Live from Las Vegas, Day Three
The deluge of press releases and conferences slows down to a trickle as NAB enters its third day, but as SVG’s team on the show floor can attest, there’s still plenty to talk about. Here are highlights of the most recent coverage.
While much of the attention at the show is focused on next-generation technologies, Fred Garroy, GM, EVS Americas, believes that finding a complete tapeless solution remains the biggest need.
“Networks want to ingest once and then be able to deliver content to stations across the whole country,” he adds.
EVS is taking steps in that direction with advances for the XT3 server line, including more storage and the addition of automatic low-res–proxy creation, a feature expected to be available in the near future. The goal is to make it easier than ever for broadcasters to implement the workflow that best suits their needs.
“For events like the Olympics, more and more broadcasters want to be working from home,” says Garroy. “So we’re adding power to XT3.”
Interestingly though, EVS’ core replay market is coming under increasing threat at this year’s show. Abekas’ Mira instant-replay server, for one, has a new control surface for the device that promises to make life better for the person it affects most: the operator.
“We’ve radically redesigned the control interface,” says Chief Product Manager Douglas Johnson. “We designed it so that we can reduce the possibility of double button presses, we made it more ergonomically friendly to the operator’s environment, and we put it all on one screen.”
The new control panel, which ships at the end of April, features a jog/shuttle dial on the right and a replay speed T-bar on the left. Wider and slimmer than most other panels on the market, it is designed to be comfortable and ergonomic. The layout accommodates a computer keyboard directly in front of the control surface. In this configuration, interaction with the GUI doesn’t require a second display or force the operator to move away from the action on-screen. Buttons are grouped with generous spacing to reduce the chances of multiple buttons’ being selected at the same time—a problem commonly encountered with other control panels.
Evertz is also taking a tilt at the market. And, more than that according to Mo Goyal, Product Manager for Evertz Microsystems, the company is looking to change the way replay is done. “Dreamcatcher is our foray into the live, slo-mo replay market,” says Goyal. “It’s highly scalable with flexible architecture… that allows us to meet the changing needs of our customer base.”
Evertz, drawing from its experiences building the Mediator Content Management and Automation system, sought to create a replay server characterized by production quality, new compression technology, and codec flexibility. Rather than rely on a single mode of compression, Dreamcatcher can handle JPEG2000, MPEG-4, and H.264, among others.
“I can do more with less,” says Goyal, of the user reaction he hopes Dreamcatcher will achieve. “Do more replays, get more information, with less operators.”
Cognizant that entering the replay server market pits the company against some steep competition, Evertz plans to offer a different way to approach replay.
“We know that we’re going in as the underdog in this race,” says Goyal, “We’re looking at all the ways to change the way you do replay.”
Elsewhere, without question, Adobe Creative Suite 6 has been one of the biggest stories permeating the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center at this year’s NAB Show. And with good reason. The latest version of Adobe’s production software, which will hit the market at some point during this quarter, includes major updates for Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and promises “blazingly fast performance” and “streamlined workflows.”
But perhaps the most significant aspect of the CS6 announcement for those in the broadcast market is that the software is, in fact, built specifically for them.
“Broadcast is decidedly the focus for this release,” says Al Mooney, product manager of video editing, Adobe Systems. “We focused on the broadcast craft editor as our main target. That is not to say that we didn’t speak with filmmakers and others to make sure we integrated that functionality as well, but broadcast was our No. 1 while post was No. 2 for this release. And that is because we saw a serious opportunity to make a high-end, professional, robust NLE for the broadcast editor.”
Over in the audio realm, multilayer digital consoles have quickly gained traction in the US and whole-truck automation-control systems may be next. More console/router combinations are becoming compatible with automation solutions from European companies, such as L-S-B Broadcast Technologies and BFE Studio und Medien Systeme (KSC Router Control), even as similar systems from companies closer to home — Grass Valley, Evertz, Miranda — take hold in studios.
In the same vein, Calrec is demonstrating how the Hydra2 audio-routing system can interact with third-party control- and production-automation equipment, using a Ross switcher emulator in conjunction with Ross Overdrive technology, which allows visibility into and control over a number of settings. This allows third-party control over a number of Calrec audio-console settings, such as fader position, PFL and cut control for paths on faders, routing to auxes from faders, output-level control for auxes, routing to mains from faders, main-output-level/fader control, and LB/RB input switching for paths on faders.
Meanwhile, Sony Creative Software quietly (that is, in a back room at the booth) showed an interesting new software system that sports-audio post producers will find very useful. Spectral Layers displays audio in a frequency-spectrum format and allows the user to target a very specific part of it, isolate it, and flip the phase, essentially cancelling it out without disturbing the audio frequencies around the target spectrum.
Sound Design Manager/Demo Engineer Mike Scheibing showed SVG that, besides allowing very precise editing of errors and other artifacts, the system can surgically remove music from around dialog or vice versa. The possibilities for maneuvering around rights-management issues in archival or even contemporary video clips is considerable: music licensing costs can be reduced or eliminated by removing the music without affecting the remaining dialogue and sound effects.