On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
With the ever-increasing number of program channels and range of different program distribution formats, the process of ensuring program quality has become a complex one for contribution/capture, production, post production, server ingest and content distribution.
For many in the broadcast industry these are challenging times. With competition coming from all angles and different technological camps advocating different approaches to infrastructure and the way forwards. With the number of different variables increasing, the choices of whether to use SDI or IP infrastructures, and the choices around HDR and WCG let alone the on-going distraction of UHD / 4K.
Over the last few years Suitcase TV has been getting involved in remote production at the software layer, and I want to talk about some of the ways we have been getting involved in remote production, including a specific trial that we did last year with BBC Sport for the Euro 2016 tournament in Paris.
The recent SMPTE IMF plugfest that was kindly hosted by Fox in Burbank gave the vendors, users and content owners a chance to discuss the fine details of the IMF standard and to get excited about where it will take the Post Production community.
The momentum behind moving media operations to IP-based environments is unstoppable and to stay ahead of the competition these days, companies need to be migrating operations away from rigid, single-purpose components and towards software-based common computing resources.
Many of you will be reading this as you prepare for IBC. Some may even be reading it on the train/plane/ship to Amsterdam. I want to take a couple of minutes of your time to look at a last minute addition to IBC. It concerns IP, but trust me: this is good news so please do not stop reading just yet.
On 26 July 1916 there was a public meeting in New York. It was called by a group led by Charles Francis Jenkins (and more on him in a moment). But the guest speaker was Henry D Hubbard, at the time the secretary of the US National Bureau of Standards. This is some of what he said:
Ten years ago,remote production was the stuff of dreams,a glimpse into a brave new world. The prospect of providing real-time audio control of live events thousands of miles away,without even leaving the studio,was as enticing as it was unlikely.
A portable, handheld, digital audio stream analyzer/generator is an essential piece of test equipment in the broadcast environment. It allows engineers and system integrators to quickly monitor and verify the composition, and integrity of, audio signals at any point from production all the way through the distribution chain.
We have a lot to look forward to this year. In Europe we are likely to find huge amusement in the American presidential election which this year seems to be throwing up an unprecedented set of clowns. In midsummer we have the Olympics in Rio, which should be quite a carnival.
In mid-May the EBU and SMPTE brought together many of the great and the good of the television industry and me to a forum on emerging media technologies. Held in Geneva, in a hotel expensive even by Swiss standards, it was supposed to set the agenda for the future, to share solutions so the future will be bright.
When you are a broadcast engineer working in front of a stack of LCD monitors, seeing a significant difference between the brightness and colour of each monitor can be both annoying and tiring on the eyes.
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