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What Will Be at NAB? Consider IBC

April 17th, 2016

 

SoftPanel Autocolorautocolor demoLike every other NAB show, the upcoming 2016 one will likely have lots of innovations. One to which I’m looking forward is the new “autocolor” button on SoftPanels LED lights. Each can measure the ambient lighting and adjust its output to match, whether it’s an incandescent table lamp or daylight streaming in a window.

I’m eager to see other innovations in other booths. But, for an idea of the major themes at the convention, there’s no preview like the previous fall’s International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. Cinegy brought the DeLorean time machine of Back to the Future to the show because 2015 was the year to which it brought the travelers in the second movie of the series. But, in some ways IBC 2015 seemed more “Forward to the Past.”

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Consider, for example, the format wars. Remember competing videotape formats and HDTV structures? Format wars are back. Cinegy has been pushing IP (internet protocol) connections instead of SDI (serial digital interface) for some time, but there wasn’t just one version of IP for television at IBC. NewTek, for example, introduced its open NDI (network device interface) at the show.

That’s for connecting devices. Squeezing their data through an IP pipe is a different issue and one with its own format wars.Higher spatial resolution (4K) seems to demand some form of bit-rate reduction (“compression”), preferably of a mild type (“mezzanine level”) so that it won’t affect image quality in production and post-production. TICO could be found at many booths (“stands” in IBC lingo), but so could many other options.

TICO cropped

Higher spatial resolutions were the rage at IBC 2014. At the 2015 version, more attention seemed to be paid to higher dynamic range (HDR), which had its own format wars. The Philips version, requiring just 35 bytes per scene (not per frame or per second) was shown in one dark room (with the lights turned on for the photo below).

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There were also many sessions about HDR, some covering HDR in movie theaters. Peter Ludé of RealD noted that their scientists separately measured the reflectivity of auditorium finishes (walls and carpet), seating and people in typical theaters. The results were that the people were the biggest contributor to light backscatter to the screen. He quipped, therefore, that, for best results, HDR movies should be shown in empty auditoriums.

There were cutting-edge technologies even for ordinary HDTV, from the BBC’s “Responsive Subtitles” (which increase comprehension by appearing with the speeds and rhythms of speech) to GATR’s inflatable portable satellite antennas. The Fraunhofer Institute, which at NAB showed the ability to re-light scenes in post thanks to their camera array, at IBC showed how tracking shots could be done without moving a camera.

Below is a composite shot, the scene outside the window added in post.

 

It looks like there was a camera move in the background, but, as the freeze in the video below indicates, the motion was all done in post production.

 

20150911_164307What might Franhofer show at NAB 2016? What other goodies will be on the NAB show floor?

We’ll soon know, but right now, it’s like the World War II German encryption machine at the Rambus IBC stand: an enigma.

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The Fandom of the Opera at McGill University by Mark Schubin

February 21st, 2016

“The Fandom of the Opera” at McGill University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Music and Media Technology, by Mark Schubin Electronic home entertainment, movies, consumer headphones – even newscasts and sportscasts – were all created for opera. Really! Emmy-award-winning engineer and historian Mark Schubin offers a brief seminar on “The fandom of the opera: How […]

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The Bottom Line

January 26th, 2016

  Like many other innovations, high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging can bring benefits but will require work to implement. And then there’s the bottom line. HDR’s biggest benefit is that it offers the greatest perceptual image improvement per bit. Different researchers have independently verified the improvement, and it theoretically requires no increase in bit rate whatsoever.  In […]

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It’s Not Them

December 8th, 2015

In the aftermath of the shootings in San Bernardino, the leading Presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party called yesterday for barring members of a particular religion from entering the country.  The statement is ignorant, and I feel compelled to explain why. It is ignorant because the ban would violate the U.S. constitution, which […]

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Please Stop “Helping” Me

November 17th, 2015

  Once upon a time, in a land far away, I helped solve some problems involving the acquisition, processing, recording, and distribution of audio and video signals. The company I was assisting was heavily involved in dubbing the voices of American television programming in a different language. For many decades, I have also been involved […]

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Cheerful Theft

October 12th, 2015

  Roughly since the beginning of the world wide web, I’ve had a money-making idea. I’d make a nice web site and ask people to send me money. That’s all. No purpose listed, no return implied. I’m not in a position to offer a proper opinion, but I think it would be legal, as long […]

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Where Did The Newscast Come From?

October 7th, 2015

  Where Did The Newscast Come From? SMPTE DC Bits-by-the-Bay, Chesapeake Beach Resort May 20, 2015 Direct Link (16 MB / TRT 8:14): Where Did The Newscast Come From? Embedded:

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Copywrong

September 25th, 2015

  As a professional writer, I like to be paid for my work. I still remember the first sentence I wrote for money, for a pop-up picture postcard. “Reigning majestically over the skyline of New York for more than 35 years, the Empire State Building still commands a view that can take your breath away.” […]

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IBC 2015: Virtual Reality for Storytelling

September 14th, 2015

  Al Jazeera is famous for many things, but virtual reality is probably not one of them – at least not yet. At last week’s International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, in the Future Zone, however, Al Jazeera was very prominent in the field. At one “stand” (what Americans might call a “booth”), Al Jazeera […]

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The Schubin Talks: Next-Generation-Imaging, Higher Spatial Resolution by Mark Schubin

September 1st, 2015

  A look at 4K and the different ways to acquire in 4K. A must see for those who know that 4K will be in their future but who are not sure what it means for them today. Or if it should mean anything. Other videos in the series include: Introduction to Next-Generation-Imaging (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgf3hDqUB04) Higher […]

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The Schubin Talks: Next-Generation-Imaging, Higher Dynamic Range by Mark Schubin

August 25th, 2015

  Considered the biggest improvement available, using high dynamic range can make productions easier as shaders will have less to do and subjects moving from sunlight to shadows will be easily visible. Should this be what broadcasters hold out for? Or are there things about HDR that can make it tricky if not done correctly? […]

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