Exploring the future of media technology
AI getS creative Portrait of the artist as a young machine: PTZ s for streamers A holographic president Corporate video Ethical advertisers
EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 firstname.lastname@example.org DIGITAL AND FEATURES EDITOR Verity Butler CHIEF SUB EDITOR Alex Bell SUB EDITORS Matthew Winney, Harriet Williams CONTRIBUTOR Michael Burns, John Maxwell Hobbs, David Davies, Adrian Pennington, Fergal Ringrose, Alex Fice, Nicola Foley, Miriam Balanescu ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR
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rtificial intelligence, presidents by hologram and morality in advertising. If ever there was an issue of FEED dedicated to the future, this is it! AI – in the form of machine learning – is
advertisers, trying to break the economic link between advertising and harmful content – he offers startling insight into how advertisers are sometimes knowingly supporting some of the worst individuals and organisations in the world. Speaking of such people, Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion continues, but those who believe in democracy are continuing to work hard in support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, the team behind Founders Forum invited President Volodymyr Zelensky to address its delegates in London – and partner events happening simultaneously around Europe – by hologram. We talk to the team who travelled to Kyiv to capture the first holographic message from a leader in wartime – if you don’t count that other hero who lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
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creeping into every corner of the media industry, with the goal of freeing human workers from mundane tasks, while scaling up processes to levels beyond the capacity of a human workforce. But apart from benefits to media workflows, can AI help create good content? We think, yes. With an explosion of powerful tools for image capture and generation at their fingertips, creatives can now harness big tech. We talk to Jake Dubbins, who heads up a creative agency that puts ethics first. As co-founder of the Conscious Advertising Network – an international coalition of
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Audio. Control. Power.
FEED:SHOW Our rundown of the latest in media tech news and product releases
Greening of Streaming A new media sustainability organisation hosted a launch event at the British Houses of Parliament The marketing industry gathered to discuss the future of TV advertising – and storytelling driving it
20 The Big Think
28 PTZ Review
Affordable pan-tilt-zoom cameras are providing a streamlined solution for live productions of all sizes 66 Industry Inventory – Corporate video
We asked big names in the business about both successes and teachable moments when creating corporate content
63 Colossyan 74 Papercup
110 Mozaic 118 Help Me Tape
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FROM OUR PARTNERS
60 Ateliere 17 Blackbird 102 Blackmagic Design 75 CGI
62 Dalet 113 Dejero 120 Grass Valley 117 Imagine Communications
40 Future Shock – Creative AI Artificial intelligence and machine learning are unlocking new and better ways of making content 50 Masterclass – AI in broadcast
Our panel of tech vendors discuss what AI and ML can bring to broadcasters – and what it can’t
FEED:Xtreme A sample from our new sports tech magazine, FEED:Xtreme . Are NFTs all hype – or will they score big? Media Bounty co-founder Jake Dubbins calls on advertisers to think ethically about where their money is going
92 Genius Interview
104 Just the Numbers
Key data from Vidyard’s annual Video in Business Benchmark Report
We talk to the team who captured the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, for a holographic AR message delivered to the entire tech world
88 Lawo 18 MPB
23 Pebble 64 Ross Video 108 Signiant 24 Sony
101 Zero Density 48 Zixi
59 Tedial 76 Telstra 72 TSL
114 On-Hertz 36 Panasonic
Who needs a tech expo when
you can read FEED:SHOW? We highlight
impactful stories – with mergers, milestones and metadata
Keeping up with our busy industry is not an easy task, but never fear, FEED is here! Find out the latest – from acquisitions and tech releases, to innovations and collaborations TECHNOLOGY & DEPLOYMENTS
C2G, specialist in high-performance cabling and connectivity solutions, is now offering HDMI over IP in 4K resolution. This allows for top-quality steaming via a newly launched extender system. Featuring a decoder, ncoder and network controller, it provides integrators with multiple HDMI-over-network configurations. This enables the flexibility to support digital signage systems, video walls and point-to-point extensions, including multiview capabilities – making it ideal in retail, corporate and education settings. “No matter the application today, the AV system infrastructure demands unquestionable high-resolution support over IP, along with scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness,” comments Robert Mays, associate product marketing manager at C2G. “Our 4K HDMI- over-IP solutions pack all these benefits, backed by the same C2G quality that integrators have trusted and relied upon for decades.”
WayPoint 104 is now superseded by WayPoint 3, with Dejero revealing its new staple. Incorporating multicam support for the new EnGo 3x transmitters, this up-to-date version reconstructs video transported over multiple IP connections from any Dejero transmitter, as well as decoding HEVC or AVC and outputting resolutions of up to 4K UHD. For more streamlined usage, the same receiver will now be able to output up to four feeds, including two 4K UHD and two HD, one 4K UHD and three HD, or four 4K UHD or HD. Enhancing the capabilities of WayPoint 104, now introduced five years ago, this new receiver combines the broadcast- quality redundancy and reliability of the previous product with current technological developments. With this release, users can reconstruct, decode and playout video in higher definition than ever.
Telestream has announced the latest release of software for its Prism family of waveform monitors, allowing users to add new features and capabilities to their hardware with a simple upgrade. Version 3.3 introduces significant video format support for post-production applications, faster switching of IP inputs, Dolby ED2 metadata support and other additions to an already impressive set of IP and SDI measurement tools. Designed to be used in video engineering, operations, live acquisition, event production and post-production, Prism includes tools to maximise its usability with today’s wide colour gamut, high dynamic range and
high-resolution formats. With faster switching of IP inputs – at around 0.5 seconds – camera shading operators can make comparisons quickly and efficiently. Version 3.3 now supports DCI 4K post- production resolutions up to 4096x2160, and refresh rates from 23.98 to 60p – for everything from cinematic to broadcast workflows. It also offers Dolby ED2 metadata decoding, used for Dolby Atmos, and guard band measurement for comprehensive audio monitoring.
ENGINEERING FOR THE FUTURE
Broadpeak announced a virtual channel as a service application on its software. The API-based platform on broadpeak.io enables cable operators, broadcasters, OTT service and content providers to launch virtual channels – such as pop-ups and free ad-supported streaming television – in a bid to personalise viewer experiences. “We’re excited to introduce this innovative application for our broadpeak.io SaaS, closing the user experience gap between social networks and traditional streaming platforms,” says Mathias Guille, vice president of Cloud Platform at Broadpeak. “Virtual channels are an easy, affordable way for video service providers to add personalisation, value and revenue to their video streaming services. With our Virtual Channel as a Service, video service providers can help viewers find the content they are passionate SCALING NEW PEAKS
New software from Norwegian company Vizrt is a boon for visual workflows. The Viz Engine 5 is a live graphics compositor created to aid production. It comprises adaptive graphics – a form of content delivery – and is able to alter resolution, format and layout in line with specific display devices, which can be implemented in multiple output formats for various platforms, simultaneously and automatically. By allowing users to create graphics once, to then be published multiple times, the Viz Engine 5 eases workflow. Viz Engine 5 is optimised to offer the most seamless integration with Unreal Engine 5 to date, amalgamating the separate render paths into one graphics workflow. Newsbridge and Alpha Networks collaborated to offer sports and media organisations a powerful end-to-end cloud video management and OTT solution. It combines Newsbridge’s cloud Media Hub and signature multimodal indexing AI technology with Alpha Network’s leading live and on-demand video platform Bee, propelled by Kinow. The Newsbridge Media Hub can be used to import live, rush and archive media assets, and features automatic transcription, translation, AI-powered indexing, subtitling, and real-time collaboration. Users can then share metadata- enriched content to the Bee streaming solution, allowing them to organise and secure content, set up the right monetisation strategy and decide whether to livestream or provide video on-demand. Other streaming functionalities include live broadcasting automation and the ability to plan multiple live events simultaneously. The merger aims to enrich the viewers’ OTT experience and propose an end-to-end solution, from production to distribution. SUPER OTT SOLUTIONS
about, boosting their engagement and satisfaction.” The channel as a service supports the creation of linear pop-up channels for live events trailer and event content can be incorporated. Virtual channels are fully addressed through API, which allows operators to launch services intervention-free. A global schedule for channels, to be adapted to targeted audiences. Live, VOD, slate, audiences and viewers can be created. Large platforms are also tackled with Broadpeak’s advanced manifest manipulator.
LISTEN AND LEARN
This year, Red Bee Media and Utopia Music have joined forces to collect and analyse data on music usage on television, thereby reducing the burden on broadcasters to track and report. The initiative also works towards fairer royalties for artists. In partnership, Red Bee Media will provide around-the-clock audio feeds of over 9000 television and radio channels. Then analysed by Utopia Music, royalties will be allocated to stakeholders – the organisations hope this will be a faster, more efficient and lower-cost method for broadcasters to track their music usage, ensuring greater transparency. “Utopia is on a mission to level up the entire music industry, by providing reliable, data-based solutions,” says Markku Mäkeläinen, CEO of Utopia Music. “Currently in TV, the obligation lies with the programme producer to declare what music is being used and when, which is time and resource heavy. With Red Bee Media, we are making this simpler for everyone.”
New HyperDeck Shuttle HD The desktop HyperDeck that’s the perfect live production clip player and master recorder!
Supports SD Cards and UHS-II Cards HyperDeck Shuttle supports recording to common SD cards and UHS-II cards so you don’t need expensive custom media. When using H.264, the files are so incredibly small you get very long recordings even on smaller low cost cards. This means you can record up to 157 hours of H.264 in 1080p59.94 on a 1 TB card. That’s over 6 days of recording in HD using a single 1 TB card! Record to External USB-C Media Disks If recording to other types of media is required, the USB-C expansion port lets you plug in an external flash disk for recording. USB-C flash disks have unlimited capacity because they can be physically larger than an SD card or SSD. Plus, it’s even possible to record to a disk you’ll use for editing, so you don’t need to waste time copying files before starting post production.
HyperDeck Shuttle HD is a recorder and player that’s designed to be used on the desktop! That means it’s more than a master recorder as it can also be used as a clip player. You get support for ProRes, DNx and H.264 files in NTSC, PAL, 720p and 1080p video formats. Plus SD cards, UHS-II cards and USB-C external disks can be used for recording and playing media. Elegantly Designed Professional Broadcast Deck HyperDeck Shuttle HD is perfectly designed for the desktop. This means the front panel can be operated with a single hand! The design is the same depth and angle as ATEM Mini Extreme, so they match perfectly when used together! Scrolling media is fast as the machined metal search dial has a natural inertia, and the soft rubber surface feels nice to the touch. Traditional Broadcast Deck Controls HyperDeck Shuttle includes a control panel that’s very fast to use. The buttons are similar to a traditional broadcast deck. Simply press the record button and you instantly start recording the video input to a file! It will record in the file format that has been set in the record menu. There are other buttons for playback, to cue to the start of the clip and to move to the next clip.
HyperDeck Shuttle HD £439
SRP is Exclusive of VAT.
EPIC ADVANCEMENTS FOR NDI
The anticipated SDK plug-in for Unreal Engine 5 from NDI has arrived, which promises to increase the system’s capabilities for extended and augmented reality. “As soon as Unreal Engine 5 was released by Epic, we were receiving requests for an NDI SDK plug-in, so more creatives can unite the powers of UE5 and NDI, to achieve more with video. NDI has a great relationship with Epic, and we’ve worked together for over five years
to bring our joint users more value. We are immensely excited to see how they harness the potential of our technologies together, to advance virtual storytelling,” comments president and GM of NDI, Tarif Sayed. Employing the NDI SDK, users will be able to find, send and receive video streams over IP, along with 16 channels of floating- point audio. It also includes tools to implement video access and
grouping, bidirectional metadata, IP commands, tally and more. Unreal Engine business director for broadcast at Epic Games, Bernt Johannessen, adds: “With NDI, teams have access to multiple live video sources and Unreal Engine tools all on a standard network. Unreal Engine is the world’s most advanced 3D-creation tool, and together with the most adopted video-over-IP technology, we’re giving storytellers more freedom.”
SWITCH THINGS UP
PROBING THE DETAILS
Leading supplier of radio broadcast solutions Worldcast Systems has unveiled the Audemat FM Probe – a solution for accurate monitoring, measurement and analysis of the FM signal. This will allow broadcasters and regulation authorities to perform remote monitoring of a set list of channels and verify the conformity of their FM network with both legislation and broadcasting needs. Contained in a compact 1U frame, the Audemat FM Probe has the unique capability to monitor up to eight programmes continuously and 50 sequentially. It also incorporates a selection of useful features and advanced software tools, including deep signal analysis, full RDS decoding, SNMP traps and Syslog, plus recording and scan monitoring. In a first for an Audemat monitoring product for FM, the FM Probe embeds Kantar watermarking technology to decode and monitor the Ink code of any station, allowing users to monitor whether the watermark for audience measure is being well broadcast at the correct time. As for audio, the probe’s recording and streaming feature will allow radio broadcasters to hear the sound rendering in real time. The product is also compatible with network management systems such as Kybio, and enhanced with ScriptEasy technology, which supports advanced telemetry, facility management and web page customisation.
Blackmagic Design has announced a new family of Atem SDI live production switchers. They have been designed with professional 3G-SDI connections and are extremely portable, quick to set up and easy to use. “The new Atem SDI live production switcher is perfect for broadcasters wanting advanced, professional features, while also looking for extreme portability,” says Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “There are three great models with 3G-SDI video connections and some really fantastic features, like DVEs for
picture-in-picture effects, graphics, transitions, advanced chroma key and Fairlight audio mixer.” The Atem SDI and Atem SDI Pro ISO models offer customers four SDI inputs, while the Atem SDI Extreme ISO model provides eight SDI inputs, allowing the connection of multiple cameras for different angles. The Pro and Extreme models include built-in streaming, and support direct recording of streaming data to USB flash disks. It is also possible for users to edit live events, as they can record multiple streams at the same time.
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY It’s acquisitions galore this season. Discover how the changing industry landscape is set to bring big news in TV, translations, graphics and extended reality
CLOUD NINE Broadening its offerings in the cloud media processing sector, Telestream has revealed its acquisition of Emmy “Over Encoding. com’s 13-year history, the company has generated significant traction powering video supply chains for leading streaming platforms, content distributors and web- based VOD platforms,” says Dan Castles, CEO at Telestream. “Being cloud-native from inception, the technology fits perfectly within the strategic award-winning Encoding.com. direction at Telestream, to offer our customers the ultimate flexibility to meet their most demanding workflow needs across cloud, on-premises or hybrid environments. This acquisition, together with Telestream’s 25-year heritage of continuous media workflow innovation, cements our leading position across the entire VOD cloud media processing ecosystem.” Gregg Heil, Encoding. com founder and CEO, and Jeff Malkin, president, will take up senior positions at the helm of Telestream’s cloud initiatives.
Video software provider Synamedia has obtained Utelly, a content discovery platform provider whose products are geared towards the entertainment industry. The move is expected to strengthen Synamedia Go’s services in this sector. Utelly’s offerings include metadata aggregation, search and recommendations, and content management and promotion. “Every day we hear from customers that metadata aggregation is an obstacle negatively impacting viewer engagement,” comments Paul Segre, CEO of Synamedia.
“Utelly was ahead of the curve in recognising this and developing a SaaS solution that enables end users to find content across aggregated TV and video services. Its AI- powered solution eliminates the complexity of combining data from multiple metadata providers. It’s a great addition to our Synamedia Go streaming platform.” By collecting data in real time from over 50 providers, pre-integrated with Gracenote, TiVo, IMDB and Netflix, Utelly simplifies users’ content discovery, unifying data and utilising AI to enrich sparse data sets.
GOING WITH THE FLOWICS
A new partnership has been announced that integrates Flowics Graphics and the TVU Producer production platform. Utilised in many verticals – from news to sports – TVU Producer’s cloud-based, multicamera, live production tool is a key component of workflow for both traditional and digital broadcasters. The pair- up will enable users to control Flowics Graphics directly from
the TVU Producer interface, making it possible to create graphic overlays and insert them into live productions – all without leaving the TVU Producer platform. “This native integration between TVU Producer and Flowics Graphics is a prime example of the continued improvements we’re making to this platform,” comments Rafael Castillo, vice president and
general manager for EMEA and Latin America, TVU Networks. “As the integration is natively run, Flowics Graphics users get to enjoy the same interface they’re familiar with. There is zero retraining or downtime. We’re thrilled to expand TVU Producer’s capabilities with the power of Flowics Graphics, particularly its approach of incorporating social media data into live remote production.”
UNICORN TAKES IT UP A NOTCH
AI transcription innovator Verbit – which achieved unicorn status last summer – announced the acquisition of Take 1, a firm specialising in transcription, access and localisation services for the media and entertainment sectors. Bolstering Verbit’s quest for global expansion, the move follows recent acquisitions of other companies including Take Note, Automatic Sync Technologies (AST) and US Captioning. Helping global media brands such as NPR and Warner Bros reach wider audiences through start-to-finish transcription and captioning services,
Take 1 provides localisation and access services to the media and entertainment industry. Verbit aims to capitalise on Take 1’s unique expertise in the fields of unscripted production workflows, Ofcom and FCC compliance and multi- language audio descriptions, as well as enhancing its performance and delivery of UK English language requests. “The addition of Take 1 advances Verbit as the leading partner to deliver on every media access need, including captioning, transcription and audio description,” says Tom Livne, CEO and founder of Verbit. “I’m excited to provide
enhanced service designed to meet our joint customers’ growing post- production needs, while investing more in the UK and European regions.” “This is such an exciting new chapter in the Take 1 story,” adds Take 1 founder and president Dom Bourne. “Our secret to success, since starting the company in 1998, has always been to evolve according to the industry’s needs. With Verbit, we can look forward to continuing to do this by offering new services like live captioning, powered by Verbit’s AI solutions. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
NEW HORIZONS FOR EXTENDED REALITY
Immersive entertainment specialist Meptik has been bought by Disguise, in a bid to accelerate the global deployment of world-class immersive productions. Meptik is the mastermind behind the creation of dynamic virtual worlds commissioned by major film studios, lifestyle brands and musical artists; Disguise is recognised for its market- leading extended reality workflow, which has powered live entertainment productions for the likes of Katy Perry and Billie Eilish. Both companies will continue to operate as separate entities. However, the two will work together to produce new solutions, create product road maps and drive innovative standards in entertainment technology. “Meptik has been a trusted partner of Disguise for many years, growing to excel at bringing out the very best capability for Disguise solutions. Given that we have both been, in the past two years, bringing extended reality and immersive entertainment to the world, this acquisition would expand on these efforts and lead the next era for extended reality
ENCO has acquired TranslateTV, which marks a decisive move to capture the Spanish translation market. The acquisition provides ENCO with a broader reach into multi-generational Hispanic television. Using TTV’s patented software, ENCO will offer broadcasters an on-premises option for advanced translation of Spanish-language TV captioning in real time. Plans to develop a global solution specific to AV applications are also in the works. “Integrated with our enCaption automated captioning and transcription solution, we will enable this technology to natively accept live and pre-recorded TRANSLATION INNOVATION
audio feeds and convert them to text. Our same workflow will inject these translations onto multiple consumer platforms, presenting live, accurate captions on TV sets, desktop, laptops and mobile devices. We will develop and innovate the TTV platform for new applications, while bringing 24/7 support to the existing TTV client base,” says ENCO president Ken Frommert. He adds that with Sentinel, another acquisition, ENCO’s customers “can monitor caption quality from ingest to transmission, while cleaning up inaccuracies, improving timeliness and providing documentation in response to FCC complaints”.
and metaverse experiences,” says Disguise CEO Fernando Küfer.
Words by Neal Romanek
Sustainability org Greening of Streaming hosted a launch event at the UK Houses of Parliament, imploring us all to tackle the environmental crisis through cooperation
othing brings opposing political parties together like the imminent collapse
head of new business development at id3as – in his parliamentary address. “Members develop and share best practice, collectively innovating to ensure power efficiency is promoted to engineers and technology designers. It’s a pillar of architecture as important as price and performance.” The genesis of Greening of Streaming was an article Robinson wrote for Streaming Media magazine, which had the catchy phrase as its title. This feature led to more opinion pieces, then conversations with peers in the industry, and finally the founding of a stand-alone non-profit organisation by Robinson and his colleagues at id3as. Adam Curwin, brimming with experience as a business analyst and financial manager – and with a bachelor’s degree in zoology – was ultimately brought in as Greening of Streaming’s executive director. GETTING THE NUMBERS RIGHT Help Me Stream Research Foundation’s Tim Siglin, also a Greening of Streaming founding member, presented the parliamentary gathering with responses collected from a specially commissioned public survey on consumer awareness and streaming habits. The poll, conducted via UK market research and data analytics firm YouGov, asked questions generated by Greening of Streaming members. This provided a snapshot of understanding about streaming’s environmental
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of organised society. Parliament was the site of an event held by media industry trade body Greening of Streaming, to put the environmental impact of streaming before members of the British government. On 8 June, Greening of Streaming’s parliamentary public launch was attended by representatives from the industry, including participant companies, UK broadcasters and various politicians. Matt Warman, Conservative MP and former parliamentary under-secretary of state for digital infrastructure, appeared alongside Labour MP Dr Alan Whitehead, shadow minister for the Green New Deal and energy. They introduced the assembled policymakers and parliamentarians to the organisation, which is helping businesses and government work together to initiate reform. Greening of Streaming set out with a firm grasp on the fact that the climate crisis – which is exacerbated by almost everything we do – can only be solved with intensive cooperation. Hence the emphasis on cross-party participation at the parliamentary shindig – and the organisation’s ethos of bringing together companies who would normally be competitors. “Fundamentally, Greening of Streaming is about saving the planet, not competitive advantage,” according to co-founder Dom Robinson – also
BBC NEWS REPORT ON THE EVENT IN PARLIAMENT
YOU CAN SWITCH OFF YOUR TELEVISION TO SAVE POWER, BUT EVERYTHING UP TO YOUR FRONT DOOR IS ALWAYS RUNNING
impact – and what people were willing to do about it. “Viewers feel that the obligation to address the problem is with the streaming industry,” Adam Curwin told FEED . “At an individual level, there’s not much you can do. If you chose not to stream at all, the infrastructure is still switched on. You may only influence what happens on your device.”
Greening of Streaming participants are suppliers to the media tech and video streaming sector, providing infrastructure for broadcasters and businesses.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY Executive director Adam Curwin (left) points out that reducing any environmental impact is actually the industry’s obligation
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‘No greenwashing’ is a founding motto for Greening of Streaming. The group seems genuinely eager to collect and analyse information in an impartial way, and discover solutions. This spring, a working group decided to get some hard numbers on exactly how much energy was being used by their system in a live broadcast. Akamai, Ateme and Broadpeak captured real-time measurements of their networks during the Uefa Champions League final, attempting to understand correlations between energy use and viewership. The data was turned over to University of Bristol researchers, including Professor Chris
Preist – an expert on energy use in ICT. He specialises in assessing how technology uses energy and intersects with human behaviour. “The University of Bristol is keen to be involved in generating groundbreaking research, to see if we can actually discover something and get that information out,” says Curwin. Robinson believes this data supports Greening of Streaming’s hypothesis that, contrary to received wisdom, reducing bandwidth doesn’t cut energy consumption. “Essentially, there’s very little energy variance going from nought to 30 million viewers. Infrastructure
Radiant Media Player
TNO MediaLab Varnish Software
White Rabbit Productions
To learn more, go to: greeningofstreaming.org/membership
IT TAKES AS MUCH ENERGY TO SEND ZEROS AS IT DOES TO SEND A COMBINATION OF ZEROS AND ONES CONFRONTATION AND COLLABORATION
Professor Chris Preist researches the environmental sustainability impact of digital technology. In addition to assessing the energy and resources it consumes, he also seeks to understand how these innovations impact our behaviours on a wider scale. Professor Preist talked to FEED for our first climate crisis special in February 2020: “Research is often thinking about disruptions... we need to consider how to drive efficiency at a systemic level. It requires a certain amount of R&D by progressive companies.” l Read the full piece featuring Professor Preist here: online.bright- publishing.com/view/83562448/24 BRINGING SCIENCE TO THE PARTY
is already constantly scaled for peak usage. You can switch off your television to save power, but everything up to your front door is always running, regardless.” Robinson notes that there are a number of problems with how digital businesses calculate efficiency and power consumption. One of the biggest is analysing numbers based on how much the viewer is using the service, rather than how much the service itself is actually consuming. It’s a fallacy akin to only counting the power consumption of a burning light bulb when you’re actually in the room. “This allows you to declare net zero because the problem is put into the consumer’s hands. They might be thinking: ‘I only use my router for Netflix,’ so they believe they’re saving energy – but the Netflix service is sitting there burning around the clock, all the time. It takes as much energy to send zeros as it does to send a combination of zeros and ones. If a broadcaster claims it is net zero and the rest is in the consumer’s hands, that’s greenwashing. “When you hear a company saying: ‘We’re using 10% less bandwidth, so its 10% greener,’ it’s a lie. They may be trying to do the right thing, but they’re deceiving themselves.”
The goal of Greening of Streaming is to confront the industry with the facts, in order to create faster – and more intelligent – emissions reduction. Early results are promising, as it has already helped certain members shift how they crunch numbers. One member company that was proud of its green credentials realised it was actually way off. “Intentions were good,” says Curwin. “But even better is that it acknowledged what it was saying wasn’t right, has really taken it on the chin and completely changed. For us, that is a win. It has also been one of our most vociferous supporters.” Greening of Streaming is headquartered in the UK, and the parliament launch event was its first major interaction with government. But the organisation is international in its membership and mission. Presentations to the EU are in the works, and engagement with US government will hopefully follow. “We need to have joined-up thinking – you can’t work completely independently. In fact, that makes the problem worse. We want to do the right thing and are keen to talk to similar organisations.”
DELIVERING THE WOW FACTOR Blackbird enables pro editing in a browser that others thought impossible – and its CEO is here to explain
Words by Ian McDonough, Blackbird CEO
o hear some of the news reports coming out of recent trade shows, you would be forgiven for thinking the industry has suddenly cottoned on to the idea of post-producing content in a browser. The advantages of doing so certainly have a wow factor! Cost efficiencies alone should make the decision to move to cloud a no-brainer. Factor in the unrivalled flexibility of ramping up seats of specialist talent located anywhere – and the ability to produce broadcast-quality content with all the financial flex of software-as-a-service – and creators everywhere have a right to be excited. FULLY FEATURED EDIT SUITE IN A BROWSER This is not new. Blackbird has provided professional editing in a browser since 2018, and has been packing on the functionality ever since. Blackbird can do things in a browser that others thought impossible. With Blackbird, you have precision access to video, with frame-accurate editing within AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. Supporting up to 12 video and 36 audio tracks, the toolset is highly responsive and – to quote one of our customers – ‘just glides.’
The sophisticated functionality is mature and stable. It includes alpha channel overlays, pan and zoom, multicam capability, real- time transitions, colour correction and effects. Blackbird supports full multichannel audio workflows. The platform’s subtitles all comply with international standards, and powerful logging and review capabilities will harmonise with integration to any MAM, CMS and CDN. This barely scratches the surface of its post-production powers – and doesn’t even mention Blackbird’s rapid publishing prowess. What we’ve achieved is not easy. We have heard that directly from much larger companies attempting the same thing. Everything we have done to make the user experience friction-free required elite engineers ‘polishing the pebble’ over decades of R&D, as well as the strategic and financial commitment that goes with that. CLOUD NATIVE IS YOUR CLOUD UPGRADE Blackbird has not become the industry standard for professional-grade editing in a browser without ruffling a few feathers. We will not shy from challenging the industry to change up what it means to move to the cloud.
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WATCH BLACKBIRD CONTENT HERE!
One popular version of cloud is ‘virtualised’ or ‘remote production’ using cloud-based tools. These solutions are superior to traditional outside broadcast technology, since they slash transportation requirements. However, they still need dedicated hardware – it is simply stored in a location and controlled remotely. Cloud-native solutions like Blackbird do not use or require any dedicated hardware or infrastructure. This is the only way the industry can unlock the real benefits of cloud – namely scalability, flexibility and sustainability. We can prove this. Using Blackbird generates up to 91% less CO2 than on-premise and cloud-based workflows. At the same time, you can save up to 75% on infrastructure costs. Cloud-native solutions are essential in achieving effective remote working and driving more sustainable practices. The industry is finally waking up to a realisation we made a long time ago. Now, the onus is on companies to leapfrog to a browser-based future. Download Blackbird’s white paper at blackbird.video/howblackbirdworks/
LIGHTNING FAST Use Blackbird for instant and precise access to video content
e hear more and more buzz about the ’circular economy,’ but the idea is nothing new. It’s something that previous
generations just called practicality and value for money. To your grandparents, purchasing something that you knew would be obsolescent in five years wasn’t a sign of progress and forward thinking – it was at best a sign that you’d been duped; and at worst that you were a wasteful, ostentatious spendthrift. The main quality of a circular economy is the elimination of waste and pollution – a principle which has to be baked in from the moment a product or process is conceived – and that products are reused multiple times. MPB, headquartered in Brighton – with offices in Brooklyn and Berlin – is one of the top destinations for buying, and selling, used camera gear. From DSLRs to lenses, tripods and drones, its massive inventory provides carefully inspected and warrantied equipment from, and to, filmmakers and photographers around the world. Selling and trading over 300,000 cameras, lenses and accessories each year, MPB is built around the notion that top technology shouldn’t be disposable, and can be made available to anybody. The company’s dedication to thrift and value goes beyond platitudes of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ and has become a guiding principle of the business – so much so that last year, MPB brought aboard a dedicated head of sustainability, Rachel Thompson. A SERIOUS APPROACH Thompson isn’t new to the sustainability sector. She has worked at the coalface (pun intended) of sustainability and corporate responsibility her entire career, including years as head of sustainability at Gatwick Airport. At MPB, she sees an opportunity to make real progress in growing a low-carbon, genuinely sustainable business. “MPB was a really good fit for me,” Thompson explains. “It’s about making the kit for storytelling affordable, accessible and sustainable, and that is really the origin story of the business. It’s not something that has to be added on or evolved into – compared to an airport, where the ethos around the environment is a longer, harder journey.” Thompson’s task is to formalise the sustainable practices the company already
From its headquarters on the British coast, MPB is rethinking camera equipment for the era of sustainability
has underway, while establishing goals to continue progress. Halting the assault on our natural life-support system is the priority in any sustainability strategy, but Thompson points out that successful sustainability efforts have to address the health of the business and staff. A draconian path to zero carbon isn’t going to last long, if the people who are supposed to implement it are neglected. “The challenges and solutions are interconnected. Society and companies aren’t going to solve the climate crisis without a really strong people strategy.” EXPANDING THE CIRCLE Thompson knows that the notion of a circular economy, built on reuse, isn’t solely about recycling and using fewer raw materials. It’s about widening that economy, so people have access to an array of opportunities. “You have to expand that circular economy and make it inclusive of people who, for different reasons, haven’t been
able to participate in the ‘brand new’ economy. So the circular economy is both an environment thing, but how it can become more inclusive and affordable, while adding more value.” MPB has set out three major themes with sustainability goals. The first is being circular and renewable, which is already at the core of their used equipment business. But it is adopting circular principles with packaging, eliminating plastic, and using 75% recycled paper. Opportunities for circular economy methodology are all around us. Brainstorming them is going to become a regular part of business in the coming years. MPB is already assessing its furniture and IT equipment, making sure that it’s reusable or reconfigurable. “We are looking at applying this circularity to all the things we need to buy, sell or trade to run our business.” NET ZERO PARTNERSHIPS MPB has set a goal to be powered by
IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOGRAPHY AND CINEMATOGRAPHY SPACE, KIT IS GENERALLY DESIGNED TO LAST A LONG TIME businesses is key. MPB will be vetting partners, working with companies committed to similarly ambitious net zero, diversity and inclusion goals. This includes carriers for the delivery of its equipment, most of which is ground transport. “In the photography, videography and cinematography space, kit is generally designed to last a long time. It’s repairable, adaptable, and a good fit for the circular economy. It’s also a good model for other parts of the electronics industry that still stick to an 18-month life cycle.”
100% renewable electricity, across the business. Focusing internationally presents a special challenge. While the Berlin office is operating on 100% renewable energy, the UK sites are still around 40-55%, with the Brooklyn office at 32%. The aim is also to be net zero across the business by 2030. Sustainability goals are impossible for companies to pull off in isolation. Collaboration with other
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AN INTRODUCTION TO MPB
The UK marketing industry gathered in London to discuss the future – and the storytelling that will drive it
he job of advertising is all about communication, and that extends to conversations within
Corp talked about the privilege and pressure of reporting on the UK pandemic when it was still an unknown quantity. “We had a responsibility. We had to sift through something that we were still feeling our way on, and none of us were experts. It was tough for our teams to come in personally, not knowing if their families were safe. I’m really proud of public service broadcast news.” The pandemic underlined how important front-line, eyewitness journalism is, Corp said. When Russia reinvaded Ukraine in February, Corp had to deploy ITV journalists to cover an even more unpredictable crisis. “A conflict on that scale, we haven’t done for years,” explained Corp. “Sending teams out, some of whom haven’t had the experience, was tough. We didn’t know the scale at first, but it quickly became clear Russia was throwing everything at it. “It all starts with the team on the ground. We don’t say: ‘We want you to get in your car and go to this place today.’
the industry itself. This summer’s Big Think conference in London brought together UK-based experts, to brainstorm better ways of helping consumers. Hosted by TV marketing body Thinkbox, the event took place at Bafta on 14 June. The conference didn’t just focus on advertising, but on television itself, and its relationship with an audience that is still powerful – even in a world of 24/7 on-demand media. Morning kicked off with a discussion featuring Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee. Not especially relevant to advertising, the fireside chat nevertheless underlined the power of storytelling, and the richness that could result in giving writers free reign to create. Other speakers included Andy Nairn of the Lucky Generals agency, who talked about his book Go Luck Yourself , focusing on how to innovate and practise being...
FOR THE CAUSE Chaka Sobhani spoke about ads as tools of change
well, lucky. And Boyd Hilton, entertainment director for Heat and contributing editor at Empire , explored TV’s cultural power. ITV NEWS IN THE HOT ZONE Incoming CEO of ITN, Rachel Corp, was interviewed by her colleague and news presenter Nina Hossain, concerning her new responsibilities, and challenges in her previous position as editor of ITV News.
DERRY GIRL Lisa McGee extols the power of stories
Three ads shown by Leo Burnett CCO, Chaka Sobhani, showed the power of advertising to produce laughter – and tears – in a very short time frame.
OUR MISSION IS TO VISUALISE AN INDUSTRY THAT INCLUDES ALL OUR CULTURAL HERITAGES
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Instead, they phone us and say, ‘Based on intel on the ground and people we’re working with, we think there’s a story.’ And they know I’ve got their back. It’s terrifying. I didn’t sleep very much the first few weeks, worrying about them.” Caring for the team, who are literally witnessing war crimes, has been a priority. “With mental health, it’s not just about the teams going in. It’s everybody. This was one of those stories where everyone in our newsroom was involved – and we are having to look at really upsetting images. But they’re important. We can’t sanitise it, but it was relentless.”
people of every background better opportunities to train, network and find employment in the advertising and creative sectors. “Our mission is to visualise an industry that includes all our cultural heritages in this country, different ways of thinking – neurotypical, neurodiverse – and all age groups. Why can’t we have multigenerational offices? Why can’t the entry-level employee be in their sixties? An industry that is as diverse, wonderful and unique as the consumers of our brands.” Owen pointed out that the creative industries have a long way to go before all the ecosystem is truly representative. “However, the good news is that talent is all around us. Obviously, the legacy systems
BBC TWO, CHRISTMAS 2017 SPOT
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A QUESTION OF HERITAGE In one of the most pivotal segments of the conference, four speakers took to the stage to present ten-minute pitches about improving the advertising and media industry. Ally Owen, founder of Brixton Finishing School, explained her organisation’s purpose of championing under- represented talent, giving
MONEY SUPERMARKET, EPIC STRUT AD
we have, where we’ve traditionally leant into
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certain types of community or education, have led to a lopsided industry.” BIGGER PICTURE Among broadcasters, Sky has distinguished itself as a trailblazer in new technologies, as well
Read our Genius Interview with Jake Dubbins on page 92.
ABSOLUT, EQUAL LOVE AD
HUMOUR, EMOTION, PURPOSE
Chaka Sobhani, CCO of Leo Burnett London, concluded by sharing her insights into the power of moving images to create change. She observed that the pandemic pushed us to think in different ways about how we work, our connections to other people and ability to innovate. “I think we just started listening. Because everything was so up in the air and we had no idea what the hell was going on, we had to absolutely listen to the heartbeat of how people were really feeling... we’ve got to make sure we don’t slip back into bad habits.” The work of creatives is ultimately to evoke feelings. Humour, emotion and purpose were underlined as universally useful tools to engage
people. Sobhani showed effective examples of each, with three popular short TV spots – the Epic Strut Money Supermarket ad; BBC One Christmas ad The Supporting Act ; and Absolut Equal Love ad. “Humour is really tricky, as we all know, because it’s subjective. But if we’re trying to land on ideas that appeal to as many people as possible, it is such an incredible way to forge a connection.” Sobhani recognised that when advertising embraces a cause, it runs the risk of seeming disingenuous, or worse, cynically co-optive. “You have a choice. If you stand up for something you believe in that is true for your brand, and you back it in a real way... that can be an incredibly compelling reason for people to engage.”
REPRESENT Ally Owen discussed the importance of diversity in media spaces
as incorporating low- carbon strategies into daily operations. Fiona Ball is group director of Sky’s ‘Bigger Picture’ corporate responsibility initiative, and presented a snapshot of its sustainability mission.
Organisations like Sky, which engage with suppliers and partners worldwide – not to mention create content for millions of households – can have a dramatic impact on changing behaviour at scale. Ball said the company has ‘a target to be net zero carbon by 2030,’ claiming Sky has already cut its carbon footprint by 24% since last year. Sky has joined a global initiative called RE100, aiming to help big companies switch to renewable energy. MORAL RESPONSIBILITY Jake Dubbins, co-chair of the Conscious Advertising Network and MD of ethically driven creative agency Media Bounty,
urged advertisers to be aware of where their money is going. Dubbins cited stats from Newsguard and Comscore, claiming top brands were sending $2.6 billion to misinformation websites each year. “We are literally funding white supremacy,” said Dubbins, explaining that major brand names were ending up on questionable sites, or before YouTube videos promoting conspiracy theories. Illustrated by screenshots, Dubbins showed Lush ads running prior to climate denial videos on YouTube, with ads from charity Human Appeal alongside Breitbart News articles on the ‘global warming hoax.’ A website pushing for the overturn of Roe v. Wade was accompanied by a Spotify ad featuring Ed Sheeran. “Now, we can consciously choose where to put our money. We used to say ‘inadvertently funding,’ but we know this is happening and dividing society. We have to choose whether we sponsor division, or bring society together.”
WE HAVE TO CHOOSE WHETHER WE SPONSOR DIVISION, OR BRING SOCIETY TOGETHER
You can watch videos of all the Big Think conference presentations here: thinkbox.tv/ news-and-opinion/ events/big-think-at- bafta-2022
FOR THE FUTURE Sky has taken a leading role in the march towards sustainability in the industry, as Fiona Ball demonstrated
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