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Alphabet soup starring HDR and WCG  "Hey Guys, let's re-invent the entire TV and Cinema chains from Camera to Screen!" said no high-ranking executive in any board meeting ever. The whole concept sounds like crazy talk when you say it out loud, but in reality that's what the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) revolution have done over the recent years.   We've moved on from glowing goop  The cinema world, shooting on film, has always had a little more freedom that the TV world when it comes to controlling brightness, color and contrast between the camera and the screen. There were limitations in physics and chemistry, of course. You could make the projector brighter assuming you didn't melt the film and you could make the film more sensitive provided you liked that grainy look on the screen. The TV world, however had a fixed and inflexible transmission infrastructure that was stabilized in the 1950s. The relationship between the photons going into a camera and the photons coming out of most of today's TV are still based on the response characteristics of the glowing goop you find inside CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) of that early era. So in comes HDR. "Hey guys the eye can capture about 14 stops of brightness so let’s transmit that." is the fundamental idea behind HDR. In a basic MPEG system, the brightness of most pixels is represented by a number between 0 and 255. This gives you the ability to represent 8 stops (28 values) whereas we would like to represent 214 values in our HDR chain i.e. the brightness of each pixel is represented by a number between 0 and 16383. Sounds simple really. But, what is Dolby Vision HDR?   Let's redesign the entire Cinema and Broadcast Value chain  The complexity comes with making sure that each and every device in the value chain from camera through switcher and ingest and transcode understands what these new numerical values actually mean. In an ideal world we would replace all the old kit with brand new kit, but that's not really practical so the HDR systems that were created have compatibility modes to allow these new bright, colorful pixels to travel across traditional SDI, H.264 and IP transmission paths with good integrity to appear at the final display to show wondrous pictures. Now, what is Dolby Vision HDR? Dolby Vision is one of the HDR systems that requires metadata to work. Its trick is identifying that in any typical scene you only use a portion of the total available dynamic range. A dark shadowy scene in a cave will need more bits allocated in the small numerical pixel value ranges. A bright seaside scene on a sunny day will need more bits allocated in the large numerical pixel value range. This scene by scene adaption is enabled with metadata that tells each device how to behave for that scene. The Dalet AmberFin team is really proud that it's the first software only transcoder and workflow engine to have full support for the Dolby Vision system. It can do this in a wide range of different codecs in parallel with the usual array of high quality video processing functions from scaling to Standards Conversion.     The Dolby Vision metadata itself might be carried in a sidecar XML file or embedded within the media file as a data track. Whichever mechanism is used, it's vitally important to retain the synchronization between the metadata and the images to get the best results particularly when aligning metadata changes to hard cuts in the video. This becomes doubly important when frame rate converting because blended frames and mis-timing of metadata combined are highly visible, highly annoying and consume a lot of bitrate in the final encoding. A transcoder like the Dalet AmberFin platform gets all of those complex factors right first time, resulting in high efficiency, low bitrate, outstanding picture.   In today's era, the consumer often lead the professionals  So, what is Dolby Vision HDR and why is it important? HDR is important because the consumers of media get to see HDR on the content they make on their mobile devices. If the paid-for entertainment content they see on other platforms looks washed out and old-fashioned by comparison, then this will be a factor in what media gets consumed. If anyone has a spare crystal ball to help predict what this future might look like, then I would be very grateful to borrow it for a while!    
  • Dalet AmberFin
  • Transcoding
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BUSINESS NEWS
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, continues its commitment to the highest security standards, attaining the DPP Security Marks for Production and Broadcast under â€˜The DPP Committed to Security’ program. The marks certify that all Dalet products and solutions are developed, configured and deployed according to stringent DPP cyber security best practices across R&D, code safety, and operational measures. As early adopters of DPP compliance and security initiatives, both Dalet, and Ooyala - now part of Dalet - have worked with the DPP on certification and security initiatives since 2014. The company also attained its ISO/SEC 27001:2013 certification in 2018, earning the highest level of security practices across Dalet internal development processes, its product line and its practices. “Security has always been of paramount importance at Dalet. With media organizations quickly pivoting their operations to enable work from home scenarios, security has taken on an even higher level of urgency for our customers,” states Rami Pinku, Dalet Deputy General Manager, R&D Operations. “Our commitment to developing and delivering highly secure solutions that embrace industry best practices is stronger than ever. Dalet security processes start from the moment we begin developing our solutions to the time they’re delivered. We are proud to have achieved the DPP’s security marks for our solutions as these are key criteria for media organizations investing in enterprise-grade workflow solutions.”   Achieving the DPP security marks demonstrates Dalet’s commitment to working towards and adhering to cyber security best practice across its entire solution range. Powering exceptional user workflows from enterprise productions to OTT preparation and finished asset distribution, Dalet’s line of DPP accredited media supply chain and broadcast solutions, including Dalet Galaxy five, the Ooyala Flex Media Platform and Dalet’s latest SaaS offerings, Dalet StoreFront, Dalet Media Cortex and Dalet Galaxy xCloud, offer secure, hybrid and highly scalable workflows on-premises and in the cloud.  "We're delighted that Dalet has been awarded the DPP's Committed to Security mark for both Broadcast and Production," says Rowan de Pomerai, DPP Head of Delivery & Growth. "Building on the great work they did with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, all Dalet products are now developed in line with our Security guidelines, meaning that they remain part of a community of forward-thinking companies demonstrating a clear commitment to cybersecurity best practice, and to playing their part in building a more secure media supply chain."    About the DPP Committed to Security program The DPP launched the Committed to Security program in October 2017 to help technology providers advance, hone and demonstrate their commitment to security best-practices.  Participants are assessed according to a rigorous set of controls specifically applied within the categories of Production, including policies and procedures, physical security, incident planning, recovery management, IT security, business continuity and other areas; and Broadcast, including documentation & testing, authentication and controls.  For more information go to https://www.dalet.com/platform and  https://www.thedpp.com/security.    About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organizations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximizing the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloging, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. The integration of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business has opened vast opportunities for Dalet customers to deploy successful strategies that better address their audiences with agile multi-platform content distribution in a wider range of markets, such as sports for teams and leagues, brands and corporate organizations, as well as Media and Entertainment companies looking to scale up their digital offerings. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organizations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) and government organizations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA.  Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. 
  • DPP
  • Security
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BLOG
It’s probably safe to say that there’s never been so much pressure for rapid change in the broadcasting industry. The demands for increasing production value with fewer resources is creating mounting pressure. Without a doubt, the year 2020 will be remembered for the need to quickly develop new production methods, new workflows, and new economies. Flexibility and adaptability have become even more “normal”.   Higher expectations Just as viewers’ expectations have grown for high resolution video and high quality audio, they also have become accustomed to extremely sophisticated live studio productions. Viewers may not notice the individual visual elements that go into a slick news production, but what started out as a man or a woman behind a desk, statically reading a script to a camera, is now a multifaceted ballet of lights, camera moves and full-video graphical elements in the background and sometimes the foreground.  News broadcasts have always been a multi-headed operation; a balance between editorial and production. Editorial has a different view on the task than those working on the production floor. A newsroom’s output is a list of stories, in the form of a schedule or running order. The last two decades have seen a steady growth in automated newsroom systems that have all the necessary attributes around flexibility and immediacy. Production’s output is what the viewers actually see and hear.  But until now, there’s been little significant integration between editorial and production in an automated system. Which means that not only is there a potential disconnect between editorial and production, there are inefficiencies and lost opportunities - which equate to wasted budgets - as well.  Dalet OnePlay is an add-on to the Dalet Galaxy five media asset management, workflow orchestration and editorial platform. It’s designed to add a crucial additional layer of control to a live production schedule. This new portfolio of capabilities goes way beyond simple news production and into all kinds of live-to-air and live for reuse shows. The intention is to bring sophisticated, precision control and automation to smaller live production facilities. It means that richer productions can be made with fewer manual resources, and while human input is needed to set up templates, once they’re made, they’re reusable forever.  We’ll have a look at a real-world example of Dalet OnePlay in a minute, but first, let’s dive into the capabilities of the software. Less effort What Dalet OnePlay brings is the ability to generate live material with the lush “look and feel” of a big, sophisticated broadcaster, with less effort and manual input. Dalet OnePlay can control almost every aspect of a TV studio from a set of instructions - essentially a template - that’s built for each type of segment.  A production that might have called for seven production staff can be made with two or three, with no visual difference to viewers.  Typically, each segment of a live show will have the same requirements from day to day. An anchor’s opening monologue might involve an initial camera move - maybe from wide angle to a close-up. There may be an audio sting, with synchronised graphics. The lighting might change to make a more intimate connection with the presenter. The background graphics will change. Lower thirds will give the name of the presenter. A microphone channel will open on an audio mixer.  It doesn’t matter how complicated the set-up or the running order: it’s all encapsulated in a template that’s re-usable as often as needed. A little more effort up front in setting up Dalet OnePlay automation templates is repaid many times over as they can be used over and over.   <iframe width="100%" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h4LzorPPKT4" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>   Tried and tested Because Dalet OnePlay is an add-on to Dalet Galaxy five, it is fairly straight-forward to deploy. An existing Galaxy five customer collaborated with Dalet in a proof-of-concept trial of Dalet OnePlay. The idea was the show could be freed-up for other urgent production tasks while those elements of the day’s production roster that were repetitive could be run under automation. There was no visible difference to the viewers. There were other benefits too: the control room was less noisy. There was no-one shouting “give me camera A. Throw me graphics on the left”.  A really important part of the design ethos for Dalet OnePlay is that the new automation capabilities shouldn’t interfere with the editorial process. That’s because the elements being automated are on the studio floor. They include camera moves, lighting, audio (stings and jingles etc) as well as introductory or interstitial video sequences and end titles. Almost every aspect of live studio production can be included, and Dalet can either call on its existing library of “wrappers” for third party devices, or write new ones where necessary. (For developers reading this - it uses microservices and RESTful APIs). All of this is transparent to the editorial process. To production, the automation is visible on the schedule’s timeline as moving automated objects.   Scalability and flexibility Dalet OnePlay is scalable and flexible. It can apply to almost any live production situation whether it’s news, sports or more general show control.  One ideal application is the one-person weather update, the kind you’ll often see lasting about a minute and inserted into your morning news.  Traditionally this would be the presenter and then three or four other people running the lights, the graphics and everything else. In a further proof of concept, Dalet OnePlay was set up so that the weather presenter controlled everything. There was literally no need for any other production personnel to be on site. Resources were then freed up to work on other productions.. All that’s needed for this, or far more complicated set-ups, is for some work up-front to create the template. Everything else is the same. There’s access to the same media, the same graphics and all the same resource. Dalet OnePlay automates camera moves, audio levels, library playback, and lighting. Once the template is made, it can be reused indefinitely. Existing templates can be modified for ongoing changes.  Dalet Galaxy five users are particularly interested in the system when they realize that they could put Dalet OnePlay to work on all the short segments in their daily schedule “wheel”, without needing large numbers of control room staff. It’s a big saving for them both in terms of cost and efficiency. And, an additional benefit of Dalet OnePlay is that it reduces the amount of physical presence needed in a control room. There are other benefits, too. Dalet OnePlay is browser based, so it can be run from any computer, including tablets, with suitable authorization. Not only does that mean that schedules and control templates can be generated and updated remotely, but when big and unexpected news breaks, it’s possible to remotely “boot up” a cold studio so that it’s ready for the presenters, with everything in place, including lighting, camera moves and graphics. This reduces the number of personnel needed at the studio site on standby, and it increases the ability to function normally under conditions of social distancing.   One technology for everywhere. Two massive advantages Dalet OnePlay fits naturally into the Dalet Galaxy five ecosystem. So it starts from a position of strength, with frictionless access to all of the resources - news media, media, graphics, archives - under Dalet Galaxy five’s control. Layered on top of this is an object-based automation system that becomes part of the scheduling process. From an editorial or content-planning perspective, nothing has changed. From a production and resources view, sophisticated live productions become massively automated, freeing up personnel to work on other production priorities, and lowering the overall costs for broadcasters while allowing them to maintain or even increase their production standards.    
  • Live Show Production
  • Studio Automation
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VIDEO
Built on Dalet Galaxy five, Dalet Radio Solutions combine a robust Media Asset Management (MAM) and Workflow Orchestration platform with leading Radio Production, Automation, and Distribution tools. From PAD to podcasts, cross-channel branding, and multi-platform delivery, Dalet Radio Solutions ease the path to media convergence.
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