Creative Technology celebrates relationships and showcases tech at CTFest19

Creative Technology, an NEP Live Events company, has spent this week hosting CTFest19, the second of this now annual event held at its HQ in Crawley, just outside London. The company has spent the week showcasing its own technologies, partnerships with outside companies, and synergies within the NEP Group.

Watching the big screen at CTFest19, guests were able to see the combined efforts of Creative Technology and many of its partners

While introducing the day to visitors, Dave Crump, president at Creative Technology, commented on the question he is often asked about how the company’s acquisition by NEP Group is moving forward: “Creative Technology joined the NEP Group around two and a half years ago. Outwardly nothing’s changed [since the acquisition]. On the inside, we now have much more access to cash, and synergies and relationships with all these other companies [in the NEP Group]. Personally, I don’t think it could be any better.”

Partner companies at the event included Unusual Rigging for rigs, TSL for stage lighting, ShowTex for display fabrics, Take 4D, an industrial robotics firm working in film and entertainment, Potion Partners, which creates content and with whom Creative Technology is working on the Strictly Come Dancing show, Broadcast RF for its RF technology, and VYV for media servers. NEP Group companies included NEP Connect, BSI and NEP Media Solutions.

“Our aim with this event is to show customers the technologies that we have and future technologies we’re working on as well. As we have our brother and sister companies from the NEP Group here too, we’re showing how we work together as well,” stated Ben Tompsett, head of broadcast at Creative Technology.

One key partner out of the 13 at the event that was showcasing its latest technology at CTFest19 was Panasonic, which shipped its 8K Region of Interest Camera System over from NAB in Las Vegas for this event. The camera, using an 8K sensor image from a single camera position, is able to provide either one 8K feed, one 4K feed, or five HD sources.

Panasonic has been working with another NEP Group sister company, Fletcher, on the camera control from a remote position. Panasonic global rental and staging business designer, Yoshiteru Hara, told SVG Europe the company is now working on an automated tracking system for sports events, with the goal of needing no operator. The camera as it currently stands will be available this coming July.

Said Tompsett: “We have a really fantastic working relationship with Panasonic, from our past experience working together on major events, plus they’re one of our biggest clients and we are one of theirs.

He added: “Creative Technology has 20 channels of the new Panasonic 4K studio camera channels, the UC 3000 and UC 4000. So the new PPU’s we’ve built (by ES Broadcast) over the past year are all 4K systems built around 12G.”

NEP Connect was also at the event. Tompsett said: “The way we’re going forward with NEP Connect is looking at the possibilities of now doing remote production for some of our clients. There are some conceptual discussions going on with Federations and sports partners right now about that. We would use the NEP Connect backbone, Mediabank for content capture, playback, editing etc, and potentially, remote production.”

Daragh Bass, head of sales for NEP Media Solutions UK, commented on the use of NEP Media Solutions in the context of remote production, or as he phrased it, remote production 2.0, also known as centralised production. He noted that the NEP Centralised Production Platform is based on a platform as a service (PaaS) model, so clients can benefit from access to the latest in technology innovation including virtualised cloud production infrastructure. “For example we can use Mediabank, our media asset management (MAM) service, allowing users to access content [for production purposes] from anywhere, on any device. Centralised production offers everything from live content to augmented reality studios, and a lot more.”

Bass added: “A lot of this innovation around centralised production is coming out of NEP Netherlands. They often have to deal with smaller budgets so have needed to be innovative, and now we’re rolling it out globally.”

Also, he noted that coming in the third quarter in its committed roadmap, Mediabank will be integrated as a side panel plug-in, add-on service into Adobe Premier. “So you can drag content from Mediabank directly into your timeline, and search easily.”

There were many other technology demonstrations at the event, including a conceptual virtual studio with Creative Technology’s partner, VYV. Using a single server from VYV – rather than multiple servers often used in rival virtual studios – the system is based on the Unreal Engine.

Stated Tompsett: “Using a single server saves us on latency versus other systems out there, which can have eight or nine frames of latency. We’ve done the several server version using the Notch render engine; we know it can work, but we wanted to see what more could be done. On our single server solution using Unreal means we have only two frames of latency. The full product, which will also be rapidly deployable in just one day, will be available at IBC this September.”

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