IBC News

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IBC2018: All about engagement
IBC welcomed 55,884 attendees to its 2018 edition, while also recording a 667sqm increase in floorspace on 2017 to now take in 53,710sqm of the RAI.“This show is about engagement, engagement, engagement. The stats are up in almost all areas and re-bookings are ahead of last year,” said IBC Chief Executive Michael Crimp.Commenting on the announcement, Crimp said it was important that the figures were placed within the context of all that IBC does. “IBC is much more than just a trade show,” he said. “We have developed a basket of data-driven statistics including sales leads generated on stands, conference attendance and IBC365 views.”The IBC App logged more than 91,000 interactions and IBC itself trended number one on Twitter in the Netherlands on several days of the convention, with 185 million potential impressions and over 250,000 video views.Crimp explained that the sharing of information is pivotal to the longevity of IBC’s success and sits at the core of the business. He cited IBC365, the digital home for the global media, entertainment and technology community, which increased its subscriber numbers to more than 55,000 by the close of the show.  Notably IBC2018 has also driven a number of new initiatives this year, one being diversity and gender equality across the conference. In 2017, only 14% of IBC speakers were female. In 2018 that figures rose to 37%. IBC returns to the RAI in 2019 with the conference running from 12-16 September and the exhibition from 13-17. 
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New addition to ‘world’s fastest deploying tripod’ family
Vitec Group brands Sachtler and Vinten used IBC2018 to launch Flowtech100, a larger version of its Flowtech carbon-fibre tripod. As the name suggests, it is compatible with all major 100mm fluid heads and supports a payload of up to 30kg, making it suitable for ENG, EFP and mainstream wildlife, commercial and documentary production. Like the Flowtech75, Flowtech100 includes what are claimed to be the world’s fastest-deploying tripod legs, with their quick-release brakes conveniently located at the top of the tripod, so that all three legs can be deployed simultaneously and adjusted automatically to the ground’s surface, saving users from having to bend over and manually adjust multiple brakes on each leg. The tripod also includes a new removable carbon-fibre mid- level spreader with four locking positions, a carry handle and rubber feet for fast, stable setup in narrow spaces or on uneven terrain. The Flowtech100 can be raised up to 155cm for high shots, or lowered to 26cm. The companies have built significant improvements into the Flowtech100 that enable it to cope with higher payloads. The leg clamping mechanism has been redesigned to support 30kg, while its quick-release brakes have internal cast parts for greater strength. All castings from the top of the legs upward are larger and stronger, and the hinge-lock mechanism has undergone extensive endurance and environmental testing well beyond the rated tripod capacity. The system ships next month and lists at $3450, £2550 or €2900. 
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Next-gen live production arrives
The on-demand, cloud-based Virtual Production service from Sony is now available in Europe for content creators who want to broadcast live as and when they need to.  Sony Virtual Production is a production toolset for multi-platform content creation and delivery but, unlike previous live productions, it doesn't require serious infrastructure, major upfront investment and an army of talented creatives and technicians. The Virtual Production service aims to provide a solution by creating a frictionless production workflow with access to a cloud-based professional vision mixer, and then delivering it quickly to social, websites, apps or CDN platforms.Users pay only for what they need, when they need it. Requiring only a camera acquisition kit, production teams can then log into a personalised Virtual Production portal, synchronise their cameras and stream content on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. Camera crews on location can use wireless transmitters to feed a virtual production switcher that’s hosted in the cloud via Amazon Web Services, while simultaneously a vision mixer, based anywhere in the world and using an ordinary web browser, logs into the Virtual Production service. Users can switch the camera feeds, add graphics, logos and captions and stream the output to a range of different platforms, including YouTube and Facebook Live, at rapid pace. None of this requires any running of or installation of software.Stuart Almond, head of marketing and communications at Sony Professional Europe, commented: “In an era of changing viewing habits, multi-screen and multi-platform viewing, media organisations need to embracenew technologies and services that increase content value and engage audiences in new and exciting ways. Virtual Production has been designed to do exactly that.”
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R&D initiative to quicken Core Technology innovation
A faster flow of innovation is the promise of Grass Valley’s new Core Technology initiative, which was discussed at IBC2018. It is described as “a more agile, collective approach to R&D” designed to cope with the accelerating rate of change in the industry.“Like our customers, we need to be agile and more efficient, and Core Technology helps us to do that,” said Michael Cronk, Grass Valley’s vice president of Core Technology. The company is embracing a “lean engineering” philosophy, which Cronk hopes will enable it to innovate faster, and at scale. It will deliver the common cores, platforms, engines and interfaces that are becoming central its product range, with “build once, integrate to many” its new approach in areas such as video processing, IP connectivity, cloud technologies and software-defined systems.The first product built on the platform is GV Flex, which offers cloud-native playout. “With Flex, we are really changing the whole approach to how you implement a linear playout channel,” said Neil Maycock, vice president of global marketing. It means users “can create a new channel of playout from scratch in minutes,” he added, which compares favourably to the weeks or months it takes traditionally. This will allow for pop-up channels for seasonal or special events, according to Maycock.Other products that are part of the initiative include GV Engine, iTX and ICE version 6. 
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VR is on the verge of takeoff
VR Industry Forum president Rob Koenen (pictured) has insisted that the hype about VR is over and the industry is poised for strong growth in the next few years.Speaking at an IBC VR Masterclass, Koenen said that the outlook for VR was very healthy. “Plenty is happening in the market, which it is predicted will really start to grow next year.”There are any number of market predictions forecasting strong growth for VR, said Koenen, who picked out Greenlight Insights’ statistic which predicts that by 2022 the global VR market including hardware, content, software and services will grow to $74.8 billion.“Everybody is dipping their toes in the water and there is a lot of investment going on. Sky, for example, is doing a lot of advanced stuff and its investment is starting to pay off – with the broadcaster offering exclusive VR content to its customers.”“VR headsets started off at around $2000 but now they are better, standalone wireless devices offering 3 degrees of freedom (DoF) or 6DoF for a fraction of that price.”While the market penetration of VR headsets builds, Koenen said that most VR consumption was on flat devices – although 360 content was surprisingly compelling even on these.” He added that a healthy VR ecosystem was coming together, from VR toolsets in editing systems with specialist stitching software tools to the roll out of powerful 5G networks to support the delivery of VR and AR content.“What we need for VR to be a success is for the consumer to buy more devices and for producers to introduce services and production in the market. This takes time.”Koenen insisted: “VR adoption is on track. The goal is to create the market with producers needing a single format with wide reach, and consumers and VR device manufacturers wanting high-end VR experiences.”Marius Preda, associate professor at Institut MINES-Telecom,who chairs the industry’s group on point cloud compression in MPEG for 3D graphics said the industry could expect an industry standard on point cloud compression soon. “The real problem will not be compression as we are working on it right now, but on capture. I would expect that’s going to be an application you can download within two years.”Light Field Labs CEO and founder Jon Karafin said that his company would bring his ground-breaking holographic 3D technology – which will be able to generate VR experiences without headsets – to market by 2020.Light Field Labs has produced a prototype holographic projector R150MP which will act as the building block for the construction of holographic walls from which holodeck experiences can be made.
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Automation with a human touch
Videomenthe has released the latest version of its collaborative media tool box, Eolementhe. While version 5.0 features new AI-based tools that permit automatic facial, object and thematic recognition, the company has ensured that at any point in the workflow, media can be verified in a collaborative manner by an external team of people.Sandrine Hamon, head of communications, Videomenthe (pictured, told the IBC Daily that when it comes to the cloud, “the main issue for our clients isn’t really security issues, it’s the automated processes. They fear losing control when everything is automated. We realised this so we’ve been working on two axes. The first is simplicity; we wanted to create a solution that is easy to use and understand for non-technical people. The second one was the collaborative and ‘human’ aspect. At every step of the workflow, the automated processes can be checked to make sure everything is correct. The cloud is a tool; we wanted to keep the human aspect because it’s quite important.”Eolementhe features several file-processing tools (transcoding, quality control, analysis and correction of audio levels, creation of technical and editorial metadata, speech-to-text, subtitle insertion, etc.). The latest version incorporates two new functions: conditional workflows, with the automatic creation of workflow branches in accordance with criteria predetermined by the user and parallel workflows, which make it possible to execute several tasks simultaneously.Stand Number: 2.B39
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World’s first MoCa Access 2.5 solution demoed
What’s claimed to be the world’s first MoCA Access 2.5 solution – with 2.5Gbps point-to-multipoint network speed and other key features – is being demoed at IBC2018 in the MaxLinear room in hall 15.The Swedish company InCoax’s In:xtnd solution uses the latest generation of MaxLinear’s MxL3710 MoCA 2.5 networking ICs to build a multi-gigabit MDU access solution that offers network throughput equal to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) utilising existing coaxial in-building cabling infrastructure. The ability to utilise coax networks delivers a significantly lower total cost of ownership.The InCoax In:xtnd access solution offers 2.5Gbps speed over coaxial cable and powerful multipoint networking capability to manage up to 124 customer premise equipment (CPE) modems with one head-end unit. This combination makes the solution appealing to both telecom and cable service providers. Service provider network management features – including DBA, VLAN, QoS, TR-069, and layer 2 security – are fully supported by the management software.Peter Carlsson, CEO of InCoax Networks, said: “We are very excited to partner with MaxLinear on the industry’s first MoCA Access 2.5 solution. The highly integrated MxL3710 chipset and software suite enables us to deliver the most advanced coaxial gigabit access products to the market.”Will Torgerson, vice president and general manager of MaxLinear’s Broadband Group, commented: “MoCA Access 2.5 is picking up significant market momentum as consumers demand faster access speeds and carriers see the extreme value provided by the ability to use coax cable for these connections. InCoax has engineered an impressive MoCA Access 2.5 solution including a full suite of differentiated management and diagnostic features that that will address a real need for faster access speeds and simplified deployment and management tools.”Pictured is Marcin Smolarski, MaxLinear’s senior director EMEA sales and FAEs.Stand Number: 15.MS28
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Cobalt Digital demoing RIST specification
Christopher J Shaw (pictured) and his colleagues on the Cobalt Digital stand are taking the opportunity to host a demonstration of the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) specification at their IBC show stand. Created by the Video Services Forum (VSF) to serve as a common industry specification for low-latency video contribution over the internet, the first version of the new specification – the RIST Simple Profile – is nearing completion, and members of the VSF RIST working group have used Cobalt Digital equipment to demonstrate the protocol in action.The new RIST protocol will play a critical role in bringing interoperability to the many current and future products engineered to support RIST. Strong industry support for RIST means greater choice and flexibility for broadcasters, which benefit from the cost savings of using the internet for contribution feeds and from the freedom to mix and match products from different vendors as needed.Also on the stand is the 9904-UDX-4K new up/down/cross converter, which upconverts 12G/6G/3G/HD/SD to either UHD1 3840x2160 square division multiplex (SDM) or two-sample interleave (2SI) quad 3G-SDI based formats, or can output ST 2082 12G-SDI for single-wire 4K transport; the 9971-MV18-4K multiviewer, which supports the latest signal types and can be expanded indefinitely as necessary; and the OG-PC computer card, which fits into an OpenGear frame and saves space by avoiding the need for a full size computer.Stand Number: 10.B44
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Sundog debuts secure rotoscoping tool
At IBC2018 Sundog Media Toolkit has launched DubSafe – an AI based auto-roto for content versioning security.Sundog developed the tool in direct response to requests from clients for a simple way to automate the manual process of rotoscoping content to obscure all but actors' faces for dubbing and subtitling security. The result is a tool that doesn’t completely replace the manual process but significantly reduces the time required.Sundog CEO Rich Welsh (pictured) said: “A whole feature film is probably a five-day process if you were doing it all manually – maybe a day for a 20-minute reel, so you’ll have five or six reels [for a film]. So we’ll get that down to a few hours, half a day maybe, for a feature film. Taking days out of that timeline can be a big deal for studios.”Welsh added: “With support from Hollywood Studios and broadcasters Sundog has developed a highly customisable tool using techniques including machine learning to identify dialogue sections and automatically produce the masking required. There are many challenges to this particular task including the fact that often, talking characters in movies and TV aren't human, such as animals, aliens, cartoons, robots etc. We have been busy training our system on just such content to bring the accuracy and breadth of content it recognises to the level required for our discerning Hollywood and broadcast clients.”DubSafe has been deployed on Sundog's secure cloud platform, using the company’s hardened security architecture, which has been vetted by the most stringent evaluators in the industry.Welsh explained: “Sundog already regularly handles sensitive pre-release content at all stages of post and versioning, and this is a natural fit for this process as it can take place completely within the control and workflows of the production, prior to the versioning process. We believe DubSafe's flexibility, accuracy and security is unique and we continue to improve performance thanks to the use of machine learning.”Stand Number: 9.LP4
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