FEED Summer 2024 Web

[14:27] Verity Butler FEED’s summer issue is here! Extended reality (XR) encompasses all real-and-virtual environments. This issue aims to dig deeper into its increasingly established role among production and broadcast teams with a thorough ten-page focus. Elsewhere, we examine the state of video, or more specifically how we are moving it, in a video compression special. Plus, for our Genius Interview, we meet UK managing director of Roku, Richard Halton, who shares his wealth of knowledge on the evolving ad landscape. As this year’s summer of sport kicks off, Xtreme is here to report back on the latest innovations. And in an Xtreme exclusive, we interview Jarred Karp to get the inside scoop on documenting Project Africa: a mission that saw a man become the first to run the full length of the African continent.

SUMMER 2024 feedmagazine.tv

ESPORTS ROUND-UP

MACHINE LEARNING MASTERCLASS

INTERVIEW: LIFE AT ROKU

XR IN FOCUS 10-PAGE DEEP DIVE: EXTENDED REALITY’S DEVELOPING INFLUENCE OVER BROADCAST

VIDEO COMPRESSION SESSION

XTREME EXCLUSIVE! CINEMATOGRAPHER JARRED KARP TAKES US BEHIND THE SCENES OF PROJECT AFRICA IN A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND INTERVIEW

ALTERED REALITIES

EDITORIAL EDITOR  Verity Butler

+44 (0)1223 492246 veritybutler@bright.uk.com SENIOR STAFF WRITER Katie Kasperson

DIGITAL WRITER Samara Husbands CHIEF SUB EDITOR Matthew Winney SUB EDITOR Minhaj Zia JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Molly Constanti CONTRIBUTORS  Paul Bray, Lee Renwick, Phil Rhodes, Fergal Ringrose, Neal Romanek ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR  Sam Scott-Smith +44 (0) 1223 499457 samscott-smith@bright.uk.com SALES MANAGER  Emma Stevens DESIGN JUNIOR DESIGNER AND AD PRODUCTION Holly May JUNIOR DESIGNER Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman SENIOR DESIGNER Carl Golsby MAGAZINE DESIGN MANAGER Lucy Woolcomb DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jenning s PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck FOLLOW US linkedin.com/company/feedzine @feedzinesocial +44 (0) 1223 499462 +44 (0) 7376 665779 emmastevens@bright.uk.com

W ith this summer set to be one of the rainiest on UK record, it seems we won’t be going anywhere without our coats, wellies and umbrellas. In truth, there’s nothing the media industry loves more than the latter when it comes to popular terms and expressions, and for our summer issue we’re homing in on one rising star amid a dense buzzword pool. Extended reality (XR) encompasses all real-and-virtual environments – the usual culprits that fall into its category include virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. This issue aims to dig deeper into its increasingly established role among production and broadcast teams with a thorough ten-page focus.

Elsewhere, we examine the state of video, or more specifically how we are moving it, in a video compression special. Plus, for our Genius Interview, we meet UK managing director of Roku, Richard Halton, who shares his wealth of knowledge on the evolving ad landscape. Machine learning and AI, does anyone know the difference – or if there even is one? This issue’s Masterclass gathers a panel of experts to debate the topic. Also, as this year’s much-anticipated summer of sport kicks off, Xtreme is here to report back on the latest innovations in the sports and esports broadcast spaces. In an Xtreme exclusive, we interview Jarred Karp to get the inside scoop on documenting Project Africa: a mission that saw a man become the first to run the full length of the African continent. It leaves one question: why run one marathon when you could run 385?

This month’s cover illustration was created by Carl Golsby at Bright Publishing

VERITY BUTLER, EDITOR veritybutler@bright.uk.com

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XTREME

IN THIS ISSUE

24 Sustainability spotlight With crystal-clear picture quality now a standard expectation, is Ultra HD ultra sustainable? 32 Special focus: XR Extended reality has changed the ways in which we create and put out content forever. FEED explores how 16 Happening: DTG Summit This event saw a London-based gathering of individuals across TV and broadcast discussing the future 06 Newsfeed The latest scoops in media tech, with everything from product launches to major mergers

84 Sports Reporter

The biggest news bulletins from the sports and esports divisions of broadcast media

96 Project Africa

Insider story about a man who ran the length of Africa, and how his team managed to document it

108 Esports round-up

An industry that has been at the forefront of broadcast innovation, and a pioneer of live technology

96

48 Genius Interview

Richard Halton is the MD of Roku UK, and has unique insight into the disruptive world of TV advertising

58 Video compression

The content-hungry nature of audiences today often take the tech delivering video for granted

70 Masterclass in ML

This issue’s panel gathers experts in AI and ML together to debate their differences – and significance

START-UP SNAPSHOTS 22 Strada 54 Lokvox 69

Audioshake 113 Salsa Sound

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FROM OUR PARTNERS

MPB Sony

Brainstorm

Zixi

Vizrt

MPB EVS

106 CVP

20 30

43 44

56 66

68 78

80 95

Qvest

Lawo

Ross Video

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SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS:

DELIVERING MAJOR STORIES IN MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY

US TikTok ban blows up

Earlier this year, the US government signed a bill to ban TikTok (remove it from app stores) nationwide. The only way to prevent this: Chinese parent company Bytedance has to pawn the platform. The US government’s actions signify two things: firstly, when it wants to – when it’s a question of supposed national security – it can act swiftly. Secondly, it’s out of touch with who actually uses the app: young people and creators, many of whom are paid influencers. In May, eight TikTok users sued the US federal government, claiming the ban would violate their First Amendment rights (the right to free speech). A week prior, TikTok filed its own lawsuit, and agreed to pay the creators’ legal fees in a collaborative effort to protect TikTok. Since Biden signed the bill in April, the question on

everyone’s minds has been: if Bytedance is to sell, who is to buy? If we’ve learnt anything from Twitter, it’s that we should be wary of billionaires putting in bids. That said, Frank McCourt, an American business exec, former real estate tycoon and owner of Olympique de Marseille, has assembled a group of interested buyers, all fighting for a chance to keep TikTok away from tech giants. McCourt created Project Liberty in 2021, an initiative to put power back into users’ hands; by purchasing TikTok, he promises to do just this. TikTok has already faced full bans in other countries, including India in 2020, as well as partial bans in Britain, Australia, Canada and France – but the US rarely takes such a dramatic stance on data privacy. It’s likely the whole ordeal will go up in flames – or end up in the Supreme Court.

Bundling attempts to solve the streaming wars STREAMING

First there were the streaming wars; now, we are entering a new era. As streamers look to increase dwindling profits, bundling is becoming a popular option – and one the most prominent platforms are offering. Netflix, Peacock and Apple TV+ have announced a bundle (called Streamsaver), as have Disney+, Hulu and Max. Specifics are yet to be announced, including the latter’s

pricing; Disney+, Hulu and Max are currently a combined $48 per month for their ad-free plans, though a bundle will likely be less than that (Streamsaver will cost a reasonable $15 per month). Disney already offers a bundle that swaps Max for ESPN+, which has apparently been successful; adding Max means Disney and Warner Bros Discovery are acting in each other’s best interests as well as their own.

Critics of bundling note its eerie similarity to a little thing called cable, which has largely fallen out of fashion in the past few years. That said, bundles offer benefits that cable TV doesn’t, including an option to go ad-free and the ability to download and watch titles offline, as well as being more affordable. Streamsaver is expected to debut this summer, with the Disney-Hulu-Max bundle slated for autumn.

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PRODUCTION

For the sixth time, Disguise has brought the Eurovision Song Contest to a global audience. This year was slightly different, with Eurovision 2024 marking the first large-scale live broadcast to run a full SMPTE ST 2110 workflow, with Disguise playing an integral role in this feat. As an Official Technical Events Supplier, Disguise drove video playback across the arena’s LED screens – of which there were over 2000 – for all 37 acts, resetting the stage with a distinct backdrop each time (having less than a minute to do so). Eight Disguise GX 3 machines, equipped with 16 IP-VFC cards, supported this mission, feeding video outputs to the Panasonic Kairos multiviewer, the Megapixel Helios LED processor and Roe Visual LEDs. Disguise takes Eurovision to new heights

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STREAMING

Max migrates to Europe

PLAYOUT

Max (formerly HBO Max) has officially come to the continent, launching first in the Nordics, Iberia, Central and Eastern Europe and later in Poland, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. For HBO fans, this expansion has been a long time coming, with users able to stream hit series like Game of Thrones and prequel House of the Dragon , The Last of Us

and The White Lotus , as well as franchises such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings . Including the 25 European launches, Max is available in 65 countries and territories worldwide. Due to Sky’s exclusivity deal, British audiences shouldn’t expect Max any time soon. Besides HBO and Warner Bros Discovery’s own content, Max will

offer a sports add- on, covering major tournaments including Wimbledon, the US Open, Tour de France and Olympic Games in Paris – though streaming rights will vary between countries. Live linear networks will also be available depending on location, such as CNN International in France and Poland and TV Norge in Norway.

Latvian broadcaster Vidzemes TV – which covers news, entertainment and educational content – has added Playbox Neo’s Channel- in-a-Box to its Valmiera-based studio headquarters. The playout solution allows Vidzemes to expand its output with additional HD TV channels, without requiring the team to undergo any extra training. PLAYBOX NEO FOR VIDZEMES’ PLAYOUT

AI

Limecraft and Ooona have partnered to provide AI subtitling, reducing subtitle generation time by as much as 80% thanks to speech recognition and automated translation and transcription. Limecraft offers an error rate of less than 2% in dialogue accuracy, allowing content producers to focus first and foremost on creation. Fashionstock Productions captures iconic fashion runways and other events across the globe – from Los Angeles and New York to London, Paris and Milan – using JVC’s professional video cameras and the GY-HC500 Series Connected Cam handheld cameras in particular. Fashionstock owner Anton Oparin used three GY-HC500s at Miami Swim Week 2024, the premiere event for swimwear held annually in South Beach. PRODUCTION FASHIONSTOCK SELECTS JVC LIMECRAFT AND OOONA ENHANCE SUBTITLING

AI

Google recently rolled out its AI Overviews (aka Search Generative Experience), part of its search functionality, to all US-based users – with the promise of more locations soon. The overview will appear at the top of the page, providing a summary of the most relevant search results. AI Overviews are not the only new addition to Google search, with capabilities for reverse video searching building on the existing image search tool. Google’s AI can also plan and make lists, proving helpful when creating a trip itinerary, buying meals for the week or finding the best restaurants. As with any AI-based tool in its infancy, the results have been mixed. For starters, some searches don’t benefit from an AI overview, such as plugging in a website URL, while others are far too complex for one simple summary. Plus, AI often gets things blatantly incorrect (it lacks cognition, after all), leading many users astray when returning search queries. Google’s ‘AI Overviews’

Following TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, X – known for short-form content – is extending its video offering. X (formerly Twitter) is getting a dedicated video app for smart TVs. According to the platform’s CEO Linda Yaccarino, the AI-based algorithm will tailor content to each user, organising videos by subject. X will support cross-app functionality, allowing users to begin watching on their TV and resume on their phone, or vice versa. The company has yet to announce a release date. Earlier this year, X owner Elon Musk hinted at introducing user fees to create content (but not to consume it). This will likely only apply to new users and is meant to discourage bot accounts. SOCIAL MEDIA X moves to smart TV s

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SUSTAINABILITY

Humans Not Robots (HNR), a software provider specialising in reducing carbon emissions and costs from businesses’ technology footprints, has announced a strategic partnership with ClimateEQ, a globally recognised provider of sustainability-focused training and consultancy. The alliance aims to deliver comprehensive services and technology solutions for various businesses navigating the complexities of sustainability with their infrastructure and digital operations. “Sustainability is at the core of our mission at HNR, and this partnership with ClimateEQ marks a significant milestone in our journey towards helping businesses meet their sustainability objectives,” said Kristan Bullett, CEO of HNR. “By combining our advanced analytics platform, HNR to Zero, with ClimateEQ’s expert consultancy and education services, we are uniquely positioned to offer our clients unparalleled insights and effective strategies to reduce their technology carbon footprint while driving operational efficiency.” Through this partnership, data-heavy companies that are uncertain about where to begin can now benefit from a single point of contact for accessing both the necessary expertise and technology solutions. HNR and ClimateEQ strive for sustainable operations

EDUCATION

Collaborative learning at Tilburg University

Tilburg University, the Netherlands campus which specialises in AI, social and behavioural sciences, upgraded its DAF Technology Lab to revolutionise the way its students learn. Expanding the possibilities of immersive education and innovative research, two cutting- environment) systems with VR opportunities and 360° sound from Genelec now call Tilburg home. edge CAVE (cave automatic virtual

The project aims to positively impact education and training, and Genelec’s Smart IP series of loudspeakers brought high-quality, real-life audio to a complex installation. Max Louwerse, professor of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence at Tilburg University and founder and scientific director of the DAF Technology Lab, has been a big advocate of this new type of immersive learning. In several publications, he

has explained how a CAVE system could be pivotal in the teaching of complex subjects. “We looked at loudspeaker companies across the world; Genelec was our preferred choice,” explained Louwerse. “Not only because of the quality of the equipment, but because of something else equally important – when we collaborate with a company, there must be mutual trust and enthusiasm about the project.”

Rise, the award-winning advocacy group for women in the broadcast media technology sector, has officially announced that entries for its annual Rise Awards are now open. Taking place at Troxy in London on 19 November, the awards will be streamed live. Submissions and nominations are encouraged from across the global broadcast media technology audience to showcase talent across the industry, whether in a manufacturer, service provider, engineering or broadcaster role. Nominations are open until 19 July; the shortlist will be announced at IBC 2024. Entrants can be nominated, or they can nominate themselves. All participants will require statements on the nominee and why they are relevant for the award. The judges across the categories are looking for the best demonstration of exceptional achievement, innovation, positive impact and the ability to fulfil the criteria. Entries now open for 2024 Rise Awards DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

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INDUSTRY LATV BECOMES LATINATION MEDIA

Latino Alternative TV (LATV) has formed a new parent brand, Latination Media, positioning itself to expand its

content offering and better, more wholly represent Latin American culture and language. Latination Media will incorporate LATV linear and FAST channels, Latination

Vizrt releases free HTML5 graphics GRAPHICS

In an effort to democratise live graphics creation, Vizrt has released a free library of HTML5 graphics templates for Viz Flowics users. It has applications across live production

scenarios, including sports, esports and corporate. Viz Flowics Graphics Packages feature over 100 broadcast-quality templates, including more than 20 sports graphics

and a selection of political graphics for the UK, US and Indian elections. Templates can be customised and translated. Viz Flowics will update its catalogue to respond to user demand.

Digital, Latination Studios and Latination Creative – combining original content, advertising solutions and distribution.

AI

Apple adds accessibility features

5G

According to a report by Globaldata, 5G adoption is expected to boost Singapore’s mobile service revenue to over $2 billion by 2028. Last year, 5G accounted for about 40% of total mobile subscriptions; this number is set to increase to nearly 90% over the course of the next five years. 5G OVERTAKES MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS Situated on San Diego State University’s campus, KPBS is the city’s NPR and PBS member radio station. Systems integrator BeckTV and Lawo modernised the station’s five control rooms to the AES67 standard, ensuring maximum flexibility with an all-digital, audio-over-IP (AoIP) operation. Lawo provided Diamond radio mixing consoles, which are interconnected with AoIP players, recorders and other devices such as intercom systems. RADIO KPBS GETS AN UPGRADE

Apple has announced a slew of accessibility features, including eye tracking, vocal shortcuts, music haptics and motion cues, which are likely to debut later this year. These new capabilities represent Apple’s commitment to both accessibility and AI elements. Using AI and a front-facing camera, eye tracking will allow people with disabilities to navigate their devices more easily. Vocal shortcuts will let users create words or sounds that Siri can interpret, helping

those with speech conditions. All user data will be stored on the individual device and not shared with Apple. Music haptics will give deaf individuals a new way to ‘listen’ to Apple Music, using taps, vibrations and other rhythmic elements on supported tracks. Developers can use this feature on their own apps, so it’s not exclusive to Apple Music users. Apple’s vehicle motion cues – animated dots that move as you do – can reduce motion sickness from sensory conflict.

FAST

Sony FAST channels hit Europe

Sony Pictures Entertainment is launching Sony One, its portfolio of 54 FAST channels, across Europe. Among these are Thriller TV ( Breaking Bad , Better Call Saul ), Comedy TV ( Seinfeld , The Goldbergs ), Comedy Hits ( Step Brothers , Easy A ), Action Hits ( Men in Black , Zombieland ) and Faves ( Dawson’s Creek , Community ).

Sony One will be programmed differently depending on the area, with content being broadcast primarily in the local language. Confirmed territories include the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, with more on the way – representing one of the largest FAST deployments in Europe.

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AI film festival sees submission surge AI

The second annual international AI Film Festival, organised by Runway AI, has seen an unprecedented surge in submissions, showcasing 3000 movies created using AI tools – compared to last year’s 300. This demonstrates that AI filmmaking is not just a fleeting trend. “We often hear people saying that AI will destroy creativity, but such

festivals prove that it isn’t true,” said Simona Vaystė-Kudakauskė, CEO of Perfection42, a company that provides custom visual AI tools for animation and VFX industries. “You can check all the winning movies – each has unique storytelling style. AI is another tool for an artist. A tool that will become a must in the future – like a camera to a videographer.”

The festival highlighted numerous use cases of AI in film. One of the winning movies utilised rotoscopy: the filmmaker, Daniel Antebi, rotoscoped a second character and re-skinned him using AI to make it appear as if he was made of muscle. Other movies employed AI for both production and post-production – with AI-generated footage and VFX featured prominently.

EDUCATION

Linking up Liberty University

Liberty University, home to over 135,000 students, recently revealed that it has deployed Riedel’s Artist ecosystem – including Artist digital intercom matrix, Bolero wireless intercom and Smartpanels with multiple applications. These are to be used for events ranging from sports to entertainment and convocations and was delivered in collaboration with Digital Video Group (DVG). This extensive IP-based deployment not only enables the team to support scheduled events across campus with ease while reducing maintenance time and costs – but also to cover more areas of the campus and support ad hoc events as they pop up. For instance, the use of IP transport enables the

team to essentially plug and play beltpacks and Smartpanels, which can feature multiple applications, anywhere on the campus network. “Riedel’s innovative design, such as placing speaker ports on each side, ensures clarity and avoids the muffled sound experienced with other manufacturers,” highlighted Mike Gerringer, chief technologist at Liberty University. “Bolero’s durability is evident: we haven’t encountered any issues despite widespread use and varying levels of user experience.” The university’s decision to adopt Riedel’s solutions stems from its desire for a reliable and efficient communication system to support the wide array of events on its large campus.

At the centre of New Jersey’s Ivy League Princeton University sits Princeton University Chapel, an elegant house of worship that gives nods to the architecture of the English gothic cathedrals of the 14th century. Complete with seating for almost 2000 worshippers, the nave features sandstone wall with limestone highlights and 80ft-high ceilings, but its aesthetics compromised the intelligibility of liturgical services. To resolve the sound issues, the chapel’s staff reached out to Washington Professional Systems for a new audio system. Ultimately, the chapel upgraded to an audio system from Renkus-Heinz, complete with innovative beam-steering capabilities. “The loudspeaker system was designed to deliver high-quality speech intelligibility and tonal balance for music, while also respecting the venue,” stated John V Fish, senior project engineer at WPS. “With that framework in mind, the system utilises 13 self- powered Renkus-Heinz IC Live Gen5 loudspeakers throughout the main sanctuary, located on each side of the altar, the columns of the nave, the sidewalls of the balcony and at the Marquand Chapel. Each speaker receives independent audio signal from the DSP and is programmed with specific delays to act as one unit, creating the effect that audio is coming from the altar. “With multiple modes of operation, the design allows staff to activate and use the system without navigating a complicated start-up procedure,” Fish concluded. Princeton University resurrects its audio AUDIO

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CVP has recently announced its appointment as the exclusive reseller for Angénieux (renowned French optical manufacturer) in Belgium. This new partnership empowers the company to offer sales and first-line support, lens repairs, and servicing for Angénieux’s extensive lens range. “CVP’s dedication to delivering the highest quality of service is unmatched; this partnership was a no-brainer. We are confident this collaboration will help expand our growth in Belgium,” commented Dominique Rouchon, deputy MD of sales marketing and communication at Angénieux. René van der Reiden, MD of CVP Belgium, said: “CVP is committed to providing the best customer service for the video and film production community – by offering high-quality products and quick, reliable repairs. This partnership is the perfect example of CVP’s vision and a milestone in our growth in Europe.” CVP appointed exclusive partner for Angénieux INDUSTRY

CLOUD ASTRO CHOOSES AMAGI

Leader in cloud-based SaaS technology for broadcast and connected TV, Amagi, has shared its partnership with Malaysia’s leading media and entertainment company, Astro. In a bid to modernise its systems and infrastructure for the playout, the move will transition Astro into AWS, marking a milestone in ASEAN’s broadcast industry. The Amagi deployment will help it to optimise media operations, enhance business agility and increase service resilience.

In line with a strategic partnership since 2022, Grass Valley (GV) and Globo have worked together to bring Big Brother Brasil (BBB) from studio to screen. The two have modernised Globo’s Rio de Janeiro-based production facilities, which host BBB, by migrating from an SDI infrastructure to Grass Valley’s native-IP video production framework. The overhaul includes two GV switchers and three control panels, Orbit orchestration, IP multiviewers and more. In its 24th season, BBB brings strangers under one roof – and under surveillance – for 100 days. Contestants are ‘evicted’ until just one remains. “The testing phase confirmed the GV set-up’s versatility, agility and reliability, crucial for our 100-day cycle,” said Mauricio Felix, Globo’s technology executive director of media solutions. PRODUCTION Globo and Grass Valley deliver Big Brother Brasil

OTT

MILESTONE FOR INDONESIAN OTT

Ateme has revealed that TVRI’s historic transition to 4K UHD OTT was powered by its technology. This move represents a big step forward in TVRI’s broadcasting quality and tech use, confirming Ateme’s role as the leading provider of OTT solutions in Indonesia. It now deploys Ateme’s Gen 7 video encoding and low-latency streaming solutions, as well as its Just-in-Time Packager Origin, ensuring seamless streaming experiences. Launched in 2020, Akili Kids has risen to become the most-watched youth network in Kenya. Since its start, over one million video files have been broadcast via the Playbox Neo Cloud2TV virtual channel playout system. “We have reduced our costs considerably because we don’t need to transcode before playout,” said Vincent Grosso, CTO, Akili Networks. “Our Playbox server plays out multiple video and audio formats.” PLAYOUT SEAMLESS PLAYOUT FOR KENYA Video delivery provider, Mainstreaming, has announced a partnership with broadcasting production company Stream7 to scale its live event broadcasting – thus enabling viewers to watch in their chosen location. Mainstreaming’s Video Edge Network will offer scalability for Stream7’s events ranging from 100 to 100,000 viewers, according to the company. It will also provide Stream7 with its viewer analaytics for valuable insights. STREAMING KEEPING IT MAINSTREAM

CYBERSECURITY

Ticketmaster faces major breach

Ticketmaster was hit by one of 2024’s largest data breaches so far in May, parent company Live Nation has confirmed. The Shiny Hunters hacking group is said to be threatening to sell users’ data on the dark web – demanding roughly £400,000 in return for not doing so. The group reportedly has access to the names, addresses, phone numbers and partial payment details of 560 million of

the site’s customers. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange commission, Live Nation said: “On 20 May 2024, Live Nation Entertainment identified unauthorised activity within a third-party cloud database environment containing company data and launched an investigation with industry- leading forensic investigators.” Santander also confirmed it had faced a similar attack from the group weeks prior.

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PRODUCTION Clear-Com covers solar eclipse

On 8 April 2024, North Americans gathered to watch the solar eclipse: a rare astronomical event that occurs once every few decades. Clear-Com’s solutions helped NBC KXAS and Telemundo KXTX cover the excitement through live broadcasts from Dallas, Texas. Clear-Com’s aptly named Eclipse HX Digital Matrix intercom system and Agent-IC mobile app played a pivotal role in providing eclipse coverage, allowing broadcasters to coordinate and communicate in real time – and not miss

a potentially once-in-a-lifetime event. Broadcasters were on the ground at Dallas’ Reunion Tower, witnessing the natural phenomenon alongside the general public, and feeding back to an off-site studio. “We utilised Clear-Com’s solutions to facilitate 28 live shots, seamlessly transmitting content back to our studios,” said Martin Dzurenko, engineer at NBC KXAS and Telemundo KXTX. “Clear-Com’s technology allowed us to capture the pure magic of this celestial event and share it with audiences worldwide.”

INDUSTRY

NEWSBRIDGE GETS NEW NAME

AI and video search company Newsbridge has officially changed its name to Moments Lab. The shift coincides with an all-around rebrand that more accurately represents the company’s mission: to help organisations tell stories and ‘identify the most impactful moments.’ Moments Lab has also unveiled upgrades to its patented AI indexing model MXT-1.5, which furthers this stated goal.

INDUSTRY

Nikon has completed its acquisition of Red Digital Cinema. Now a wholly owned subsidiary, Red provides digital cinema cameras and award-winning technologies to filmmakers, broadcasters and other operators. Nikon has largely maintained Red’s leadership, with former executive VP Tommy Rios now co-CEO and president Jarred Land and founder James Jannard serving as company advisors. Accedo has supported ITV in bringing its streaming service ITVX to Playstation 4 and 5 consoles. The multi-tiered platform combines live linear content with VOD and FAST channels. With 40 million registered users, ITVX’s launch on Playstation devices makes ITV programming available to an even wider audience that likely includes younger viewers. VOD ITVX AVAILABLE ON PLAYSTATION 4 AND 5 NIKON COMPLETES RED ACQUISITION

AI Gen AI enhances Adobe Photoshop

Adobe has announced the latest version of generative AI to hit Photoshop, including a suite of new features like Generate Image, Background and Similar, Enhance Detail, as well as improvements to Generative Fill and more.

Generate Image is relatively simple, taking a written prompt and visualising it, while Generative Fill lets users provide a reference image that aligns with the imagined result. Generate Similar offers relevant variations of an

existing image, while Generate Background fills the background with new content; Enhance Detail improves clarity. The AI additions aim to speed up the editing process, allow creators to add variation and make their lives easier.

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n a rare sunny day in London, Digital TV Group (DTG) hosted TV: The Bigger Picture, an annual nine-to-five summit which brings the technology, television and media sectors together. With each passing year ushering a host of changes, from evolutions in consumer behaviour to shifts in the ongoing streaming wars, the event regularly unpacks the TV industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities. Kicked off by Julia Lopez MP’s ministerial keynote, the summit’s various speakers covered topics like distribution and discoverability, the state of streamers, balancing people with product and future-proofing via the latest innovations. We heard from experts across both the private and public sectors, who sometimes presented opposing views and even engaged in healthy debates and discussions. It didn’t take long for a few key themes to emerge – but the most critical take-home point was that change is inevitable; what matters is how we address it. ENOUGH SPACE FOR EVERYONE We have heard the term streaming wars thrown about, but its accuracy remains up for debate. Panellists Leah Hooper Rosa (EVP EMEA streaming, Warner Bros Discovery), Kerry Ball (chief commercial and strategy officer, Britbox) and Monty Sarhan (CEO, Sky Showtime) discussed the current streaming ecosystem, paying special attention to password

sharing, market saturation, appealing to distinct locales, bundling and serial churners (those who constantly and intentionally swap between streamers). In a world where consumers are spoilt for choice, introducing a new streaming service might seem counterproductive. But some platforms – Britbox, for instance – have managed to establish a niche and garner an enthusiastic community. “We built a small dinghy with a big engine rather than running a cruiseliner,” says Ball. Audiences turn to Britbox for its high- quality British content, whether that’s a true crime story or a period piece. It’s naive to assume carving out a corner of the market is all it takes. Despite Britbox centring around British culture, “it needs to resonate in lots of different places,” argues Ball. “We will look to see how we can evolve our proposition in the future, to take into account how to deliver more value in different segments.” Hayu – created by NBCUniversal – is all about reality TV and unscripted shows. Like Britbox, it revolves around a single genre or special interest. Hendrik McDermott, MD of EMEA networks, Hayu and international direct-to-consumer at NBCUniversal, describes Hayu as an add-on. It’s not meant to replace the standard Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+ but to complement these services instead – which brings us to bundling. Streaming services have proven largely unprofitable, with the

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Words by Katie Kasperson

Leading voices in today’s media landscape gathered at the Digital TV Group event to evaluate the TV industry – celebrating its strengths, analysing its obstacles and identifying key areas for improvement

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programming towards real people telling real stories, having fun with their friends and sharing that on the most effective platform out there, which is YouTube – and now TikTok.” The Sidemen have built a robust following over the past decade, but Schwarzenberger didn’t want to stop there. “How do we help you build an ecosystem of IP and brands to take it to another level?” he asked them. “This is the big takeaway in the room today – that content and brands need to be thought of in a real 360° way. That’s the opportunity to think about first, rather than individual content or programmes.” We often see celebrities launch product lines or beauty brands – Rihanna (Fenty Beauty), Harry Styles (Pleasing) and Selena Gomez (Rare Beauty) come to mind on the latter, but almost everyone does it. This is the new normal. Schwarzenberger stresses the importance of building a consumer community. This begins with meeting the audience where they are – and Gen Z is on social media. Channel 4 is a trailblazer in this regard, having launched its YouTube channel, Channel 4.0, in 2022 and having already raked in 374,000 subscribers. Production company A24 is another leading example; by handing full creative control back to filmmakers, it has managed to produce some of the most popular and critically successful projects of the 21st century. There’s also a rumour that content is moving towards small screens and that young people aren’t buying TVs any more. This is partially true, but thanks to broadband-enabled TVs (which now represent 99% of all TVs on the market), audiences can watch their favourite creators on the bigger screen at home, too. With the rise of bite-sized content comes an assumed downfall in linear TV. But the numbers demonstrate that linear TV is here to stay – for now. Although they subscribe to streaming services, 79% of British viewers still watch a traditional TV broadcast in a given week (as of 2022, according to Ofcom). While this number is dropping, it will likely be decades before streamers and social platforms replace broadcasters – if they do at all. NO VIEWER LEFT BEHIND All’s fair in love and war, although what about TV?

Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, briefly discussed universality and how internet-based viewing will impact the future of TV distribution. Teh noted that certain audiences – such as those over 75 years old, in a lower socioeconomic group or with a disability – are at risk of being left behind, since these viewers are more likely to watch digital undoubtedly the future, but this rests on the assumption that viewers can access the internet. With our lives increasingly wrapped up in digital worlds, it’s imperative to ensure access to everyone – not just those who can afford an additional bill among a cost- of-living crisis. Smart TVs provide better usability than their DTT counterparts, with more intuitive interfaces and the option to add subtitles and/or closed captions. These benefits can encourage people to purchase broadband-enabled TVs, which can be relatively inexpensive. In an effort to bring high-quality content to audiences at no cost, Everyone TV launched Freely, a new streaming service blending Britain’s largest public broadcasters into one platform and delivering both live and on-demand content. With initiatives like these, Britain’s TV industry inches closer to true universality. terrestrial television (DTT) only. Broadband-enabled TVs are AN OPEN ROAD An all-day affair, the DTG summit touched on even more topics in the afternoon, from diversification to personalisation, comparing the endless supply of content to an all- you-can-eat buffet. With more choices than ever before, it’s not a bad time to be a consumer – but for companies, it can be nearly impossible to keep pace with demand or anticipate the next hit series. Mix in new technologies like virtual production, augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and the TV landscape looks far different from just a few years ago. This is why events like the DTG summit are critical to the industry, enabling it to progress and evolve while maintaining what makes TV so special. It’s a chance for business leaders, government officials, media experts and – most importantly – audiences to discuss, debate and ultimately decide what’s best for everyone. TV’s future is wide open.

costs of creating original, high-end content outweighing revenues from subscription fees and advertisements. Many platforms have opted to bundle – or provide multiple services at a discounted rate – to entice consumers; not only will they be paying a lower premium, but they’ll also be juggling fewer subscriptions (making them less likely to churn). As the cost-of-living crisis rages on, we’ll likely see more bundles cropping up. With all this saturation in streaming comes competition, or the streaming wars. Sarhan opposed this term, arguing a war implies a winner and loser. “There’s room in the marketplace for all of us to win and do well,” he assures. “I’m rooting for [Warner Bros Discovery] and Britbox. When they’re successful, that means I’m successful; it means streaming is growing.” MEET IN THE MIDDLE Lately, it seems linear TV is dying – or is at least on the out. The truth lies in the data: younger viewers are watching less traditional TV than ever before – instead turning to platforms like TikTok and YouTube to consume content. Jordan Schwarzenberger, co- founder of Arcade Media, dove into the details of why this might be – and how businesses can keep up. Schwarzenberger manages the Sidemen, who are “the biggest content creators in Europe,” he says. “They represent a generational shift in content away from centralised WITH THE RISE OF BITE-SIZED CONTENT COMES AN ASSUMED DOWNFALL IN LINEAR TV. BUT THE NUMBERS SAY LINEAR TV IS HERE TO STAY

FICKLE FLICKS Streaming services are no longer just competing for content, but for user loyalty

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Words by Xxxx Xxxxx

DOCUMENTING EUROVISION

With Eurovision 2024 done and dusted, MPB talked to Corinne Cumming and Sarah Louise Bennett – who photographed 2022’s show in Turin – to find out what it’s like to capture

W atched by more than 200 million people worldwide, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most iconic entertainment events in the world. But what’s it like to photograph the historic event? MPB lent photographers Corinne Cumming and Sarah Louise Bennett some much-loved Nikon and Canon kit for 2022’s event. Q: What kit did you borrow and were you happy with the results? CC: I borrowed the Canon EF 100- 400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and a

FREEZE TIME (Right) Corinne Cumming on the Eurovision set with camera system in tow

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV to take to Eurovision in Turin. I already have a Mark IV, so having a second made my two DSLR camera set-ups a lot easier as they were both touchscreen. The real game changer was the lens. Even though I was shooting from the green room, which is very close to the stage, I needed the extra zoom. I took some of my favourite pictures on that lens. SLB: The Nikon AF-S 200-400mm photographed other music television broadcasts for the BBC, I know that the live broadcast takes priority over stills – I have to work around the multiple television cameras, so I often won’t have my ideal shooting position. The huge focal length meant I could get the close-ups needed from much further back, while the consistent f/4 aperture allowed me to keep my shutter speed high to freeze all the action and choreography. f/4G ED VR II was brilliant for Eurovision. Having previously Q: What else was in your kitbag and how important is it to have the right set-up? CC: The Canon 70-200mm f/4, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. For my two-camera set-up, I also have a Blackrapid dual-shoulder harness and a Think Tank belt with a Lens Changer 35 pouch and another zip-up pouch for spare batteries and memory cards. The most important thing for big events like these is having lenses that cover a wide variety of scenarios. I like a wide lens for crowd shots, 24-70mm for portraits and less zoomed-in shots of the stage and the 100-400mm for close-ups. If I didn’t have those bases covered, I couldn’t do the job to the best of my ability.

SLB: I brought my Nikon D850 and Nikon Z6 II, the FTZ adapter for the Z6 II, the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II. They’re both older lenses but built solidly and work perfectly. Q: What does a day as a Eurovision photographer look like? CC: The great thing about Eurovision for me was that no two days looked the same. In the first week, I was shooting portraits in a makeshift studio with rented Profoto lights, but I was also shooting the live rehearsals that week. The second week, we had the turquoise carpet event, which was higher pressure for some of the team. Sarah and Andres’ photos had to go out to press live, whereas my portraits were being held to post the next day as I needed to do some retouching). The really busy week was finals week. We would wake up early in the morning to finish editing our photos from the day before. Around 1pm, we would be picked up at our hotel and taken to the venue where we would shoot the first rehearsal of the day. Between that rehearsal and either the second rehearsal or the live show, we would do more editing and also cover

any press briefings, maybe shove some pasta in our faces and then shoot the show in the evening. SLB: I joined the Eurovision crew a week before the final, and first up for me was capturing the action on the turquoise carpet at the opening ceremony. For the other days, we would technically be shooting two shows a day. Each live show had two dress rehearsals the day before, followed by a third rehearsal and the actual live broadcast show the next day, meaning we’d cover each show four times. We’d actually use the rehearsals to try to capture as much of the action as possible and have it banked to go out as the live show was happening since there’s no way to edit it all that quickly. Q: What would be your top tip for event photography? CC: My top tip for shooting events is one I’ve stolen from Art Streiber. He said in a talk once that you have to be the right amount of both prepared and flexible as a photographer, which is honestly so accurate. Things never go completely to plan, but you can’t let that throw you. You just have to do your best in any circumstance and trust yourself and your skills. SLB: For anyone doing live event photography, I’d say that the most important thing you can do is get to know your equipment and how it works so you don’t have to think about the technical stuff at all. It should all be muscle memory. Of course, it takes a lot of time and practice, but it means you can then focus entirely on what’s happening and how best to document it – not your settings.

SET THE SCENE With elaborate sets and some groundbreaking technology, the competition is a sight to behold

THE IMPORTANT THING FOR BIG EVENTS LIKE THESE IS HAVING LENSES THAT COVER A WIDE VARIETY OF SCENARIOS

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STRADA CEO: Michael Cioni

What is the company’s origin story? Brothers Michael and Peter Cioni left their roles at Adobe and Netflix (respectively) to build a new company, following a hunch that the greatest opportunity for creative professionals brought by machine learning (ML) is not generative AI, but intelligent workflow automation for content creators. They’re building Strada in public – sharing the entire process in full view of everyone… even competitors! The Cionis created their YouTube series Starting a Startup , followed by Building an Alpha , documenting how they have navigated all the pitfalls and successes. Strada’s series is packed with invaluable tips for any entrepreneur – new or seasoned – looking to launch their next business, uncovering a goldmine of information. What is it working on right now? The company is working on building out its namesake product, Strada, which removes complexities and inefficiencies for professional content creators. Strada automates tedious, repetitive tasks, simplifies workflows, improves search and increases delivery speeds to help storytellers in every market segment save money and time, and improve creative control over workflows. With features such as multicloud connect, multicam playback, AI transcription, AI translation, cluster transcoding and AI clip tagging, Strada delivers a new way to work from an intuitive browser interface. Strada combines custom-built tools with automation and AI to unlock workflows previously not possible. It integrates AI and ML models alongside inventive automators, allowing users to perform numerous tasks faster than any other off-the-shelf tool. Strada prioritises five main functions: transfer, transcribe, translate, transcode and tag/analyse (dubbed ‘tanalyse’). These functions can unlock thousands of capabilities for users to revolutionise how they make content. What is the next step? Strada recently debuted its platform at NAB Show, where it secured three engineering and product awards including an NAB Product of the Year for the asset management, automation and playout category. The Strada team conducted hundreds of product demos, allowing them to capture valuable data about what potential customers want to see next. What one thing does the company need most? Now that it has established a product market fit for creative professionals, Strada wants to raise more money to expand its headcount and build the features its early customers have requested.

YEAR FOUNDED: 2023

COUNTRY: USA

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High-quality video is now no longer a bonus – it’s an expectation. But is our desire for a crystal-clear picture damaging our planet? ULTRA SUSTAINABLE? CAN WE MAKE ULTRA HD

Words by Neal Romanek, editorial director,The Flint

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T he Ultra HD Forum was founded in 2015 amid a rush of anticipation around new, higher-resolution formats. Video in 4K is so much a part of every piece of the video workflow – everyone expects their phones to be able to shoot 4K video – that it’s hard to remember how, less than ten years ago, this was still cutting-edge stuff. At the time, though, the only place someone could reliably find 4K video was on YouTube; the question of how to bring UHD into the mainstream was a challenge. There were many competing standards and the definition of UHD itself was up for debate. The Ultra HD Forum came together for the purpose of creating some order out of the chaos by pooling market leaders from around the industry, including broadcasters, service providers, consumer electronics and technology vendors, to collaborate on solving the challenges of Ultra HD development and deployment. Among the Forum’s founding members were Comcast, Dolby, Harmonic and LG. The membership today includes many broadcast tech companies of note, as well as broadcasters such as PBS and the BBC and industry organisations like DTG, EBU and NAB. “We didn’t set out to be a standards body,” says Ultra HD Forum’s Ben Schwarz, “because if anything, this industry suffers from too many standards, not too few.” There were a number of standards available at the time, including UHDTV1 (with a resolution of 3840x2160) and UHDTV2 (a resolution of 7680x4320), and there was confusion about the difference between 4K and Ultra HD, with many assuming they were identical – a problem which continues among consumers to this day. Rather than getting into debates about which formats were preferable, the Ultra HD Forum provided concrete experience about what worked and what didn’t work. “In the early days, we actually spent a lot of time asking ‘what is UHD?’” says Schwarz. “It seems really obvious today, but back then it wasn’t.” Getting the language right – not to mention getting everyone to agree on it – is essential for making progress in tech. The Forum eventually decided that the acronym UHD would essentially be a synonym for 4K, and the full expression Ultra HD would refer to the whole range of next- generation entertainment services defined not only by increased resolution, but high dynamic range (HDR), wide colour gamut, next-generation audio and high frame rate. “If you have a 4K service, we’ll call that an Ultra HD service. But if you have an HDR service, even if it’s not 4K, we’ll call that an Ultra HD service too.” Sustainability is always about people and how best to serve their needs in the long term. The Ultra HD Forum’s aim is to enable a higher- quality experience for audiences, as well as a more comprehensive palette for storytellers.

Sustainability is about quality, and quality is where intelligent engineering combines with customer care. The Ultra HD Forum wouldn’t think of itself as a sustainability organisation, but joining the practical with the needs of customers is where sustainability can really get traction. Most viewers assume that improved technology will give them a more realistic experience, but of course, there is no such thing as a realistic viewing experience – aesthetic decisions are made even on the most basic YouTube video. Secondly, they assume that they prefer a more realistic experience over a less realistic one. Ultra HD Forum’s Schwarz explains that this is just not the case: “People say the more realistic the better, but a few years ago, we did a golf broadcast demo at NAB we were incredibly proud of. We had a 4K version and it was like looking out a window. You could really see the grass and the earth. “Next to it we had another squashed-down version of it which looked like the traditional unreal grass colour you would see in the cinema – bright green. Almost everyone preferred the bright green grass; that had nothing to do with reality, it’s just what they were used to.” Sports broadcasters still routinely adjust camera settings so that sports fields register as bright green, even though if you saw that colour in real life, you might assume your drink had been spiked. “It was a surprise to realise that we thought Ultra HD would be fantastic because of the extra realism. It’s still a powerful tool for sportscasters because it gives them more and deeper colours to work, but they are still trying to reproduce what they’ve been doing for the last few decades.” The Ultra HD palette of tools can be extremely powerful for broadcasters – and for audiences – but creators need to be holding the audience in mind as the priority. Give sports fans realistic grass before they’re ready and they’re likely to start complaining about some very, very lucrative content – and no one wants to be on the end of that phone call. Give them a beautiful piece of art that only works if viewed in perfect HDR conditions and you get The Long Night episode of Game of Thrones . WHO’S GOT THE POWER? One of the central sustainability issues for Ultra HD content – in all its iterations – is the increase in energy consumption it brings. HDR monitors consume substantially more energy than standard dynamic range monitors for example, and the files required for a 4K workflow and delivery consume more energy at every step along the chain than the same workflow would in HD – and this has become more or less the default. 4K capture is generally the standard, even if everyone involved knows the final result will never show at anything higher than HD. High frame rates, which are part of the whole Ultra HD package, also mean a lot more data storage requirements and throughput. A 4K

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