Mr MXF thinks the future is bright


Bruce Devlin TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

I have had the good fortune to spend some time with students at Southampton Solent, The University of Surrey, Ravensbourne and Godalming College in the last few weeks. Although student numbers are down on the technology courses, enthusiasm is high and the passion for the broadcast and media industry is evident in the eyes of the stars of tomorrow.

That is important to me and it should be important to you. By the time 2016 ends, we will be on the slippery technological slope that I believe will lead to the re-invention of everything we know about media delivery to the public. I'm not just talking about the move from terrestrial broadcasting to OTT, it's more fundamental than that.

When IP replaces SDI as a professional transport medium we will see new ways of making programs appear that rely on the bidirectional loose-coupling nature of the IP pipe - effectively separating the binding between cable and TV resolution that we have lived with since the 1940s. I probably don't have the imagination to change my production style to take advantage of this, but the young students that I've been talking to will finally be free of the shackles of the past to make programmes in the way they currently interact with on social media.

The end-to-end signal chain has increased the number of pixels on a couple of occasions since the 1940s, but today we are seeing a complete re-invention of what is possible. Cameras can shoot with more stops of dynamic range than the eye can see. Standards are coming into existence to allow that dynamic range to travel from the camera to the screen so we can finally see detail in clouds and monsters in shadows in the same scene. Wide color gamut and High frame rate mean that creatives can choose the frame rate, resolution, dynamic range and create a unique "look" that is just not possible today.

Object based sound and immersive sound fields are now a reality requiring more processing and better metadata, not to mention people in the field to experiment with ways to use this technology in all the genres from movies to sports to daytime cookery. Well, ok maybe daytime cookery won't be a big driver for immersive audio, but I bet second screen recipe and shopping applications will find a niche there that won't exist with Hollywood movies.

And then there's Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 360 TV and all the other buzzwords for taking lots of camera feeds and allowing you to move your head and have the impression that you're "really there". I don't know where the money is, but I know that there will be a profitable niche somewhere. Maybe even a big niche.

Every piece of equipment and software in the chain will be affected in some way by this explosion of new technology. This is going to need a lot of young, enthusiastic and bright engineers to roll out over the next couple of decades. The future really is BRIGHT (and no, that wasn't an HDR joke).

BUT. And it's a big but. Broadcast engineers are aging and retiring. Student numbers going into the technology side of Film & TV are down. Personally, I don't think it's a problem of the Universities, it is starting earlier than that. Secondary schools and even Primary schools cut back on sciences because they're expensive to teach. Media science is seen as exotic and parents don't want their kids to take the subject because they don't see or understand the opportunities and the guaranteed employment for the foreseeable future.

Today's class is about the future and we're all responsible for making it better. If you are at a parents' evening in the next 6 months, don't be embarrassed about being a media engineer - do the opposite and be REALLY enthusiastic and let that passion out. Join SMPTE and help us educate the next generation or just let people know that being a smart science / engineer type is actually kind of cool - no matter what Trump says.

The future's bright ¦ but only if we have the engineers to keep it that way.


Tags: iss120 | university | ravensbourne | surrey | class | Bruce Devlin
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin

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.

Related Interviews
  • Manchester TOUR!

    Manchester TOUR!

  • Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

    Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

  • Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic

    Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic


Related Shows
  • The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery

    The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery


Articles
Original KVM or KVM over IP
Jochen Bauer Will the technology used in broadcasting solely consist of IP devices? For years, IP has been entering all areas of life. Especially control room applications as they are typically deployed in broadcasting benefit from the IP revolution in many ways. But an “IP-only broadcast world” is not yet here. Nevertheless, the trend clearly moves towards IP transmission, even though a large part of content production still uses traditional transmission paths. And therefore we continue to live in a hybrid world, using both original and IP-based technology. KVM experts Guntermann und Drunck still rely on both original KVM and KVM-over-IP™ to be able to offer their customers the best of both worlds.
Tags: iss139 | kvm | gdsys | guntermann and drunck | kvm-over-ip | Jochen Bauer
Contributing Author Jochen Bauer Click to read or download PDF
Keeping the Show on the Road
Andy McKenzie There is long-established saying in the media business that, if something goes wrong, at least nobody dies. It is almost true unless you happen to be a TV producer suffering a cardiac arrest because your primary video feed has gone blank during a high-budget programme.
Tags: iss139 | service | support | finepoint | maintenance | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Why MADI is Still Relevant
Stephen Brownsill While the original idea for MADI was to cater to a very narrow recording studio application, the standard remains a viable go-to multichannel audio technology. Beginning as a standard in 1991, MADI was first introduced to the world as digital production was beginning to come of age. MADI was put together in 1988 by Solid State Logic, AMS-Neve, Sony (DASH) and Mitsubishi (ProDigi) as a way to transport up to 56 channels of digital audio between large-format audio consoles of the day and digital multi-channel tape machines via 75-Ohm coaxial cables. Both tape-based machines have long since disappeared from the equipment landscape.
Tags: iss139 | madi | tsl products | aes10 | aes | dolby atmos | st-2110 | sam-q | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
The Future of Broadcast Connectivity
Jamie Adkin The use of KVM equipment has been essential to meet the evolving needs of the broadcast industry for many years. Over that time, many in the industry have recognised the importance of using IP-enabled KVM to break down technological barriers and enable real-time access to visuals wherever and whenever they’re needed. These components are vital parts in live production environments in particular.
Tags: iss139 | adder | kvm | ip kvm | Jamie Adkin
Contributing Author Jamie Adkin Click to read or download PDF
Keeping Pace with the Content Revolution
Kevin Fitzgerald These are uniquely challenging times for broadcasters and their technical teams. Not only are they having to negotiate the move to IP-based infrastructures and the introduction of new formats and techniques such as 4K and HDR, they are also having to generate more content than ever before to support OTT and web services as well as traditional linear broadcast.
Tags: iss139 | streamstar | streaming | case 800 | ipx | ipx-3g | Kevin Fitzgerald
Contributing Author Kevin Fitzgerald Click to read or download PDF