Evolutions in the media cloud with Bob Pank


Bob Pank# TV-Bay Magazine
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by Bob Pank
Issue 80 - August 2013
Years ago my boss, the sales director, warned me that talk of technical revolutions was not good. After all, a revolution ends up where it started. On the other hand evolutions were much better. Of course he was right. Over the years the technology of television has continuously evolved via numerous incremental improvements usually affecting only parts of the industry, but now big game-changing events rarely happen.

What can we look forward to at IBC? Gone are the heady days of tape format wars. Now the modern equivalent could be, perhaps, the introduction of another file format, but that only adds to the vast volume already in use. The resurgence of 3D has made a significant lasting impact; maybe there will be progress with autostereoscopic screens. But the big thing will, no doubt, be new developments in 4K hopefully including more affordable displays.

Meanwhile the cloud continues its evolution. It has been around for many years but has only recently been more widely applied to television. At IBC2012 more exhibitors were showing cloud-based applications and many others were happy to talk about their cloud strategy. At NAB this year Quantel set people thinking in new ways with their vision of the internet of frames. You can find a 10-minute description on YouTube. Expect much more cloud at IBC2013, especially for production and post production services.

To date cloud-based application for television have been evolutionary, with more services opening up to offer services that fit with the way television people work today... while also, of course, delivering real earthly advantages. If you visit a TV station you typically will still find an MCR with racks of noisy heat-generating technical equipment. Does it still need to be there? And if you visit a Soho post-production house there are, again, racks of kit. Well, thats how it has been but today could the cloud actually spark an evolution and displace much of that expensive power-hungry equipment from its traditional on-site location?
There two are possible motives for doing so: lowering costs and achieving more efficient workflows. The cloud has now been around long enough to show some trends. Perhaps the most popular application has turned out to be the ability to allow collaborative workflows, around the world if needs be. Many TV productions typically pull a team together for a period. Cloud services can offer collaborative applications for the team to develop, plan, edit and review, involving chosen experts from anywhere.

This all sounds fine until you look at the reality. Many people do not have super-fast broadband and the cloud does not yet include a time machine to keep people in different time zones online at the same time. In other words, there are pros and cons but, in general, there is a steady increase in the use of cloud facilities for production.

Sohonet is well known for providing secure high-speed short and long-range networking for the television and film industries. Recently the company introduced Sohonet Media Storage, claiming a first for private cloud storage as a service platform that is tuned and optimised for the media sector and accessed via its established Sohonet Media Network. This is offered as an extensible, secure and flexible storage solution, which provides additional storage for existing infrastructures. It aims to provide both short-term and long-term flexibly storage to meet its customers requirements. As Sohonet has an established client base that already uses its high-speed digital connections, potentially its customers already have the suitably fast connections needed to work fast with the cloud.
At Aframe CEO David Peto, refers to the Media Cloud, which nicely separates its tasks from the many other cloud applications now in use. He comments on the state of his business. Year on year we have seen a more accelerated rate of adoption of cloud computing, whether its in TV production and broadcast or the larger corporate media organisations. The benefits of the cloud are already well accepted by business, now theres a viable solution for video it makes sense for them to explore the time and money savings it can provide.

Some evidence of that is Aframes news that Initial, a unit of Endemol UK, is using Aframes cloud video production and asset management platform to speed the review and approval process for Your Face Sounds Familiar, a comedic celebrity singing competition. Instead of shipping DVDs of the full 75-minute, full-resolution broadcast or contestants pre-airing performances, Aframe allowed the Initial team to upload content directly into Aframes secure cloud-based platform. From there, content was sent as an email link to a team of executives in well under an hour, for the team to review from any device, anywhere in the world.

Cloud applications continue to evolve and with dependence on transferring large volumes of valuable media data to and from the cloud, data speed and security is of increasing importance. This has lead to many professionals adopting a more appropriate transfer, with much higher speeds than the commonly used FTP can provide. An example is Londons Envy Post that has recently selected Signiants Media Shuttle hybrid SaaS (meaning the UI for the transfer resides in the cloud) file transfer for rapid delivery of high res long and short form programming. Another interesting trend is for actual media assets to reside at the post or production houses, or studios internal server, thus re-establishing the old way of keeping the media at home, on the shelf. Personally, I dont think this is true cloudy behavior as it removes a lot of the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of your, or your clients, precious pictures!


Tags: iss080 | cloud | evolution | nab | internet of frames | storage | data | ibc | 3D | autostereoscopic | Bob Pank#
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360 degree video storage requirements
Dave Frederick Swim with bears, run with the bulls, get a pads-eye view of a rocket launch: 360 degree video production, also known as cinematic VR, makes these and many other bucket list-worthy events more accessible than ever. The format has evolved into a powerful storytelling tool, and one that changes not only the way in which visual experiences are shaped, but also the way in which media consumers perceive and interact with video content.
Tags: iss126 | 360 degree | vr | storage | vfx | ssd | san | nas | quantum | Dave Frederick
Submitted by Dave Frederick Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Integrated and automating marketing campaign production
James Gilbert ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. It operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and delivers its content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand via the ITV Hub. ITV has the largest share of the UK television advertising market and its family of channels attracted a total share of viewing of 21.4% in 2016, the largest audience of any UK commercial broadcaster. ITV's main channel is the largest commercial channel in the UK, delivering 99% of all commercial audiences over five million.
Tags: iss126 | pixel power | itv | marketing campaign | James Gilbert
Submitted by James Gilbert Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Monetizing OTT
Oliver Botti Competition in the TV arena is hotting-up for traditional broadcasters with even ESPN, a strong-hold of sports TV, seeing a reduction in subscriptions with the number of American homes paying to get the service declining by more than 12m since 2011. With Mintel reporting that the subscription video streaming market in the UK is due to exceed revenues of GBP 1 billion (EURO 1.37 billion) by 2019, and account for 38% of the total UK video market, traditional broadcasters clearly cannot afford to turn a blind eye.
Tags: iss126 | ott | moentizing | fincons group | Oliver Botti
Submitted by Oliver Botti Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audience engagement with advertising in an OTT world
Hank Frecon Adapting to how we advertise in an OTT world starts by reaching audiences on every screen with tailored content. Most consumers viewing habits include multi-tasking and juggling different activities at the same time, particularly the younger viewing audiences who tend to watch in a more fragmented, on-demand manner. The task of monetizing content in a way that suits this method of viewing pushes monetization strategies to adopt new technologies, so first let's look at the opportunity.
Tags: iss126 | ott | advertise | acr | source digital | Hank Frecon
Submitted by Hank Frecon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Implementing an IP workflow
John Smith -new The eventual move to incorporate IP into your infrastructures is an inevitability. However, with justified concerns about interoperability and uncertainty about which vendors are best placed to help organisations achieve their IP media networking and content delivery goals, is it any wonder there is hesitation about moving forward? Broadcasters very wisely, don't want the pain without the gain!
Tags: iss126 | medialinks | ip | mdp3020 | gateway | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Media Production Show and other news
Duncan Payne So, the 2nd Media Production Show has been and gone. Hands up who went to Islington by mistake? I know at least two people who did. Their secret is safe with me! For me, the sign of a great trade show is when I come away really enthused about an innovative use of existing technology or a brand new product. When I find something that combines both these things, then I'm a very happy man.
Tags: iss126 | adamantean | finance | leasing | mps | ptz | sam | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Understanding the process of video production
Joseph Adamson In this article I will focus on understanding the process of video production. The use of miniaturised video equipment and understanding the capability of the kit chosen for the job will be mentioned. The video production process is a road map, which not only helps the producer to minimise problems during production and achieve professional results, but also saves time.This process can be tricky to understand and many videographers are self taught, including myself.
Tags: iss126 | video production | wasd | ail | africans in london | Joseph Adamson
Submitted by Joseph Adamson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Facebook Workplace - why it might just work
Jake Ward At the Facebook F8 Developer Conference last April, Facebook's Workplace, a collaborative platform for organisations, announced enhanced live video functionality. Being able to stream live into Workplace will fundamentally change the way companies communicate, from broadcasting weekly meetings and webinars to live streaming Q&As. The possibilities really are endless.
Tags: iss126 | facebook | workplace | groovy gecko | Jake Ward
Submitted by Jake Ward Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation - part 1
Dick Hobbs - new Imagine you are the director of the Champions League Final, knowing that 200 million people will be watching your every decision. Or you're directing the Eurovision Song Contest. Or even, to be honest, the Tunbridge Wells local news opt out. And at live minus 30 seconds, all the screens in the monitor wall suddenly go black then show a demand, in broken English, for 300 Bitcoin.
Tags: iss126 | iabm | british airways | ransom | bitcoin | cybersecurity | cots | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 Review
Ben Sherriff The Canon Cine range of lenses have been around for quite a few years now. The CN-E Cinema Prime lenses became an early alternative to using PL adaptors or the Zeiss Compact Prime lenses. Other than that the choice was rehoused stills lenses or maybe if you were lucky a set of Zeiss super speeds. The cine lens set became a cost effective offering for sharp prime lenses with clear and accurate markings for proper functionality.
Tags: iss126 | canon | review | cn-e | 18-88mm | t4.4 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Ad servers and switching solutions
Peter Blanchford Hardware-based ad servers and switching solutions have been around for a long time and, broadly speaking, do the job just fine.
Tags: iss126 | starfish technologies | ad server | ts splicer | ts switch | gop | Peter Blanchford
Submitted by Peter Blanchford Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Lighting - the stuff you do not see
Tama Berkeljon Lighting is the stuff you don't see that makes a difference in what you do see. How the audience feels about a character and whether the scene is scary, tense or upbeat are communicated by the quality and placement of light. Lighting can take the drama to a whole new level - think about film noir with all those shadows on the wall.
Tags: iss126 | outsight | ghost in the shell | led lighting | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Infrastructure boost with single node storage solutions
Lee Griffin Like other market segments, the motion picture and video production industry is dominated by smaller productions and facilities. Until now, the only option for this portion of the market to take advantage of the performance, fault-tolerance and ease of management of a modern scale-out storage platform was to invest in a storage cluster consisting of three storage nodes and at least one metadata controller.
Tags: iss126 | storage | san | nas | single-node | efs | xstream | efs200 | efs300 | editshare | Lee Griffin
Submitted by Lee Griffin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Live event streaming solutions
Lorna Garrett It's summer! Just those two words alone are exciting. Combine them with words such as "music festival" or "sports" or "travel" and you have yourself a summer to remember. To ensure you have the hottest summer yet, consider live streaming your event ¦ wherever it is.
Tags: iss126 | garland partners | gpl | liveu | streaming | lu600 | liveu solo | Lorna Garrett
Submitted by Lorna Garrett Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The challenges of media workflow automation
Dave Clark The media workflow challenge has never been more complex, and it's growing. In response exploding consumer demand for high-quality, engaging programming, media operations are under the gun to create content and deliver it to an ever-growing range of platforms and devices. Managing video assets - that is finding them, accessing them, and using them efficiently and effectively - is one of the biggest barriers to success in today's environment.
Tags: iss126 | automation | workflow | cloud | on-premise | hybrid | mam | square box | Dave Clark
Submitted by Dave Clark Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Object Based Audio - The first steps
Peter Poers The world of broadcast audio is about to reach new levels as we embrace the future in terms of Next Generation Audio (NGA). Although at this stage we can't be precise about what this will bring, we do know that some 3D Immersive formats are already under development and will find their way into broadcast production and distribution very soon. Unlike the world of relatively constrained channel based coding that we are accustomed to, these new codec systems will support more channels and/or object based audio coding. For the end consumer, there will be two major benefits - a greater sense of involvement or immersion and a degree of personalisation. That's what the promises are.
Tags: iss125 | immersive audio | junger | nga | oba | Peter Poers
Submitted by Peter Poers Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine