The UK’s largest production and technology exhibition, Broadcast Video Expo, takes place in London next week (23-25 Feb). David Wood finds out what’s on show

In many ways 2016 is a year of change for industry trade show BVE with new rivals on the UK scene.

To counter this, BVE (23-25 February) has responded by pitching its offering at a far wider audience, which now encompasses the pro-AV and live entertainment markets as well as broadcast, film and commercials production and post production.

All of this will be accompanied by the launch of London Entertainment Week, a week long festival of live events, awards and specialist forums from streaming media to vfx technology – all built around the platform of BVE at ExCel in Docklands.

BVE regulars will remember the impact that Arri had last year with the launch of the Alexa Mini. The previous year the Arri Amira was the star of the show, so all eyes will again be on Arri to see if it will make more important announcements at BVE.

This year Sony is taking a rain check from the exhibition and will focus investment instead on hosting days at Pinewood Studios focussed on specific kit.

But for many, BVE is still a must-go. WTS sales manager Duncan Payne insists that BVE is an important date in the diary. “It’s the timing of the show as much as the show itself that is key. Commissioning and production decisions are being made now for spring and summer shoots, so it’s a big show for format decision makers.”

Canon will be there in force showcasing its theme of ‘glass to glass 4K delivery’, with its latest range of 4K cameras, including its new C300 MkII, as well as new 4K box lenses such as the Digisuper 86 and Digisuper 90 UHD studio/field lenses, the 4K CJ12ex4.3B wide angle and CJ20ex7.8B 4K zoom and its range of 4K reference monitors.

Its ME20F-SH low light cube camera (maximum ISO four million!) which was used to good effect recently on BBC2’s Stargazing Live, will also be on show.

Canon UK sales director of Professional Imaging Austin Freshwater reveals the Canon’s expanding range of kit will see a new stand designed with a much improved viewing area this year. “Whether you think there are too many shows depends largely on what you have to shout about,” he says. “We have a broad range of products to engage our customers with so we are going to BVE and The Media Production Show this year.”

Ikegami will be using BVE for the first UK demonstration of the new Unicam UHD 4K-native camera – and that’s to encourage feedback from potential customers, says Ikegami. Also making their UK debuts at the show will be the Ikegami 2K/4K rack-mountable optical-fibre transmission links and HDL-57 compact HD camera, as well as its 17” and 25” Grade-1 OLED monitors and the full range of LCD monitors. Other camera manufacturers with a strong presence include Panasonic which will be unveiling details of a low cost version of its relaunched Varicam camera.

In the media recorder world AJA and Convergent Design will be on hand, with AJA showcasing new products and displaying its Ki Pro Ultra 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD recorder, KONA and Corvid video I/O and encoding cards, HDBaseT and Fiber solutions.

For DoP and director Olly Wiggins, who is also co-owner of hire company S+O, the focus will be firmly on lenses, camera, lights and grips. “LED lighting is changing fast technologically so it makes sense to keep an close eye on these advances.” Including presumably the new Kino Flo Select range of LED lighting on the Cirro Light stand.

Going hand in hand with the rise in 4K and HDR acquisition has been a resurgence in interest in lenses, either new or re-conditioned vintage lenses, so expect to see more companies offering lenses and lens support services such as True Lens Services. Wiggins adds that as a DOP and director he will be on the look out for new kit that will appeal to the general hire market. “What I hope is that as a working DOP I can pick up on useful new kit that other hire companies may not spot so quickly.”

WTS production specialist and freelance cameraman Patrick van Weeren underlines that HDR will be a big BVE talking point this year. “That’s because of all the new technologies – high frame rate, wider colour space and high resolution – high dynamic range is probably the cheapest to deliver and easiest to appreciate for the consumer. Netflix, Amazon and BT are among the many content providers who are very keen on it and almost 90% of the professional cameras launched in the last two years are able to capture an HDR image.”

The themes of 4K and HDR workflows will also dominate discussion in storage and post production, with most exhibitors having at least something to show regarding HDR workflows – from reference monitors to colour correction tools.

Storage platform Quantum will be showing its latest high-performance workflow solution Xcellis –which makes its first UK trade show outing. Engineered for high capacity media and entertainment infrastructures and workflows, it is powered by Quantum’s StorNext platform. Quantum’s Q-Cloud services including Q-Cloud Archive and Q-Cloud Vault will also be on show.

Says Eban Clancy, who has set up new post outfit Phantom Sun: “We are looking particularly at storage and remote workflows. Not just ISIS and Quantum, but TV Labs, Pixit and QNAP.”

According to Clancy there will be a lot of interest in where major post production players such as Avid and Adobe are going with remote connectivity. “Although we always want to edit on Avid we are looking at combining it with other remote editing platforms.”

This year EditShare will be showcasing the full line of XStream storage systems (Xstream EFS, Xstream HT and Xstream ST), as well as the AirFlow private cloud.

Pixit Media will be showing software defined storage for 4K playback for Google, NetApp, Mellanox, Digital Vision, The Foundry and Adobe.

On the Root6 stand the latest version of its ContentAgent file management tool will be centre stage, as will storage, management and archive – with technology from Object Matrix, production asset management from Flavoursys’ Strawberry and XenData archive management.

Root6 will also be demoing HDR workflows using colour correction tools such as BaseLight.

Avid is a big presence at BVE once again this year, with a focus on Media Composer v8.5, and its integration of ORAD’s 3D realtime graphics into the MediaCentral platform for the first time.

Plus there will be Avid’s latest Cloud solutions on display.

Pro audio reseller HHB stand will be debuting Avid’s Pro Tools Dock, a new EUCON control surface that works with iPad and Avid’s free iOS app, Pro Tools Control.

Whatever your specific interest, BVE is a great venue to take the temperature of the industry and see what’s coming up on the horizon, underlines Canon’s Austin Freshwater. “The first thing I do is to wander around and see what’s new from other people, by which I don’t mean our direct competitors in the camera space, but what’s new from the companies which we would partner with on technology – from lens adaptors to media recorders.”

David Wood

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