SVG@NAB Viewpoints: Ensuring That Content Remains King

Team SVG was out in force during NAB 2015, with nine reporters scouring the show floor and checking out the latest in technology as well as sitting down with dozens of industry leaders on both the exhibitor and attendee side. These reports from the entire SVG editorial staff offer nine individual perspectives that, collectively, form a single vision of what NAB 2015 meant for today and, more important, tomorrow.

A great deal has been written about the accelerating rate of technological change over the past couple of years — some of it cogent, some of it not so much. Given the huge variety of opinion, the most logical approach is arguably to get out on the show floor and decide for yourself. And judging on the basis of NAB 2015, the cycle of change in our industry is both rapid and intensifying all the time.

Ten days after the show closed its doors, the announcement in the UK that Sky is to shut its 3D channel this summer couldn’t help reminding one that, five or six years ago, the NAB Show and IBC conversation was almost entirely dominated by 3D. Given the amount of discussion about 8K at NAB 2015, could it be that the last few years’ focus on 4K could soon begin to seem rather passé? One doesn’t need to be involved in the industry to suspect that things are in danger of getting out of hand. As a friend recently remarked, “SD is still a recent memory, and I was late to the party for HD. As for 4K — well, I have a feeling I might just wait for 16K.”

There is no doubt that increased resolutions have the potential to deliver the sports events we love so much in ever greater levels of clarity and detail. But quite apart from the issue of whether the human eye and brain can successfully process so much visual information, does our present preoccupation with the logistics of introducing formats threaten to eclipse our understanding of how they might actually serve the content itself?

NAB 2015 was awash with exciting new products designed to support 4K-content production, and, doubtless, IBC will be the same. But it strikes me that there needs to be an equal emphasis on how these new formats and tools intersect with editorial practice and policy. Rather than be wowed so much by the (admittedly impressive) new techniques, shouldn’t we be talking more about the real-world differences they can make to loyal sports fans and, more specifically, how they can enhance the existing storylines of the major tournaments?

It could be argued that answering these questions will prove to be beyond the scope of current-generation directors and producers and will call for the emergence of multidisciplinary executives equally at home with matters of technological and editorial substance. If so, it is to be hoped that they will have a chance to get their voices heard properly as the cycle of change rolls remorselessly onward.

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