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IBC 2008 Live Report: Debutantes

TVB correspondent Mark Schubin sent the following missive from IBC in Amsterdam Friday morningâ?¦

BLOCKBUSTER! JVC is showing, under glass, an SxS [Sony card standard] recorder adaptor for one of its camcorders. Delivery is expected in March. MY, how things have changed now that Panasonic doesn“t own JVC.

Sony has a technology demonstration of 3D on a 42-inch LCD monitor. It is SUPERB! They are using alternate frames for the two eyes.

Wige Media is showing a wireless 3D camera rig; they say it is the first.

Polatis has optical routing switchers that can be used for such purposes as camera-cable switching. They“ve been around almost a decade but just started pushing in the broadcast field.

The Brick House Callisto-HD is a tiny production switcher with built-in LetItWave conversion technology, allowing it to be used with HD, SD, and even analog sources. It“s expected to cost less than 10,000 U.K. pounds.

Snell & Wilcox has an entirely new technique for aspect-ratio conversion. It“s called “Scene Carving” and was developed by Mike Knee. It looks for “lines”--not necessarily straight--with “no energy” and removes them from the picture. Sometimes it works great, especially in polar pictures; sometimes it“s not as great, but then it should be compared to squeezing, cropping or letterboxing, the only alternatives.

Ambient Recording“s Tinymike Electret Shotgun microphone is only about six inches long. I have my doubts as to its performance, but they swear by it in the booth.

Fraunhofer is pushing “Surround Cinema” and “Surround Vision,”" techniques to completely (or partially) encircle a viewer with an image. It“s not just “Beyond HD;” it“s Beyond Cinerama.

In surround sound, the comment I heard most frequently about NHK“s Super Hi-Vision is “Do we really need 22.2 channels?”

Squarehead is showing the new, improved Audioscope II zoom microphone with multichannel outputs. The Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT) is showing “microphone tracking,” putting a directional mic on a moving mount to track action on a sports field; it does add something.

Holophone has a new, stripped down (and, therefore, much smaller) version of their camera-mounted surround-sound mic. DPA also has a surround-sound mic (it looks like a small cushion).

And, although it“s not new, Soundfield still showed their grand-daddy-of-them-all surround mic.

The European Broadcasting Union had a number of interesting exhibits, two in the Beyond HD realm. One was a 4K downconversion (usually 4K is either 4K or an upconversion) of the NHK 8K signal from RAI in Turin. It looked lovely.

The other is preliminary research into high-speed video to be shown at high speed rather than slo-mo. They showed dramatic improvements going from 50 to 100 frames per second, and more--in a slo-mo sequence because their display couldn“t go faster than 100 fps--going
from 100 to 300. But they noted that 300 might not quite be enough.

Another company had a technology demo involving 300 fps HDTV. High-speed video can more easily be compressed, it might not stress broadcast channels.

Other EBU stuff:
--interactivity with moving objects (done in conjunction with the IRT)
--mobile spectrum-sharing issues (cross polarization doesn“t work except with fixed
--display evaluation
--the Dirac codec

JVC has a WonderCube Blu-ray library.

Ikegami was showing holographic storage with a 15-disk reader.

Many companies showed content identification, but I wonder how well it will work in the presence of Snell & Wilcox“s Scene Carving.

ARRI is showing standard anamorphic lenses on their D-21 camera, which they can do because theirs is the only one with a 4x3 sensor.

IBC runs through Sept. 15.