NAB in Review: Graphics Providers Seek To Satisfy a Range of Resolutions

While the on-screen displays were certainly impressive, the biggest story in graphics at NAB 2013 was not the graphics themselves but the merger of two powerhouses. Chyron, long a staple in South Lower hall, dropped its trademark blue but added significant global traction with its acquisition of Hego Group, rebranding as ChyronHego.

“The sports industry is becoming more and more global. For us at Chyron, we’ve had good global presence, but we’re really primarily an entity in the Americas,” says Bill Hendler, chief technology officer, ChyronHego. “We’ve been wanting to broaden out globally, in particular in the European market, which is a very active market in sports. Since, by far, the bulk of [Hego’s] presence is European, that looked like a really good fit.”

With virtually no overlap in product lines, ChyronHego will be able to address both the unique needs of live sports production — thanks to Hego’s augmented-reality, virtual product-placement, and telestration services — and of live and near-live news production, the long-time bread and butter of Chyron’s business.

At last month’s NAB Show, however, the focus was not only on combining product lines but on merging services that could cater to future needs. ChyronHego announced the launch of Mosaic, a high-performance, 1080p-capable broadcast-graphics platform for use in traditional or automated production workflow. In addition, the company is keeping an eye on 4K.

“I think the live, end-to-end production picture is just starting to piece together. I’m not sure it’s quite pieced yet,” said Hendler, “but we’ve certainly got the graphic end of it, whatever people need to do.”

The Future of 4K
Similarly, Orad kept the focus on 1080p but will be prepared for 4K when the need arises.

Orad debuted its next-generation video-graphics platform, the HDVG4, which offers up to 16K output, 16 live HD inputs, multiple crossplatform outputs, IP stream out, and native support for 3G/1080p. The company also had its sports portfolio on display, including demos of its PlayMaker sports-replay server, MVP sports-enhancement solution, and PowerPlay postproduction editorial sports workflow.

“All of our things are inherently 4K-capable, so 4K’s not an issue for us,” says Shaun Dail, VP, sales and marketing, Orad. “Our graphics are 4K, PlayMaker tools are 4K. We’re doing 1080p with MVP for ESPN this fall on Monday Night Football.”

However, for Orad, 4K in itself is not the ultimate goal; ensuring both speed and quality for end users — in whatever format they choose — is. “Streamlined workflows are critical, reducing the number of people who have to travel, the number of people that are crammed into a truck,” he says. “If you can do more with less and give a better production with less people and less equipment, that’s a win for everybody.”

At Vizrt’s booth — an ACE (Awesome Cool Exhibit) Award winner — 4K was out in full force. The company demonstrated the ability of Viz Engine to effectively handle 4K resolution and render 4K graphics in real time and showed off its IP media-streaming capabilities.

“Viz Engine was designed to be powerful and scalable enough to handle the changing demands of content creation, management, and distribution,” said Gerhard Lang, chief engineering officer, Vizrt, in a press release. “Viz Engine enables users to realize their creative vision, regardless of resolution, formats, and distribution outlets, while maximizing their investment.”

Keeping the Second Screen in Mind
Not to be forgotten amidst talk of 4K, the second screen factored prominently into many graphics providers’ NAB 2013 plans.

Using Viz Engine, broadcasters can stream multiple formats and resolutions simultaneously for efficiently creating online and mobile graphic and video content. Also on display was Viz Media Engine, which encodes live video from high resolution to any format at speeds faster than real time for online and mobile devices and allows broadcasters to have high-quality video and custom graphics and branding for every device, all happening in a single step.

Behind the Scenes
With an eye on different segments of the graphics workflow, NVIDIA showcased its latest GPU technology, which provides the power behind animation, color correction, editing, visual effects, on-air graphics, and multiscreen distribution. The company’s Quadro and Tesla GPUs, based on its Kepler architecture, provide performance increases of up to 30% over previous NVIDIA generations and feature 4K-display capability.

“4K is something that we at NVIDIA have actually been, at least on the display side, working with for a long time, building up experience in other industries, which is helping us very much,” says Andrew Page, senior product manager, professional multidisplay and video, NVIDIA. “4K is a big trend this year, [and] GPUs really make moving to 4K a lot easier.”

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