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NAB Rewards Visitors With Improved Knowledge

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RFV NAB Preview: by George Jarrett
Imagine a perpetual rush hour, and you have NAB. It is awesomely big and constantly dense with visitors, but careful planning will reward you with improved knowledge and better skills across multiple fronts.
This time expect a great number of technological advances in the areas of stereoscopic 3D, colour depth, 4K production and display, 3D audio, solid state lighting, the ability to build a media factory through IPR licensing, automatic adaptive bit rate transmission and wider content delivery in general, automated file QC, postproduction toolsets and production workflows, plus multiple new cameras and lenses. Think codecs not video circuits, and expect shouts for HEVC (H.265).
Some 750,000 square feet of exhibit space is very helpfully broken down into ten ‘communities’ – acquisition and production, content market, display systems, distribution and delivery, management and systems, online video, outdoor and mobile media, postproduction, pro audio, and radio. Production and post people need only bother with the back section of central hall and the front half of south hall lower, but any plan should leave ample spare time to chase down reported highlights in other areas.
That all-important perspective
To get the fullest value out of the event, it is well worth using the weekend before the show to sit in conference sessions, the best of which identify the buzz subjects, and provide that all-important perspective for honing your own questions.
The principle event for such briefing values will be the SMPTE Technology Summit on Cinema.
This will gather 800 of the world’s leading motion-imaging researchers, scientists, filmmakers, cinema operators, studio executives, and facility gurus over the two days April 14 and 15. The session subjects will include laser projection, sound advances for the cinema, tools for independent filmmaking, 4K production, enhanced cinema, higher frame rate S3D, green lighting on set, and content protection.
Expanding on one of these subjects, solid-state lighting tends to work well in TV studio applications where there is one acquisition technology, and in background lighting. But it raises all sorts of questions around the different spectral sensitivities of the various digital cameras typically used on location and the innate spiky spectrum of LED lighting, but the BBC comedy series The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff is proof that solid-state lighting works, and saves money.
Other conference options include the Creative Master Series, offering attractive subjects like editing collaboratively and on-set workflows, and Postproduction World. This offers attractive sessions on documentary editing, colour correction, and digital video production for all content creators. The Content Theatre will offer sessions on broadcasting beyond TV, over the top TV, and innovation in international TV production and distribution.
Expanding on two of these, on-set workflows will be boosted when it is possible to stream live content (rushes) to iPads without the transcoding required currently; and content creators will help themselves and the broadcasters if they start producing codec maps, and look to the various deployments of MXF, and to The Framework for Interoperable Media Services (FIMS) for building media farms and a better understanding of metadata. SOA based infrastructures will be a big sub plot of the show.
NAB technology news
The enormous interest in 4K and higher frame rates has been franked by Sony selling over 400 F65 Cine Alta cameras – production houses being encouraged by 16-bit linear raw recording.
Grass Valley’s LDK 4427, a 3G Fiber Camera to 3G-triax converter, enables producers of content in resolutions up to 1080p50/60 to send signals across any type of cable infrastructure.
Grass Valley’s SOA platform offering Stratus first appeared as newsroom computer system plug-ins, and now it offers software that boosts the streamlining of production processes and allows the unfettered sharing of clips and tool sets between collaborative groups. Stratus also enables tight integration with the K2 Dyno replay system, the plus factor being that metadata created with the K2 Dyno and stored on the K2 SAN will be instantly available to all operators working on the same STRATUS-enabled network.
The K2 Summit media server has been improved by support for AVCHD and H.264 file playback and proxy encoding. It will become 3 Gb/s (1080p50/60) capable, and 7.2 TB of storage capacity is an option.
On the editing front, Grass Valley has EDIUS V.6.5, now armed with stereoscopic 3D editing tools and native support for raw footage captured with digital cinematography cameras from RED Digital.
EVS will major on the XT3 recording and media server, a 3Gbps (single link) video in/out capable system with embedded high/low res management, and a new multi-cam version of the CCast that enables the instant distribution of multiple camera angles on web-connected screens during live productions. It has a new version of the Xedio file-based news editor, and EVS E/E News, a combo of the best of IT and live broadcast architectures.
REC2Post offers live to tapeless, remote production, advanced director’s cut and recording session control. The Media Toolset for file exchange and mastering is designed to get the best out of MXF.
Autocue has new accessories for its Master series. This is a 22-inch talent feedback monitor with native HD-SDI and new mounting system, plus a digital tally light that displays the camera number and instantly changes from red to green when live on air. It has an under-monitor talent clock that can also act as a tally, plus new USB hand and foot controls to ensure compatibility with the latest PC hardware.
AJA has introduced a V3.0 firmware upgrade for its Ki Pro and Ki Pro Mini 10-bit 4:2:2 flash disk recorders. New features support data transfer to FireWire 800-equipped computers, data transfer via LAN connection, playlist creation, super out (burning timecode and transport data into video signals), LANC support, and 1080 variable frame rate support for certain Canon camcorders.
The Nevion VS901 JPEG 2000 solution can now give you lossless compression for HD-SDI transport supporting bit rates up to 800 Mbps. The VS904 compression system now offers H.264 encoding and decoding. The Flashlink 10G-TR is a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet transponder – based on XFP technology - for the regeneration or wavelength shifting of any standard. It accepts any 1310nm, 1550nm, CWDM or DWDM wavelength, and maps to any of those.
Pixel Power’s big NAB news centers on Gallium, an integrated, scalable scheduling, asset management and automation system designed for the automated control of Pixel Power’s transmission devices for graphics and complete channel play out. This enables multi format content delivery to the web, mobile devices and via IPTV.
Image Systems has integrated the Golden Eye III scanner and its Phoenix restoration software, allowing facilities to automate film scans for simple preservation, plus restoring valuable content in the same process. It has final image QC.
The Phoenix toolset offers integrated film and video restoration and enhancement, along with additional workflow benefits such as the 64-bit implementation. This significantly boosts speed and performance when restoring memory intensive 4K projects.
The Golden Eye III has a new LED light source, which adds the term ‘cost-effective’ to high resolution film scanning, and the handling of negative, print and intermediate in all major film formats at 2k and 4K resolution.
Image Systems also has new solutions for onset and dailies, with toolsets and colour workflow capabilities extended from the production environment to the post suite. These include an ACES-IIF environment, new stereo 3D tools for the Nucoda, and a new shape-tracking concept.

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