IBC: Giving the People What They Want

Annual confab takes to the cloud
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AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS—Workflow enhancements—including increasing interest in "cloud"-based production—along with advances in 3D and 4K, as well as social networking, were among the highlights of a very busy IBC 2011 last month. The world's second largest broadcast show hosted more than 1,300 exhibitors and marked a milestone, surpassing the 50,000 attendance mark for the first time.

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The IBC Production Village was a popular destination for attendees. The world's most famous advocates for 3D made a surprise appearance at the Grass Valley press conference just prior to the show's opening. "Avatar" director James Cameron and 3D camera developer Vince Pace announced a collaboration with Grass Valley and the CAMERON|Pace group, a company the two launched at NAB earlier this year. The goal is to bring a better 3D workflow to the broadcast arena and promote more efficient and effective production solutions.

Grass also announced its first new switcher in several years. The Karrera offers 1-2.5 M/E channels in a 4RU frame and 2-4.5 M/Es in an 8RU frame and targets markets in the mid-range, situated between the company's Kayenne and Kayak switcher systems.

With broadcasters beginning to take more interest in the concept of "cloud"-based production, exhibitors were eager to offer new services and tools for this new technique for IP-based collaboration.

"Broadcast has ignored cloud technology because of the large file sizes," said Phil Jackson, chief marketing officer for Front Porch Digital. But that attitude is changing, as he cited statistics that show that the market for cloud-based services will expand from $89 billion in 2011 to an estimated $176 billion by 2015 and will outpace traditional IT spending over the same period. In response, Front Porch announced the launch of LYNX, a cloud-based media asset management system designed to offer next-generation storage and access from any device at any location.

Other news from the cloud front included Quantel demonstrating its QTube cloud-based production system now working with third party storage systems and Chyron announcing Sky Sports News as its first European customer to implement its Axis World Graphics cloud-based content creation platform. Dalet Digital Media Systems announced a partnership with DataDirect Networks (DDN), to offer a new cloud-based archiving workflow comprised of Dalet Enterprise Edition and DataDirect Networks Web Object Scaler (WOS) platform. And TVU Networks announced TVUPack Cloud, which allows live video to be captured, optimized and transmitted on the fly via multiple 3G/4G/WiFi/WiMax connections. The signal is received and stored in the cloud, and can then be sent to a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for direct‐to‐Web broadcasting or news stations for live broadcast.

Avid launched an entirely new graphics system to replace its Pinnacle-based Deko platform. The Avid Motion Graphics system features an advanced real-time 2D/3D rendering engine using technology from Brainstorm Multimedia. Sony announced a $65,000 price tag for its F65 4K camera and a new production workflow for the F65.

Social media and the transition from linear television viewing to a nonlinear, "television everywhere" concept was a hotly debated topic in the exhibition's conferences. Speakers at the Future of Broadcasting summit debated the perception that traditional television was a dying market, with one BBC executive declaring that broadcasters were "in the business of managing decline."

But most agreed that the new era of multiple display screens puts the consumer at the forefront of the media revolution and that broadcasters better respond, lest they be left behind. "Today it is the customer who is king," said William H. Roedy, who was responsible for setting up MTV Networks International. "We have to provide everything on all devices because that is what the customer wants."