NAB Perspectives: Forscene’s Cowan on Growth in Cloud-Based Video Editing for Sports

At NAB Forbidden is featuring the new Forscene, which was unveiled at IBC2014 and went live in December. With the overhauled user interface comes a new MAM system, through which users can move media between Forscene servers in different locations; rename, share, and publish media from various accounts in the Forscene MAM; manage and configure ingest servers from the cloud; and configure publishing settings and formats from the Forscene MAM. Other new Forscene features include the ability to publish with burnt-in timecode or other metadata; expanded multicam logging to support up to 18 cameras simultaneously; and increased support for different formats that enables functions such as editing MXF files during ingest. At the show, SVG sat down with Director of Business Development Jason Cowan to discuss the new Forscene iteration and how sports production is rapidly transforming a business founded on long-form collaborative video editing through the cloud for episodic television.

NAB2015: what have you seen in terms of number and types of visitors to the booth this year?

We’ve had more people visit on the first two days of this show than we had throughout the entire show last year. And we’re in exactly the same location! However the profile of Forscene has been transformed. Things like the IMG announcement in February (sports giant IMG has licensed Forscene for all its digital rights content production in Stockley Park): people have come to the booth saying we’ve heard about this, what are you doing with them, how does it work and can we see it?

Also a lot of what we’ve been doing with deltatre has brought in a huge amount of interest. They’ve been kind enough to help us into the Americas and we’re now working with the guys in Turin, meaning that we’re starting to get their international footprint guys working with us as well. It’s an excellent relationship for us.

The growth is mainly around sports. The long-form side for us is bread and butter because that’s what we’ve done for so long. We have had a UK-centric situation where we manage about 130 productions a month. Now we’ve got the likes of Goldrush and The Voice, those kinds of big shows, which use Forscene on a month-by-month basis. We opened our Toronto office late last year, and have a number of productions starting up there as well. And the long-form business is starting to move into the US.

The growth in that area is steady – but the growth in sports is astronomical. We had two or three sports events we were servicing last year. We had five or six in the first quarter of this year — and in the pipeline this year I would be surprised if we are not doing 20-30 sports events.

It’s people taking existing workflows and re-looking at efficiencies to those existing workflows. None of them are major events; all of them are actually transforming existing events and existing contracts into better, more efficient ways of doing things.

What’s been the breakthrough factor there, with the sports production community?

I think from our perspective it’s acceptance of Forscene as an editorial tool. Before, people may have looked at our old interface and said, ‘this is not what a traditional editor who is used to Final Cut of Avid is going to accept’. With our new skin and redesign that we launched in December, there’s a familiarity for editors. They look at it and say, ‘actually, I accept this as a nonlinear edit tool’.

What I’ve done is hire in guys in Toronto and in London who come from 20-30 years of editorial background, and they can work with clients and say ‘I used to be an FCP or Avid or Adobe Premier editor and I will show how you can do what you are asking to do within Forscene’.

We’ve had all the major sports broadcasters here on the booth within the first two days. We’re right up front now. That’s changed. And a lot of them have sought us out, where before we’d be chasing them and banging on the door and no-one would see us. Now they’re coming to us – which is a complete shift for our company. It’s all coming together at the right time!

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