NAB 2012


Just a few notes about the goings on at the annual Broadcasters’ convention in Las Vegas. This goes on for about a week, which is as much as the body can take of the early mornings, technical chats, free beers at the end of the afternoon, followed by the nightly mad entertainment in town. Not much time for gambling and dancing girls! It’s a bit of a notepad entry this time. I haven’t put the links in yet, so Google what you can or ask me for details.

More after the break…

North Hall

Teradek had a selection of their Livestream devices. They take an SDI input and create a wifi stream for mobile devices, but they are small enough to fit on a camera. Their web streamer is based on the Wowza server. Looks good.

Evertz are developing an EVS lookalike called Dreamcatcher; a little cheaper, but perhaps with better file sharing between their devices and external devices. They also showed their  JPEG2000 encoder, which could bring back high quality streams from OB etc

Ross have their own Virtual set with built in story handler and graphics playout system. One of the many TV in a box systems. These systems are getting much cheaper to both create and purchase, as the hardware from people such as BlackMagic becomes more prevalent and web based front ends are quicker and more flexible to produce.

Looked at the Mosart control interface from Snell, which is cutting down the number of operators required in the gallery. It seems to have interfaces to all the types of equipment that we find in our galleries, so could be of interest. Sky News have looked at this. Sky Germany have implemented it successfully.

Pixel Power have an improved graphics workstation with more master control type facilities and access to media streaming. The MCR facilities may not be any benefit in the Interactive area where we have these machines, but having access to a shared clip store could be of interest. I’m not sure how this would fit to the EVS systems that we have in place.

South Hall

This hall was the main area for me, with graphics machines everywhere.

VizRT and Chyron had the largest stands, Quantel are now smaller and less dominant.

VizRT were showing more products covering the complete content management solution. They had beta demos of the interface between the Ardome video servers into the Trio playout system. It will be released toward the end of the year. There is also a new output box which is able to stream out media in all the normal web formats. Liberovision were showing a demo of how they would integrate into the Viz systems. It looked to be quite well integrated and should give us the ability to update the graphics from some of our automated systems. We need to install a version and try it out. We also need to look into how to integrate our Ardome and Viz systems more easily. The Trio operator would then be able to search for video clips within the content management system. They were demonstrating how to update the web side from within their iNews plugin, but this may not be as easy within our network structure. Something else to have a look at though.

There were a number of virtual studios around Viz had one on their stand. They were able to use two different systems to track the camera, Motion Analysis an infrared camera based system or the motorized camera pedestal from Shotoku. Both are quite expensive, but the pedestal would be the more robust from what users are saying.

Chyron were also demonstrating a full system for handling content through to character generation. They were pushing the social side with twitter feeds from and Mass Relevance. The system seemed too complex to create having spent some time on their stand; Mass Relevance was more straightforward but unclear on how the pricing model worked. The idea of aggregating tweets to give a numeric summary seemed to go down well and I’m sure we could create similar poll graphics to this. Chyron have taken on the Ventuz system to use in their more complex touchscreen solutions. They had the same demo as on the Ventuz stand, but didn’t have much expertise to talk about it.

Spanish company Wtvision were showing their developments in driving several of the 3D graphics systems, Viz, Brainstrom, Hego, Chyron and usually do this as a complte solution provider. However they were also talking about licensing their engine to larger customers with their own developers. This gives an engine with a common interface to many devices and could prove cost effective.

Avid announced their new association with the Brainstorm 3D engine. They have implemented a similar solution to the one that Aston tried, but with good integration to their iNews interface. The new system will give the power of Brainstorm either as a standalone system or integrated into the newsroom system. It will provide a bridge for the Deko graphics system. It allows bringing in media files including video clips, Photoshop files, 3D models etc and then controlling the graphics from within the journalists’ interface. Not sure whether this would be any benefit for us as we have moved away from Deko to Chyron; there may be Avid editing plugins to use this type of graphic, but we use the VizRT NLE plugins at the moment.

Christie had an impressive screen display; very long with touch screen in the central area. Quite expensive though.

Ventuz were making more of their broadcast version 3D system. They have previously concentrated on the corporate presentations market with impressive 3D graphics output. They are now producing a product similar to the Viz Trio and Chyron Lyric playout systems. It looks good so far and they are developing it in conjunction with Fox Sports. Because of the cheaper price, it should be something we look at and it would be useful to put input into the product at this stage, to make sure that they are considering our workflow. They have a good system for touchscreens and it might be a cheaper replacement for a Viz workstation in this area. The touch screen plugins from Kenziko were being demonstrated there, but Kenziko also had their own stand further down the hall.

Wasp 3D system has made some progress. They have brought together all their modules into a single interface which works better. They had a virtual set on show with the usual features. One different feature they had was to be able to take motion control files and combine them with 3D models to animate people. I don’t think they have any sites in the UK yet, probably because of their pricing. Their touchscreen system has been around for some time and has gestures, but this is probably overcomplicated.

Lots of touchscreens around. Point from e-mediavision still there but no better design than before; AccuWeather had a good looking demo, but was very basic underneath; the Ventuz system used the touch table from Perceptive Pixel which is still expensive but the software looks good; Kenziko system for Viz is cheap if you already have the hardware.

Hego were showing their Sky developments and looked good. They were only showing a video of the TrackCam system. It looked similar to what the LiberoVision system could produce with Viz and we should have more of a demo with this, to see how we can drive our stats into the system. We talked about our developers using their SDK to make better use of the boxes that we have at Sky. We should look at this in the coming months. They seem positive about this.

Telestration systems were largely two dimensional. FingerWorks are used by several US sports channels but is only a 2D system. Deltacast had a 3D version to go with their selection of video cards.

Many people had 4k  systems showing. One of the more recommended would be the Bluefish cards, from Polarvision in the UK. They have a 4k input card and a 4k output card for PC’s with VTR emulator software if needed. A VTR PC would be around £10k, or less for output only, to drive a projector.

Blackmagic had the usual set of surprisingly modest priced boxes, with the matrix and video recorder player being the latest. The recorder looked interesting, but on pressing them about when the network interface would be available, they said that no one was working on it at the moment. It therefore only has the normal 422 serial control interface.

Forbidden were pushing their ‘editing in the cloud’ idea. The idea is to remotely edit low resolution copies of the material and produce an edit list of the final programme, so that only the required footage needs to be downloaded at full resolution. saving time and bandwidth.

At the cheaper end of the market, Visual Research from Korea had their visualcg product, which is a character generator engine for less than £10k. It would run with most normal video cards, from Blackmagic to Matrox and gives similar output quality to Viz and Ventuz. They only have a basic GUI, but have an SDK to allow us to automate graphics and could be a cheap engine for simple solutions. Recent Korean elections had used the system at one of the main TV channels.

Graphic Outfitters had some smaller portable systems on their stand; basically a tower PC with a touchscreen built into the side. These looked pretty useful and Mammoth in Ealing are looking to use them for their F1 coverage. They would be hand luggage size instead of shipping our usual Viz system cases. The guys on the Ventuz stand said they would recommend the similar solution from Stealth computers, which should be cheaper.

UTouch were demonstrating a new type of surround for their touch screens that is not affected by lighting, either in the studio or in sunlight. They will be bring this system out over the next month or two.  Primetouch and Perceptive Pixel were the  main other multitouch displays on show.

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