IBC2013 Q&A: Eric Dufosse, vice president, live solutions, Grass Valley
2013 has so far been dominated by 4K-related discussion. But when do you think this technology might begin to break through in a meaningful sense for consumers?
4K may be the natural evolution of the TV format corresponding to a future increase of the consumer displays which enables a different user experience with a larger angle of view. Despite what happened with 3D, which is still a niche application for TV production, higher resolutions will happen; the question is when. On the consumer front, the compression formats are being defined, and there is the emergence of chipsets that will enable decoding, but we are at least three years away from affordable offerings that will justify the production of the content for TV organisations.
On the production side, it is much more complicated. In general, current acquisition technologies are physically not capable of achieving the depth of field needed for applications such as sports at an economic cost. Therefore, it seems obvious that better acquisition options are needed before 4K would become a reality.
Digital-cinema applications centered on specific types of cameras and NLE solutions like Grass Valley EDIUS can only support certain 4K workflows. For other applications, such as live events, a number of aspects still need to be solved: contribution compression format, infrastructure topology, and, more importantly, a business model that will support the required investment for the production environment. Production professionals have also been confused around some specialty applications that use a 4K imager to create HD signals with pan-and-scan functions. These are interesting ideas, but they are difficult to deploy and are reserved for specific high-end applications, which create a number of integration issues with the rest of the production infrastructure.
Sports-wise, what has been the big story of the year so far for Grass Valley and why?
We really benefit from the fact that we offer a wide range of products that position us well in multiple production environments, including live production such as sports, which for us is growing significantly. We delivered a number of innovations this year, including shipment of the 600th K2 Dyno replay system and the launch of our K2 Dyno academy.
The big story really is that we are uniquely positioned to help customers with end-to-end production solutions. For example, Mediatec (Switzerland) chose Grass Valley to enable their ongoing expansion in the global live broadcast and events market.
Additionally, adoption of our new camera range has been very good around the world. A UAE customer had used Sony exclusively for many years in both SD and HD. They made an extensive comparison test between LDX and the latest Sony studio cameras. LDX, although only available in an early software status at the time, still beat Sony on image performance, especially in 3G formats. This is the first LDX customer in this region.
What can you tell us of Grass Valley’s offerings at IBC2013?
Grass Valley continues to innovate and expand its portfolio with more software-based products. Grass Valley will again show the GV Director nonlinear production center, which will be shipping in Q4. New versions and accessories are being added for LDX series of cameras. K2 Dyno is seeing an increase in the market from training and business activities and now supports ShareFlex, where multiple systems can be combined and instantly share replays, highlights, and channel resources across a standard network. GV STRATUS includes support for multiscreen delivery, tagging on the fly, and integration with GV Edge integrated playout. GV STRATUS will be offering workflow and editing enhancements for greater user flexibility. A new facility-control application layer will be introduced that works in conjunction with components such as Jupiter routing switcher control. The vision-mixer products will have additional features and options to extend operator capabilities. EDIUS 7 has already been introduced, which supports SD, HD, 2K-, and 4K-resolution editing and is open to third-party input and output hardware.