The annual exhibition for broadcast television production took place at Earl’s Court this week. I only had time to skip around a few of the old faces and ask questions of the people who might solve my current problems. It was full of stereo 3D which I’m luke warm about; my sight is probably not good enough by I don’t think the output is either. The slight exception to that was the stand with the high speed stereo at film resolution. Playing back in slow motion, it was splendid. I was looking at video players and touch screens. There were a few, but mainly the usual names we’ve had before. Nothing startling from the smaller companies. Maybe they don’t find enough business there.
I had a search around for other interesting news but didn’t find much. Had an interesting chat with the Forbidden/FORscene guys who were pushing their online editing system called Clesh. They seem to be getting some better reviews now after a bit of a dip a few years ago. It certainly looked as though the larger companies are starting to use them and they’ve been taken up by Chyron to do their remote editing in their Axis system. There may also be a growing market in personal use of the system and interestingly adding metadata when editing videos for the web seems to bost their Google placement. Stephen Streater also showed me the latest idea, the system running on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. The problems with squeezing the GUI into such a small space are being solved and people (apart from Avid and Apple) seem to be keen to see it in operation. Video played well. I wish it was on the iPad but it will need a codec cross compiled from Java. I think that they may understand the Cloud and tapeless problems much better than some of the bigger suppliers.
On to real work though. There were a number of touch screens around the hall. The Hego guys were showing off their Sky Ryder Cup scenes and the system for Monday Night Football and they may be a growing influence in London. They been left with a bit of a gap after the Andy Gray and Richard Keys saga and the lack of a Monday Night Football programme, but they do have the World Cup Cricket starting this weekend. Brainstorm had a small stand, but I didn’t get to talk to them. They’ve just changed representative so they too may be on a push. Most of the time I spent with VizRT who we’ve been using for the Sky SportsNews system. Thomas Molden was there with some nicely designed graphics. We almost went with their system but the cost was a factor. In the end we chose the Kenziko plugins which have been developed to fit our applications. They’ve come on quite a way since we started and they should have a Release version this month. VizRT have also bought the LiberoVision system in the last few months and this could give the BBC’s Pierrot system a run for its money. Maybe the prices will come down with the competition! We’ll wait to see how integrated it becomes. The other company showing their touch systems was Chyron (at last). Cheryl Hardy was on hand to give me an update. They should have showed us some of this 12 months ago, as they could do with a little direction. It’s not as capable as the other systems, but is well integrated into the Lyric GUI. The touch actions may be added to objects independently in each state and can fire macros, so looks competent for simple designs. At Sky we have more complex operations, but we have to do some scripting to get the best out of it. Multi-touch screens are much more flexible and a lot less prone to errors, but they need the software to match.
I was surprised that there weren’t more video disk systems around. I suppose that companies are moving tapeless systems such as Omneon who can play out direct from the SAN. We need a cost effective system to play into the touchscreen systems and the Quantel, EVS and tapeless systems all seem to provide obstacles or expensive interfaces to use to transfer media in a sensible workflow. The EVS guys were the most confident that they could do something to integrate with Quantel. They have their new xtNano (is that some type of iPod?) but an X2 might be a solution in our case. Maybe the new QTube system from Quantel is a solution. We shall be looking at it soon. The Dalet transcoders may be the solution with h264 encoding but decisions need to be made with any solution as to who controls the workflow transfers and how and where to implement library management. Quality considerations are dependent on where the video is to be viewed; having a satellite in the way means that there will always be a quality loss, so the original has to remain at the highest level for as long as possible. Workflow seems to be the main decision maker.
Sony had some OLED screens on show, but very expensive and limited to 25″. I would prefer to spend money on this type for the backroom rather than 3D, but at that price, I expect I’ll stay with LCD for a year or two. Blackmagic and Aja seem to be as confident of their quality as ever – but not much new there.
It was just a flying visit but I learned a little and saw some od faces. There seemed to be plenty of visitors on the Tuesday so there must be production work around.