The social geek


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Today I want to consider this Venn diagram. It has been widely circulated on the internet: it appears to have been created by the Californian producer and publisher Scott Beale in 2009. It is a laudable attempt to differentiate between nerds, geeks, dweebs and dorks.
You may feel that, given all the other pressures on our busy lives, time spent determining whether someone is merely a geek or is a fully-fledged nerd could be better used elsewhere. And you are probably right. But let us consider the three attribute classes which Beale used to make his definition: intelligence, obsession and social ineptitude.
As I am sure you are all aware, the popular beat singer will.i.am was one of the keynote speakers at IBC recently. The wisdom of this choice has been the subject of much debate.
The first question in the Q&A session following his presentation, for example, was not about communication or the future of television, but where he got his shoes. That, it seems to me, was firmly on the social ineptitude/obsession scale, suggesting the questioner was a dork. [They were Christian Louboutin, incidentally, and looked disconcertingly like bright red hedgehogs.]
More interestingly, will.i.am (I cannot tell you how irritating I find typing his name) talked about our growing connectivity, and how the way it engages with people is now a fact of life. He urged the industry to “rethink what is possible”, which seems to me to be sound advice.
“Why doesn’t our fridge tell our car while we’re out that we have run out of milk?” he asked, not unreasonably. “Why do we drive to some amazing scenery and take a picture on our phones – the fucking car should take it!” he continued, rather less reasonably, but still on his “let’s connect everything” riff.
Connectivity was one of the big talking points at IBC this year, by real speakers in the conference as well as everywhere on the show floor. Two of the winners of the big IBC awards went to different connectivity concepts: to FX UK for its second screen app for The Walking Dead, and for Channel 4 for using the Xbox network and the Kinect controller to deliver its 4OD video on demand through a familiar and fun user interface.
Some people were talking about connected TVs. To develop a smart TV – that talks to the internet as freely as it talks to an Astra satellite – calls for significant intelligence, certainly, but it also smacks heavily of social ineptitude. We who understand Beale’s Venn diagram can now confidently call these people dweebs.
Making it as easy to find content on demand as it is to find linear channels is, of course, very important, which is why the 4OD project was such a worthy winner of an IBC Innovation Award. But using a connected TV for social media? Do you really want your children to see what you have just tweeted, or see what they have posted on Facebook? Social ineptitude: a solution for sad loners.
I recently spoke to Alan Wright, who is head honcho for EMEA of the newly-revitalised Grass Valley. He told me that “in five years the broadcast industry will be a vertical in the IT industry”. I’m not sure I agree with him there. As Jeremy Bancroft said at a conference earlier this year, “We have to remember that we need IT companies, they do not need us. Broadcasters want small volumes of highly-tailored systems; IT companies want to supply large volumes of completely standard products.”
For me, there is an important point that both these fine gentlemen have missed. The IT world is built upon constant, incessant, unflinching repeatability. If you pay money into your bank, you know it will be added to your account. If you book a flight to Ibiza you know your ticket will let you on that plane but not one to Islamabad. Yes, I know we can point to famous occasions when this principle has gone wrong, but as one voice we call it a computer failure.
In broadcasting we do not want repeatability. We want everything we make to be different. The technology is not the object of our efforts, it is the platform which allows the clever people in our industry to make great television.
I’m sure you, like me, were captivated by the coverage of the Olympics this summer. The hardware used to make it – the Grass Valley cameras, the EVS servers – was the same as any other OB. What made it special was the creative attention to detail, like lighting the audience as well as the arena, so the director could capture reaction shots whatever happened.
Leith Murgai is a consultant and trainer in workflows for whom I have a huge amount of respect. He recently argued that we should educate the end users – producers and business managers in broadcast and production – so that they know what can be achieved with today’s technology. Absolutely right. And it will allow us to add creativity to the geek Venn diagram.
the Nerd Venn Diagram
the Nerd Venn Diagram

Tags: iss070 | nerd venn diagram | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Articles
Grading BBC Sounds
Simone Grattarola

The BBC has launched its new personalised music, radio and podcast app with a campaign that follows one listener’s journey from meeting Kylie Minogue in a lift to Idris Elba on a bus. 

BBC Sounds offers a single home for the BBC’s thousands of hours of audio content, including live and on-demand shows and special music mixes curated by artists.

BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative division, took the brief to agency Riff Raff Films and Megaforce directing duo of Charles Brisgand and Raphaël Rodriguez who in turn brought on board regular collaborators Time Based Arts.

Tags: iss135 | bbc | grading | bbc sounds | davinici | resolve | blackmagic | editing | Simone Grattarola
Contributing Author Simone Grattarola Click to read or download PDF
Switching to Internet Based Distribution
Chris Clark

"An IP status check for the broadcast industry", "Resistance is futile", "IP points the way forward for the broadcast industry"...

Yes, we've read the headlines too. But rather than force you into submission, scare you, or leave you feeling like you have no other choice, we want to give you the information that helps you to make a sensible decision about Internet-based distribution.

So what’s stopping you from making the switch right now?

Tags: iss135 | ip | internet | distribution | cerberus | Chris Clark
Contributing Author Chris Clark Click to read or download PDF
Test, Measurement and Standards
Alan Wheable The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), is a non-profit trade alliance that fosters the adoption of one set of common, ubiquitous, standards-based protocols for interoperability over IP in the media and entertainment, and professional audio/video industries.
Tags: iss135 | omnitek | aims | SNMP | hdr | ai | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
21st Century Technology for 20th Century Content
James Hall A big challenge facing owners of legacy content is rationalising and archiving their tape and film-based media in cost effective and efficient ways, whilst also adding value. Normally the result of this is to find a low cost means of digitising the content – usually leaving them with a bunch of assets on HDD. But then what? How can content owners have their cake and eat it?
Tags: iss135 | legacy | digitising | digitizing | archive | James Hall
Contributing Author James Hall Click to read or download PDF
Future proofing post production storage
Josh Goldenhar Advancements in NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express), the storage protocol designed for flash, are revolutionising data storage. According to G2M Research, the NVMe market will grow to $60 billion by 2021, with 70 percent of all-flash arrays being based on the protocol by 2020. NVMe, acting like steroids for flash-based storage infrastructures, dynamically and dramatically accelerates data delivery.
Tags: iss135 | nvme | sas | sata | it | storage | post production | Josh Goldenhar
Contributing Author Josh Goldenhar Click to read or download PDF