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Aug 20, 2015
An Amsterdam Education! … No, Not That Type of Education
Maybe it’s a result of having two teachers as parents, but I am passionate about education and, particularly, education in our industry. Technology and innovation move forward so fast in our business that even as a seasoned industry professional it can sometimes be tricky to keep pace. That’s why I’m so excited to be doing something a little different with the Dalet Theater at IBC this year – here’s what we’ve got going on

An Amsterdam Education! … No, Not That Type of Edu

Maybe it’s a result of having two teachers as parents, but I am passionate about education and, particularly, education in our industry. Technology and innovation move forward so fast in our business that even as a seasoned industry professional it can sometimes be tricky to keep pace. That’s why I’m so excited to be doing something a little different with the Dalet Theater at IBC this year – here’s what we’ve got going on.

Maybe it’s a result of having two teachers as parents, but I am passionate about education and, particularly, education in our industry. Technology and innovation move forward so fast in our business that even as a seasoned industry professional it can sometimes be tricky to keep pace. That’s why I’m so excited to be doing something a little different with the Dalet Theater at IBC this year – here’s what we’ve got going on.

Dalet @ IBC

One of the primary reasons for visiting the IBC Show is to find out what’s new. Each morning, about an hour after the show opens, we will host a short presentation to explore all the key announcements that Dalet is making at IBC. Whatever your reasons for visiting IBC, this is a great opportunity to find out what’s new.

Bruce’s (Orange) Shorts

After a short break, Bruce Devlin (aka Mr. MXF) will be back on stage to preview a brand new series of Bruce’s shorts, due out later this year. Every day at 13:00 and 16:00 Bruce will present two short seminars on new technologies and trends.

Partners with Dalet

Across the globe, Dalet works with a number of distributors and resellers who package Dalet solutions and applications with other tools to meet the needs of their geographies. We’ve invited some of our partners to talk about how they’ve used Dalet and other technologies to address the needs of their regions (12:00).

Product Focus

If you want to know a little bit more about Dalet products and give your feet a bit of a rest, at 14:00 each day we’ll be focusing in on part of the Dalet portfolio. Click here to see what’s on when!

Case Studies

There’s no better way to learn than from someone else’s success. We will feature a number of case studies at 15:00, followed by Q&A, based on the most cutting-edge deployments of the past year. 

Dalet Keynote

The big one…each day of the show (Friday through Monday), at 17:00, we’ve partnered with industry giants, including Adobe, Quantum and others, to bring you Dalet Keynotes, which will focus on the biggest challenges facing our industry today. There will also be some light refreshments and an opportunity to network with speakers and peers after the presentation. 
 
We’re expecting standing-room-only for the Dalet Keynote sessions so register your interest (Dalet+Adobe; Dalet+Quantum) and we’ll do our best to save you a seat. 
 
It’s going to be an amazing lineup with something for everybody – be sure to check the full Dalet Theater schedule and stop by the stand during the show for the latest additions and updates.
 
Of course, if you want talk one-on-one with a Dalet solutions expert or have an in-depth demo tailored to your requirement, you can click here to book a meeting with us at the show. We'll be in hall 8, stand 8.B77.
 
We can’t wait to see you there – but if you’re more of a planner and want to know what to expect elsewhere on the Dalet stand, visit our dedicated IBC page on the Dalet website. Who knows, you might even stumble across some intriguing bits of information or a clue (or two) for what we might be announcing at the show (hint, hint!).
 
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Amsterdam! Until then…
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Dalet Appoints Patricio Cummins as General Manager of Dalet Asia-Pacific
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, today announced the appointment of Patricio Cummins as General Manager of Dalet Asia-Pacific (APAC). Based out of the Dalet regional headquarters located in Singapore, Cummins will be responsible for Dalet sales, project and customer success teams across the APAC territory. Cummins, who joined Dalet through the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business, was previously vice president of sales for Ooyala Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ). “Patricio joins the Dalet team with two decades of experience in the broadcast, media and telecommunications industries and a proven track record of successfully developing new business and expanding into new markets across Asia Pacific. He is a well-prepared leader who brings expertise, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the team,” states Stéphane Schlayen, chief operating officer, Dalet. “Both Dalet and Ooyala have prestigious references in Asia Pacific that, when merged, have an even more promising potential under the guidance of Patricio. We wish him great success in his new endeavor.” An IABM APAC Council Member, Cummins has held key positions with Ooyala since 2014, driving customer adoption and managing service deployments, first in the Latin America region, then in APJ. His tech-savvy leadership has helped broadcasters, corporate brands, telcos, leagues, and sports teams modernize their content supply chains and reduce the time-to-launch personalized multi-platform experiences. Cummins succeeds Cesar Camacho, who has stepped into a new role at Dalet as Head of Business Development for Latin America. Schlayen concludes, “I want to personally thank Cesar for the dedication he has put into managing the Dalet business across the APAC region. His contribution was instrumental in driving our business development, growth and customer success. I am confident he will bring the same level of commitment and achievements to the Latin American market.” Meet Patricio Cummins and Dalet @ IBC2019 IBC2019 attendees can book an appointment to meet with Patricio Cummins or have a private demonstration or workflow consultation with a Dalet expert to learn more about the latest products and solutions at https://www.dalet.com/events/ibc-show-2019. Press can contact Alex Molina at alex@zazilmediagroup.com to schedule a media briefing. Better Together - Join us for a Very Special Dalet Pulse Event @ IBC2019! This IBC2019, the Dalet Pulse media innovation summit will expand its platform to include Ooyala. Celebrating the joining of two great media teams and technologies, the Dalet Pulse theme this year, Better Together, will give attendees a chance to learn about the extended product portfolio and how it helps leading media organizations develop agile content supply chains, deliver unique content experiences to multi-platform audiences, and increase revenues with Dalet solutions and partner technologies. It’s also a unique opportunity to meet the expanded team. Thursday, 12 September Pompstation, Amsterdam Keynote: 17:30 - 19:00 Party: 19:00 - 22:00 Register now via https://www.dalet.com/events/dalet-pulse-ibc-2019. About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising 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, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. 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 organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, LFP) and government organisations (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.
Dalet Wins TVBEurope Best of Show Award at IBC2018
TVBEurope has announced that Dalet OnePlay has won Best of Show award at IBC 2018. TVBEurope’s Best of Show Awards are judged by a panel of engineers and industry experts on the criteria of innovation, feature set, cost efficiency and performance in serving the industry. Dalet OnePlay is an extension of Dalet Galaxy five that not only automates the control of all devices in the studio, it also fully leverages the MAM, NRCS and workflow orchestration capabilities of the platform to open up new forms of audience engagement and revenue opportunities, all the while optimizing the costs of the entire operations Dalet OnePlay benefits any production of scripted shows, making it an ideal solution for newscasts, sports magazines, live and live-to-tape studio shows. Learn more about Dalet OnePlay Learn more about TVBEurope Best of Show Awards
25 Years of Dalet
In 1990, six friends from engineering and business school formed a company that pioneered the first audio software and centralized database solution for the radio industry, Dalet. Canada’s national radio channel, CBC Radio, became the first Dalet system deployed with a centralized catalogue and, throughout the 90s, we expanded across Europe, Asia and the Americas, providing solutions for radio and newsrooms so successfully that in many cases the same software is still in use today. Radio continues to be an important part of our business with large customers such as Voice of America and SiriusXM Radio relying on Dalet radio solutions. One of the six founders Stéphane Guez reminisces, “We knew we wanted to start a company together, but at the beginning, we weren’t entirely sure what that company was going to be. Spread across the northern hemisphere, we’d spend hours talking on the phone with one another. Well before Skype even existed and before cell phones had come to the masses, we’d find ways to connect via telephone, even though we were flat broke and didn't have access to our own lines. When we realized what it was that we wanted to create, there was no turning back.” It wasn’t long before we realized the potential of our approach beyond radio and, in our 10th year we began extending our software to establish a comprehensive solution for television news. That same year, in June (2000), Dalet also became a publicly traded company on the Paris Bourse (Euronext Paris). By 2002, we had created an end-to-end news production system – incorporating NRCS (newsroom computer system), ingest tools, video production features, and playout control with archive capabilities – which was rapidly adopted by the industry’s most forward-thinking broadcasters, including NBC, Prime TV, and Russia Today, to name a few. The first decade of this century saw immense changes in the media industry, with the monumental shift to file-based workflows. With this came the growing need for flexible and comprehensive media asset management (MAM) solutions, a trend that we had identified and were well positioned to address with our background in news and radio. In fact, in 2009, we were honored with the IBC Innovation Award in the Content Management category having provided RTBF with a highly flexible and scalable tapeless workflow, facilitating the production across news, program and sports production operations from ingest to playout to archive. In our 20th year (2010), Dalet completed the strategic acquisition of Italian company Gruppo TNT. With their Brio video server platform, Gruppo TNT had already experienced great success in their domestic market, but Dalet saw the potential in this technology, highly complementary to our own, as the next generation of video servers on the global market. Not only has the Brio augmented our MAM-driven solutions, it has also, on its own merits, become the cornerstone of ingest and studio infrastructure at some of the world’s most prestigious media facilities. “Growing from an idea between six friends into a global business has not been without its challenges,” Michael Elhadad, another of the original six, notes. “We had to take a lot of chances and make decisions based solely on our vision of the future. We’ve had our fair share of disagreements throughout that process! It’s also been extremely rewarding to see the results of those decisions and the success that’s come thanks to the many exceptional people we’ve worked with over the years.” Looking to repeat the success of the Gruppo TNT acquisition, and further complement the now well-established 4th generation of our MAM platform, Dalet Galaxy, in April of 2014, UK-based AmberFin joined the Dalet family. Well known for high-quality transcode and file-based frame rate conversion products, the potential in combining the AmberFin expertise in media formats and processing with the workflow and media management experience of Dalet is truly exciting and already proving beneficial for our customers. Over a quarter of a century, from humble beginnings, we have become a truly international organization, proudly supporting our customers with software-based solutions that have and will continue to innovate and evolve in response to an ever-changing media economy. We especially want to thank the many individuals who have contributed to the success and growth of this company – naturally, all our past and present colleagues at Dalet, our partners, who have challenged us along the way and, of course, our customers who we exist to serve but also who have also provided their invaluable wisdom to help better our offerings. In our 25th year, and as we look to the next 25 years, we will use those secure foundations to continue firmly on that path, working in close partnership with our customers to embark on new journeys and reimagine the media enterprise.
An IBC preview that won’t leave you dizzy
When we write these blog entries each week, we normally ensure we have a draft a few days in advance to make sure we have plenty of time to review, edit and make sure that the content is worth publishing. This entry was late, very late. This pre-IBC post has been hugely challenging to write for two reasons: Drone-mounted Moccachino machines are not on the agenda – but Bruce’s post last week definitely has me avoiding marketing “spin.” There are so many things I could talk about, it’s been a struggle to determine what to leave out. Earlier this year, at the NAB Show, we announced the combination of our Workflow Engine, including the Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) 2.0-compliant workflow designer, and our Dalet AmberFin media processing platform. Now generally available in the AmberFin v11 release, we’ll be demonstrating how customers are using this system to design, automate and monitor their media transcode and QC workflows, in mission-critical multi-platform distribution operations. Talking of multi-platform distribution, our Dalet Galaxy media asset management now has the capability to publish directly to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, while the new Media Packages feature simplifies the management of complex assets, enabling users to see all of the elements associated with a specific asset, such as different episodes, promos etc., visually mapped out in a clear and simple way. Making things simple is somewhat of a theme for Dalet at IBC this year. Making ingest really easy for Adobe Premiere users, the new Adobe Panel for Dalet Brio enables users to start, stop, monitor, quality check and ingest directly from the Adobe Premiere Pro interface with new recordings brought directly into the edit bin. We’ll also be demonstrating the newly redesigned chat and messaging module in Dalet Galaxy, Dalet WebSpace and the Dalet On-the-Go mobile application. The modern, and familiar, chat interface has support for persistent chats, group chats, messaging offline users and much more. Legislation and consolidation of workflows mean that captioning and subtitling are a common challenge for many facilities. We are directly addressing that challenge with a standards-based, cross-platform strategy for the handling of captioning workflows across Dalet Galaxy, Dalet Brio and Dalet AmberFin. With the ability to read and write standards-constrained TTML, caption and subtitle data is searchable and editable inside the Dalet Galaxy MAM, while Dalet Brio is able to capture caption- and subtitle-containing ancillary data packets to disk and play them back. Dalet AmberFin natively supports the extraction and insertion of subtitle and caption data to and from .SCC and .STL formats respectively, while tight integration with other vendors extends support for other vendors. There are so many other exciting new features I could talk about, but it’s probably best to see them for yourself live in Amsterdam. Of course, if you’re not going to the show, you can always get the latest by subscribing to the blog, or get in touch with your local representative to get more information. There, and I didn’t even mention buzzwords 4K and cloud… …yet!
AmsterMAM – What’s New With Dalet at IBC (Part 1)
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may also receive our newsletters (if not, email us and we’ll sign you up) – the latest edition of which lists 10 reasons to visit Dalet at the upcoming IBC show (stand 8.B77). Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be using this blog to expand on some of those reasons, starting this week with a focus on Media Asset Management (MAM) and the Dalet Galaxy platform. Three years ago, putting together an educational seminar for SMPTE, Bruce Devlin (star of this blog and Chief Media Scientist at Dalet) interviewed a number of MAM vendors and end users about what a MAM should be and do. Pulling together the responses – starting with a large number of post-it notes and ending with a large Venn diagram – it was obvious that what “MAM” means to you is very dependent on how you want to use it. What we ended up with was a “core” of functionality that was common to all MAM-driven workflows and a number of outer circles with workflow-specific tasks. This is exactly how Dalet Galaxy is built – a unified enterprise MAM core, supporting News, Production, Sports, Archive, Program Prep and Radio, with task-specific tools unique to each business solution. At IBC we’ll be showcasing these workflows individually, but based on the same Dalet Galaxy core. For news, we have two demonstrations. Dalet News Suite is our customizable, Enterprise multimedia news production and distribution system. This IBC we’ll be showcasing new integration with social media and new tools for remote, mobile and web-based working. We’ll also be demonstrating our fully-packaged, end-to-end solution for small and mid-size newsrooms, Dalet NewsPack. In sports workflows, quick turnaround and metadata entry is essential – we’ll be showing how Dalet Sports Factory, with new advanced logging capabilities, enables fast, high-quality sports production and distribution. IBC sees the European debut of the new Dalet Galaxy-based Dalet Radio Suite, the most comprehensive, robust and flexible radio production and playout solution available, featuring Dalet OneCut editing, a rock-solid playout module featuring integration with numerous third parties and class-leading multi-site operations. Dalet Media Life provides a rich set of user tools for program prep, archive and production workflows. New for IBC this year, we’ll be previewing new “track stack” functionality for multilingual and multi-channel audio workflows, extended integration with Adobe Premiere and enhanced workflow automation. If you want to see how the Dalet Galaxy platform can support your workflow, or be central to multiple workflows click here to book at meeting at IBC or get in touch with our sales team. You can also find out more about what we’re showing at IBC here.
A Three-Platform Approach: Dalet Galaxy, Dalet Brio and Dalet AmberFin
So far, 2014 has been the year of mergers and acquisitions within the broadcast industry. As previously reported on this blog, not all this M&A activity is driven by the same customer-focused aims. However, in the case of Dalet, our recent strategic acquisition of AmberFin has the customer clearly in mind. The merging of the two companies enables our new enlarged and enriched company to cover significantly more bases within file-based workflow environments. From IBC 2014, Dalet will offer three technology platforms: Dalet Galaxy, Dalet Brio and Dalet AmberFin, leveraging the knowledge and technologies of both companies to deliver a broader and deeper set of solutions. It’s worth looking under the hood and understanding why this is so important. For readers that are new to some parts of the Dalet product family, let me shed a little light on these platforms: Dalet Galaxy is the latest and most advanced version of the Dalet Media Asset Management (MAM) platform and the most recent evolution of Dalet Enterprise Edition. The landmark development initiative leverages more than 10 years of successful MAM development and customer input. Dalet Galaxy is the industry's first business-centric, MAM platform developed to manage media workflows, systems and assets throughout the multimedia production and distribution chain. Dalet Brio is an innovative and cost-effective platform for broadcast customers looking for non-proprietary solutions to digitize and playback their content. Constructed using Dalet Brio servers (IT-based ingest and playout servers for SD and HD content), it also provides a powerful set of user tools and applications to help deliver video workflows. Dalet AmberFin is a high-quality, scalable transcoding platform with fully integrated ingest, mastering, QC and review functionality, enabling facilities to make great pictures in a scalable, reliable and interoperable way. AmberFin software runs on cost-effective, commodity IT hardware that can adapt and grow 
as the needs of your business change. Advanced Integration Capabilities to deliver new workflows As a specialist in MAM-driven workflows, Dalet has been actively looking at delivering end-to-end workflows, and we all know that one of the biggest problems we encounter is making the various workflow components work together efficiently and intelligently. This is the reason we, at Dalet and AmberFin, have always been strong supporters of industry standards as a means to ease integration issues when building workflows. Each of the three Dalet platforms possess powerful integration capabilities, based on standards and APIs, which enable every product built on these platforms to be integrated within overall workflows. Most importantly, we believe that the greatest added value we can bring to our customers comes from tight integration between these three platforms, empowering workflow optimization that previously was unimaginable. This vision goes well beyond what any industry standard or even proprietary API can achieve. Let’s take an example: in today’s modern workflows media will be transcoded at a variety of touch points in the production and distribution process, potentially degrading the source quality over successive generations. At Dalet, we strive within the AmberFin platform to minimize quality degradation at each step of the process, but we recognize this is not enough. In fact we still believe that “the best transcode is no transcode.” This can only be achieved by exploiting key metadata (technical, editorial and rights metadata) stored in the MAM platform in order to make smart decisions on when to transcode or not, and what type of transcode profile to apply. And this is just one of the ideas we have. At IBC this year, we will be showcasing some fantastic new features and facilities that are possible using the new extended and enriched Dalet portfolio of workflow solutions. Check out here our exciting theatre line-up for the next few days. We’re still booking demos, so it’s not too late to book a meeting: http://www.dalet.com/events/ibc-amsterdam-2014. To learn more about Dalet’s strategic acquisition of AmberFin, download the following white paper: http://www.dalet.com/white-paper/dalet-and-amberfin.
Dalet acquires AmberFin – One Year On
To be precise, on the day this is published, it is one year, one month, one week and one day since Dalet acquired AmberFin on the 6th of April 2014. It seems like an appropriate opportunity to reflect on the last 13 months. It wasn’t entirely by accident, but we were certainly fortunate, that we finalised the acquisition on the eve of NAB 2014. This not only presented an ideal opportunity for both teams to come together (a rarity with Dalet spread across 18 offices worldwide) and jointly talk to customers, but also established a milestone to annually measure the integration of people & technology. People are at the heart of any business, but given the level of professional services that Dalet provides to our customers, they are absolutely core to our business. It was immediately obvious at NAB 2014 that the AmberFin team were going to merge well with Dalet, and over the past year, we have been able to “blend” skills and start sharing knowledge across the now united organisation. By way of example, Arnaud Elnecave, a long-serving Dalet employee, recently assumed the position of General Manager of Products, taking global responsibility for our packaged product and solutions business, including Dalet AmberFin and Dalet Brio, while Simon Adler, formerly of AmberFin, took over Arnaud’s previous role as General Manager for our West Coast operations. Integrating AmberFin technology into the Dalet offering started immediately following the acquisition, and at IBC last September, we showcased how AmberFin technology could be used in multi-lingual/multi-version workflows, using the transcoder as a render engine under the Dalet Track Stack tool. At NAB, we showed customers further benefits of the acquisition with the combination of the Dalet Workflow Engine and Dalet AmberFin as a user-intuitive solution for orchestrating media-centric workflows. Of course, we also brought together a huge wealth of knowledge. Following on from the success of the “AmberFin Academy” – the free educational program – and its feature series, “Bruce’s Shorts,” we launched the Dalet Academy in January of this year, featuring a much broader topic set with more contributors (including partners, customers and consultants), as well as more blogs, webinars and live events at trade shows and conferences. In the background, we have of course merged the operations of the two companies. This is never an easy task and I take this opportunity to thank those involved for making that happen so smoothly. So, what’s next? I can’t reveal too much of the roadmap, but it is safe to say that our investment in AmberFin will continue to reap benefits for our customers, whether they come to us for a standalone transcoder or an enterprise-wide media asset management system. Acquisitions aren’t necessarily easy to get right; in fact, one article from Business Review Europe sites a Harvard Business Review report showing M&A failure rates as high as 90%. We like to consider ourselves a part of the 10%. One year on, Dalet, our partners and our customers are seeing and will continue to see the benefits of an excellent match in vision, technology and people.
5 Reasons why we need more than ultra HD to save TV
If you were lucky (or unlucky) enough to get to CES in Las Vegas this year, then you will know that UHD (Ultra High Definition TV) was the talking point of the show. By and large the staff on the booths were there to sell UHD TVs as pieces of furniture and few of them know the techno-commercial difficulties of putting great pictures onto those big, bright, curved(?) and really, really thin displays: In my upcoming webinar on the 29th January I will be looking into the future and predicting some of the topics that I think will need to be addressed over the next few years if TV as we know it is to survive. 1. Interoperability The number of screens and display devices is increasing. The amount of content available for viewing is going up but the number of viewers is not changing greatly. This means that we either have to extract more revenue from each user or reduce the cost of making that content. Having systems that don’t effectively inter-operate adds cost, wastes time and delivers no value so the consumer. Essence interoperability (video & audio) is gradually improving thanks to education campaigns (from AmberFin and others) as well as vendors with proprietary formats reverting to open standards because the cost of maintaining the proprietary formats is too great. Metadata interoperability is the next BIG THING. Tune in to the webinar to discover the truth about essence interoperability and then imagine how much unnecessary cost exists in the broken metadata flows that exists between companies and between departments. 2. Interlace must die UHD may be the next big thing, but just like HDTV it is going to have to show a lot of old content to be a success. Flick through the channels tonight and ask yourself “How much of the content was shot & displayed progressively”. On a conventional TV channel the answer is probably “none”. Showing progressive content on a progressive screen via an interlaced TV value chain is nuts. It reduces quality and increases bitrate. Anyone looking at some of the poor pictures shown at CES will recognise the signs of demonstrations conceived by marketers who did not understand the effects of interlace on an end to end chain. Re-using old content involves up-scaling & deinterlacing existing content – 90% of which is interlaced. In the webinar, I’ll use AmberFin’s experience in making the world’s finest progressive pictures to explain why interlace is evil and what you can do about it. 3. Automating infrastructure Reducing costs means spending money on the things that are important and balancing expenditure between what is important today and what is important tomorrow. There is no point in investing money in MAMs and Automation if your infrastructure won’t support it and give you the flexibility you need. You’ll end up redesigning your automation strategy forever. The folks behind xkcd.com explain this much more succinctly and cleverly than I could ever do. In the webinar, I’ll explain the difference between different virtualization techniques and why they’re important. 4. Trust confidence & QC More and more automation brings efficiency, cost savings and scale, but also means that a lot of the visibility of content is lost. Test and measurement give you the metrics to know about that content. Quality Control gives you decisions that can be used to change your Quality Assurance processes. These processes in turn allow your business to deliver media product that delivers the right technical quality for the creative quality your business is based on. So here’s the crunch. The more you automate, the less you interact with the media, the more you have to trust the metadata and pre-existing knowledge about the media. How do you know it’s right? How do you know that the trust you have in that media is founded? For example. A stranger walks up to you in the street and offers you a glass of water. Would you drink it? Probably not. If that person was your favourite TV star with a camera crew filming you – would you drink it now? Probably? Trust means a lot in life and in business. I’ll explore more of this in the webinar. 5. Separating the pipe from the content If, like me, you’re seeing more grey hair appearing on the barber’s floor with each visit then you may remember the good old days when the capture standard (PAL) was the same as the contribution standard (PAL) and the mixing desk standard (PAL) and the editing standard (PAL) and the playout standard (PAL) and the transmission standard (PAL). Today we could have capture format (RED), a contribution standard (Aspera FASP), a mixing desk standard (HDSDI), an editing standard (MXF DNxHD),a playout standard (XDCAM-HDSDI) and a transmission standard (DVB-T2) that are all different. The world is moving to IP. What does that mean? How does it behave? A quick primer on the basics will be included in the webinar. Why not sign up below before it’s too late? Places are limited – I know it will be a good one. Register for our next webinar on: Wednesday 29th January at: 1pm GMT, 2pm CET, 8am EST, 5am PST OR 5pm GMT, 6pm CET, 12pm EST, 9am PST ‘til next time. I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If so, why not sign-up to receive notifications of new blog posts as they are published?
Thanksgiving - It's a marathon (and not just for Turkeys)
I love the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s the one time of the year when most of the USA decides to shut down and have a little leisure time. For me, it means that my inbox tends to drop by several hundred emails before the madness of the working week starts again: I am sure that the native American Turkey feels less good about the season. There are many reports of a shortage of fresh turkeys and that despite this shortage, the average US consumer still prefers to spend $20 on a bulk farmed bird instead of $300 on a free range hand reared bird that has taken a year of natural living to reach its market weight. Interesting times for turkeys, but also for the media industry. Forcing 100x the “natural” number of turkeys through a farm may raise ethical concerns, but forcing 100x the “traditional” number of files through a media facility is now becoming the norm for many who have decided to take the plunge and go fully automated and file based. We know what happens to all the turkeys – there is an endless marathon that starts with the enormous roast bird on the table, followed by turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey stew and baked Alaska with turkey (my son’s experimental cooking!). According to this excellent article on yahoo, it would appear that the great American public is also in for a marathon this weekend. Many, many channels have decided that now the content is all digitised, it can be delivered in one great orgy of content where you can choose your channel, settle into your couch and then watch several complete series of your favourite comedy / drama / movie franchise / cooking show / documentary / …. without ever having to move. Obviously there is the need to eat more turkey and visit the lavatory, but essentially it seems that the Thanksgiving weekend is a TV highlight of the year. I am encouraged to see that many of the shows and many of the channels have used or are using AmberFin software to deliver these marathons. Our whole raison d’etre is to allow a media company to quickly, efficiently and economically move large volumes of material from a cost centre (like an archive) to a profit centre (like a playout facility). Getting into the file domain and delivering resilient, reliable workflows is key to doing this profitably. If you’d like some free training on the fundamentals of enterprise workflow design (especially around transcoding), then please sign up for the next webinar in my Bruce’s Shorts series. I won’t pitch product at you, but I will tell you some of the theory and good practise around getting your business goals implemented in realistic timescales at low cost. Save me some turkey! ‘till next time. I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If so, why not sign-up to receive notifications of new blog posts as they are published?
4K, HDR, HFR, 3D, Internet - where does the future lie?
In my recent webinar, I outlined where I thought the future was going. I covered quite a lot of the technicalities and a little of the market dynamics. If you missed the webinar then please sign-up to request the recording: It is interesting to me that one of the big drivers for 4k is the consumer electronics industry. Essentially these hi-tech, covetable pieces of furniture are being used to drive the sensor-size of the devices used to make films and TV shows. Compared to a decade ago, I feel the tail is starting to wag the dog quite violently. We're not doomed though. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increasingly vocal group of expert individuals and companies that I respect who have been talking in detail about HFR (High Frame Rate), HDR (High Dynamic Range), 3D (not-quite-dead-yet), OTT (and its business models) and fractional frame rates (aaarrrggghh) in terms of the real problems that we're solving as an industry. In an ideal world, our industry is an entertainment pipe that transfers great ideas from creative people to the consumer. It doesn't matter if the genre be fiction, news, sports or other, but it does matter that the consumer sees value in the pipe. 4k will be wonderful if the compression scheme used gives enough bandwidth to see all the pixels. HFR will give better results for certain genres like sports and some documentaries, but may make other genres less immersive. HDR improves dramatically the signal to noise of the transmission pipe and allow much greater viewing latitude for the furniture (sorry) screen makers. The camera folks at RED have put together a neat page that shows some of the issues. I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all technology that works for every genre all the time. Radio did not kill off the newspapers. Cinema did not kill off Radio. TV killed neither Radio nor Cinema. The internet has, so far, not killed TV. I think we'll see increasing fragmentation on the distribution channel side and thus an increasing demand for "Squeeze this HFR, HDR HD content into that 4k LFR Channel and make it look good" pieces of software. This makes me happy because that's what we set up AmberFin to do - make great video processing software that joins the economic uncertainty of distribution to the technical choices made in production. It would be nice, along the way, to prevent commercial drivers introducing unwanted and unnecessary technical degradation. Fractional frame rates and film-cadence errors are my current bug-bear. We have just released our new adaptive cadence correction software in our v9.7 of iCR. This performs an Inverse telecine function to correct for inappropriate handling of cadence in a TVworkflow. This is important because if you're going to put that content onto the web, or 4k or up-frame-rate to 120fps at some distant time in the future then the visibility of the plague of blended frames and mixed video-filmic degradations will be enhanced. I try not to wear my "sales-hat" in these blog posts, but we do have a pre-NAB special offer ontranscode nodes with this new high quality cadence corrector that has received rave reviews from our beta testers. Why not get in touch with your local sales rep or download the white paper to see why I think this is an important topic for toady and for the future. 'till next time.'
Broadcast Workflows - Looking to the future
Today’s the day for my webinar on the future. I must confess to being slightly nervous. Once you put your ideas on paper and tell the world, an invisible clock starts ticking and you’re open to the scrutiny of the world: I know that many hundreds of people will tune into the webinar and nod wisely as I talk about UHDTV, IP transfer, why the death of interlace can’t come soon enough and I wonder what my predictions will look like in 2016 and 2020: I know already that there is one topic I forgot to include – the issue of fractional frame rates. We live in a software world where just about anything you can think of can be made for a price. There really are very few limits to creativity left nowadays, yet we not only live with the compromises of the past – SOME PEOPLE STILL THINK THEY’RE A GOOD IDEA! Sorry, I’ve calmed down now. Let’s start with a little history. In the early days of television we wanted to show a frame rate that was high enough to avoid flicker, but with enough vertical resolution to be sharp. One of the compromises was to invent INTERLACE – Aaaaagghh. Sorry. I get worked up when interlace is mentioned. But there were other compromises. A frame rate had to be chosen that did not cause beat frequencies with the electricity supply. If your electricity is at 50Hz and you show a picture at 60fields/s on an old (1940s - 1950s) television set, then you will see vertical lines on your screen that move up (or down) at the beat frequency of 60-50 = 10 field lines/second. This is very annoying, so in the original television standards we related to the field / frame rates to the electricity frequencies to make set design easier and cheaper. Before clicking on this map link, I’d like you to imagine what percentage of the world watches pictures at 50fields/s (i.e. 25 fps) and what percentage watches at 60fields/s (i.e. 30fps). If you live in the USA, this is quite surprising – most of the eyeballs watching TV in the world are not using your frame rate. This makes frame rate conversion (or temporal conversion) technology one of the key technologies for multi-platform distribution (luckily for me, AmberFin are global leaders in this). I digress. When color TV was introduced by the NTSC committee in the USA in December 1953, a slight reduction of the frame rate was introduced to reduce the visibility of the chrominance subcarrier and the FM audio subcarrier. This meant that the frame rate was not 30fps, but (30 / 1.001) fps. This gave the birth of 29.97fps television – a fractional frame rate that has had huge consequences through the industry. Because of fractional frame rates, timecode had to have a counting mode that allowed it to keep (roughly) in sync with the time of day – this is called drop frame. Mixing drop frame and non-drop frame timecode and getting it wrong wastes thousands if not millions of dollars around the world every year in content rework. As I mentioned earlier, we live in a software world where just about anything you can think of can be made for a price. So why is it still a good idea to introduce brand new formats like 120fps video and insist on a 1.001 fractional offset? It makes no sense. Modern TV sets don’t care. Companies likeAmberFin (and a few others) can convert to and from the fractional rates with ease in software. Why burden the many to solve the problems of a very few? It’s crazy. If you care about this – get involved in the SMPTE 10e group or the ITU group before it’s too late. If it’s all quite interesting and you’d like to know more, then tune into today’s seminar – you can sign up right here – but be quick space is limited! Register for our next webinar TODAY: Wednesday 29th January at: 1pm GMT, 2pm CET, 8am EST, 5am PST OR 5pm GMT, 6pm CET, 12pm EST, 9am PST ‘til next time. I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If so, why not sign-up to receive notifications of new blog posts as they are published?
Regulations and UQC + Case Studies from the UK Screen Show
What an excellent day hosted by the UK Screen association. The UK Screen association is the trade body for UK Post Production Houses and they held a day out in London where the main topic of discussion was QC and workflow. I was lucky enough to do a presentation and sit on a couple of panels as well as voice my opinions. There was lively discussion and one of the topics that bubbled to the surface was “Where does the QC get done in a full DPP workflow?” If you have been following the blog then you’ll know that I am a big fan of the DPP’s (Digital Production Partnership) approach to encouraging standards based file workflows. Now that version 4 of the DPP delivery specification is out, we all (should) know that there is a requirement for Quality Control. This is one of the first cases worldwide where the requirement for QC is pushed upstream of the delivery to the broadcaster. The UK is also one of the only countries in the world where there is a legal requirement to check for photo-sensitive epilepsy (PSE) triggers in the content. So what? I hear you ask. Well, there can be serious fines by the UK regulator if there were ever a consumer who has a serious health incident as a result of a broadcast that triggers an epileptic incident. The UK regulator can only fine the broadcaster, but the broadcaster might want to create a contract that passes responsibility upstream to the content provider or post-production facility. This is a tricky situation, because the PSE test is quite sensitive to variations in the encoder and/or decoder used to display, transcode or transmission-encode the content. This causes concern because the measurement is a hard go / no-go test. If a piece of content fails in post-production, then it is usually re-edited to make it pass. But, by definition, the content will still be “a bit flashy” and therefore is very likely to be on the edge of passing. As a result, any sensitivity to encoder or decoder behaviour is likely to make a piece of content that is close to the edge randomly pass or fail depending on how it is tested. AmberFin has performed several experiments to confirm this. Worse still, the regulations in the UK have been updated to say (roughly) “passing in an automatic tool is no guarantee that content is safe”. I paraphrase, but this leaves broadcasters and post houses in an awkward position where there really isn’t any guarantee of what you need to do to pass this legal requirement. Despite the fact that many of my close friends are lawyers, people who know me will realise that this is exactly the sort of situation that causes me to get very animated and very angry, very quickly. I wish I knew what the magic solution was. The best we can do today is to use the automatic tooling today and add subjective editorial judgement to the automatic measurement. Fortunately, this is exactly the reason that AmberFin developed UQC to combine the best of human judgement and automatic measurements. On a happier note. the closing Case Study of the session was given by Andy Beale of BT and Charlie Tear of timeline.tv They gave a run-down of the awe-inspiring build-out of the new BT Sport facility. Please read our press release or any of the news stories on the internet. They managed to build a brand new facility in a time-frame that was mind-bendingly short and achieve a level of quality that delivered an audience to BT Sport that exceeded all expectation. This is a major success story and AmberFin has been proud to play their part in the delivery of a truly innovativeDPP based facility. A thoroughly great day out – thanks to the organisers and the co-sponsors. Don’t forget to download our DPP white paper if you haven’t done so already.