce usually does the trick. In summer, it’s a different story. The sun stays much higher in the sky and is very harsh, causing horrible shadows for most of the day, so I use strong top diffusion and bounce light.

Do you travel much in Europe and North Africa? On assignment, yes. For leisure, not as much as I’d like. Malta has fantastic travel links to getting to where the job is, so it isn’t an issue. When my schedule allows, I tend to take the bike to Sicily for a couple of days.

Are ocean winds a problem when working with large exterior sets? The winds and the first rains, definitely! Obviously,

What are some of your foreign credits? On large scale productions – Dovekeepers for CBS, Saul: The Journey to Damascus, but one of my

What types of productions have you mostly shot? The majority of what I shoot are promos and commercials. I’ve also worked on international TV series, features, music videos and documentaries.


proudest jobs is the Maltese feature Simshar, which was shortlisted for the foreign Oscar last year.

What is on your equipment wish list? A full set of master primes — every DOP’s dream.

What camera equipment are you currently using? The Red Epic Dragon.

What useful piece of gear do you wish someone would make? It seems that there’s already something out there to solve any issue you may face. There’s so much great gear out there right now.

I love the Red, butt ultimately, lik ke the Alexa a and every y other camerra out there e, it’ss jusst a tool an nd onlly as goo od ass the opera ato or behind d it Do you have any criticisms of the Red system? Any improvements you can suggest? I love the Red, but ultimately, like the Alexa and every other camera out there, it’s just a tool and only as good as the operator behind it. Improvements? Even higher frame rates at 6K would be useful for some jobs, but between that camera and our post production work flow, if it can be thought or written, we can film it.

Best thing about your job? I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love. Worst thing about your job? There are negative aspects, as with anything. Working 18 hour days as a norm, the business side of running a company. But it’s nothing I despise, I’m just happier looking at life through a lens. Your dullest assignments? Talking heads against a white backing, then the client asks me to make it more “dynamic.”


Your hairiest assignment? You get into some interesting situations as a camera operator, from hanging over a fake wall, shooting a hand held top down shot of a battering ram smashing against a stone wall, to being underwater with a speedboat racing over your head. Health and safety is taken into account with everything we do, so hopefully there is little risk. But scariest? When you look through the lens, you’re always that little bit removed from reality. I’ve never really had that “holy shit” moment. What country would you most like to shoot in? New Zealand: the light looks amazing. And Iceland too: I would love to shoot that landscape.

Contact Name: Email: Web:

Ben Borg Cardona

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Canon 5D Mark IV review: Keeping the dream alive

Our camera expert Christina Fox takes the latest Canon 5D Mark IV for a spin. Does the new 4K DSLR live up to its trailblazing predecessors?


he new Canon 5D Mark IV is the latest update to this influential DSLR. It was the 5D Mark II that gave us a high quality stills camera that could also do HD video. Videographers who couldn’t afford a full-frame sensor camera (with interchangeable lenses) suddenly had the chance to make the video they had dreamed of, with the shallowest depth of field possible. So, is the Mark IV still the dream camera? Well, there are quite a few improvements, but there are still a few things missing. The full-frame sensor has 30 megapixels and offers 4K video recording at 24p, 25p and 29.97p using Motion JPEG. While at Full HD (1920x1080) 24p, 25p 29.97p, 50p and 59.94p are all available,

and recorded using ALL-I or IPB compression. Those MJPG files are big (almost 500Mbps) and fill a 32Gb card with eight minutes of video. The camera can also do high frame rates of 100 frames per second and 120fps, but only at 720p. Colour sampling at 4K is YCbCr 4:2:2 (8-bit) and HD is YCbCr 4:2:0 (8bit). The camera’s 4K capture uses a 4096x2160 pixel region of the sensor, which is about the size of an APS-C or Super 35mm sensor. The result is a crop factor of 1.64x – so choose your lenses carefully The camera does offer high dynamic range recording, but only in 25p or 29.97p (IPB) HD recording. However, this is not the usual flavour of HDR with log gammas and flat images

requiring work in post. It does this by recording two interleaved videos, one optimised for highlights and the other for shadows. Then, similar to how HDR is achieved in stills photography, the images are combined, in camera, to give the best of both. For those who can’t afford to grade, this is an interesting way to get HDR. However, the manual warns that: “Since multiple frames are merged to create an HDR movie, certain parts of the movie may look distorted. During handheld shooting, camera shake may make the distortion look more noticeable. Using a tripod is recommended.” In photo mode the camera can record three Raw and eight JPEG quality settings, which can be recorded on one or both cards separately or



simultaneously. In photo mode it can shoot 7fps, which should cover most action shots except for the faster sports. The camera takes CF CompactFlash and SD/ SDHC/SDXC cards and, thankfully, the same batteries as its predecessor - but if you need more shooting time the camera can be used with Canon’s BG-E20 battery grip.

The lack of zebras or waveform ms and no lo og gam mma profile es is an n oversig ght not made by its rivals

of field while following a moving face. Plus, there is touch screen focusing – making focus pulling as simple as pointing. One novel feature is the Dual Pixel Raw photo shooting. If you shoot in the highest quality Raw setting and use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional EOS software, you can access the dual pixel data and make micro-adjustment of the focus using the depth information contained within the file. It effectively allows you to slightly shift the focus on a still image. I’m sure this will help a few desperate photographers salvage an almost-there image that would have been unusable.

FOCUS OVERLOAD There are a bewildering number of ways to configure the autofocus. In fact, AF takes up 59 pages in the manual. The camera has iTR AF (intelligent tracking and information Auto Focus), which makes following faces and getting them in focus nice and easy. Not only does it look at the face, it looks at its colour too – using both to hold focus, so you can keep your shallow depth

KEEP IN TOUCH The touch-sensitive live view screen gives an alternative way to move around the menu and other onscreen options. It was also nice to be able to swipe and pinch your way through recorded images and video just like on a smart phone. The quick control menu (accessible via the Q button), together with the touch screen, made

March/April 2017

changing settings simple. I could quickly change frame rates, white balance, audio volume, swap cards and focusing modes. Atomos fans will be pleased to see the Mark IV is on its compatibility list. It is possible to simultaneously see the camera’s output on a monitor (via HDMI) and the camera’s screen (which wasn’t possible with older models). The camera’s screen will show recording settings, while your monitor will only show a clean image – perfect for recording to a remote drive. However, do note that 4K images are not available via HDMI. So 4K recording will be on the internal cards only. And, there is no doubt that if you are using this camera primarily for video you will still want to use a monitor. Canon still has not given us peaking to help with focusing or zebras (and waveforms) to help with exposure. The Mark IV version really should have these by now - its competitors do. Also, an articulated screen would have been helpful for those low/high angle shots. However, I gather this might have made the camera

less weatherproof. Canon does boast it has a tough magnesium alloy body and improved weatherproofing. The downside is that it is a heavy camera (75g lighter than its predecessors), but it will survive physical and environmental abuse. However, internal heat from processing overload can cause these cameras to overheat and stop recording. STAY CONNECTED It has built-in wifi and NFC to connect to your smartphone or laptop. With Canon’s app you can remotely control the camera’s features and controls, including focus, using a touch screen phone or tablet. For those that prefer to be wired, there is a USB 3.0 socket. There is also FTP/FTPS support and GPS for geotagging your shots. The cameras start/stop recording can be synced with an external recorder using the HDMI and enabling in the menus. There is now an inbuilt intervalometer for timelapse fans, and it is good to see that rec run and free run timecodes are available.


The ISO has a good range from 100-25,600, but going into the menus you can extend the range to 102,400 or you can limit the auto ISO to keep within your preferred quality threshold. There’s not much to say about the audio features of the camera. It does have a 3.5mm microphone socket for recording scratch audio, plus a headphone socket. But, anyone doing any serious shooting with this camera will, I hope, be using a separate audio recorder.

The ere are e a bew wilderring number of ways to confi figure e the autofocu us CONCLUSION There is no doubting that the Canon 5D Mark IV is a great camera, and if you already have invested in Canon lenses, batteries and accessories it may be a no brainer if you are looking to upgrade. The 4K pictures look great and the 30 megapixels will keep photographers happy too.


But, if you are starting from scratch, it is an expensive option for a low-budget videographer, coming in at £2,915, excluding VAT. The lack of zebras or waveforms and no log gamma profiles is an oversight not made by its rivals. And the crop factor in 4K shooting will probably cause some frustration. If video is your primary reason for buying a new camera…then the Sony A7S is smaller, lighter and great for low light shooting (£2,207 ex VAT) while the new Panasonic GH5 (with XLR audio adapter) should also be on your watch list (£1,695 ex VAT) - although the GH5 does have a smaller (Micro Four Thirds sensor - 2x crop). The 5D Mark II could be said to have created the whole low-cost market for high-quality video shooting using a DSLR. However, rivals have now caught up, and in some respects now exceed the Mark IV. However, if photography is your primary need for the camera and video secondary you should take it for a test drive and experiment with grabbing stills from the 4K video. You may find that this could be the camera for you.



March/April 2017

Making an IMAX camera weightless?

When NASA wants to make a movie, they come to James Neihouse, ASC. Neal Romanek talks with Neihouse about IMAX and running the most remote second unit in the business


ew people can say they make films in space. And almost no one can say they’ve made a career out of it. But James Neihouse has been the earth-based director of photography for an award-winning partnership between IMAX and NASA that has lasted since 1984. IMAX’s The Dream Is Alive, a doc about the US space shuttle programme, kicked off NASA’s journey into high-end filmmaking. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration has always worked at the cutting edge of image capture, but starting with The Dream Is Alive, the organisation began to regularly produce content for Earth-bound theatrical consumption. Blue Planet, Destiny In Space, Mission To Mir, Space Station 3D and Hubble 3D followed, and James Neihouse was at the centre of each, training astronauts - and cosmonauts - to film the endless expanse of space from within the cramped confines of a shuttle or the International Space Station. “The Dream Is Alive changed my life. Through that job I met my wife. And I moved to Florida,” says Neihouse. “We then ended up making one of

these films with NASA about every five years.” The team has stayed consistent across the films too with IMAX co-founder Graeme Ferguson staying intimately involved with the space slate and Canadian filmmaker Toni Myers acting as producer, writer and editor. “The NASA IMAX programme began when IMAX opened its theatre at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in 1976,” explains Neihouse. “Michael Collins, who was the command module pilot on the first manned mission to the Moon, was director of the museum at the time. He saw the IMAX film To Fly and immediately went to Graeme Ferguson and said: ‘We’ve got to fly your camera in space. I think it’s the best way to share my own experience in space with the general public.”

When you ur caller ID D say ys ‘Spac ce Statiion’, that’ss pretty cool It took seven or eight years to actually get the first IMAX camera into space, all of it depending on the success of a still developing US space shuttle programme.

T-MINUS 18 MINUTES Astronauts learn basic photography as part of their candidate training. But for the IMAX NASA films, astronauts needed to be educated in the mechanical complexities of shooting 65mm film and operating IMAX cameras. ““Shooting on film was a lot tougher,” says Neihouse. “We had to fly in extra cans of film or extra film cores if they broke them..We were limited in how much we could shoot. A thousand feet of IMAX negative weighs ten pounds. So if we were lucky. we were allowed to get six rolls on a flight, which, at three minutes each, is 18 minutes of footage. The astronauts had a lot of pressure on them to get it right the first time. “The IMAX camera is loud, too. We couldn’t use any audio recorded while shooting. Later we’d have lip readers come in to try to figure out what they were saying, so we could do ADR. And with the uncertainty of exposure and focus, the astronauts never knew if they’d gotten the shot; they weren’t used to judging focus through the eyepiece like a professional camera crew. Quite honestly, I don’t know how they made all of those films.” The first IMAX space missions flew two

cameras, one inside the shuttle crew compartment and another that went in the shuttle’s cargo bay. “The cargo bay camera was completely locked down. You had to pick your lens and your framing 18 months before flight. They had to build all the brackets and certify and install it, then put the camera in two months before launch. It was in its own container the size of a mini-fridge, with eight minutes of film in it.” A DIGITAL REVOLUTION A Beautiful Planet is IMAX’s first fully digital film production, although on Hubble 3D, the astronauts had a Canon G1 HDV camera for shooting onboard shots. Neihouse started testing cameras in 2012 in preparation for the film. “I got together a Canon C300, a Red Epic, a Phantom 65, a Sony F65 and an Arri Alexa, which is quite a range of resolutions. I set them up alongside an IMAX film camera. Some of the cameras couldn’t fly because they would just be too difficult to use. What surprised me is, looking at the final test results, some people chose the C300 HD 1080 image over some of those other, higher end cameras.”


A couple years later, Neihouse tested the newly released Canon C500 against the other camera finalist, the Red Epic. The C500 came out as the hands down winner and was used to film all of A Beautiful Planet’s interior sequences. “I liked the way it looked. It’s more filmlike. I think it’s the way Canon pulls the data off that sensor. There’s some special sauce that they use.” The C500 recorded uncompressed 4K onto a Codex Onboard S recorder. The camera also recorded 1080 proxy files onto a compact flash card, which were sent via the International Space Station’s downlink, for Neihouse and the earthbased team to view. While the C500 was the perfect choice for the interiors, how would the astronauts shoot the real star of the show, planet Earth? “We were worried about shooting with the C500 for the outside shots of the Earth. That’s where lower resolution imaging falls apart and small details just turn into blobs. It’s a great camera, but it’s still not fifteen perf, 70mm film, which is probably about 18K.” Neihouse selected the Canon EOS-1D C as the mission’s new “IMAX” camera. Shots of the Earth passing below the ISS were recorded at four frames a second. The frames were then


in-betweened to 24fps to create the stunning shots of flying 400 kilometres above the ground. The IMAX 3D films have all been postconverted. Shooting in space is challenging enough. Trying to operate a huge, double-camera stereoscopic rig would be at best impractical, and at worst criminally dangerous. THE RIGHT STUFF What’s it like teaching astronauts how to be your second unit? “Once they decide they’re onboard with a project, they get focused on learning everything they need to know about it, especially when they see a couple of the other space films. They say, ‘Hey, that’s going to be me up on that screen. That’s going to be a record of my flight that’s going to screen for years.’ When they realise that, they put 120% into it. Neihouse and the production team remained on call in 16-18 hour shifts, ready to advise or troubleshoot. The astronauts could email Neihouse directly if they had any questions or ideas. “And if push came to shove, they could phone us directly. When your caller ID says ‘Space Station’, that’s pretty cool.”



March/April 2017

Truly Mini: Blackmagic’s new colour grading controls

Space Digital’s Simon Blackledge was one of the first colourists in Europe to try Blackmagic Design’s new Mini Panel colour grading control surface. He gives us his verdict


’ve been a user of Blackmagic’s £24,095 Advanced Panel for a few years now, so my interest was piqued when I saw the announcement that the company had released two much smaller control surfaces, the Mini Panel and the lighter Micro Panel, at a fraction of the price. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one to take a closer look, particularly the Mini Panel, which has more features aimed towards professionals. As soon as I saw the box, the first thing I noticed was just how good the Mini actually looks. The build quality is something I’d expect from a control surface that’s twice the price. You can tell that an enormous amount of thought and design has gone into creating it. Made from machine aluminium, the Mini Panel looks like it would work for a really long time and withstand quite a lot of battering. It’s also a really nice weight at around 10kgs, which means I can easily fit it onto my desktop, but, unlike other small panels I’ve tried, don’t need to hold it down with books to ensure it doesn’t slide around while my wrists are leaning on it.

The rubber keys feel really solid, and though I normally would be put off by panels with smaller balls and rings, the three, weighted track balls on the Mini Panel feel completely smooth and very much like the norm after a few grading sessions. On a more practical note, each of the rings also sit on four magnets rather than in thin slots, which makes it much easier to remove them for cleaning.

The most exciting thing for me, though, is the idea of a Blackmagic panel that’s truly portable TRULY PORTABLE The most exciting thing for me, though, is the idea of a Blackmagic panel that’s truly portable. I can imagine sticking the Mini Panel (or indeed, the Micro Panel) back into its box when needed and simply bringing it with me to a client to be able to grade faster and more efficiently on site. Or even putting it into a portable rack for DIT and

on set workflows, or more easily going between the panel and an editing keyboard. For colourists, particularly when coming from experience with the Advanced Panel, it’s pretty easy to feel at home quite quickly using the Mini. The track balls in the center of the panel, which provide RGB balance adjustments for lift gamma and gain changes, and the twelve primary control dials, which increase the contrast or saturation, modify shadows and highlights, give a colour boost to the overall film, and more. There are also some pretty useful buttons on the panel for easy access to tools like curves, qualifiers, the tracker, blur, and sizing. LOOKING FORWARD TO BUTTON UPGRADES At the top of the panel are two LCD colour screens that clearly display menu options. However, unlike those on the Advanced Panel, the brightness of these cannot be adjusted, which I am hoping could be changed with a future software update. None of the buttons are currently user customisable either, which is another feature I would like to see added



Especially when you consider the impressive quality for price, though, I loved the Mini Panel. As with the Advanced Panel, you can push down on any of the dials to reset the look you’ve created back to default, a feature I use a lot to be able to experiment with different looks. The ability to push down the central offset button for switching gain to offset, and have lift turn to temp, and gamma to tint at the same time, was also a really nice function that I would never have thought of adding, as well as being able to power the panel over a standard Ethernet connection. Overall, at £2,405 the Mini Panel is probably the best value-for-money product in post production that I’ve seen for a long time. If you haven’t got a panel, this will speed up your grading workflow, and for the price, it really is a no brainer. Or if you can’t afford it, I recommend the Micro at £805. You can always then move from the Micro to the Mini, and the Mini to the Advanced! PROS • Excellent build quality, looks and feels expensive • Buttons and controls give fast, efficient feedback • Easy to fit on a desktop and bring with you

on set/for DIT • Rings sitting on magnets makes it easier to clean • Powering the panel over Ethernet • The price! I expected it to be double!

CONS • Would love to have Home and User Buttons be customisable in future releases • LCD brightness levels cannot be controlled as in the Advanced Panel.



March/April 2017

Bees, Brimstone and Baselight Martin Klein, colourist at European post house Filmmore, talks to TV Tech Global about grading a new western thriller Brimstone and keeping bees when he’s not in the grade. How did you make your start as a colourist? After studying photography, I started working at the biggest film lab in the Netherlands grading film - what used to be known as colour timing. I was mainly working on feature films and documentaries, but then I switched to film scanning and continued with tape-to-tape colour correction for commercials and television. Ten years ago, I started working on both feature films and drama series at Filmmore Amsterdam.

this, our VFX-department is scalable from five to 40 workstations. Our Baselight grading suite for cinema is set up as a fully calibrated screening room, so we can review the master DCPs with our clients in the room where grading has taken place. We pride ourselves on having our 4K Sony projector calibrated to the very tight SMPTE standards for screening rooms, just as the 7.1 audio system is calibrated to Dolby’s standards.

Filmmore has offices in Amsterdam and Brussels. What are the facilities like? Filmmore Amsterdam has various facilities for editing, film and video grading, visual effects and mastering, plus DCP creation for feature films, television and documentaries. Filmmore Brussels supports both grading and visual effects for feature films and drama series.

C om m m unii c a t i o n an nd e m p att h y arr e part a n d p a rc c e l o f th h e key sk k illss o f a s u c c ess s f u l co o l o u r i st

Can you tell us about your post pipeline and set-up over your various departments? We run twelve Avid suites for offline editing, five Baselight grading suites, two Baselight conform seats and six mastering/finishing seats, all divided between our different offices. On top of

At our client’s request, we’ve also set up a specific workflow for drama series working on a budget. Using Sony’s XAVC codec and the Avid AAF protocol, we’ve managed to set-up a seamless transfer from Avid to Baselight, without having to compromise on overall quality. What content are you working on now? Lately, in between features, my work has been

focusing more on drama series. Every series needs its own look and continuity, of course, which keeps it challenging and interesting. Recently you graded the western thriller Brimstone from director Martin Koolhoven. How did you get involved in that project? I knew Rogier Stoffers, the DoP, from before he left for the US 15 years ago. Back then we worked on his Oscar-winning film Character. Last year when he came back to the Netherlands for the film The Surprise, and we continued our collaboration on Brimstone. How was the look and style of the film developed? The film takes place over a period of four seasons. This meant that the filmmakers had already developed the look and incorporated this concept directly into the script. The shooting days were divided across all seasons and were filmed in five different European countries. It was such an interesting challenge to create an atmosphere in which the viewer would experience the film as if it was all filmed in the United States around 1880.

What grading tools were beneficial? For the exchange of visual effects, the colour management toolset in Baselight was particularly helpful. Because all the ARRIRAW files were cached on the system, we were able to work in real time at the highest possible resolution. And of course the other tools I usually like include Baselight’s keyers, shapes and trackers. Are you regularly involved from the start of a project? This would certainly be helpful at times. However, this would also mean I would have to grade the rushes on set, which is not what we usually do in the Netherlands. Here, the colourist works at the post-production stage. How would you define your personal style of grading? I prefer to take a natural approach with continuity, and I always try to make sure the grade does not distract the viewer. In your opinion, what skills do you think lend themselves to being a successful colourist? Communication and empathy are part and parcel of the key skills of a successful colourist. During a grade you have to be able to talk about and empathise with the various emotions that a scene


or film can have. In addition, it helps when you have deep technical knowledge to better control what you are doing. What advice would you give to people interested in becoming colourists? My advice is to start with photography to get a feel of what you can do with light. Meanwhile you should watch a lot of drama series and go to the cinema. In general, enhance your awareness of light try to determine what it does exactly to influence your mood. My last recommendation is to try and work with experienced colourists.

In n general,, enhance e yourr awareness of light - try to determ min ne what it do oes exactly y to influence your mood d Any particular colour ideas you are experimenting with or wanting to see more of? Oh yes! As a photographer I’d love to be able to use the Blackboard panel with Lightroom so I can speed up processing my stills...Just kidding. I suppose I’m just spoiled by what I’m able to use on a daily basis. And at Filmmore we would love to improve our ACES pipeline.


How do you use ACES today? We use ACES as an exchange format between our grading and visual effects departments. Because of the floating point conversions between ACES and all scene referred color spaces, we now have a VFX color pipeline that is 100% predictable. When the VFX is properly done, it’s like working with the original camera material. No restrictions whatsoever. We are looking forward to version 2.0 of the ACES colour space for grading. ACES’s philosophy is greatly supported by Filmmore, and we can’t wait to do employ ACES color management at all points in our color pipeline. What do you like most about Baselight? That it allows you to see, in one overview, what adjustments have been made in a shot or an entire film. I also like the fact that the interface has been created from the perspective of the colourist. Where do you find your inspiration? In cinema and television, of course, but also at museums or concerts. What do you like to do outside the colour suite? I like walking in nature and I am a beekeeper.




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March/April 2017

New storage for a new post environment How can post production departments share and optimise their storage. Janet Lafleur, Quantum’s senior product marketing manager, offers her view nature of reading and writing data on both sides of the divide has the potential to bring all other operations to a halt. Fortunately, powerful workflow storage platforms are enabling facilities to overcome this challenge and realise radical gains in efficiency. Using a sophisticated file system, such a platform can provide a unified backplane for all storage, effectively giving facilities a singlenamespace NAS/SAN, ideally with IP and Fibre Channel connectivity optimised for centralised media creation and distribution.


isual effects and animation can be powerful storytelling tools. They can enhance the human element, add a touch of magic or depict events in a way that a human actor simply couldn’t. With these tools at their fingertips, artists and editors can be more creative in developing more engaging content. However, while VFX/animation give live action productions a visual boost, they also put added pressure on the storage infrastructure supporting creative processes. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS VFX/animation workflows require random access and high IOPS performance, and it is neither practical nor cost-effective to try to scale traditional network attached storage (NAS) to deliver the performance sufficient for these operations. The differing performance requirements of VFX/animation work and editorial work typically have led post facilities to maintain separate silos of storage for each department. On the VFX/animation side, hybrid disk/flash systems increasingly are being used to meet performance requirements while also enabling storage content on the most economical medium. Using integrated tier-management technology, such a solution can almost continuously score, scan and sort data, moving it between spinning disk and flash as access patterns change, optimising system performance while maximising use of flash storage. True NAS access and connectivity give VFX artists and animators the speed and availability they need at

a fraction of the cost of an all-flash solution. On the editorial side, fixed and predictable bandwidth between workstations and shared storage is offered by fibre-channel storage area network (SAN) connections, while more affordable Ethernet-based NAS connections, which require time-consuming processing overhead, support those other operations which will remain unaffected by small delays. In today’s 4K workflows, facilities must deal not only with immense volumes of data, but also with an increase in the bandwidth and processing power needed to work effectively with higherresolution content.

Storing media filess on a single storag ge syste em witth a single e name e spac ce, faciliitiies can eliminate the e ineffic cienc cie es of less connected storag ge silos While flash offers impressive speed and is a tempting option, spinning disk systems offer greater price-to-performance benefits when disk operations are sequential reads and writes of individual frames and files. Maintaining these two distinct storage environments presents workflow complexities, particularly in today’s creative environment, in which collaboration is an essential part of meeting deadlines and handling high project loads. When it is necessary to transfer content from one department to the other over a network, the time- and resource-consuming

UNIFIED ENVIRONMENT Storing media files on a single storage system with a single name space, facilities can eliminate the inefficiencies of less connected storage silos. This approach allows facilities to streamline the overall storage environment and to ensure that they can supplies the type and degree of connectivity required by across the content creation workflow. This approach also makes it easy for a facility to streamline playout operations. When, during the production cycle, the focus shifts to conforming/ editing and the completion of deliverables, a secondary storage volume can be used for playout, allowing media to be moved from the content creation volume over high-speed fibre backbone at GB/sec speeds — still within that single namespace. This workflow configuration facilitates high-speed playout while limiting traffic on LAN connections that would slow down content creation for other productions. By taking advantage of hybrid storage, robust disk-based systems and a powerful workflow storage platform, post facilities with a variety of disciplines — motion graphics, 3D animation, 2D animation, editing, colouring, and more — can reclaim hours of productivity every day. The efficiency gains provided by storage optimised for both VFX/animation and editorial workflows are much greater when all storage is managed in a unified environment. The growing number of post facilities that use VFX and animation to enhance live action productions can depend on this model to enable their creatives to do more work, more quickly, and to support smart business and infrastructure growth.





March/April 2017

READY for an innovative solution Philip Stevens takes a close look at the launch of a radically new broadcast service in Jamaica


eadyTV (it stands for Rebellious, Energetic, Adaptive, Determined and Yummy!) was set up in Kingston, Jamaica to provide an alternative TV service to the expensive cable options that prevail on the island. According to Christopher Dehring, CEO and president of Digital Interactive Services Limited (DISL), the owners of ReadyTV, the company is providing the country’s first digital broadcast service with the commissioning of its first tower and is aiming to erect at least 18 more towers across the island. “With this technology, we will join other Caribbean islands, including Haiti and Trinidad, and other countries in Latin America, Europe and the United States that already have digital broadcast services. “There are 880,000 households in Jamaica, 800,000 of which have a TV set. But only 300,000 have cable TV, because either they cannot afford the monthly subscription rates of traditional cable TV companies, or cable TV is simply not available to them, particularly in rural areas. We are offering a wireless option using DVB-T2 that they can access and that they can afford.” Dehring said that ReadyTV will eventually offer more than 200 entertainment, informational and educational channels. Its commercial launch at the end of March saw between 80 and 90 channels on offer. AUTOMATED ACCESS So how does ReadyTV work? David Casanova, who serves as both ReadyTV’s CTIO and co-CEO explains:

“Those who wish to access ReadyTV simply purchase a set top box, take it home and plug it in to the existing television. To register on the ReadyTV network, the customer sends a toll-free text message to an automated server via either of the existing telcos, and receives back a welcome message. By simply registering, a customer has immediate access to ten TV and ten radio channels, which are in practical terms, the country’s “free-to-air’ digital TV and radio services. Text messages can then be sent to activate other channel packages that are available including local and international channels.

We are th he only operrator in n Jamaiica tha at is 100 per cent IP P and 100 per cent HD “The beauty of the audio is that it is 100 per cent interactive. For the first time, a customer will be able be able to interact with their TV screen without using data services. They are able to send a text, to a server that is integrated into our multiplexer. They can send a message and everyone listening to that radio station in a digital format will be able to actually see that message. This is not via the internet, which also has very low effective penetration in Jamaica, but via basic Telco SMS platforms which are less expensive and more ubiquitous.” To activate the other available pay-TV channels, customers simply buy pre-paid scratch cards or electronic vouchers from stores island-wide. That aspect of ReadyTV’s business is being handled by Facey Telecom

which also distributes cards and vouchers for the major Telcos pre-paid mobile businesses. “This is the first pre-paid Pay-TV service in Jamaica,” states Cassanova. “We had to develop a system that was based on the prepay culture of the island which dominates the mobile market. With pre-paid, we don’t force the content or the monthly spend the subscribers make their choice based on what they want and what they can afford at any particular time. Initially, some content providers were suspicious of the concept, but after we showed the results of the tests we carried out prior to launch, most of them decided to worked with us.” INVOLVED TALKS The concept of ReadyTV was first discussed by Cassanova and several vendors at NAB 2015 – and one of those suppliers who came to the fore was Italy-based ONEtastic. “With ONEtastic we saw there was a great opportunity to get what we wanted – a service that was 100 per cent based on IP,” says Cassanova. “The thinking of its CEO, Luca Saleri, who knew exactly what I was looking to achieve, was very advanced. Other vendors were saying that IP was not ready, but I said, ‘It is ready - if you understand it.’” ONEtastic’s Saleri takes up the story: “The first challenge we had to face was the fact that there was only a 6MHz bandwidth available in Jamaica. That made it difficult to accommodate the number of channels that ReadyTV wished to transmit.” Together with Dehring and Cassanova, Saleri started discussing the maximum

number of programmes that could be broadcast. Ready TV had acquired the licence to broadcast channels in UHF, but they had to be adjacent. And that meant devising a complicated system that avoided co-channel interference. The initial result was a proposal that involved a comprehensive system that incorporated eight transmitters, plus one spare – each of which would be centred around ONEtastic’s 1.2KW design. “We started with a two-rack system that was able to broadcast up to 4+1 in a single rack,” explains Saleri. “So, with two racks fitted with nine transmitters we were able to set up an 8+1 system with automatic switch over and redundancy. Not only that, we designed the system with our high efficiency solution in mind. This high efficiency consideration is an important part of our portfolio and something we have been developing for the past three to four years.” Saleri also involved another Italian company, COM-TECH, as a partner. “The request was very challenging, requiring to combine eight UHF channels all adjacent to each other,” explains Davide Valenti, CEO, and sales and marketing manager of COM-TECH Italia SpA. The Channel Combiner supplied is a customised constant impedance (CIB) solution, with the aim of reducing the footprint to the minimum possible. It makes use of medium power DM-Series CIB modules and high power DF-Series CIB modules, assembled with a proprietary modular frame system. This allows an easy and convenient possibility of future extensions and module switch for maintenance. “All filters used are fully tuneable across the whole UHF band, are temperature stabilised, have the highest voltage safety margins for maximum reliability, very low


insertion loss for optimum efficiency, and a rugged construction for maximum mechanical stability, durability, and immunity to transportation shocks,” says Valenti. The adjacency combination requires special skills and performances, which have been obtained through innovative and proprietary design techniques such as DualCross (Double Cross Coupling) Design Technique and Multistep Ultra-Flat Response Hybrid Couplers COM-TECH worked with the antenna provider in order to provide a system that could manage all the planned channels. That collaboration meant that the whole system was installed by ONEtastic and SIRA (the antenna manufacturer) on ReadyTV’s tower in Coopers Hill in Kingston. That site is around 30km from the ReadyTV head end and the signals are delivered over microwave links installed by ReadyTV. With all the installations completed, testing began – and resulted in immediate success and an overwhelming response. In fact, there was an instant demand for additional channels to be added to the test programme.

We had to o develop a system that was bassed on th he prre-p pay cultu ure of th he island whic ch domina ates the e mobile market “So, just 15 days later we were ready for this additional capacity, but because of the enthusiastic response to the service, instead of delivering another four channels to be added to the existing set-up, it was decided to go for an 8+2 system,” explains Saleri. “Another complete unit was delivered and our engineers returned to Jamaica to complete the installation.” Saleri says that although the project had been designed to accept a further 4+1 unit, the installation was now reconfigured for 4+2


unit. This also required a modification to the automatic switching system. “We had to design a very complicated system so that in the event that a second transmitter failed, the automatic system would take charge and will re-tune all the transmitters. If anything fails, the automatic system will relink to the spare transmitter and switch the output to the same output of the failed part.” SUPERB SUPPORT Cassanova says that ReadyTV views ONEtastic not as a supplier, but as a partner. “They provide a great product, but also an after-sales support that is second to none. All the transmitters are equipped with web user interface and which have a password, so that if one alarm goes off, that information is immediately checked by our engineers and, if necessary, the details are sent to ONEtastic in Italy. Within minutes, someone is going to be on that transmitter either onsite or remotely looking at the situation.” That level of support and response is only possible, says Cassanova, because of the decision to go for end-to-end IP – a decision which means that far more of the island can be covered than possible for the traditional cable operators. “We are the only operator in Jamaica that is 100 per cent IP and 100 per cent HD. By 2018, when the digital switchover takes place, our wireless digital service and our company



will be the network of choice.” He emphasises that this next generation IP technology provides the opportunity to also look at what is available locally and seamlessly integrate that content into our system. “We have recently appointed a content producer from the United States with the aim of giving Jamaicans the opportunity to see the best local content, even while we deliver the best from Canada, the USA and the rest of the world.” But that future is not just about entertainment. According to Cassanova, there is a determined push to provide a full scale educational programme through ReadyTV. “In partnership with the Ministry of Education, we will be offering a service to every household in Jamaica that will provide opportunities to learn mathematics and other core subjects. The government has a plan that by 2030, every single student should have the ability to achieve a first degree. In effect, we are putting up a whole university – not using the internet which is still not widely available or affordable, but utilising the DVBT2 system that ONEtastic and other vendors have partnered with us on.” Another of those partners is Elecard. Based in Tomsk, Russia, Elecard company provides software products for encoding, decoding, processing, receiving and transmission of video and audio data in different formats. Cassanova explains that ReadyTV didn’t want to stop at AVC encoders, but also wanted to investigate HEVC. “This is where the future lies. So, we went to Elecard, because it could offer us a unique service where everything is IP-based. Their CodecWorks codec gives us elasticity. When we pull a feed in from a particular transponder that has, perhaps, 10 or 15 services, but we only need six, we are able to input those as MPTS groom the services and

output to Mux as SPTS. The developers at Elecard designed a system that is now a very important part of our integration. In fact, it gives us the best IP encoding system on the market.” For more than five years Elecard has been working hard on one of the most efficient software-based real-time video and audio transcoders. After several years of intensive performance and usability estimation, Elecard provided the tailor-made Encoding Software - Elecard Codec Works to ReadyTV, along with Quick Sync Technology - in particular on Intel Xeon Processor E3-1275 v5 (8M Cache, 3.60 GHz) Supermicro hardware utilising Intel HD Graphics P 530 capabilities. MULTITASKING “Elecard Codec Works is well known as a multitasking server providing its owners with a number of features,” explains Emil Issabekov from the Elecard Technical Support Team. “These include input stream encoding into several output streams with various resolutions/bitrates - multiscreen, which can be utilised for adaptive streaming such as Apple HTTP Live Streaming, MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Adobe Dynamic Streaming) and other OTT, IPTV, DVB-T/C/S/H, Video Conference and Video surveillance solutions.” Other features include the ability to use IP, SD/HD-SDI, ASI, HDMIand Analog input interfaces, online broadcasting to Facebook Live and YouTube, the ability to increase the number of channels, or shift to HDTV broadcasting without upgrading delivery channels and the highest video quality, up to 4K in HEVC, AVC, Mpeg-2 video formats. Issabekov continues: “We are also able to provide support of Quick Sync Video hardware acceleration on second to sixth

March/April 2017

generation Intel Core processors, a web interface for management and monitoring of the transcoding process, a mechanism for quick back up in N+M Mode, output stream uninterrupted operation - so no more black screens, but if there is an input signal loss, a bumper or station break is displayed, and finally input source reservation for professional TV channel needs.” “After gaining a clear understanding of the project by our engineers and plural tests made jointly with ReadyTV, we believe that Elecard Codec Works is the best solution that meets the needs of the operator.”

We will be offering g a service to every hou usehold d in Jamaiica that willl pro ovide opp portu unitie es to learn math hematiics an nd other core subjects SAVING SPACE Cassanova explains that using the Elecard system enabled ReadyTV to make another breakthrough. “When you employ normal head ends you need three things to bring in the signal – a receiver, decoder and encoder. It is not like that for us. We mainly use receivers from Cisco and Motorola, we don’t decode, we decrypt. ReadyTV automation playout software Easy On Air was provided by Devtek Bilişim Elektronik from Istanbul, which allows us to playout all ReadyTV local content including our educational channels. So instead of having 300 pieces of kit for 100 channels, inside of our head end, we just have 22 receivers and three 19 inch racks. And we still have space to accommodate another 100 channels. “It is a revolutionary digital television service. We want to ensure that we reach those that have truly been left behind in the digital divide.”



Subtitling tips for Latin America A host of Latin American countries are now making it law for broadcasters to provide subtitles on TV. Screen Systems’ Dean Wales offers some strategies


he provision of television access services, known as captions or subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, is increasingly being mandated around the world, with the most recent wave of legislation being rolled out across Latin America. Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Mexico are all in the process of implementing systems to meet new legally required levels of captioned content on their broadcasts. Mentioned only as an observation rather than intending any criticism, a common theme has become apparent throughout Screen’s four decades of supplying subtitling and captioning systems: that captioning is often a final consideration in channel setup, one that is often dismissed as a far more straightforward process than it is in reality. In a similar vein, countries that have already provided some degree of captioning, but are subsequently obliged to step up to the plate when tougher legislation and standards come into effect, are typically surprised by unanticipated challenges over and above the initial technical application. THE CHALLENGE OF LIVE In the UK and Europe there is a broad availability of captioned content, with a high percentage of broadcast output carrying captions following no particular genre. In contrast, as is often typical in the initial stages of captioning in a region, Latin America is focussing on captioning live and current affairs programming. This news and live content is possibly the most understandable place to start, providing access to content of general public interest at an acceptable level. Unfortunately, it’s also the most challenging workflow as the time available for caption creation between the filming of the content and broadcast is very short, or in the case of live broadcasts, zero. Particularly for live captioning, judicious consideration must be paid to the initial specification and application of a solution in order to future proof and thereby

protect one’s investment, in preparation for the roll-out of the captioning of non-live content (pre-prepared/offline) further down the line. Screen has designed with this two-phase rollout in mind and have developed our caption delivery systems to be identical for all forms of captioning, allowing the use of the same infrastructure for both live or non-live captioning. So what are the operational challenges with regards to live captioning? Firstly, it may be helpful to explain the processes involved.

In brief, live captioning is the near instant creation of text that accurately conveys the meaning of speech in a live broadcast. There is often a focus on preserving exactly what is spoken – a verbatim approach. But practical limitations typically result in some precis of the speech, for example the removal of unnecessary repetition and meaning free speech noises (ums and aahs). What is beyond dispute is the desire to accurately convey the meaning, and tone of the live speech without distorting the original



intent. Censorship of swearing used in the original speech is a highly contentious topic in captioning, possibly because profanities in text seem more offensive than in speech. Clearly, producing such text is an intensive task. Traditionally it involved fast typists or operators of special stenographic keyboards as used in courtrooms. With an increasing demand for live captioning, increasing the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the creation of live and news captions has been the ultimate aspiration for subtitle and caption technology developers. Although still falling a little short of being perfect, the creation tools designed for this task are getting ever closer to accomplishing this goal. STENOGRAPHER VS. RESPEAKER A significant breakthrough came with the advent of high-accuracy speech-recognition engines to caption creation software. Fast-typers and stenographers are highly skilled people, who have undergone extensive training, and using them is justifiably expensive. The volume of live television captioning has increased to a point to render the use of stenographers prohibitive as they are also an increasingly rare resource. Introducing speech-recognition into the

creation tools brought with it the new role of the re-speaker or voice-writer. A re-speaker can ordinarily achieve 98% accuracy after just 3 months training in live captioning. As with the stenographer, re-speakers are trained in the nuances of writing and editing captions but instead of physically typing them, they listen to the narrative, mentally edit it on the fly and literally speak their intended caption text into a microphone. The speech-to-text engine in the captioning software is pre-trained to the re-speakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice and macros or shortcut keys can be used for the insertion of uncommon words and names. The proposed caption text is displayed for last-minute correction or adjustment before release to the transmission system. The first challenge is that it is likely that currently there is not an abundant supply of re-speakers in Latin American countries, and despite being a far less timely and costly learning process than that of a stenographer, re-speaking does necessitate specialist training. FITTING THE WORKFLOW The second challenge is that of newsroom integration. Adding captioning into an existing newsroom environment is a potentially disruptive

March/April 2017

process to established ways of working. It is vital that the newsroom captioning department have as much advance information on running order and stories as possible before they are broadcast. For example, they may need to set up macros in the speech recognition system in order to create captions with correct spellings of names of featured individuals or places. Having been involved in digital TV transitions across the globe, Screen has considerable experience in predicting and responding to the obstacles and complexities that present themselves in making captions (and subtitles) work correctly across the raft of new and legacy set-top-boxes and customer equipment. Another common is the conversion of existing caption services within contribution content. From a downlink site perspective, captions may already exist on the contribution content, but a common issue is the requirement to convert the captions into a different format to suit the outgoing re-broadcast. This usually also requires the retiming of captions to compensate for delays introduced by the re-encoding of contribution content. There is an opportunity for LATAM countries to avoid the mistakes others have made..

See us at NAB booth SU2321




March/April 2017

Support from Costa Rica Julio Lizano, president of Vitec Videocom Costa Rica, tells us about running one of the camera support specialist’s most important manufacturing centres


osta Rica is known for its natural beauty, strict environmental laws and hair-raising coffee. But it’s also the site of one of Vitec Videocom’s main factories. The site churns out gear for multiple Vitec brands, including major camera support brands Sachtler, Vinten, Oconnor, Manfrotto and Anton Bauer. We spoke with Vitec’s Costa Rica head, Julio Lizano. How did you come to manage Vitec’s manufacturing in Costa Rica? I am an electrical and electromechanical engineer and have an MBA with an emphasis on finance. Before finishing university, I began to work for the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, the largest electricity generator in the country. I developed projects related to electricity generation through alternative sources. After four years I discovered my passion for the manufacturing industry and took a job in an American plant which manufactured components for cellular telephony and the automotive industry. At the end of 2002, Vitec hired me as quality manager for a small assembly plant in the industrial area of Cartago, Costa Rica. I was challenged to develop the quality and manufacturing systems needed to transfer manufacturing operations from Germany and England and to develop a high quality local supply chain to supply the precision components required by our premium brands.

A year later I took over manufacturing, and in 2004 I was appointed general manager with full responsibility for operations in Costa Rica. Since then, I’ve led the development of Costa Rica’s operations with an accelerated growth in the last twelve years. We went from a basic assembly operation with less than twenty employees to a complex, world-class manufacturing operation with nearly two hundred employees. Can you tell us about the facility? We are located in the province of Cartago, which is in the central valley, and about 20 kilometres east of Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose.

We went from a basic assembly ope eration with h less than twenty y emplloyees to o a co ompllex, worlld--class manufac cturin ng operation with h nearly tw wo hundred employeess This is a world-class manufacturing operation with high-precision CNC machining, CAD-CAM design, manual metal mechanical assembly and some semi-automated operations. We also have certifications accredited by BSI in quality systems (ISO 9001: 2015), occupational safety (ISO 18001: 2007) and environment (ISO 14001: 2004). Our operation has also been accredited for four consecutive years by Great Place To Work

as one of the best companies to work for in this region of Latin America. What equipment do you manufacture? Although I cannot share some official data, I can tell you that this plant produces and dispatches thousands of products from Sachtler, Vinten, Oconnor, Manfrotto and Anton Bauer every year. For all these brands we produce fluid heads, tripods, small pedestals, dollies, spreaders, brackets, accessories and spare parts. Also produced in this factory are hundreds of thousands of components machined for the final assembly of the aforementioned products. We machine high precision components from solid bars, plates or castings. We use steel, aluminum, magnesium and bronze among others. Then there is anodising different types to protect machined surfaces from corrosion and wear and painting to obtain the desired final finish according to the mark and its specifications, then the final, manual assembly of individual products. What is the workforce training like? The great majority of our workers are Costa Ricans living in the vicinity of Cartago. Many of our workers are bilingual English-Spanish. We have mechanical engineers, industrial engineers, electronics engineers, precision mechanics, quality technicians and many assemblers who have specialised in our complex assembly processes through our own training programs. Our internal training processes are exhaustive

and demanding. A qualified assembler will have to pass different stages of training, including quality control plans, productivity, lean principles, fine manual skills, use of KPIs and occupational safety. Each one of our assemblers is responsible for the quality of their operations, since we believe that the quality is built through the process, however we also have experienced operators who are in charge of the final assurance of the quality of each of the products that leaves the factory. What advantages does Costa Rica have as a manufacturing site? Costa Rica has highly qualified human talent, which are perfect for operations like Vitecâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that demand advanced technical skills but at a competitive cost compared to Europe and USA. We also have a local supply chain capable of supplying more than 50% of the components used in our processes with high quality and competitive cost.

Our operation has allso been accredited forr four co onsec cutive e years by Grea at Pla ace To Wo ork ass one of the besst comp panie es to work in n thiss re egion of Latin Am merica The proximity and geographic position with respect to one of our larger markets, the USA, is undoubtedly an advantage, as well as Costa Rica being part of the free trade agreement between the USA, Central America and the Caribbean (CAFTA). Some of the technologies that we use for manufacturing some specialised components are not available in Costa Rica, however, and that is a disadvantage, since these materials have to be imported at greater cost from the UK or USA.



How do you source your materials? The supply chain has been strategically grouped by type of commodity, volume and engineering specifications. Over the years, the main suppliers have developed to be located next to our factory. This facilitates more lean processes, flexibility, better control of quality and more competitive costs. The main commodities located in Costa Rica are plastic injection, precision machining, anodised and pain metal finishes, electronic components and PCBAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and stamping of pressure among others. More specialised parts and with very specific requirements are bought in from Europe and the United States. What is your testing and quality assurance like? We have a rigorous system of quality assurance that includes everything from supplier selection and qualification, receipt inspection, process validation, statistical control of the process, control plans, process audits, 100% functionality tests and quality assurance of finished product. Our quality system uses tools similar to those of the automotive industry such as PPAP, PFMEA, Control Plan, SPC, and MSA. We also have the best measuring equipment and high technology that allow us to ensure the quality of the components we buy and those we produce internally. We are fully aware that all our brands need to be of the highest quality, so that each and every one of our products are manufactured under strict quality standards. How has the manufacture of camera support gear changed over the years as manufacturing tech and camera tech have evolved? Although in principle, most of our final product assembly processes remain manual, in the last 10

years we have introduced many changes through a Lean manufacturing approach that has allowed us to be more efficient and productive and to improve our product quality. There have also been changes in some of our product lines that are better adapted to changes in the camera technology of cameras. What are Vitecâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future plans for the factory? The operation of Costa Rica continues to be of great importance for Vitec, and we understand that in the future we will continue to take advantage of the capacity developed here for products that fit the existing manufacturing models. And with the introduction of a certain new product, to be announced later this year, we are anticipating an increase in the demand for fluid heads and accessories related to this new product which we manufacture here in Costa Rica.



March/April 2017

Getting ready for 5G 5G is on the horizon and will have a massive effect on video delivery. Fabio Murra, SVP of marketing at V-Nova, takes a look at the future of mobile video drops are commonplace. Our previous trial with EE also highlighted that efficient compression solutions can deliver 4K content at a mere 6Mbps, and HD video down to 300 kbps to mobile devices across the UK, both in congested city centres such as Central London and rural parts of the UK, like the New Forest. By providing a novel approach to video encoding, solutions like V-Nova PERSEUS shift the bitrate-quality curve to enable UHD quality at HD bitrates, HD at SD and SD at sub-audio rates, dramatically closing the gap between capacity needs and legacy compression technologies. This


he arrival of 5G has the potential to change the delivery of high-definition media as we know it. It will dramatically increase the capacity of current networks and improve response times to provide enough capacity for the billions of devices that will be connected via the Internet of Things, paving the way new technologies and services. For operators and viewers alike, 5G will open the door to vastly improved content experiences and enhance the flexible viewing experience that today’s consumers crave. 4G FRUSTRATIONS With mobile broadband expected to account for 90% of all mobile subscriptions by 2022, broadcasting is increasingly dependent on mobile, and therefore the performance of mobile networks. With one of the primary intentions of 5G being to reduce latency, 5G networks will have builtin processing, store data closer to where it’s needed and use multiple forms of radio waves to send and receive traffic – making that frustrating buffering timer and drop in video quality midprogramme a thing of the past. All of this must be controlled by advanced software that can dynamically adapt what gets sent where and when, according to changing needs. Though the buzz around 5G is mounting, the current level of 4G coverag, even in developed countries, leaves much to be desired. This has meant that telco and video streaming service providers have struggled to offer high quality, reliable and effectively monetised video

streaming services. The hope of many of these industry players is that the rollout of 5G will enable them to start offering high quality mobile video streaming, though this will be costly and a time consuming process. There is no doubt that 5G will provide a more effective way to deliver high quality content, perhaps even 4K and high dynamic range video, to devices connected over a mobile network. Once established, operators anticipate being able to roll out services that leverage mobility more effectively and provide reliable premium services, which explains why there is so much activity around this part of the ecosystem. Once deployed, the capacity of 5G will also be quickly filled by the insatiable consumer demand for more and better quality connected services. Vitally, the eventual ‘bandwidth per capita’ in this new state of connectivity won’t increase that much, if at all, which will keep video compression a necessary component of video delivery. Cisco, Ericsson and Huawei research all agree that video-over-mobile traffic is forecast to represent 70-80% of all traffic by 2021. In this scenario, operators need to equip themselves with the most effective technology across the whole delivery chain to allow them to deliver the best content experiences. With sufficient bandwidth and improved video compression, a lot of today’s obstacles can already be solved. A prime example of this was our recent work with Indian OTT service provider fastfilmz, where we proved that delivering high quality mobile video is possible, even in predominantly 2G and 3G markets such as Southern India, where data

allows data and video to be transported, stored and secured faster and more cost-effectively, on current networks and delivery infrastructure. Operators waiting for 5G to be rolled out can already use these solutions to deliver best in class video experiences, reducing upfront investment costs and quickening time to market, whilst extending the reach of their services. THE INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE Even in Europe data drops still occur and 4G networks can’t offer the adequate quality of service for video – especially during peak time. Outside Europe and the US, the most likely markets to deploy 5G in the coming years are China, Japan and South Korea, where significant investment and government policies are already beginning to be rolled out. While the race is on in developed countries, the challenge is even more crucial in mobile-first emerging markets where mobile penetration is very high and fixed broadband is scarce. 5G is unlikely to become commonplace in most parts of the world, including Africa, LATAM and MENA, and finding other solutions to enable a mobileoptimised content delivery strategy is vital for success in these content-hungry markets. 2020 is the widely talked about as the year for commercial availability of 5G and though that target looks achievable, it will not be the start of mass rollout. Like 4G and other generations before it, 5G will be rolled out in stages and will complement existing technologies. For operators, the message is clear: 5G will bring substantial benefits, but its implementation will take time, and people are already demanding mobile video now. It is important to position your services properly now, in order to capture the market effectively, and when 5G arrives, to continue to improve further.

35 Why location is everything when you can broadcast anywhere


You need to know not just who your audience is, but where they are. Charlie Johnson, Digital Element’s VP in UK & Ireland, looks at the power of IP data in a mobile video world


he rise of the internet has driven a proliferation of TV and film content that can be viewed whenever the consumer wants, and mobile has enabled consumers to view content wherever they want. In turn, these developments have raised a challenge for broadcasters to tackle – location. With its growing popularity and reach, video-on-demand (VOD) presents a significant opportunity for broadcasters to increase profit — VOD services are generating global revenue that is expected to reach €34 billion by 2018. However, broadcasters must consider a number of issues to ensure they meet consumer needs, including providing content that is relevant, viewable on all devices, and adheres to geographic rights legislation. Location information and IP intelligence are vital for broadcasters’ digital endeavours, and here are the top three issues they must consider to ensure success:

the number of available IP addresses to some 10 hexadecimal (or approximately 3.4×10^38 addresses.). It is therefore critical that broadcasters work with premium IP intelligence vendors, who are able to provide robust IPV6 solutions.

GEOGRAPHIC LICENSING RIGHTS Broadcast content is bound by ever-changing geographic rights legislation and failing to comply can not only negatively impact brand reputation, but also result in severe cost penalties, making adherence essential. It is vital that content is always available to those permitted to view and inaccessible to those that are not. However, digital content is hard to regulate - terrestrial channels are often only usable in select countries, but the internet is everywhere. IP geolocation enables broadcasters to identify the exact location of their viewers, down to postcode, to determine whether to allow or revoke access. What’s more, premium IP Intelligence data can identify those who should not have access and are falsifying their location to gain access by hiding behind a proxy, VPN or Tor. The ability to distinguish location and proxy data will keep broadcasters compliant and ensure they offer a positive experience that keeps users coming back. The rapid growth of the internet and the development of ‘smart living’ means that in the near future more IP addresses will be required. While the current IPV4 framework allows for around 4.3 billion IP addresses, the next generation – known as IPV6 – will increase

BOOSTING RELEVANCE ON A GLOBAL SCALE The use of granular IP data to pinpoint viewers at postcode level, without intruding on their privacy, combined with the ability to detect the viewer’s internet service provider, empowers broadcasters to increase the relevance of their content. They can offer advertisers the ability to tailor messages for specific regions, maximising relevance and impact, and can also provide a personalised and intuitive experience that adjusts to consumer needs, delivering content in the right language and displaying appropriate local ads. Furthermore, larger audiences bring greater competition, and global content services promise almost unlimited reach. This means broadcasters with the best targeting, such as postal code location detection, residential and business IPs, even organisation name and type options are likely to attract more advertisers and consequently, higher revenue. This highly precise level of targeting can be made even more effective by layering in data from other sources, such as demographic information or weather signals. It is therefore vital that information about audiences is precise enough to enable not only the localisation of a broadcaster’s own content, but also that of their advertising partners.

OPTIMISING FOR MULTIPLE DEVICES Consumers expect their online experience to be perfectly adjusted to whatever device they are using so that content loads instantly and in the ideal format. With BBC iPlayer receiving 44% of its requests from smart phones and tablets, optimising digital services for mobile is an important consideration. Fortunately, IP technology not only detects location — it can also immediately distinguish connection characteristics such as connection speed and connection type, to help optimise streaming content. By instantly establishing how they are connecting to the network, broadcasters can adapt content delivery for maximum convenience and engagement. For example, the ability to see whether a visitor is using a wifi, fixed-internet or cellular connection will allow broadcasters to deliver content that loads at the optimal speed. Knowing the connection speed and type also enables broadcasters to adjust advertising content for multiple screens, thereby preventing ads from negatively impacting the user experience. When combined, these elements boost perceptions of the service, enhance consumer usage, and add to the appeal of broadcast content for advertisers. As broadcasters make the transition to digital they are safeguarding their future survival, but there are key considerations that cannot be ignored. Legislation, personalisation and device optimisation are vital to adapting services for the content revolution, and by framing their offering around location, broadcasters can guarantee success.



March/April 2017

Cracking the code on enterprise video Tom Ohanian, VitecEV’s VP of product development and product marketing, describes the closing gap between corporate video and quality broadcast overhead fluorescent lighting casts a ghastly hue on the subject. Audio can be problematic. And, if a message must be tightly scripted, there are no prompting capabilities that are easily integrated. While it may be easy to record or stream a subject using video conferencing, chances are that the net result will fall far short in quality when compared to a tight, great looking broadcast. BROADCAST QUALITY EXPERIENCE Enterprise customers are now demanding the same tools broadcasters have been using for years to create and distribute compelling, high-


ntil recently, organisations that were not traditional broadcasters have shied away from the use of video for both their internal and external communications. When enterprises have employed video for corporate updates, product introductions, and employee communications, they’ve done so sporadically – and for good reason. In lieu of maintaining a dedicated and knowledgeable in-house video staff, the only other option has been to hire a video production company. This can produce excellent results, but it’s a costly undertaking that can disrupt daily activities during the set-up, shooting, and teardown process. In the old days, only large enterprises could justify the cost of hiring production companies or maintaining a video staff. Gradually, organisations began to adopt video conferencing systems for internal communications – but they still lacked an easy and cost-effective means of harnessing high-quality video and audio for frequent external communications. Many enterprises have wanted to use video more frequently, but it was simply not feasible to maintain rooms and a staff dedicated for video production. And, worst of all, the compromises that provided flexibility also resulted in quality that was sorely lacking when compared to broadcast video. Therefore, enterprises have traditionally had three choices: continue to experience the costs and disruption associated with hiring outside production entities, reduce or curtail the use of video for communications, or employ some

alternative that would not require outside expertise and costs. TRENDS AND CHALLENGES As today’s consumers demand the ability to access video anytime and everywhere, enterprises of all sizes are embracing video as a means of internal and external communications. Video matters -- and communicating your message to your internal and external constituents is absolutely necessary.

Ente erprise customerrs are now de emand ding the same e toolls broadc casterss have e bee en ussin ng for years to crreate an nd disstributte compelling, high-value e content There is not one significant enterprise sector that does not have a desire to use video, but many of the same questions remain: Will we need a video trained staff? Can we deliver the same quality that we see on a television news broadcast? Will we have to find or build a dedicated room in our offices to do this? In order to increase their video usage, some enterprises have begun to employ video conferencing systems. And while these units have decreased in size and their video and audio quality has improved, the dilemma of achieving broadcast-quality audio and video still remains. Far too often, video conferencing subjects are in front of sun-drenched windows. Or lighting is insufficient — it’s too dark, the subject is in shadow, or the lighting temperature from

value content. Instead of having to travel to a broadcast facility to record your message, why can’t the broadcast facility experience come to you? That is, without the complex operation, capital equipment investment, fixed site equipment, and trained video staff? What if you could achieve — for your everyday enterprise video needs — the same consistent quality of a television news broadcast? The best approach to implementing broadcast video quality and consistent experiences in the enterprise begins with simplicity. It should be simple to light, mic, record, and stream your content and to do so in a way that does not require a fixed location taking up precious space. VitecEV has addressed these requirements with the VitecEV Creative Studio, an integrated video capture and streaming solution that is designed for use in a conference room setting. Creative Studio lets you shoot HD or 4K video with either a PTZ or a robotic camera and provides additional incremental functionality including prompting, recording and monitoring, storage for post-production, or streaming to any number of internal or external distribution and social media sites. Many broadcast vendors are offering similar solutions with products especially designed for corporate use. Often these are simplified versions of higher end professional equipment, or more frequently – as is the case with Creative Studio – professional equipment configured in a more streamlined way, but with the option to unlock features and capabilities as the enterprise video crew gains in expertise and confidence. And given the universal demand for top quality, even the most basic enterprise video set up will produce results that would have been at the cutting edge a decade ago.



March/April 2017

What’s new at NAB 2017? The National Association of Broadcasters show is here again! Here are just a few products making their debut this year at the biggest trade show in the Western Hemisphere.

Snell Advanced Media

SAM’s new 12G-SDI Snell Advanced Media (SAM) will introduce a new 12G-SDI product range. Among the new products will be a new generation of multiviewers, including a new 12G Multiviewer and IP Multiviewer. Part of the monitoring on show will be media content monitoring and control solutions based on SAM’s Media Biometrics technology. Distributed intelligent

logic engines across the workflow enable exception-based and schedule-aware monitoring. SAM will demonstrate its modular infrastructure and conversion solutions and highlight UHD to SD support for IP and SDI along with integrated SDI and IP routing control and flexible IP/SDI I/O for routing, switching, conversion, multiviewers and monitoring.


Captioning the internet At NAB, Matrox will demo the Monarch HDX’s all new, captioning of live internet programming functionality, alongside its range of H.264 streaming and recording devices. Monarch HDX is a dual-channel encoder designed for broadcasters who require the integration of closed captioning while streaming and/or recording. Retrieving closed-captioning data from the SDI VANC, the Monarch HDX’s caption-enhanced H.264 media can be streamed to video hosting platforms including YouTube Live and Ustream, media servers such as Wowza, or

a variety of CDNs. MOV/MP4 files recorded with Monarch HDX preserve captions which can be included in video on demand (VOD) or archiving workflows. Also Matrox will show its newly announced Matrox Maevex 6150 quad encoder, capable of capturing, encoding, and recording up to four 4K inputs. Streaming and/or recording of four or more channels simultaneously at high quality and low

bit rates, the Maevex 6150 offers industry leading encoding and streaming density—all in a convenient, rack-ready 1U dual-density form factor.




Virtualising storage Tedial is debuting Evolution Augmented STorage, a new concept in storage virtualization systems that expands and extends the concept of Hierarchical Storage Management. The company says that Evolution AST provides a heterogeneous ecosystem to handle any type of multimedia content regardless of its physical location and to facilitate media operations, such as editing based on timecode or efficient management of large UHD or low/lossless compression files

across multiple sites and around the globe. Treating content as an object that includes an innovative minimum metadata packet allows storage to operate independent of MAM solutions, able to archive and publish content and easily integrate with third party systems maximising simplicity and efficiency. Tedial’s Multiverse is also making its American debut. Multiverse is an integration between Pebble Broadcast Systems’ Marina Automation and Tedial’s Evolution MAM that

creates a seamless workflow between MAM, playout systems and VOD services, efficiently solving distribution challenges for linear and non-linear channels.


New architectures Quantum will unveil new 4K Xcellis reference architectures, scaled for facilities of all sizes. In testing, say Quantum, all Xcellis solutions “easily handled” intense 4K workloads. Testing included characterisation of large- and small-form-factor disk drives, a variety of array configurations and a full complement of compressed and uncompressed 4K formats. The resulting reference architectures have been tuned to deliver predictable stream count workloads for the full range of 4K formats. The company will also demonstrate how

Xcellis leverages the power of StorNext and the performance of all-flash arrays to get the most out of both technologies. Quantum will also showcase new capabilities that allow multiple StorNext-powered collaborative workflows located anywhere around the world to access the same archive target. As a result, say Quantum, any user within a StorNext environment can access, browse and pull files from the shared archive. The newly released FlexTier cloud access feature will also be highlighted, which is

designed to make it easy to integrate existing public cloud storage accounts and third-party object storage into a StorNext environment and into familiar media workflows.

Verizon Digital Media Services

Live streaming solutions Verizon Digital Media Services will highlight its new Live Streaming Solution. The Live Streaming Solution features a cloud-based scheduler and an operator dashboard for provisioning encoders, managing live feeds, inserting ad breaks and pushing slates in the Verizon Digital Media Services Uplynk Video Streaming service. The Solution allows users to publish a single live-stream URL that transitions seamlessly between pre-event, live, postevent

and VOD content. Automatic creation of a VOD asset upon completion of the live event, without the need for re-encoding, removes further costs and delays. Real-time health monitoring and failover support for the Uplynk Video Streaming service’s Slicer application can run on site at the venue or the point of origination. Verizon Digital Media Services will also showcase the integration of its Slicer application, a software element

of the Uplynk Video Streaming service, into the company’s Volicon Media Intelligence service. This integration helps simplify the launch of OTT offerings.

5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

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Starfish Technologies

Switching it up At NAB, Starfish Technologies is launching TS Switch, a new, software-based switching product designed for a range of transport stream switching applications, including upgrading legacy hardware based installations. According to the company, the TS Switch is a flexible product that incorporates sophisticated algorithms and data manipulation

to ensure minimal distribution to downstream devices. It has already been trialled by a multinational service provider. TS Switch can switch content from more than 20 HD or SD video services on a single sever. It processes MPEG-2, H264 and HEVC/ H265 encoded media with audio encoded as AAC, AC-3 or MPEG-1 Layer II streams.


Regenerative translation ONEtastic will show its Multitastic C2 7+1 ATSC regenerative translator for the VHF band. The C2 integrates a complete 7+1 multichannel regenerative VHF translator into a single 4RU chassis, featuring a total output power of 100W. The product’s wide-band modulator modulates all the signals into a single RF package as wide as the entire VHF Band. The ONEtastic processing engine then applies

signal correction to simultaneously ensure the highest output MER at each individual channel and to get compatible shoulders edges and protection ratios for and between any channel at the output of the subsequent ultra-linear wide-band amplifying stages. Multitastic C2 features full modular design and comes with dual PAs, dual power supply and dual redundant GPS receiver.


Configurable support FOR-A will introduce the latest solution in its lineup of multiviewers, the 12G-SDI supported MV-4300 unit. The MV-4300 multiviewer allows customers to configure their own unit with optional input cards of SDI up to 12G, DVI-I, HDMI and analogue composite. It accepts up to 68 inputs and eight separate configurable outputs. Features of the MV-4300 unit include HDMI 2.0b output, mixed 2K/4K output, HD to 4K up-resizing, and logo display in title areas.

Other new FOR-A products include the MFR-4000 4K routing switcher, the MFC-2GB “gearbox” for mutual converting between 12GSDI and quad link 3G-SDI, and the ESG-4100 test signal generator – which mounts 12G-SDI port and can output color bars and test signal in various formats. At its booth, FOR-A will also show Fujitsu’s new line of video transmission solutions, the IP-HE950 real-time H.265/HEVC encoder/ decoder units. The IP-HE950 supports real-

time 4K contribution, as well as SD and HD. FOR-A is a distributor of Fujitsu’s highperformance encoders and decoders in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Africa, and select regions in Latin America.



March/April 2017

Vimond Media Solutions

Getting rights right Norway-based Vimond Media Solutions is launching an improved version of the Rights Manager module. Vimondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rights Manager organises the unwieldy, fragmented domain of contracts management into an integrated, automated workflow. Rights Manager allows contract managers to track a contract through its lifecycle. Based on contractual rights, license windows can be exported directly to the content manager, and the content and metadata ingest process can

also be fully automated. New features include simplifying the management of geographic regions in order to control global rights, and allowing synchronisation of all content for a given region via the interface. An improved content rights scheduling workflow visualises when content is made available, and ensures it is in line with contract restrictions. An updated content management workflow makes it easier to reuse the same content in other contracts.

Artel Video Systems

Making the ATSC 3.0 transition Artel Video Systems will be showing its new InfinityLink broadcast media transport platform. The InfinityLink ATSC 3.0 Transition solutions enable next-generation broadcast and content delivery for the new IP-based ATSC 3.0 standard while retaining legacy signal transport capabilities for ATSC 1.0. InfinityLink ATSC 3.0 Transition Over Fiber and ATSC 3.0 Transition Over IP solutions include all necessary platform components and optical and/or electrical transceivers, ready for interconnection with either customer-furnished,

single-mode fiber or a local, carrier-supplied IP GigE service.


Going long with Linux ToolsOnAir has unveiled just:in linux, a hardware/software solution for Linux that can ingest multiple 4K video streams, as well as HD streams. As with the Mac version, just:in linux can automatically divide ingested video into multiple files, including timecode and filenaming, and settings can be saved as presets. Supported codecs in version 1.0 include ProRes, XDCAM HD422, AVC-I, and h.264. The company says that just:in linux is more than a port of just:in for Mac. The two

versions have the same user interface and can work in tandem, but just:in linux offers more capabilities in a smaller form factor because there is more powerful hardware available for the Linux platform than for Mac. ToolsOnAirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new system employs a singlerackspace appliance that can ingest up to eight channels of HD or two channels of 4K video. The computer sports two 10Gb (RJ45) network connections; two PCIe slots for video cards, fibre channel cards, a GPU, a RAID

with replaceable hard drives; and a redundant power supply. An optional NVidia graphics-processing unit is available for generating the h.264 preview on the graphics card.

See Everything. NAB #SL1805 SAM’s integrated, external and IP multiviewers bring new functionality to multi-channel monitoring. From simple quad split to 4K enterprise monitoring solutions, SAM has a multiviewer to Àt every application. Don’t miss a thing, check out

With integrated control and monitoring for the ultimate in monitoring by exception

MV-8 Series IP Multiviewers

MV-8 Series Router Integrated Multiviewers

MV-8 Series Standalone Multiviewers

MV-8 DT Desktop Expansion

MV-Flex Modular Multiviewers


March/April 2017


Multiviewing on a budget Apantac is showing off a new affordable multiviewer with the 32 input and 4 output MX-32. The MX-32 allows users to simultaneously monitor up to 32 independent video (3G/ HD/SD-SDI) inputs with four independent outputs. The MX-32 provides the functionality for any input source to be displayed on any of the four outputs. Each input sources can be duplicated as well as resized on the display. Each output can display a maximum of 32

windows. The MX-32 includes a custom onscreen display for layout flexibility able to show up to 128 audio meters per output, custom standalone labels, tally indicators, UMD, OMD, analog and digital clocks, and count up/down timers. Each

window in the display can be resized and positioned freely, and there is room to store up to 30 non-volatile presets in the unit.

Prime Focus Technologies

IMF from PFT Prime Focus Technologies will unveil Interoperable Master Format support, including an IMF Player and Mastering Automation solution, as part of its CLEAR Media ERP product. CLEAR’s IMF solution now includes an IMF Player that provides the ability to preview, playback, review and distribute over a streaming proxy a composition playlist (CPL) including video, audio and captions. The company says this will enable collaboration in the workflow without having to access the original IMF

package each time a CPL has to be played back. Prime Focus will also be debuting DAX Production Cloud. The software, based on DAX with Digital Dailies and part of the company’s CLEAR Media ERP product, centralises assets into a single repository which can be securely accessed. DAX Production Cloud allows the use of the same system for both dailies and post workflows. It enables all

stakeholders within the production supply chain to collaborate, service and distribute media, all on the same software.


A Flash in the clouds


SGL booth will show the latest version of its FlashNet content management system. New features include enhanced disaster recovery with tools that enable multiple sites to stay in sync, integrated Amazon Cloud Archiving, and support for Sony’s Ci cloud-based media sharing and collaboration service. SGL will also highlight improvements to its FlashNet Infinity User Interface. Infinity delivers a toolset for archive and restore functionality, system health, monitoring, and analysis. New Global



features include a navigator tool to explore the set of archived assets in their original folder format, support for watch folder projects, advanced metadata support, and capacity analysis. FlashNet is available as a free upgrade to SGL FlashNet users covered by a support contract who are running FlashNet 6.6 or later. There are also revisions to the FlashNet Watch Folder Service which now manages projects, offers Incremental archiving, monitors large numbers of watch folder

files and supports Mac and camera storage workflows. There is also support for Sony’s optical disk system, the ODS 2. FlashNet’s ODS 2 support provides speeds that approach 2Gb/ sec writing and 1Gb/sec reading.




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Automated closed captioning Speech recognition technology company VoiceInteraction will show the fifth generation of its automatic closed captioning system for live TV and breaking news and the broadcast edition of its media monitoring system. The latest version of the closed captioning software, Audimus.Media, features improvements, including updated versions of the American English language model and a reduction in latency time for more accurate live captioning.

The company claims the software delivers 95-98% accurate captions. VoiceInteraction’s MMS Broadcast Edition is an integrated solution for video recording, storage and retrieval, comprising real-time tools for automatic transcription, segmentation and topic indexing of TV contents. Features include legal recording for auditing and compliance, TV ratings and advertisement identification, loudness monitoring, SEO tag generation, content reviewing and

re-purposing based on keywords, audio, TV graphics or captions.


Videomenthe media processing French company Videomenthe will be presenting its Eolementhe media processing solution for the first time in the US, on the NAB booths of its partners. It will also be showing its Eolementhe mobile app. Eolementhe is a cloud portal which allows media-file processing through a single interface. In this automated environment, which still provides the option to intervene manually in certain operations, you can find a complete workflow, with different methods of delivery: transcoding, quality control, analysis and

correction of audio levels, the insertion of subtitles and logos and addition of editorial and technical metadata for RTB files creation. Users construct their workflow to process and deliver their media file by means of an interface that is extremely intuitive, instantly and easily mastered, and accessible via a web browser. Eolementhe can be managed via API, and automatic mode is used to streamline and speed up operations. Videomenthe also offers a hybrid SaaS service – in addition to its SaaS mode – the

principle of which is to exploit both the client’s on-prem resources and those offered by Videomenthe through its resourcepooling cloud.


Edit 8K video on your laptop Video compression and transcoding solutions company Comprimato has launched UltraPix, a simple video plug-in for popular postproduction tools. The release brings proxyfree, auto-setup workflows for Ultra HD, VR and more on any hardware running Adobe Premiere Pro CC. At NAB, Comprimato will be showing off the plug-in with editing of 8K video on laptop Comprimato UltraPix is a multi-platform video processing plug-in for instant video

resolution in real-time. It is a available for OS X, Windows and Linux systems. UltraPix allows for resolution independent post production, using JPEG 2000 compression to allow easy access to video files of any resolution. File rendering and transcoding are not needed on existing storage, and editors can seamlessly switch between 4K, 8K, Full HD, HD or lower resolutions anytime. UltraPix allows files to be used at a size whatever size the hardware can accommodate.

The UltraPix plug-in is currently available for Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Foundry Nuke and will be available on other leading postproduction and VFX tools later this year.








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Central Hall - Booth C1307 Find out more at

TV Tech Global March/April 2017  

The technical resource for the global media ecosystem

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