Despite the fact that our industry trade shows are big business brands in their own right, they are also annual technological milestones that herald shifts in trends and approaches in our industry. These gatherings are good indicators of technology trends that are potentially in decline (tape decks anyone?) and equally are stages where the excitement of nascent products and developments can be seen taking shape for the first time. Making predictions is a practice doomed to fail, but its also entertaining and fun. Here are our thoughts on what lies ahead over the next week. We are not going to get into product specifics yet, rather lets look at whats happening from a zoomed out view.
So as we stand on the brink of another NAB here are a couple of thoughts on what we think you will see at the show.
VR is finally coming of age. Complete immersive experience has long been the holy grail for the gaming industry and its applications have spilt into the mainstream. Camera technology is fast catching up with new multi-lens source acquisition devices, improved stitching software and more and more potential applications (think in store experience, HR training, scene of crime, and of course entertainment) VR is the hot topic of the moment. It also has longer and stronger legs than stereoscopic did a few years ago, although we will have to see how things progress in terms of consumer adoption. A challenge however is that in most cases the user is firmly tethered to the host computer or device, (with the exception of the mobile tech prototypes) and like donning glasses for 3D in the living room, this has had its detractors. However, there is so much potential despite this, that its easy envisage that as environments become richer, and the resolution higher, that its a sector thats set to grow significantly and with real effect.
Buzzword Bingo: VR, AR, Immersive Content, 360-video.
Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range:
While a limited number of broadcasters are ‘broadcasting’ so called UHD and 4K, an increasingly large amount of content is being pushed to consumers via OTT (over the top services, set top box, computer or smart TV based subscription services.) Further, manufacturers are pushing the resolution envelope even higher with showcasing 8K acquisition and display (16 x bigger than HD) and beyond in some cases. The 2020 olympics will probably be the point where all this goes more mainstream. HDR is equally becoming a more interesting proposition to bring to programes acquiring in 4K / HDR but finishing in HD. The problem though is standards, and getting a feasible end to end HDR viewing pipeline is a problem,. Despite these challenges HDR brings real benefits to productions and finished shows in terms of look and value and its usage is set to grow significantly.
Buzzword Bingo: UHDTV, 4K, UltraHD, 8K, HDR.
Video over IP
Since its encapsulation by SMPTE in the 2020 standard, video over IP (or the ‘packetization’ of video and pushing packets of video content over IP networks), will continue to be one of the most interesting and disruptive aspects at the show. SDI has historically been the ‘lingua franca’ of video. But SDI and HDSDI require a lot more provisioning and resourcing in terms of cabling and kit, and further in terms of distribution. Its still pretty early days for this in terms of live production, but expect to see more and more video over IP manifest across many aspects of the industry. Along with this you will see the increased presence of Software defined video networking (SDVN) and software defined networking (SDN).
While we are on networking, expect to see 10Gb, 25Gb, 56Gb and 100Gb backbone networking kit in abundance. Even smaller boutiques are moving to 10Gb backbone and client networks, and the bigger shops are looking at 100Gb back bones for their core switching. All of this at pretty affordable costs.
Buzzword Bingo: IPVideo, Video over IP, 20/20, SDN, SDVN, IP, 12G, IPTV.
Proxy workflows and remote editing:
With bigger frames come potentially bigger challenges, and with large format cameras used everywhere, the need to balance this out in the post production cycle in terms of storage consumption and bandwidth is making its need felt. You can either throw capacity and bandwidth at it or, you can revert to that trusted old route which feels very 1994 – The so called offline and online workflow, except in this case we call it proxy and hi-res. The difference is that vendors will have background services or solutions available to help you process your camera originals, create light weight proxies for editing, and then when you are done with the edit, do a seamless ‘relink’ to the hi-res original and ‘conform’ the material in its final high res glory. Expect to see proxy workflows jockey for position with remote editing solutions. Each technology has its usage and remote editing has finally grown up to be a viable and productive solution in its own right. Expect the tools and background solutions to start maturing.
Buzzwird Bingo: Streaming, Proxy, High-res, Up-res, Cloud, H264,H265, remote.
Last but by no means least, The effect of colossus companies like Google, Apple, Amazon and yes, Facebook are an undeniable fact of todays media landscape. These ‘platforms’ provide a springboard for innovation and and give these companies the ability to offer channels and products, influence and infrastructure to many other smaller niche players and groups. From in some cases becoming studios in their own right, these giants of the media landscape provide not only content services but a set of profound analytics that bring measurement and data science to bear on media consumption in a hitherto unparalleled way. The influence of these companies will be felt in an increasingly wider net of effects going forward. The ‘platform’ encompasses hosting, content management, streaming, storage, analytics and archive. All the very things smaller media companies struggle with in their own right every day on premise; All taken care of and sold back as a service. The effect of their ability to shape the landscape going forward cannot be overstated.
Buzzword Bingo: Livestream, AWS, Streaming, Compute, Services.
Any predictions or thoughts of your own? Hit us up on the comments or let us know your thoughts. We will be bringing you more specic product based news over the next week and wrap up analysis thereafter.