IBC 2010 was “the second biggest IBC in history”, based on visitor numbers, which were up almost 9% on last year. In total, 48,521 attended the show that wrapped up earlier this week.
“The level of attendance and engagement at IBC this year is a clear indication that our industry is robust, recovering well and driven by continuing advances in technology and creativity,” believes IBC CEO Michael Crimp.
Over 1,300 companies were represented at the show and a 13th hall had to be added a month or two before the event kicked off to accommodate increased demand for stand space.
Televisual covered the event in a series of live blogs from the show room floor, which are rounded up below...
Televisual’s interview with stereo 3d guru, 3ality’s Steve Schklair, who made the keynote speech on Monday’s 3d conference day
Panasonic’s new cameras – the AG-AF101, its first DSLR for the broadcast market, a newly updated AG-3DA1, Panasonic’s dual-lens stereo 3d camera and, the AJ-HPX3100, a new P2 model with vastly improved proxy files
An iPad and clever photographic and animation techniques are all that's used to draw the moving 3d typography and objects in this eye-catching production (called Making Future Magic) from creative communications agency Dentsu London and design consultancy BERG.
According to the creative chaps at Dentsu and BERG, "In dark environments, we play movies on the surface of the iPad that extrude 3d light forms as they move through the exposure. Multiple exposures with slightly different movies make up the stop-frame animation."
The results are seriously impressive, as you'll be able to see for yourself below...
AJA brought out a device for taking the feed from 3d camera rigs, converting it and displaying the content on inexpensive consumer 3d screens. The Hi5-3d mini-converter has horizontal and vertical picture flip modes so it can be used for multiple different 3d camera rigs.
It takes the feed from 3d camera rigs, and flips the mirrored image to orient it properly. Using HDMI 1.4a, it then displays the ‘muxed’ 3d image on affordable consumer 3d displays (non consumer 3d displays can cost upwards of $10k) to provide instant 3d on location. The device costs $495, and will be available next month.
AJA also launched a smaller, cut-down version of its portable KiPro file-based recorder. The new, slimmed down £1,995 KiPro mini records edit-ready 10-bit ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto two CompactFlash cards.
It’s lightweight, compact and can be slotted on to virtually any camera, and has a number of useful applications. On a multi-camera shoot where different cameras and formats are being used, by putting a KiPro mini on all cameras they will all record in the same file format, enabling a much quicker turnaround time.
The device also makes it possible to use cameras such as Sony’s XDCAM EX models and make HD recordings accepted by broadcasters.
The user interface of the KiPro mini is the same as the KiPro and it has the same menu controls and navigation structure. However, compared to its larger sister device, the KiPro, the KiPro mini doesn’t offer SD to HD conversions and cross conversions.
Autoscript has brought out an innovative teleprompter– the iPlus - that runs on an iPad, iPhone or iTouch. Designed for “shoot and scoot” news operations, Autoscript’s app turns the iPad into a fully featured portable teleprompter.
The iPlus software can be used as a bridge to WinPlus in a newsroom or studio to download/transfer scripts or running orders to the iPhone/iPad/iTouch. A handheld control – the Scroll Plus Controller - is then used to scroll smoothly through the script.
A lightweight plate is available to encase the iPad and mirror the screen as with a conventional auto-cueing device. It also allows the prompter to position the iPad in a convenient place for ease of viewing by the presenter.
Autoscript has packaged the app with the plate and assembly, which is a available as a complete portable teleprompter system for £700.
Grass Valley used IBC to demo a means of doing high quality instant super slo-mo replays in stereo 3d, which is one of the key remaining challenges in providing compelling 3d sport broadcasts.
Using two of its LDK8300 systems cameras and a 3ality mirror rig, a Grass Valley disc recorder auto-flips the mirrored camera image and syncs the two camera channels together to create the stereo 3d image.
Grass Valley’s K2 Summit server then provides straightforward user controls to enable the marking of in and out points and the immediate playback of stereo 3d super slo-mo replays.
Avid showed off a technology demo of a new web based craft editing system that makes it possible for an editor to cut images from anywhere, via the web. All the processing power and the media stays is at the facility, so a standard laptop is enough for the fully featured editing software to function ok. The main consideration is the speed of the web connection.
Avid’s Patrick McLean says you need decent speed access (around 6 to 8Mb) for seamless, uninterrupted full blown editing, but, he says, Avid has also created an iPhone app for approvals, which works fine on even a 2Mb connection.
McLean says the system is “very responsive and includes vfx and audio as well as editing tools.” He adds that it’s “a different way of working. It’s not going to displace regular editing suites overnight.”
He says there are lots of “workflow issues to think about” before Avid can turn the technology demo into a full blown product. Currently, the editor has been built in Java specifically for the demo, but has features and functionality that will be familiar to Media Composer users.
Panasonic has released a Digital SLR – the AG-AF101 – pitched at the Canon 5D/7D market but with enhancements over these models to better suit producers' needs, says European product manager, Rob Tarrent.
“We looked at the growth of DSLRs and decided to enter this market. We designed the camera after talking to videographers to find out what their ideal camera would be,” he says. So Panasonic’s DSLR has a headphone socket and “proper SDI and HDMI connections,” says Tarrent.
According to Tarrent, the AG-AF101 (main picture) records “12-hours of footage, not 12-minutes”, has detachable lenses, “proper video and audio” and a “wonderfully shallow depth of field”. Certainly, the beautifully detailed images on the reel Panasonic showed on its stand backed up Tarrent’s enthusiasm.
The camera costs €4,900 and will be available in December. Panasonic is currently taking orders for the model.
Panasonic’s (presently unique) dual-lens stereo 3d camera, the AG-3DA1 (pictured above), which was showcased at NAB, is now shipping, says Tarrent. It costs €18,700 and Pansonic has already sold 150 of the cameras in Europe, and 800 worldwide.
Tarrent adds that Panasonic has received “extreme interest” in the camera at IBC and has taken lots of orders. However, despite the interest, Tarrent says the wait for orders taken now “isn’t months” and that it can fulfill new orders relatively quickly.
The camera has undergone a number of performance tweaks since a working unit was shown at NAB. Panasonic sent out different variations of the camera to users and asked them for feedback on the pros and cons of each model. These comments have been used to further enhance the functionality of the shipping model.
Panasonic says the bulk of orders have come from production, with some from broadcasters and the medical/education market. Tarrent explains the camera’s interaxial is fixed to roughly the same distance as the human eye, which impacts on the distance from the subject you can film and still capture comfortable looking stereoscopic footage - you can get away with filming from between three and 30 metres from the subject.
With all its focus on DSLR and 3d, Tarrent was keen to stress the company hasn’t forgotten about P2. It’s just added another P2 model – the AJ-HPX3100 (pictured above) – which has improved audio recording over existing models, is lightweight (at 3.9kg) and, as a result, more comfortable for shoulder-mounting.
Significantly, it also stores vastly improved proxy files, with 960x540 images (SD) and uncompressed audio, so you can cut to good quality images and best quality audio.
It can also work with a web and iPad/iPhone based app that enables meta data to be uploaded to the camera pre, during or after the shoot.
3ality’s founder and CEO Steve Schklair kicked off IBC’s 3d day on Monday with a keynote speech about how best to capture stereoscopic images for live broadcast. I caught up with him at the show to talk through his vast experience of all things 3d.
“It’s all about ensuring everything is quality 3d. During my keynote speech I’ll show everyone what badly shot 3d looks like. You may not notice much of a difference at the start but after 10 minutes it will give you a headache.
We were the first guys to set up a major 3d company based around the new methodology of doing 3d. That was a decade ago. I had no doubts then that things would go 3d, not just for movies but TV too. Where else would media go? In the last decade, we’ve already had better quality, immersive surround sound, so it's natural you'd want better quality, immersive images too. To me, it’s clear TV will eventually be a 3d device.
When 3d is done properly the content is far too compelling to not want 3d. And if it’s done badly it shows, you’ll get a headache and not want to watch it. And it's important to remember that 3d doesn’t make something that’s bad in 2d good, so storytelling is still key to any content’s success.
To produce 3d shouldn’t add anything to the production schedule. We shot an NBC sitcom recently and ended up getting through more shots than previously when the show was 2d. If you have the right technology you’re fine.
But you need a similar range of shooting options as with a 2d show. If you can’t pan fast or zoom in beyond a certain point, the 3d isn''t going to be so compelling as the 2d, so the viewer will just want to switch back to how it was before.
Likewise, in sports, the stereo 3d needs to be better than 2d if it’s to survive, otherwise again viewers will just want to switch back to 2d.
New editing tools save on post production time for stereo 3d. I think SGO’s Mistika is the best option right now. It was the Pablo before but now it’s the Mistika, as it handles the geometry of 3d better. You can make slight adjustments to the interaxial settings, and it’s the only system that can do that.
Sky and Telegenic’s stereo 3d services are built around 3ality kit. They’ve done 3d so well at Sky. They found a business case for it – which has initially been sports in pubs – and made a deal with a TV manufacturer to provide pubs with the sets.
They did a sponsorship deal with the glasses and bought the best quality stereo 3d kit for their coverage. Sky trained their staff correctly and practiced for months before going on air. Crews were being sent out every weekend to practice getting the stereo 3d production right, which was expensive but totally the right thing to do. And it shows."
For more on stereo 3d from Steve Schklair, here's a recent Sky News interview....
Quantel announced a significant technological development at IBC, with what it calls “mutating file systems”. Basically, the techie types at Quantel have managed to re-engineer the computer file to make it possible to work on the contents of a file before the file itself has even been created.
In practice, this means you can start doing frame-accurate editing on QuickTime content in FCP (from anywhere in the world, via the web), whilst content is still being recorded.
Quantel is using ‘mutating file systems’ on a development called Project QTube whereby a shoot can take place anywhere in the world with the producer on the other side of the world able to instantaneously view all the assets from the studio, including the live assets, while the shoot is still taking place.
The producer can ingest, edit and log the content immediately over the web. It’s live and instant and can all happen over a normal internet connection.
Quantel says it will be delivering products based on mutating file systems by the second half of next year.
Autodesk is combining Flame, Smoke and Lustre in a single product called Flame Premium, effectively killing off Flame as a standalone product, it announced at IBC.
The entire package – which is software and turnkey hardware - costs less than Flame did a year ago, and, for the first time, provides Autodesk's full suite of finishing tools, covering vfx, editorial and grading.
“The market dynamics are changing and clients need a higher return on investment,” Maurice Patel, Autodesk’s entertainment industry manager, told me at the show. “People want more integrated workflows. They still want to offer premium client-supervised services but Flame Premium, as the ultimate finishing tool providing vfx, editorial and grading, means you no longer have to segment your offer.”
“The grading market is in transition and Flame Premium is part of the future,” he adds. “Colourists, compositors and editors have unique skills but each has to learn new skills. Now many of these skills are overlapping, and this needs a flexible solution.”
Patel says that, with digitally acquired footage, grading is no longer linked to telecine so, “The telecine workflow is disrupted. You can now grade at any part of the process, and material needs to be free-flowing between editorial and grading.”
Autodesk is still planning to offer Flame, Smoke and Lustre as separately available products, but Patel says, “The price of Flame by itself is so similar to Flame Premium it would be foolish not to go for Flame Premium”.
Responding to the release of Flame Premium, Digital Vision’s vp, worldwide marketing, Martin Bennett, says, at the moment, there are still separate roles for the editor, colourist and vfx artist so a single system isn't going to be appropriate for many post houses. However, he says, Flame Premium is likely to appeal to small to medium size houses that want to offer a wider range of services.
Bennett adds that, in three to five years, there is likely to be increased convergence of job roles and that Digital Vision could then make strategic alliances with other companies to offer a similarly broad toolset covering advanced vfx and editorial functionality.
“It’s the same as with the audio world, where one person now does what were previously numerous different job roles. We are very aware of how things are moving on the picture side and are very much going to be part of that change,” he says.
Sony unveiled a series of interesting new cameras at IBC, including a dual-lens 3d model, but before it got to any of that, it opened its IBC press conference by blasting straight into a five-minute stereo 3d reel. Alongside the usual footie and Hollywood 3d animations, it included a bit of Hendrix in 3d, which at least added variety to what I suspect won’t be the last 3d reel I see at the show over the next few days.
David Bush, marketing director, Sony Professional, was the first to take to the stage and revealed Sony’s slightly forced sounding new banner for its professional products and services - Creatology; a mix of technology and creativity.
Bush says, after IBC, Sony is heading out on a Creatology tour, structured similarly to its Power of Images events last year, with a series of roadshows, master classes, training events and so on taking place in key European locations.
Back to IBC, Bush says Sony’s focus at the show is on 3d, HD and 35mm. Before any talk of new products, Bush announced Sony is about to open a 3d centre of excellence in Basingstoke. This will provide training for producers, directors, camera operators and convergence operators, and will be open from next month.
Next came the product news, delivered by audio visual media director Olivier Bovis. There’s plenty of it. Firstly, there are upgrades to Sony’s 3d box, the MPE-200, used recently for the slightly underwhelming 3d World Cup.
The box’s new features, “take another leap forward,” says Bovis, with it now able to do live 2d to 3d conversions, 3d picture stitching (where images from three cameras are stitched together to form a wide angle 3d shot) and 3d graphics insertion.
The images produced by the box’s 3d stitching and its live 2d to 3d convertor were, it has to be said, pretty impressive.
Bovis then unveiled a prototype dual-lens 3d camcorder (main picture) that will be available “some time next year”. It’s based on a new lens system with a half inch sensor. The shoulder-mount camera will “fill out our 3d line-up” and be well suited to sections of a 3d sports broadcast such as the manager interviews at the end of a game, for example.
New HD cameras from Sony include the PMW-500 (above), a new XDCAM EX model that’s capable of 50 mb/s acquisition, making it the first of Sony’s cameras recording to solid-state memory to fulfill broadcasters’ minimum HD requirements.
It’s essentially the same camera as the PDW-700, the XDCAM HD422 model that records to Professional Disc. The 500 will be around 10% cheaper than the 700, and its introduction means Sony is able to “offer a disc-based solution as well as memory-card based product,” so you can choose which one best suits your workflow, explains Bovis.
At the top-end, Sony revealed another prototype – this time for quite a dinky looking and currently unnamed digital 35mm camera (above) that’s going to be much more affordable than Sony’s F35 and SRW-9000PL models.
“Our desire is to take the 35mm world into a much more affordable environment,” says Bovis. The camera will be ready by early next year and “it will be more affordable by far” than Sony’s current 35mm models, says Bovis.