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…
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Panasonic 152″ 4k screen

I was lucky to have an hour or two away from my desk to go and see this little beauty. I visited the Panasonic demo rooms at Pinewood with Liam Norris from PSCo who move it around the country. This screen would have to be my choice for the next TV in the back room. I can’t wait to do some demos on there; at a resolution of 4k x 2k it should make the graphics look great.

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BVE, London broadcast TV show

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.
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iNews web interface

Pete Lane and I had a look at the iNews web interface this week. It’s fairly basic. I think it’s a minimal system to try and give the basic rundown outputs in much the same way as they appear n the iNews system ona PC; very basic, simple and identical to use for a journalist. If we look on the iPad however, the default font is small, the screen is also small, so the user ends up having to scroll around the screen and zoom in to see the text at any sort of useful size.

This image is the same output but styled significantly better. We are now using images to act as buttons to take us up and down the folder hierarchy and we have replaced the fonts to give some sensible sizes for presenters to be able to read while in vision. There are a few areas which mean that we need to do more work on it. The web interface is also used by all our Blackberry and mobile users, so we need to do some browser checking to adjust the styling for each type of user. We also need to test the movement around the folders; it doesn’t give us quite the right links in the interface. The setup in iNews is to allow a web page and a style sheet to be assigned to a particular stream. This web template may have various codes put in there that will then be filled in with links for parent topic etc. THe template is then styled and sent to the iPad. It works quite well, as you can see.

We are busy on the touchscreen work at the moment, but will come back to this. It may be that the SOAP interfaces coming in v3.0 iNews will give us an easier way. As we will be testing this version before Christmas, it might be better to wait until then.

Monday Night Football at Sky

The new football season brought with it a new set for the Monday Night Football studio on Sky Sports. Lots of changes…new projection screens, touch table for the clips and telestration, touch screen for Andy Gray and iPad for Richard Keys. Lots of new lighting effects, scrolling LEDs and wifi meant a busy week or two for us beforehand.

With the usual VizRT systems in place to show the team formations, we could add on the ability to drive the scene over WiFi from an iPad. It seems to be the trendy thing to have at the moment. Many of the execs are wandering around with them, almost actively looking for an application. It’s good for us, as it brings a little budget and a whole lot more excitement into the team. It was a little nerve wracking watching someone press the button live on air, but it worked a treat. We should be confident. All our football systems are preparing the data; stats guy chooses the team as usual; save the player names to the web site. The iPad app to load the teams and give the interface was the only part that was new. Pete Lane is with us doing the touch screen work. He was able to knock out the app, which then interfaced to our Viz command system to send actions to the scene.

Social TV conference

Went down to the Social TV conference at Olympia this week. I didn’t have time for a full visit, but just wanted to note it down for entry into next years diary. It is a relatively small event, so easily handled, around a couple of dozen exhibitors. I didn’t get to the conference sessions, but found there were a few workshops on Facebook ROI that were useful. The TV aspects were looking at how to get treaming sites together with other content but you get the feeling that the social side has really only been tacked on at the edges. It will surely improve as the year goes by. Brightcove were there, as usual. They have settled on a range of price packages to allow people to dip their toe in the water easily. The other interesting addition was ooyala ; well worth a chat as they seem to have some new views on analytics and weren’t trying to do everything. They were quite happy to link with others such as Monterosa who showed some good interactive streaming web sites and seemed to have more of a hadle on what data (social or otherwise) was needed behind the scenes.
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VizRT – version 3 update

These are some notes on the Viz v3 update. It was a talk at the Viz offices with Lars Henriksen and Bernd Riedewald; with customers from Alston Elliot, Formula1, Sky, designer techs really.

We had a day or two of talking through the advantages of the latest version of VizRT software and why we should update. Previous versions of Viz3 have had some performance problems, but now that most plugins have been re-written it should be faster than the old version. The database has been re-written and is a complete in-house solution. This should be faster and more efficient; we shall see if this has brought any problems with it. Some of the older plugins have been built in to the new version and there are plans to increase speed by converting to 64-bit version. The transition to Windows 7 will have to come next year, since XP will lose support from Microsoft by the end of 2010.
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