Tag Archives: IBC 2015

IBC 2015: Adventures in archiving

By Tom Coughlin

Once you have your content and have completed that award-winning new project, Oscar-nominated film or brilliant and effective commercial, where does your data go? Today, video content can be reused and repurposed a number of times, producing a continuing revenue stream by providing viewing for many generations of people. That makes video archives valuable and also requires changes from in-active to more active archives. This article looks at some of the archiving products on display at the 2015 IBC.

The figure to the right shows our estimate of revenue spent on various media and entertainment storage markets in 2014 (from the Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report from Coughlin Associates). Note that although almost 96 percent of all M&E storage capacity is used for archiving about 45 percent of the spending is for archiving.

Quantum showcased its StorNext 5 shared storage architecture, which includes high-performance online storage, extended online storage and tape- and cloud-based archives. The company also highlighted the StorNext Connect, a management and monitoring console that provides an at-a-glance dashboard of the entire StorNext environment. At IBC, Quantum introduced their Q-Cloud Archive that extends StorNext workflow capabilities to the cloud, allowing end-to-end StorNext environments to leverage cloud storage fully with no additional hardware, separate applications or programming while maintaining full compatibility with existing software applications.

The Quantum Storage Manager migrates data from online storage to its object-based Lattus, allowing secure, long-term storage with greater durability than RAID and extremely high scalability. Content can be migrated from Lattus to tape archives or Q-Cloud archives automatically. In addition Quantum’s Artico intelligent NAS archive appliance was on display, offering low cost scale-out storage for active media archives that can scale to PBs of content across HDDs, extended online storage, tape and cloud storage.

Also during IBC, the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies — HP, IBM and Quantum —announced the LTO-7 tape format that will be available in late 2015. The native capacity of this drive is 6TB, while 2.5:1 compression provides 15TB of storage with up to 750MB/s data rates. This product will provide over twice the capacity of the LTO-6 drive generation. The LTO roadmap goes out to a generation 10 product with up to 120TB of compressed content and about 48TB native capacity.

LTO proponents said that tape has some advantages over hard disk drives for archiving, despite the difference in latency to access content. In particular, they said tape has and error rate two orders of magnitude lower than HDDs, providing more accurate recording and reading of content. Among the interesting LTO developments at IBC were the M-Logic Thunderbolt interface tape drives.

Tape can also be combined with capacity SATA HDDs to provide storage systems with performance approaching hard disk drive arrays and costs approaching magnetic tape libraries. Crossroads has teamed up with Fujifilm to provide NAS systems combining HDDs and tape and including cloud storage combining tape and HDDs. In fact archiving is becoming one of the biggest growing applications in the media and entertainment industry, according to the 2015 Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report from Coughlin Associates.

Oracle was also showing its tape storage systems with 8TB native storage capacity in a half-inch tape form factor. Oracle now includes Front Porch Digital with its cloud archiving platform as well as digital ingest solutions for older analog and digital format media.

Some companies also use flash memory as a content cache in order to match the high speeds of data transfers to and from a tape library system. Companies such as Xendata provide LTO tape and optical disc libraries for media and entertainment customers. Spectra Logic has made a big push into HDD-based archiving, using shingled magnetic recording (SMR) 3.5-inch HDDs in their DPE storage system to provide unstructured storage costs as low as 9 cents/GB. This system can provide up to 7.4PB of raw capacity in a single rack with 1GB/s data rates. This sort of system is best for data that is seldom or never overwritten because of the use of SMR HDDS.

Sony was showing its 300GB Blu-ray optical WORM discs, although it was not clear if the product is being shipped in storage cartridges in 2015. Archiving is a significant driver of M&E storage demand. This is because all video eventually ends up in an archive. Because of more frequent access of archived content, the performance requirements of many archives are more demanding than in the past. This has led to the use of HDD-based archives and archives combining HDDs and magnetic tape. Even flash memory can play a role as a write and read cache in a tape based system.

Dr. Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, has over 35 years in the data storage industry. Coughlin is also the founder and organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference, a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference

IBC Report: Making high-resolution panoramic video

By Tom Coughlin

Higher resolution content is becoming the norm in today’s media workflows, but pixel count is not the only element that is changing. In addition to the pixel density the depth of image, color gamut, frame rates and even the number of simultaneous streams of video will be important. At the 2015 IBC in Amsterdam there was a clear picture of a future that includes UHD 4K and 8K video, as well as virtual reality, as the future path to more immersive video and entertainment experiences.

NHK, a pioneer in 8K video hardware and infrastructure development has given more details on its introduction of this higher resolution format. They will start test broadcasts of their 8K technology in 2016, followed by significant satellite video transmission in 2018 and widespread deployment in 2020 in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The company is looking at using HEVC compression to put a 72Gb/s video stream with 22:2 channel audio into a 100Mb/s delivery channel.

In the Technology Zone at the IBC there were displays of virtual reality, 8K video developments, (mostly by NHK), as well as multiple camera set-ups for creating virtual reality video and various ways to use panoramic video. Sphericam 2 is a Kickstarter-funded product that provides 60 frames per second 4K video capture for creating VR content. This six-camera device is compact and can be placed on a stick and used like a selfie camera to capture a 360-degree view.

Sphericam 2

Sphericam 2

At the 2015 Google Developers Conference, GoPro demonstrated a 360-degree camera rig (our main image) using 16 GoPro cameras to capture panoramic video. At the IBC, GoPro displayed a more compact 360 Hero six-camera rig for 3D video capture.

In the Technology Zone, Al Jeezera had an eight-camera rig for 4K video capture (made using a 3D printer) and were using software to create panoramic videos. There are many such videos on YouTube that can be viewed as panoramic videos, which change perspective when viewed on a smart phone that has an accelerometer that will create a reference around which the viewer can look at the panoramic activities. The Kolor software actually provides a number of different ways to view the captured content.

Eight Camera rig

Eight-camera rig at Al Jeezera stand.

While many viewing devices for VR video use special split-screen displays, or even use smart phones with a split screen image while using the phone’s accelerometers to give the sense of being surrounded by the viewed image — like the Google Cardboard — there are other ways to create an immersive experience. As mentioned earlier, panoramic videos with a single (or split screen) are available on YouTube. There are also spherical display devices where the still or video image can be rotated by moving your hand across the sphere like the one shown below.

Higher resolution content is becoming mainstream, with 4K TVs set to be the majority that are sold within the next few years. 8K video production, pioneered by NHK and others in Japan, could be the next 4K video by the start of the next decade, driving even more realistic content capture and higher bandwidth and higher storage capacity post.

Multi-camera content is also growing in popularity to support virtual reality games and other applications. This growth is enabled by the proliferation of low cost, high-resolution cameras and sophisticated software that combine the video from these cameras to create a panoramic video and virtual reality experience.

The trends toward higher resolution, combined with a greater color gamut, higher frame rate and color depth will transform video experiences by the next decade, leading to new requirements for storage, networking and processing in video production and display.

Dr. Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, has over 35 years in the data storage industry. Coughlin is also the founder and organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference, a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference

IBC: AJA intros Corvid HEVC, more

At IBC 2015, AJA introduced Corvid HEVC, a 4K and multi-channel HEVC encoding card. AJA also launched a new range of openGear-compatible video and audio rack-frame cards and version 12.3 of the company’s drivers and software for the KONA, T-Tap and Io line of video and audio input/output devices.

As the latest addition to AJA’s developer program, Corvid HEVC (pictured above) is a PCIe 2.0 eight-lane video encoder card providing realtime, low-latency HEVC encoding at 4K, 1080p HD and lower resolutions. Corvid HEVC supports HEVC Main and Main10 profiles, 8- or 10-bit 4:2:0 and 4:2:2, and bit rates for streaming and contribution quality. Development partners can use AJA’s SDK to integrate Corvid HEVC directly into their Windows and Linux applications for a variety of use cases. In addition to HEVC encoding, audio and metadata are captured and included in the encoded file.

For use in standard openGear frames or AJA’s new OG-3 frame, the new openGear-compatible cards from AJA include the OG-1×9-SDI-DA, a 1×9 SDI re-clocking distribution amplifier; the OG-FIBER-2R, a two-channel fiber to SDI converter; and the OG-FIBER-2T, a 2-channel SDI to fiber converter. The new OG-3-FR is a 2RU, 20-slot openGear frame that can support any openGear-compatible card.

System-Test

AJA’s 12.3 software adds new options for closed captioning support for KONA 4 and Io 4K, new output support for Telestream Wirecast and Linux retail drivers for use with apps such as Shotgun Software’s RV and The Foundry’s Nuke. This release also includes the new AJA System Test 2.0, a cross-platform application for Mac or PC, with a redesigned user interface. System Test is used to measure disk performance and PCIe performance and this version also adds a new system report creation tool.

IBC 2015 Blog: Rainy days but impressive displays, solutions

By Robert Keske

While I noted in my first post that we were treated to beautiful weather in Amsterdam during the first days of IBC 2015, the weather on day four was not quite as nice… it was full of rain and thunderstorms, the latter of which was heard eerily through the RAI Exhibition Centre.

CLIPSTER

The next-gen Clipster

I spent day three exploring content delivery and automation platforms.

Rohde & Schwarz’s next-gen Clipster is finally here and is a standout — built on an entirely new hardware platform. It’s seamless, simplified, faster and looks to have a hardware and software future that will not require a forklift upgrade. 

Colorfront, also a leader in on-set dailies solutions, has hit the mark with its Transkoder product. The new HDR mathematical node is nothing less than impressive, which is nothing less than expected from Colorfront engineering.

Colorfront Transkoder

Colorfront Transkoder

UHD and HDR were also forefront at the show as the need for higher quality content continues to grow, and I spent day four examining these emerging display and delivery technologies. Both governments and corporate entities are leading the global community towards delivery of UHD to households starting in 2015, so I was especially interested in seeing how display and content providers would be raising the standards in display tech.

Sony, Samsung and Panasonic (our main image) all showcased impressive results to support UHD and HDR, and I’m looking forward to seeing what further developments and improvements the industry has to offer for both professional and consumer adoption.

Overall, while its seemed like a smaller show this year, I’ve been impressed by the quality of technology on display. IBC never fails to deliver a showcase of imagination and innovation and this year was no different.  

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@NiceShoesOnline).

IBC 2015 Blog: HDR displays

By Simon Ray

It was an interesting couple of days in Amsterdam. I was hoping to get some more clarity on where things were going with the High Dynamic Range concept in both professional and consumer panels, as well as delivery mechanisms to get it to the consumers. I am leaving IBC knowing more, but no nearer a coherent idea as to exactly where this is heading.

I initially visited Dolby to get an update on Dolby Vision (our main image), see where they were with their Dolby Vision technology and most importantly get my reserved tickets for the screening of Fantastic Four in the Auditorium (Laser Projection and Dolby Atmos). It all sounded very positive with news of a number of consumer panel manufacturers being close to releasing Dolby Vision-capable TVs. For example, Vizio with their Reference Series panel and streaming services like VUDU streaming Dolby Vision HDR content, although this is just in the USA to begin with. I also had my first look at a Dolby “Quantum Dot” HDR display panel, which did look good and surely has the best name of any tech out here.

There are other HDR offerings out there with Amazon Prime having announced in August that they will be streaming HDR content in the UK, but not initially in the Dolby Vision format (HDR video is available with the Amazon Instant Video app for Samsung SUHD TVs like the JS9000, JS9100 and JS9500 series) and selected LG TVs (G9600 and G9700 series) and the “big” TV manufacturers have or are about to launch HDR panels. So far so good.

Pro HDR Monitors
Things got bit more vague again when I started looking into HDR-equipped professional panels for color correction. There are only two I could find in the show: Sony had an impressive HDR-ready panel connected to a Filmlight BaseLight tucked away on their large stand in Hall 12; and Canon, who had their equally impressive prototype display tucked away in Hall 11 connected to a SGO Mistika. Both displays had different brightness specs and gamma options.

canon

When I asked some other manufacturers about their HDR panels the response was the same: “We are going to wait until the specifications are finalized before committing to an HDR monitor.” This leaves me to think this is a bad time to be buying a monitor. You are either going to buy an HDR monitor now, which may not be correct to the final specifications, or you are going to be buying a non-HDR monitor that is likely to be superseded in the near future.

Another thing I noticed was that the professional HDR panels were all being shown off in a carefully (or as carefully as a trade show allows) light environment to give them the best opportunity to make an impact. Any ambient light getting into the viewing environment is going to detract from the benefits of having the increased dynamic range and brightness of the HDR display, which I imagine might be a problem in the average living room. I hope this does not reduce the chance of this technology making an impact because it is great to see images seemingly having more depth and quality to them. As a representative on the Sony stand said, “It feels more immersive — I am so much more engaged in the picture.”

sony

Dolby
The problem of the ambient light was also picked up on in an interesting talk in the Auditorium as part of the “HDR: From zero to infinity” series. There were speakers from iMax, Dolby, Barco and Sony talking about the challenges of bringing HDR to the cinema. I had come across the idea of HDR in cinema from Dolby through their “Dolby Cinema” project, which brings together HDR picture and immersive sound with Dolby Atmos.

I am in the process of building a theatre to mix theatrical soundtracks in Dolby Atmos, but despite the exciting opportunities for sound that Atmos offers the sound teams, in the UK at least the take up by Cinemas is slow. One of the best things about Dolby Atmos for me is that if you go to see a film in Atmos, you know that the speaker system is going to be of a certain standard, otherwise Dolby would not have given it Atmos status. For too long, cinemas have been allowed to let the speaker systems wear down to the point where it becomes unlistenable. If these new initiatives can give cinemas an opportunity to reinvest in the equipment (and the various financial implications and challenges and who would meet these costs were discussed) and get a return on that investment it could be a chance to stop the rot and improve the cinema going experience. And, importantly, for us in post it gives us an exciting high bench mark to be aiming for when working on films.

Simon Ray is head of operations and engineering Goldcrest Post Production in London.

IBC 2015 Blog: Beautiful clouds in the sky, content in the cloud

By Robert Keske

The weather this year during IBC might be the best I ever experienced in Amsterdam. Inside the RAI, IBC seemed quieter this year — the halls were less crowded and easy to navigate. I have to assume that everyone was enjoying the weather instead of being inside the RAI.

The theme of the 2015 show was “Content Everywhere.” This is a productization taking place to incorporate mobile and cloud technology into the production and post production process. Creative and collaborative applications are now running on tablets and smart phones in some innovative ways, from content bypassing traditional distribution to direct-to-mobile consumption.

After taking in the overall conference, I paid a visit to a few of our vendors to see what they were presenting at this year’s show.

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight has continued to impress me with their focus on delivering a full-service product line, offering solutions from on-set all the way through the beginnings of a complete finishing toolset.

Autodesk has made some nice advancements to the latest release of Flame 2016 Premium. The latest workflow and UI improvements appear to have incorporated user feedback and will surely be welcomed by the Flame user community.

SGO Mistika has also listened to feedback from the community, with the beginnings of a new UI, and the media management UI has greatly improved.

Another bright spot is the work Henry Gu is performing in content delivery automation. Henry was at the Data Direct Networks booth, and I highly recommend paying him a visit to see his work.

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@niceshoesonline).

IBC: Autodesk to release Extension 1 for Flame 2016 line

Autodesk will soon release Extension 1 for its Flame 2016 family of 3D VFX software, which includes Autodesk Flame, Autodesk Flare, Autodesk Lustre and Autodesk Flame Assist. Inspired by user feedback, Autodesk added workflow improvements, new creative tools and a performance boost. Flame 2016 Extension 1 will be available to subscription customers on September 23.

Highlights of the Flame 2016 Extension 1 release are:
– Connected Conform: A new, unified media management approach to sharing, sorting and syncing media across different sequences for faster finishing in Flame Premium, Flame and Flare. New capabilities include shared sources, source sequence, shots sequence, shared segment syncing and smart replace.
– Advanced Performance: Realtime, GPU-accelerated debayering of Red and ArriRaw source media using high-performance Nvidia K6000 or M6000 graphics cards. The performance boost allows artist to begin work instantly in Flame Premium, Flame, Flare and Lustre.
– GMask Tracer: New to Flame Premium, Flame and Flare, this feature simplifies VFX creation with spline-based shape functionality and a chroma-keying algorithm.
– User-Requested Features: Proxy workflow enhancements, new batch context views, refined cache status, full-screen views, redesigned tools page and more.

IBC: EditShare showing XStream shared storage

EditShare, a provider of shared storage and media management solutions, is demonstrating its recently released XStream ST model at IBC2015. XStream ST is EditShare’s entry-level high-performance shared storage solution with integrated Flow Production Asset Management and Ark backup and archiving. Designed to give creative teams performance, collaboration features and fault tolerance at a lower price point, XStream ST includes NLE project sharing, ingest, transcode, remote editorial and back-up and archive tools in a single platform.

The system is designed for easy expandability, which allows facilities to scale their systems as business and production needs grow. Users can connect additional XStream ST storage to their networks and manage all as one integrated system. XStream ST is fault-tolerant with built-in RAID-6 as well as redundant power supplies, fans and OS drives. With no per-seat storage client licenses, users can connect multiple NLEs and creative clients. The system includes Flow Production Media Asset Management and AirFlow for remote editing and “review and approve” workflows. Users can archive projects to disk or LTO for secure backup of assets using Ark (disks and tape library sold separately).

IBC: Tangent showing entry level Ripple panel at show

For those of you who have envied Tangent’s color grading panels but knew it didn’t make sense to invest since grading might not be your main role, Tangent is developing an affordable option.

Tangent’s Ripple is the company’s new entry level panel, which is designed for the occasional colorist, editor and student. Ripple features three tracker balls that speed up primary grading. It is lightweight and offers a footprint small enough to sit beside your keyboard and mouse without getting in the way.

Tangent will be at IBC with pre-production prototypes, so they say there may be changes to the design before it goes on sale in early 2016 for an estimated price of $350 US.

Like all the panels from Tangent, it’s supported by the company’s Mapper software, which means you can customize what the controls do with any software that supports the Mapper. Ripple is already compatible with any grading software that uses the Tangent Hub — Resolve, Nucoda, Scratch, SpeedGrade and others. You can also use Ripple with the other panels from the Element range, including the element-Vs tablet app, so you can expand its functionality.

A rundown of the features:
• Three tracker balls with dials for masters.
• High-resolution optical pick-ups for the balls and dials.
• Independent reset buttons for the balls and dials.
• Programmable A and B buttons.
• USB powered with integral cable.

One of our reviewers, working editor Brady Betzel, is eager to give it a look.  “When cutting side projects, sizzle reels, or any other type of multimedia.  I always want to color correct the footage, but it gets tedious without a set of panels like the Tangent Elements. Just doing some quick superficial color correcting might not justify the price tag, but with the latest Tangent Ripple it gets affordable for everyone who dabbles in color correcting. I am really looking forward to playing with it, and at the lowest price for a panel it might just be the ticket for lots of editors and VFX artists.”