By Simon Ray
There is a different feel to the show this year. Last year it felt like there were a lot of new announcements from all the manufacturers I was visiting, but this year feels more like those new announcements have been developed and fully integrated. Last year all the talk was 4K, this year most products have incorporated it and it is working well.
Nine months of investment, redevelopment and refurbishment at Goldcrest has seen a big move into DI, but there were still some areas of the TV picture workflow that needed further investigation. With that in mind we set off to look at some of the file-based QC platforms that are available.
I had looked at some of these last year at IBC, but the first thing that was obvious was the integration with the UK’s DPP file delivery specification — everyone had a preset that meant testing an AS-11 bundle was a simple process. However, as delivery for TV broadcast is not going to be something we do that often, looking for other functionality that we could use in our day-to-day work was important as well.
Everyone offers loudness testing as standard now and we have been giving some thought as to how we help the sound mixers meet that criteria as it is not as easy to do as when we were working to PPM 6. Having short-term loudness meters in the theatre helps, but the most important thing to do is to make sure your room is calibrated correctly so the mixers can calibrate their ears.
Perhaps you could use the hot folders functionality that all the file-based QC products offer to set up an audio loudness test so mixers can check where they are as they work. They could upload the mix when they stop for lunch, wait for the automatic email notification to be sent to them, and if they have met spec stay in the pub for the afternoon!
We saw Interra Baton, Vidchecker and Digimetrics all offering really strong products, and they also all have the Harding PSE testing built in. Not sure how they compare on price though…
Quantel had a big stand by the entrance to hall 7 and we had a good demo there showing some of their 4K, 8K and HFR features. They also showed some time warping using optical flow that gave some impressive results. The stand was impressively massive as always and we got some good refreshments whilst my colleague from New York delved deeper into new features etc.
From there it was straight to an SGO Mistika demo. Last year in this space, I wrote how impressive I thought the Mistika was, and it has not stood still. There are some great new features, including farming out processing to remote machines then caching back the results to allow interactive work on files that require a large amount of processing to play in real time. There was also some nice functionality built into working with openEXR files. It was quite impressive!
The ability to work with larger resolutions and high frame rates seem to be the area that these and many other products are using to try and sell themselves. I suppose this is to reassure prospective buyers that your solution is future proofed, but I wonder what that future is? Will I be lucky enough to see an 8K 60fps show streamed straight to my iPad in the next few years?
Simon Ray is head of engineering and operations and Goldcrest Post in London.