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NAB: Driving A Transformative Agenda (Part 1)

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George Jarrett previews an NAB show that will feature 200 first time exhibitors.

Everything that was big at IBC – live 4K production, HEVC coding, IP studios, file-based workflows, exploiting the Cloud, channels in a box, TV everywhere, spectrum ownership, etc – will be hugely amplified at NAB, and four big stories have broken to add some timely intrigue.
All are about strategic re-shaping for coming market demands. They are Quantel’s acquisition of Snell to put British technology on a wider footing; Grass Valley passing back to industry ownership within Belden; Sony and Panasonic’s Archival Disc partnership; and Harris Broadcast’s acquisition of Imagine Communications, which is very strong in the key areas of ABR, OTT and TV everywhere.
In one transformative moment Harris Broadcast has become two companies – Imagine Communications and GatesAir – that are ready to rumble. Expect many dozens of common sense partnerships, like the cloud initiative teaming Verizon and Hitachi Data Systems. Market activity like this is one sign that NAB will offer dense values to delegates on many new fronts; the other signs are the vibrant learning offerings in the many conference programs, and the huge number of new products due for launching; many branded as 4K or IP.
The regular conference strands are postproduction, broadcast engineering, broadcast management and the future of cinema. This time round, disruptive media and media management in the cloud merit two-day events, and there are a series of single day workshops on subjects such as second screen business, creative and technology issues and TV news direction.
Sessions such as using creative cloud in your postproduction pipeline are all supported by tracker links to appropriate exhibitors, and this will be the first NAB when both guided tours and self-guided audio tours are available at different levels of sophistication.
Getting to NAB for the Saturday gives you the chance to hear about things like the future of cinema, laser illuminated projection and from camera to consumer – the new postproduction. In the NAB Lab Super Park one thing to check on will be the progress NHK has made with Super Hi Vision – things like 8K over a single 6MHz UHF TV channel and an 8K-capable real-time HEVC encoder.
Costly as it might be, the way to get the best out of NAB, as a learn to earn exercise, is to mix time spent in the best conference sessions with effort spent fighting through North and Central and then South Upper and Lower.

Varicam adds impetus behind 4K
Panasonic (C3607) will make a hefty push into the 4K broadcasting market, fronted by the long awaited Varicam 35, that shoots 4K raw. This has a newly developed super 35mm MOS image sensor, and complements the current AVC-ULTRA family of video codecs.
Handling multiple formats (4K, UHD, 2K and HD) the Varicam 35 gives the user variable frame rates up to 120 fps. Panasonic is aiming it at high-end filmmaking, commercials, episodic production and 4K live event production.
Other things to watch for include the expressP2 card, which is designed to accommodate 4K image capture. It offers fast transfer speeds of up to 2.4Gbps via the card drive AU-XPD1. The expressP2 card (AU-XP0256A) contains a flash memory error correction system, equivalent to a RAID system, to recover from a failure in a sector, page, or entire block.
Also appearing at NAB will be recently launched products AV-HS6000 - a cost-effective 2 M/E switcher - and the AJ-PX270 P2 HD handheld camera recorder with AVC-ULTRA recording. The switcher has a new GUI control panel, and features 32 SDI and two DVI inputs, plus 16 SDI outputs. The four DVE toolsets per ME enable multiple transitions.

Sony Electronics (C11001) is certain to make a big deal of the recent National Theatre Live 4K production and transmission of War Horse it helped to enable. It will again promote 4K from lens to screen, and will also push real-time IP production tools integrating IP network technology and HD-SDI. Sony Ci’s latest cloud media tool is Team Workspace.
Developed to provide efficient video creation environments for live productions, real-time IP production technology enables video, audio, reference signals and control data to be transmitted between devices using a single network cable. This reduces installation costs, space and cable mass, and furthermore, multiple high-resolution video and audio, including HD and 4K, can be synchronously transmitted to multiple points and the source video can be switched smoothly and noise-free. The result is a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of video transmission between the field and broadcast stations. In addition to all the 4K cameras Sony now offers there will be a 4K multiview system and 4K screen blending to check out.
The first is a viewing system that displays 4X as much information as HD. The other deploys Sony 4K projectors to seamlessly edge blend and tile high contrast 4K content from multiple projectors to create super-sized image displays. Sony's Optical Disc Archive storage system will also be showcased.

Snell (N1820), now a vital part of Quantel, will be showing the IQDBT105 DVB-T and DVB-T2 monitoring receiver, which is ideal for conducting off-air monitoring of DVB-T and DVB-T2 signals - determining quality of service and ASI transport stream integrity. The module is also an effective addition to existing head-end control and management infrastructure, allowing operators to quickly and easily ensure that the correct program configuration and parameters are transmitted at head ends. This solution can be incorporated into existing DVB-T networks and is fully compatible with DVB-T2. In order to handle the additional complexity of DVB-T2 signals, IQDBT105 provides templates as a way of simplifying the process of signal verification. Multiple units can be managed using a single Ethernet port and Snell’s RollCall control and monitoring software.
Snell has Live TV and TV Everywhere divisions, and the latter includes first application for the Snell On Demand platform. Visitors will learn how to make the transition to more cost effective and efficient IP-based production workflows - using a combo of specialist broadcast technologies and generic IT systems. Momentum, Snell’s MAM and workflow automation tool, part of the company’s Media factory, Alchemist OD, the ICE channel-in-a-box, and the Kahuna Maverick will be the other exhibits, along with updates to the Sirius 800 router line.

Polecam Systems (C9908) will launch the Polecam Professional Pack, giving users an ‘out of the box’ solution for those looking to hit the ground running with a camera-ready and flight cased Polecam bundle at a professional level. Developed out of the PSP+ package, the PPP provides a platform for cameras such as RED, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and the range of specialist minicams on the market
Other new products start with the Antelope PICO high speed minicam, for which Polecam and LMC have teamed up to bring stunning super slow motion via a minicam.
The Polecam Grip re-locator package for the Canon C300 camera enhances that partnership by enabling the Polecam operator to control the C300 remotely from their natural position when operating the rig.
Also on show will be the Polecam Remote Control Panel RC200, which now includes the protocol for the IO Industries Flare Camera, enabling remote control of up to six different cameras from the one panel.
The Polecam long head weather cover will keep cameras dry and debris free.

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