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IBC In The Software Era

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Anticipating his 47th IBC: In the first of a two-part preview of the show, George Jarrett highlights a wide mix of new products...

IBC reaches its 49th show and SMPTE celebrates its century of existence. In a fast-changing technology world, it is so re-assuring to know that our foundation stones have remained fresh and valuable.

At my first IBC in 1970 I met just one other journalist and nearly sacrificed all my toes as a small gang inched a huge piece of technology into the lift with our feet. If that mountainous metallic machine had a lasting functional value, it would now be an app.

The IBC Conference – organised under the eight strands of keynote, rising stars, advances in technology, big screen experience, business transformation, content & production, platform futures, and audiences and advertising – is the best chance visitors have of learning where the market is going, and what skills and business plans are apposite for staying viable.

The organisers have pulled off two huge coups – presenting WPP Founder and CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and the great filmmaker Ang Lee in very different keynotes on the 9th and 12th. Before the show opens, there is a full day of attractive sessions that could make the extra night in Amsterdam very worthwhile.

The pick of the sessions on the 8th will include the Keynote 'Madmen, Mobile and Media: How today's changing media landscape is affecting advertising, distribution and content strategies in TV and beyond'. The technical paper sessions will cover UHDTV launches across the world, and making much more of metadata, and one gem will be Mike Davis of Atlantic Productions with his question, 'Has Technology Reinvented the Documentary Format?' Lastly, a session on the 'new broadcasters', will look at the rise and size of Netflix.

On the Friday, the attractive sessions will be the IP proof of concept (France TV) chaired by Dave Ward from Cisco; the paper sessions on HDR and wide colour gamut, lessons from experimental IP studios, and advance developments in dynamic video streaming; and, the business transformation sessions on CTO strategic roadmaps, featuring Ward and Sony Picture Entertainment's Spencer Stephens amongst the speakers, and cloud processing and the changing business models.

On the 10th, the attractive sessions cover the subjects of Virtual Reality, cyber security and strategies for media companies (EBU). On the 11th, studio video over IP – implementing standards and software defined networks (SMPTE), and a special on new skills, suggesting that attracting the right people into this industry just got harder, will be tied to key issues from the show floor.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee, who will base his keynote presentation on the production of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (from Ben Fountain's novel), will attract a huge audience on the Monday of IBC. The film is in post-production so there will be some gripping images. The session on transforming the big screen with big data also looks interesting.

The Show is the reason for going to IBC for over 90% of the visitors, and what they will see is a big change in the exhibitor base that cements the swing from hardware to software and the swing from SDI to IP. The start-ups, and new members of the IABM, will reflect the swing of direction you should detect, and identify the new skills required from young entrants to the industry. New skill requirements and skills gaps will be a big subject at the show.

Broadcast Wireless Systems (1.A78): The big news here is a new H.265/4K video codec platform. Explaining the development logic, commercial director Stuart Brown said: "Wireless camera operators face a double-squeeze. The demand for 2K and 4K content is increasing while available RF spectrum is simultaneously being reduced."

The answer is a cost-effective method for wireless camera users who wish to upgrade to 2K and 4K operation without replacing existing systems. Brown added: "From the outset, we decided that we would only proceed with our platform if we could offer a demonstrable, real-world solution, which is why features such as low, two-frames in 4K delay and low 10W power consumption are integral. However, before we finalise our offering, we're going to consult with end users to ensure we develop what is best for their needs."

Canon Europe (12.D60): An IBC stalwart for 30+ shows, Canon will major on its Cinema EOS cameras, in excess of eight-dozen lens options, and its reference monitors. A number of full workflow demos – shooting, review and editing – will focus on HD, UHD, 4K and HDR outcomes, plus the use of low light and long distance live shoots. The latest Cinema EOS camera is the ME200S-SH, a compact professional multi-purpose proposition. Also new this year is the CN-E18-80mm T4.4 L IS, a compact cinema EOS lens with cine-servo style functionality.

Cooke Optics (12.D10): The show news will be a new Anamorphic/i Zoom lens. This 35-140mm zoom is a true, front anamorphic with oval bokeh throughout zoom and focus, with patented optical zoom. Users will benefit from a unique combination of attributes allowing shooting from very wide angle to telephoto with a 4x zoom ratio and 2x anamorphic squeeze. It features T3.1-22 aperture and anamorphic oval bokeh, and the colour and depth of field characteristics are matched to Cooke's existing Anamorphic/i primes.

Dalet Digital Media Systems (8.B77): All about media management and workflow solutions, it will be promoting enhancements to the Dalet Galaxy, Brio and AmberFin platforms. For today's stringent news workflows it offers embedded as well as federated tools to plan, collect, research, write, edit and distribute text, audio and video to TV, radio, web and social media outlets.

For content owners seeking ways to streamline news production for multi-platform distribution, Dalet has improved the Dalet Galaxy user interfaces. There is an intuitive social media GUI that looks and acts more like a social media-publishing platform, making multi-publishing an easy and intuitive newsroom operation. To answer a growing demand for cost-efficient, visual radio workflows, Dalet will showcase integration with products like NewTek TriCaster and VidiGo multi-camera production systems. Radio broadcasters can easily incorporate graphics such as lower-thirds and branding to enhance OTT distribution and maximise sponsorship opportunities. Other Dalet tools support IMF in the area of simplifying program preparation and mastering, and cloud and hybrid environments.

Dejero (12.C56): This specialist in cloud-managed solutions designed to simplify the transport of live video and real-time data across remote or mobile IP networks, will have new IP connectivity solutions for electronic newsgathering and remote broadcasting. Look for enhancements to the LIVE+ control management system – in the areas of monitoring, station administration, and reporting capabilities, and displaying the real-time analytics of network connection performance. Version 4.0 of the company's LIVE+ Core software, which powers its mobile transmitters, servers, and smartphone and notebook apps, introduces an enhanced congestion control algorithm and faster transport of files. LIVE+ Control will be seen embedded in the Grass Valley STRATUS video production and content management system, allowing users to move recorded clips from a LIVE+ broadcast server to the STRATUS express server. Files are automatically transcoded to the desired format for previewing and use.

ENENSYS (2.B30): This specialist in digital TV transmission systems sits its products between encoding/multiplexing and transmission. It specialises in DVB-T/T2/ISDB-T infrastructure. The new product DTTCaster has been designed to provide cost-effective retransmission of DTT networks at regional/local transmitter sites where IP (microwave, fibre and so on) or satellite connectivity isn't possible or is cost-prohibitive. It allows reception of the network content using a simple antenna then re-generates that content on another frequency. Also new is the targeted content insertion tool AdsEdge. This addresses the problem of cost-effective regional content insertion in DTT and cable networks, and it supports the 'splicing' of file-based content, such as advertising spots, local news and regional weather forecasts.

Facilis Technology (7.B40): A specialist in shared storage, it will show its Flash solid-state drive technology as incorporated within its TerraBlock Hybrid24 and SSD8 systems. The integration of SSD technology significantly increases the available shared bandwidth for heavy 4K+ production, but it is important to correctly and efficiently utilise SSD in a broadcast or postproduction workflow. For this reason Facilis offers lower price points. For the show, high bandwidth connectivity options will include 32Gbps Fibre Channel and 40Gig Ethernet, as well as internal 12Gbps SAS controllers. Other news will concern advanced workflow enabling technologies, including shared Virtual Reality/360 Video workflows using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Globecast (1.A29): This global player in the provision of content acquisition, management and distribution services is pioneering a new remote production service. The idea is to 'turn the concept of traditional supply of a ready-to-broadcast feed from venues on its head' by giving content owners the ability to select from multiple source feeds at their own global locations, allowing them to create bespoke programming on their own production systems, and prepare any 'ready to broadcast' feeds. Globecast is currently putting in place the technology to provide efficient access to source feeds.

HHB Communications (8.D56): This stand – largely pro audio – will also host iOgrapher, Mogami, NUGEN Audio, RØDE Microphones, TC Electronic, Wohler and Zoom. NUGEN has the new audio batch file processing solution AMB, plus a new multi-channel-to-multi-channel upgrade for its Halo Upmix plug-in for up-mixing stereo audio to surround. Wohler has its new VoIP with support for SMPTE 2022, plus a new AES67, Dante and Ravenna option for its AMP2-16V audio monitor. It will also show the AMP1-2SDA and AMP1-8-M, two cost-effective audio monitoring units. TC Electronic has a new desktop loudness meter called Clarity M. Also evident will be Mogami audio cables for music and broadcast applications, a good selection of RØDE broadcast microphones, Zoom's recording devices and the iOgrapher line of filmmaking cases for iOS devices.

Jünger Audio (10.A49): The big initiative here will be the Smart Audio concept, which entails investing in simple, reliable and predictable equipment that can automatically deliver audio content while maintaining the high quality that consumers expect. Alongside intelligent and adaptive processing algorithms, the introduction of Smart Audio also allows broadcasters to choose devices that are fully interoperable with others in the broadcast environment and can seamlessly integrate with both playout automation systems and logging and monitoring processes. The adaptive algorithms would cover Auto-Level, Auto-Upmix, Auto-EQ, Auto-MIX, Auto-Loudness, and Codec System Metadata Management, all of which Jünger can cover with its D*AP processor line.

Leader Electronics (12.A10): Demonstrating the 4K IP test and measurement technology deployed in the Sony IP Live Studio, Leader will major on its LV5490 4K/HD/SD waveform monitor and the way this technology can give end users a familiarity with IP-based live production environments. As deployed in the IP live studio, the LV5490 was fitted with an IP (NMI) option dubbed SERO8. This supports traditional SDI video formats and Sony IP. Supported 4K video formats include 4096 x 2160 and 3840 x 2160 via multiple link as well as 4xHD signal monitoring via IP.

LiveU (3.B62): All about live video acquisition, management and distribution over IP, and the creator of cellular bonding, LiveU reckons it will take live IP video up to a new level. This will involve the first European rollout of LiveU Solo; a plug-and-play live streaming bonded solution for the online media market. Users can live stream seamlessly into any web streaming workflow by connecting automatically to popular OVPs and content delivery networks such as Facebook, YouTube Live and Wowza Streaming Cloud. Solo is controlled remotely via a web interface or smart device. LiveU will also have its new LU710 4K/p60 HEVC rack-mountable 1U encoder, plus V6.0 software for its full range of portable transmission and management solutions. Look for the intuitive interface design for the LiveU Central cloud-based management and video distribution system, and the enhanced LiveU Matrix management workflow.

Primestream (7.D21): The big factor here will be the company's Dynamic Media Management solution, which gives users integrated workflows from capture, production, and management through to delivery of all types of assets. New features to look for involve Virtual Reality/360 workflows, enhancements around 4K handling, MXF workflows, metadata logging and enhanced integration with Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Apple Final Cut Pro X.

Quantum (7.B27): Renowned for its StorNext platform, which covers production, delivery and archive workflows, and content management, it will run demos of content transcoding and delivery with object storage, and of the use of hybrid flash and disk storage in combination to enable frame-based animation creation and stream-based editing on a single storage system. Talk will be of well-embedded apps running natively on high performance workflow storage, and multi-stream 4K edit workflow for animation and VFX. The 4K demos will involve an Xcellis-based solution that includes combined hybrid flash and disk storage to meet the demanding requirements of animation and VFX workflows.

SGL (7.J15): Renowned for the FlashNet content management solution and its Open System Architecture, SGL will use IBC to showcase a new version of FlashNet. This comes as a 'Lite', entry-level software solution restricted to a single server node. Other news centres on a new Infinity UI – with an elegant dashboard that further simplifies archive procedures with tools for archive and restore functionality, system health, monitoring, and analysis – and support for AXF: SGL now supports reading and restoring from the SMPTE Archive eXchange Format. SGL also supports Ci, Sony's cloud-based service that allows media professionals to collaborate on the creation and sharing of high quality, high-resolution content, and the new version of FlashNet allows users to allocate a pre-defined number of drives within their library for a specific role.

Shotoku Broadcast Systems (12.E42): A specialist in manual and robotic camera support, plus VR tracking, it will front its show effort with the TP-200VR/300 VR system. This is a combo of the TP-200VR pedestal and SX-300 VR head. Other products majored on will be the TP500, SmartPed, SmartTrack and Free-d2 systems.

Sony (Elicium Hall): Pushing on with its Beyond Definition campaign, Sony will use demos to illustrate how it backs broadcast companies to re-imagine how they produce their content, with innovations around IP, 4K and industry workflows coming into play. Expect a few case studies. Along with product focuses like the HDC-4800 camera system, we will see a huge demo on the full ecosystem, from lens to archive.

Michael Harrit, Sony Europe Marketing Director, said: "As an industry overall we're shifting towards workflows that combine insight and business efficiency alongside creative technologies, which is why a solutions approach needs to be adopted. IBC is always an exciting time. It brings customers and the industry together to explore what could be achieved. So much has changed over the last year alone. Take IP in live production, for example: we've moved from a phase of discussion and exploration into delivering interoperable IP technologies based on an open standards approach."

Tedial (8.B41): Known for its MAM and IT solutions, Tedial put 15 years of innovation into its Version Factory workflow system. It supports millions of file input to output configurations and can be managed from a single operator screen. It is designed to interface to content management/rights management/traffic/work order systems for automated operations. The Evolution BPM is a fast and flexible business process management (BPMN 2.0 compliant) workflow engine, built round a suite of scalable and flexible Media IT software modules that automate the preparation, movement and distribution of media internally and externally.

Wisycom (8.D78): A specialist producer of RF solutions for broadcast, film and live production, it will lead with the MPR50-IEM. This receiver is aimed at professional in-ear monitoring applications. Apart from a user-friendly interface, the key element is a new ENS 'compander' that caters to live shows and broadcasts by significantly increasing the quality of audio transmission during the transfer of complex data, such as high dynamic audio inputs. Vocal transmission is also refined. Users have the freedom to switch from IEM to IFB mode with a simple menu click, and ears are protected from an accidental volume increase by the capability to set a maximum volume. The MPR50-IEM has two whip antennas, plus a wideband tuning range up to 232 MHz and an audio peak-dynamic of 200 mW and a dedicated frequency scan option.

Image: Dejero LIVE+ Control Dashboard.


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