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Industry Issues Worth Following In 2016

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Trade bodies will set the agenda for a hot technology year with 2016 going to be an acceleration year for IP, UHD and UHD via IP, and a number of the industry bodies have vital work to accomplish if this is going to happen harmoniously.

It is usual to have the battle between secure standards and proprietary technology when major long-term technologies like SDI start to die out, but agreeing standards will create big markets.

SDI though started with Sony, and Dolby was able to rattle its ST 2084 and static metadata 2086 through the SMPTE ratification process very quickly. Explaining this, SMPTE standards director Howard Lukk, also director of Pannon Entertainment, said: "We don't pick and choose which standards we wish to do or not do. When proponents bring standards towards us as long as they are technically sound and correct, and there are proponents to do the work, we push them through.

"There are many standards out there that are either not being used or have fallen by the wayside, and the ones that are very successful. It really comes down to the industry and the marketplace," he added.

So what are we going to get during 2016 from some of the key players? On both the HDR and IP Live side there are key reports that are good to find and study, and key next stages to move to, like SMPTE with the dynamic metadata that has to follow SMPTE 2084 and 2086.

The EBU/VSF/SMPTE Joint Taskforce on Networked Media report Reference Media V1.0 is where to start with things like the VRT Sandbox+ IP Live project. The SMPTE Study Group Report on HDR is the background as to why HDR is such a compelling feature for consumers.

Released in October, the report summarises an extensive discussion on the implementation of HDR in professional media workflows and addresses key questions arising for industry members as they move forward in taking advantage of HDR technology. It also offers recommendations for further HDR standardisation efforts by SMPTE and other organisations.

At the time of its publication, Alan Lambshead, vice president of standards for SMPTE, said: "HDR is a rapidly emerging and much-debated technology with the capacity to make a greater impact on viewer experience than can higher-resolution formats. Recognizing the remarkable potential of HDR and the media industry's growing interest in this technology, SMPTE created an HDR ecosystem study group and – within just 12 months – delivered a valuable consensus report on implementation of HDR and the creation of efficient HDR workflows."

One key issue set to have the industry talking in 2016 is the security initiative driven by Soho five.

A new initiative, serving the London VFX community, will see the creation of CISE (Creative Industry Security Environment) by the end of 2016. Part sponsored by Innovate UK, and inspired by the Sony Pictures hacking disaster, it will result in a content security protocol plus accompanying open source software tools. The main effort will be to look at the security developments used by Hi Tec giants such as Facebook and Google, and see how they might be applied to the specific security requirements of exchanging VFX work between big VFX houses and between big and small houses, and to client studios.

This project involves sees the big companies Double Negative, The Moving Picture Co, Framestore, and SohoNet team up with the smaller facility Milk. The executives running CISE are the project leader Graham Jack, CTO at Double Negative, Steve MacPherson, the CTO at Framestore, Ben Roeder the CTO of Sohonet, Nick Cannon, MPC director of technology and operations, film, and Dave Goodbourn, head of systems at Milk. The big kick off meeting, and work share out settlement, happened in the first week of December.

Image: Alan Lambshead, SMPTE Standards Vice President.

This article is also available to read at BFV online.

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