This isn’t the first time the PVC team has been out to Amsterdam for IBC, but it’s amazing to think and see how much things change from one year to the next. The pace of technology in media & entertainment is rapid, but nowhere is that more evident than the floor of trade shows like these where you can literally see those changes taking place.
As always, there’s a ton of different news items coming out of this show, but we’re going to focus on the topics and happenings that stood out to us the most. Some of those things may or not be actual news items of the day, but if you want to learn more about specific announcements from IBC 2015, check out Jose Antunes’ post on the Sony a7S or Allan Tepper’s thoughts on the SDI version of the TriCaster Mini.
HDR has Arrived
Terrence Curren has proclaimed the benefits of HDR over 4K for many years now, and it seems the industry has finally realized he was onto something. In years past you couldn’t walk ten feet without seeing either a giant 4K screen or a sign that told you what you were seeing was a 4K screen. At IBC 2015 though, that changed in a big way.
4K isn’t going anywhere, but the screens and signs have been noticeably reduced. What’s more is that showcases of HDR (high dynamic range) technology are all over the place. Dolby Vision has been around for many years, but they had been the only ones who were showcasing the technology. Now though, everyone from Sony to Samsung wants us to know they can do HDR.
It’s a topic the industry as a whole is interested in, as an “HDR: From zero to infinity” series kicked off on Friday with part 1. The logistics of HDR were broken down, but even those of us who were familiar with the technology could pick something up from the talk. Presenters from Dolby and other companies who want to see the technology pushed to the forefront discussed the unique challenges associated with creating and viewing HDR.
The question of choosing 4K or HDR probably isn’t the one we should be asking, but the fact that people are talking about HDR is a step in the right direction. Some professionals aren’t sold on 4K but 8K is already part of the conversation, so the need to come to an informed position about this kind of technology is more essential than ever.
Consolidation in M&E
The consolidation of media & entertainment has been a topic we’ve drilled into in the past, so the fact that big companies are swallowing up and/or absorbing smaller ones shouldn’t come a surprise to anyone. In many respects these sorts of developments can be good for users, as it can simplify their process and ensure control over their costs.
Seeing that Snell and Quantel are now SAM (Snell Advanced Media) illustrates this point better than any other. While these two companies have been joined together for some time, this rebranding was big news at IBC. As CEO Tim Thorsteinson said, “we have radically overhauled and brought together every aspect of the two businesses to create a new company with a unique mix of experience and energy.”
That concept of merging and mixture was also evident in the press conference at the Avid booth, where CEO Louis Hernandez Jr. talked through the company’s acquisition of Orad and what that has meant for Avid customers. He was focused on the flexibility this development created for users, and it’s easy to see how many different opportunities it has already created.
Acquisition isn’t the only way that a company can consolidate their offerings though, and many direct competitors can and are forming partnerships which will allow their products to play nicely together so that users can essentially customize their workflow. It’s an intriguing development since it offers users an unprecedented amount of flexibility in terms of the way they want to work, and runs completely contrary to the way many had previously approached the market.
We’ll come back to what such things mean for companies and for users.
A Missing Link
It can be incredibly difficult to find the middle ground in just about any endeavor. Take color correction as an example. An editor who dabbles in color probably doesn’t want or need an entire setup, but being forced to use keyboard shortcuts can limit their abilities in a way that is less than ideal. The folks at Tangent just might have created a middle ground that works for those types of users though.
The Ripple prototype they had on display at IBC is designed for the occasional colorist, editor, and student. Ripple provides the essential 3 trackerballs that speed up primary grading but presents them in an easy-to-use fashion that will not overwhelm an editor psychologically or physically. The Ripple features…
- 3 trackerballs with dials for masters.
- High-resolution optical pick-ups for the balls and dials.
- Independent reset buttons for the balls and dials.
- Programmable A and B buttons.
- USB powered with integral cable.
- Light-weight compact size.
The Ripple is designed to give editors all they need and nothing more, which means it will be appropriately priced to fit this specific niche. Look out for it in early 2016.
Incredibly Fast Development Cycles
It’s no surprise that companies like AJA and Blackmagic have multiple products to showcase at IBC. Blackmagic announced they extended the lens mount options for the USRA Mini, but that was just one of their many developments. Meanwhile, AJA rolled out new mini-converters along with their Corvid HEVC.
Bob Caniglia from Blackmagic said many of the products debuting here had incorporated feedback from customers at NAB, while Bryce Button from AJA mentioned that some of these products integrated feedback from users that they gathered at InfoComm which was less than three months ago. It’s rather incredible that these companies can gather and utilize feedback in such a short amount of time, but it proves how important such feedback is to these companies. They feel and see the need to quickly adapt as the market and industry identify their wants and needs.
And for anyone who wants to see more about the CION, you can check out footage from their #trycion campaign which is available via Vimeo.
The Continued Evolution of Drones
Drone technology has only been part of IBC for a few years now, but the evolution of these tools is simply amazing. First generation drones were difficult to maneuver and were fairly bulky, but developments over the past couple years have seen those controls simplified and the design of the drones themselves streamlined.
ProDrone debuted the Byrd at IBC 2015, which is designed to simplify everything about using a drone. The drone folds down into an iPad sized package, while offering a simplified controller. A connector also enables users to connect their controllers so that an experienced pilot can directly help an inexperienced user learn how to fly.
The Byrd supports many different combinations, which includes a 4K camera, 1080p cameras, infared camera and a GoPro which can all be quickly switched to suit your style and needs. There are currently a number of different drones on the market, but the easy-to-use nature and portability factor of the Byrd should make it a very competitive option for users of all experience levels.
Check back for more from IBC 2015 in Part II, and see additional pictures from the event below…