My IBC Experience

By in Broadcast, Graphics Solutions, Media Management, News Production, Shared Storage, Sports Production

I’m back from another IBC, my 12th, and it was an exciting IBC as the show was full of new developments that continue to push the industry forward at a significant pace.  IBC for many years was often a repeat of what was shown and discussed at NAB for a lot of companies and was an opportunity to reinforce key messaging, as well as show incremental enhancements to product announcements made back at NAB the prior April.

The Avid booth at IBC 2019

Due to the accelerated pace of an ever changing media and entertainment landscape driven by consumers demand for content delivered on their devices on their time, IBC has become a launchpad for new innovations and major new partnership announcements, many of which have happened in the relatively short timeframe between NAB and IBC.

One of the major key announcements at IBC was centered around social media and digital distribution and the MediaCentral platform.  Avid unveiled a new and improved MediaCentral | Publisher app, a first-of-its-kind SaaS offering for the MediaCentral platform, powered by Wildmoka. Not only does this significantly improve the software’s ability to get content out fast across more social and digital platforms, but also it enables media companies to insert ads and calls to action that drive revenue on those platforms while engaging with and building their audience.

Data shows that there are over 5 billion unique mobile phone users in the world who are increasingly accessing content on mobile devices that are getting more powerful, with the bulk of their time spent browsing video content.  Of course, the ramifications here are significant both operationally and economically. As more eyes move to mobile platforms, so have advertisers, with digital ad spending eclipsing television ad spending for the first time recently.

MediaCentral | Publisher app

Data also shows that getting the story out first across social and digital platforms significantly increases a media company’s ability to realize more revenue and build their audience and the difference can be a matter of minutes or even seconds.  For news, sports, and media companies, establishing that one-to-one relationship with consumers on social and digital platforms is critical to the present and future of the business.

This is why Avid delivered a more robust way to deliver fast, and deliver first, across all platforms.  MediaCentral l Publisher auto-provisions everything you need, provides tools to enhance content (aspect ratio resizing, closed captioning, titling, 3D motion graphics overlays, and more), enables audience engagement through interactive calls to action (think sponsorship and branding), and allows for ad insertion using server side pre, mid, and post roll ads.

Always forward-thinking, Avid showcased a tech preview of its IP contribution and distribution solution called FastServe l Stream. As part of a partnership with Microsoft® and Haivision® it was a showcase of IP contribution and distribution that leverages Avid’s FastServe | Stream technology and its ability to accept incoming SRT streams from any SRT enabled device or hublet. SRT is the open source protocol from Haivision that enables secure reliable transport of content across standard internet connections, but also it was a launch partner of SRT Hub. SRT Hub is an initiative between Microsoft® and Haivision® that leverages the SRT protocol and delivers a SaaS offering that enables the routing of video across the Azure network (live and file based), for delivering content securely from anywhere to anywhere using any SRT enabled device or any SRT hublet.

This combined solution enables news and sports organizations to expand their coverage at a lower cost (think a single reporter with an SRT enabled mobile device covering a story vs. sending a truck or video crew with a journalist) while not compromising on quality for both on premise and cloud-based news and sports productions.  Avid showed the ability to accept incoming SRT streams either from an SRT enabled device or from SRT Hub, unwrap and rewrap that content in an Avid friendly format, and check that streamed media into an Avid Production environment for fast access via MediaCentral or Media Composer.

In the future, companies will be able to plug Avid tools into any IP based workflow including news, sports, and remote live production scenarios where companies are increasingly adopting IP based solutions to deliver content over standard internet connections.  This not only lowers costs (satellite or fiber) but also reduces the resources required to deliver an event allowing the bulk of the production crew and talent to remain in place in the studio while still delivering a compelling broadcast.

SRT Hub at IBC

It also enables broader coverage by news and sports crews so that they can send fewer resources to cover any story with just a reporter and an SRT enabled device.  Last but not least, it allows users to route content easily across the Azure network to deliver content faster to more digital and social destinations leveraging the SRT hub running in the Azure cloud for occasional and 24×7 linear channel delivery use cases.

Here’s a rundown of other exciting solutions shared at this year’s IBC in Amsterdam:

 

  • Media Composer will deliver native support for Apple’s ProRes RAW camera codec and support for ProRes playback and encoding on Windows. In addition, Apple® will provide 64-bit decoders for DNxHR and DNxHD codecs within the Pro Video Formats package that is available from Apple as a free download for all users.

 

  • IBC was the European Debut of Media Composer which created a massive buzz when it launched at NAB in April. The user interface was redesigned for better, more efficient use as well as enabling custom user profiles that expose only the capabilities needed by different roles within any broadcast, film, or post facility. Though, it’s perhaps the work that was done under the hood which enables distributed processing that is just as noteworthy; it allows available CPU cycles on the network to be leveraged for rendering purposes significantly diminishing the time it takes to render even UHD effects and content.

 

  • Avid Edit On Demand is Avid’s cloud-based editing solution, and it’s not just Media Composer running in the cloud. Rather, is a full infrastructure that includes compute, NEXIS Cloud storage, and bandwidth all auto provisioned and running in the cloud allowing users to spin up the resources they need to take on any job paying only for what they use. This runs in Azure and includes Teradici clients for secure access and File Catalyst for quickly moving content into and out of the cloud.  There is an early access program and you can sign up here.

 

  • Avid’s Audio group continues to make waves in the industry, having announced the Avid S1 and S4 consoles at Summer NAMM in Nashville. Those consoles were on display on the show floor and in a meeting room where users could see it in action. Perhaps the most important thing to note about the Avid S4 and the Avid S1 is that now anyone can take advantage of what was once only reserved for larger budget productions. Both consoles offer high end capabilities with attractive economics and a variety of I/O possibilities that meet the demands of any sized production.

 

  • Avid’s graphics team also announced its next generation of graphics server hardware, Maestro l Engine 4K, which has higher channel counts, supports HDR, UHD, IP, and SDI I/O. Maestro l Engine drives Avid graphics solutions and leverages the Epic Unreal engine for rendering photo realistic images in real time for use with virtual sets, data-driven augmented reality, and video wall solutions for news and sports. This enables broadcasters to economically change the look and feel of their news and sports programs while also engaging audiences on traditional and digital platforms.

IBC was exhausting (in the best way) and Avid had no shortage of new innovations and new partnerships to highlight.  It is an amazing time to be a part of this industry as the disruption that is happening is like no other time in the history of broadcast and media and entertainment from a technology and economic perspective.

I’m looking forward now to NAB and what I know will be more new innovations that continue to move the industry further!

 

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As Director of Broadcast and Media Solutions Marketing, I am responsible for outbound messaging for all Avid products focused on broadcast news, sports, and entertainment.