EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 firstname.lastname@example.org
DIGITAL AND FEATURES WRITER Verity Butler
elcome back to another quarterly edition of FEED ! We received incredibly positive feedback after our first issue in this new format, and are excited
issue, we host an esports round table, where a group of experts explore how the year 2020 forced pro gaming to return to its can-do hacker roots. We’re also lucky to have sports psychologist Dr Eddie O’Connor in this issue’s Genius Interview. Dr O’Connor helps top performers overcome adversity to perform their best. In our conversation, he offers media businesses tips on how they can meet the emerging industry challenges in a shaken-up world. We investigate the state of eye-tracking technology, which is useful for device control, as well as gaming, and offers disabled people a powerful tool for interactivity. We also explore subtitling – or lack of it – in online video and the impact this has on content accessibility for certain communities.
CHIEF SUB EDITOR Alex Bell SUB EDITOR Elisha Young JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Jack Nason
to present you with even more stories. FEED:SHOW, Industry Inventory and Start-up Alley are even bigger in this issue, announcing new releases, sharing industry experiences and showcasing businesses. Our FEED:Xtreme section on sports and action content has also been super-sized. In this magazine-in-a-magazine, we look at how hockey has fared in a season of lockdown and how this year ’s Super Bowl was still a technological triumph, despite reduced capacity. Xtreme also houses our esports and gaming content and, for this
CONTRIBUTORS Michael Burns, Ann-Marie Corvin,
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06 FEED:SHOW and the latest in product news 23 Industry inventory: Your broadcast mentors
49 WaterBear ’s streaming mission 58 Meet the super-aggregators 142 Making money with VOD?
64 Quality subtitling shouldn’t be optional
72 Sports psychologist Eddie O’Connor tells business how to bounce back in difficult times
84 Ice hockey fights Covid-19 92 A special 5G Super Bowl 98 EA’s Madden Hail Mary
104 Esports producers and tech providers discuss how pro gaming boomed in a difficult year
37 Robot-boosted production 127 Start-ups to watch 134 A closer look at eye-tracking
FEED:SHOW is our tech exhibition in a magazine. Check out the newest gear, software and updates serving the world of video workflow and distribution
Words by Verity Butler
AUDINATE audinate.com AN ARMFUL OF AUDIO Audinate’s software development kit (SDK) is ideal for manufacturers of Arm-based audio products. The SDK facilitates the deployment of Dante Audio networking as on-chip software in its products, allowing for the conservation of space. The Dante Embedded Platform SDK provides the necessary tools when developing Dante- enabled products built upon 32- and 64-bit Arm Cortex-A processors. It uses a Linux operating system and supports online license activation for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer). It also allows manufacturers to validate their own designs for performance and capability. “We’re very pleased to offer the first SDK for Dante as software,” says Audinate product manager, Nick Mariette. “We’re just beginning to see the changes brought to the AV industry
through families of software-based products. Arm-based audio devices are incredibly flexible and cost-effective. Now, Dante can be integrated in to deliver a truly great customer experience.” In addition, to support Arm Cortex-A processors, a Dante Embedded Platform SDK for x86-based audio products is anticipated for release in the near future.
ADAPTING TO IP US-based company Avid is bringing its MediaCentral | Stream to market – a software-only solution that enables the ingest of IP streams for television news and remote live TV productions, including both on-premises and cloud-based workflows. With a steady incline of media houses adopting IP for contribution purposes, MediaCentral | Stream allows for a secure contribution approach, from a variety of incoming IP streams, including Haivision and LiveU. “IP protocols are being leveraged more and more for contribution to support news, sports and remote live production, providing significant cost and operational benefits,” says Avid product marketing director – media and cloud, Raul Alba. “MediaCentral | Stream enables those incoming streams to be ingested, re-wrapped or transcoded
into production-friendly formats, to support on-premises or cloud-deployed Avid production workflows.” Users can preview incoming streams, as well as record and edit media, while still recording. Using two common IP stream protocols, RTMP and SRT, users are provided with access, regardless of where the production is deployed.
OPENING WINDOWS Dejero’s new Windows application joins the Dejero LivePlus series of apps, aiming to enhance the quality of remote news delivery. This is particularly relevant for remote journalists and anchors during the pandemic, who use a broadband connection to transmit high-quality live video, while also getting two low-latency return video and teleprompter feeds – all on a laptop. LivePlus for Windows offers a solution to ensure the broadcaster ’s quality of content is not compromised, while allowing the anchor to keep their eyes fixed on the camera at all times. “This is an exciting addition to the LivePlus toolkit that makes the home studio set-up even simpler for journalists and presenters, needing less equipment and minimising costs,” explains Dejero director of product management, Yvonne Monterroso. “It allows the creation and delivery of highly professional content using existing computing equipment; saving the station’s inventory of mobile transmitters for crews working out in the field.” The low-latency video the app transmits has a live stream of up to 20Mbps and Dejero’s integrated Smart Blending Technology includes an option to blend Ethernet with Wi-Fi. The app also supports the use of an internal camera, an external USB webcam, or the connection of an SDI or HDMI camera.
SYNCING WITH PIXFORMER InSync Technology’s PixFormer is the newest addition to the company’s API integrated, software-based conversion modules. This latest arrival is the first to be targeted for SDR and HDR conversion applications. “PixFormer builds upon our existing modular approach to providing high-quality image processing wherever it is required in the content supply chain,” says InSync Technology chief technology officer, James Shepherd. With a growing need for HDR content, producers face the challenge of delivering SDR, as well as HDR endpoints. To profit fully from the millions of hours of SDR content that already exist, conversion to HDR is then required. Simple to integrate via its open API, PixFormer is flexible to deploy and can run on-premise, as well as via cloud environments. And, as Shepherd notes, “The software’s range of advanced tools means that producers are always in full control of the content output.” INSYNC TECHNOLOGY insync.tv/software-solutions/pixformer
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TV’s abundant consumer experience offerings,” explains MediaKind chief product officer, Raul Aldrey. Mediaroom Play also aims to increase the operators’ aggregation value, with access to more than 7000 applications from Google Play Store. On top of this, the integration offers new monetisation routes, through revenue share opportunities on Google Play Store and Google ads. DEVELOPING PLATFORMS MediaKind also revealed developments to its MediaFirst TV Platform. These include enabling operators to define and deploy competitive next-generation services, offering an increase in efficiency and enhanced user experience. As well as providing consumer experience updates, such as improved content discovery, metadata and advanced personalisation, these new features also incorporate new promotional rows, including a premium streaming service integration within the discover feed.
This will enable operators to unleash Pay-TV experience with live, VOD, time-shifted content, restart TV and Cloud DVR plus Multi-DRM, and packaging. It also allows consumers to watch anywhere and bookmark content across any device with Chromecast, Download & Go. “We are proud to roll out a host of competitive developments to our MediaFirst TV Platform and enable our broad, global customer base to create truly immersive consumer experiences,” says Aldrey. “With the recent significant upgrades to our cloud-native platform, our customers will be able to leverage the agility, scalability, and fast-to-market capabilities that MediaFirst offers. This highly advanced solution underlines our ongoing commitment towards enabling best-in-class features that captivate audiences worldwide.” In addition, MediaFirst’s multi-tenant capabilities also facilitate shared infrastructure costs and optimised operations.
MediaKind has launched Mediaroom Play, a new client solution allowing operators to deploy set-top boxes (STBs) powered by Android TV. With the aim of providing an integrated solution for the delivery of modern-day TV experiences, Mediaroom Play is an STB-based client solution within the MediaKind Mediaroom portfolio. The pre- integration includes CommScope’s latest VIP7802 set-top that utilises Broadcom’s 72180 system-on-a-chip, Ruwido remote control unit, and support for a multitude of premium streaming service applications. A key function of Mediaroom Play is that it allows operators to become part of the global move towards the gradual adoption of Android TV and, with it, its thousands of streaming providers. “This pre-integrated solution enables our customers to evolve from being video-only service providers to multi- service providers, tapping into Android
SSIMWAVE/ FIRSTLIGHT MEDIA
PARTNERS IN AI Firstlight Media and SSIMWAVE are teaming up to drive a broader adoption of AI-powered solutions. The key aim of the new partnership is to enable OTT and pay-TV providers to easily integrate SSIMWAVE’s SSIMPLUS system, in conjunction with Firstlight Media’s cloud-based streaming platform that is built on Gen 5 architecture. SSIMPLUS uses software probes and objective scoring methodology to give actionable insights into video quality from source through to device.
It allows video providers to fix processing problems, manage HDR quality and balance viewer experience and cost to support expense reduction and subscriber satisfaction goals. “There are links between quality of experience and viewer loyalty,” says Firstlight Media CEO and co-founder, André Christensen. “SSIMWAVE’s advances on its award-winning algorithm can uniquely provide value to our customers by helping them deliver cost-effective quality levels that build long-term subscriber value.”
EASY STREAMING During the recent virtual CES 2021, GoPro Labs revealed it is releasing a firmware program designed for more advanced users, which will support HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black and GoPro MAX. The firmware includes camera motion triggers and USB power triggers – the first allows users to leverage the camera’s accelerometer and start/stop capture when the camera is in motion, while the latter equips the GoPro to start/ stop capture when USB power is detected. These new features also facilitate the preservation of storage and battery, as well as enabling USB-triggered functions to permit the device to act as a dash cam. Another key aspect of the firmware is the simplification of live streaming QR codes, allowing your GoPro to start live streaming within moments of connecting to the Wi-Fi, as well as new QR code controls supported in 5K and HindSight capture for Hero9 Black.
RADIO IN THE CLOUD On-Hertz has unveiled Nubo, a cloud-based radio production studio that is available as a service. Minimalising workflows for media production, Nubo gives broadcasters access to a live
radio studio, from any location, and the only requirement is a web- browser and a microphone. As a result of its docker-based configuration, the service offers reliable and secure connections, and is compatible with most
automation software available via subscription. Moreover, due to its audio-over-IP capabilities and the fact it is already connected with systems like Dalet, it is also quick for users to import playlists. “It responds perfectly to our current scenario and the need to work remotely from home, for presenters, journalists and technical teams,” says On-Hertz CEO and co-founder, Benjamin Lardinoit.
IN THEIR ELEMENT Nugen Audio has showcased its Focus Elements solutions. Designed for small or home studios, the Focus Elements plug-ins offer the same algorithms that the company deploys in its Focus bundle plug-ins. The first to be released will be Stereoizer Elements, a stereo-width plug-in that adds depth to stereo and mono mixes. “Focus Elements bears the hallmarks of Nugen Audio quality: providing clear, real-time visual feedback to enable rapid control choices,” explains Nugen Audio CEO, Paul Tapper. “Using these plug-ins, beginner, independent and at-home producers and mixers will have access to the same powerful algorithms used in all our software via a streamlined, straightforward interface.” In keeping with the original Stereoizer software, the new Elements plug-in gives a more polished and spatially balanced sound. It is ideal for those wanting to create a sense of natural space and seeking an expansion of the stereo image. nugenaudio.com NUGEN AUDIO
SPARKY CONVERTERS NewTek has introduced the Spark Plus IO 12G-SDI to its range of Spark Plus IO converters. The new converter, which encodes and decodes 12G-SDI sources to and from IP-friendly NDI at upwards of 2160p, aims to enhance resolution and frame rates, as well as colour fidelity. “With Spark Plus IO 12G-SDI, we are able to support the full spectrum of video production needs, with the ground-breaking benefits of NDI to save producers time and money, while also opening up new creative possibilities,” says NewTek president, Barbara Spicek. “This new product serves to cement the NewTek and Vizrt Group commitment to build products that allow our customers to make more stories, better told.” The converter connects easily to 12G-SDI cameras and devices, then converts the video signal to NDI and shares it with any compatible system or application on the network. It can also convert legacy 12G-SDI- enabled output devices into an NDI signal by using the decode function. Set-up requires one ethernet cable and the web-based interface provides easy configuration from a desktop or even a mobile browser, as well as tally support via NDI. It can also be mounted on to a camera. newtek.com NEWTEK
SMARTENING PANELS The latest offering from Riedel is its RSP-1216HL SmartPanel, an all-new 1RU model in the company’s 1200 series of intercom and control panels for real-time video, audio, data and communications networks, and a more compact version of the app-based, RSP-1232HL SmartPanel user interface. “We took a quantum leap forward in workflow flexibility, power and connectivity when we first introduced the RSP-1232HL SmartPanel at the 2018 NAB Show,” says Riedel product manager, Benjamin Lampert. “Customers were blown away by its multiple, full-colour, multitouch displays, intuitive operation and ability to leverage apps for multifunctionality. “In the meantime, our customers have requested a 1RU version — and now it’s here. With the RSP-1216HL, we managed to concentrate all the power of the RSP- 1232HL in an even more compact form, without sacrificing any functionality or user-friendliness.” The fully IP-centric RSP-1216HL features a full-colour, high-resolution touchscreen, as well as a hybrid-lever key design that combines lever- and rotary-style key styles.
FLYING INTO THE OBJECTMATRIX Back in December, storage solutions provider Object Matrix and Blackbird plc, the developers behind cloud video editing platform Blackbird, announced a new partnership. “Our goal of making Blackbird fully interoperable with other best-of-breed solutions continues at pace,” commented Blackbird CEO, Ian McDonough. “By pairing our solution with MatrixStore, we can ensure our customers stay in control of their entire archive.” The main motivation for the move is to integrate Object Matrix’s on-premises and cloud storage platform, MatrixStore, with Blackbird’s platform. When using Blackbird’s browser editing system, teams can create clips, highlights and longer-form content. With the integration with MatrixStore, organisations will be able to keep content secure. Another key benefit of the partnership is that Blackbird also enables media assets to be published in outputs to multiple digital channels, including social, OTT and web, as well as passed back to MatrixStore. MatrixStore is one of the leading media-focused, object storage softwares that modernises video workflows and provides instant access to media assets from anywhere. It also provides high-level digital content governance and can be deployed on-prem. OBJECTMATRIX / BLACKBIRD blackbird.video
STORAGE SOLUTIONS Spectra Logic has revealed the newest version of its StorCycle storage lifecycle management software. StorCycle 3.3 comes with a selection of new features, including an open RESTful API that allows users to integrate it with a larger set of workflows, alongside enhancements that advance the software’s ability to migrate data to disk, tape and cloud storage. Created for companies that need protection and access to data that isn’t active, but still important to keep, StorCycle scans primary storage for inactive files and puts them to a lower-cost level of storage – including any combination of cloud storage, object storage disk, network-attached storage and object storage tape. Usable with Linux and Windows, StorCycle migrates data without changing original formats, allowing users easy access to all data. This includes data moved to higher latency storage mediums, such as cloud ‘cold’ tiers and tape. StorCycle 3.3 also extends cloud support to Microsoft Azure, including both the standard (hot/cool) and archive tiers. spectralogic.com SPECTRA LOGIC
ROHDE & SCHWARZ
TRANSMITTING 5G As 5G edges ever closer to wide use, Rohde & Schwarz is offering 5G opportunities for broadcasters with the launch of Tx9 and Tx9evo transmitters. For existing users of Rohde & Schwarz transmitters, a software and minor hardware upgrade is available in order to enable their transmitters for 5G broadcast/multicast. Providing companies with access to 5G broadcast services will pave the way for new business models to be explored, including venue-casting, ultra-high-quality live video streaming, live commerce and over-the-air software updates/upgrades. “Rohde & Schwarz transmitters set the benchmark for power efficiency,” says Rohde & Schwarz vice-president of transmitter and amplifier systems, Manfred Reitmeier. “A wide range of highly innovative broadcast transmitters – including the Tx9 and Tx9evo – provide a distribution system that is ideal for 5G broadcast/multicast content distribution.” CONTROLLING 5G Rohde & Schwarz also introduced its enhanced 5G broadcast server and control centre – BSCC 2.0 – to enable operators to deliver further mobile services and provide mobile-users with super-high-quality video content. “On top of live and linear content, BSCC 2.0 allows content providers to deliver different types of premium content to their mobile users simultaneously, simplifying the implementation of new services for broadcasters and mobile network operators,” explains Reitmeier. BSCC 2.0 supports a wide range of streaming platforms and these new streaming services will become reality as new algorithms and protocols are implemented with the 5G broadcast environment. These will include FLUTE (File Delivery over Unidirectional Transport Stream), DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) and HLS (HTTP Live Streaming).
izrt wants to change the way content is created. And so, in January, it launched Flexible Access – a fundamental shift in the relationship the Norwegian
visual solutions company shares with its customers. It aims to provide an accelerated, low-risk approach that enables content creators to get productions up and running free from substantial initial costs. Put simply, the range of Vizrt products – all the software for production control, graphics, newsrooms, workflow, AR and collaboration, as well as the middleware that glues it all together – has been collected into integrated Solution Suites targeted at specific workflows. Instead of buying and configuring a chain of different products together, and being an expert in all of them, customers are guided towards the suite that meets their specific needs. Rather than investing heavily up front, users pay for what they need when they need it, and the suites are deployed as software- defined solutions. “We wanted to simplify access to our technology,” explains Steve Wind-Mozley, Vizrt’s CMO. “We’re committed to dialling down the complexity of live production, so storytellers can dial up their creativity.
With Flexible Access, Vizrt has embarked on nothing less than a complete overhaul of how it does business. But what’s steering this change in direction, and why take it now?
“We are not ‘dumbing down’ our solutions by pa i ring them back in terms of functionality,” he stresses. “Rather, we have streamlined them to give friction-free access to the full Vizrt worfklows in a way that was not always previously possible.” SHARING THE RISK As Wind-Mozley observes, content creators have traditionally invested considerable capital sums up front in the anticipation of making a return. “Many customers are now saying that – with the way the world works and the way it’s so rapidly changing –
we can’t think about a five- year horizon for technology investment. In the modern world, five years of progress often means a whole generation of technology.” Dr Andrew Cross, president of research & development at Vizrt, condemns the lack of flexibility the traditional model offers, saying it hampers the ability of customers to trial ideas
its customers, betting on that fact that, by providing easier access to better visual storytelling tools now, the customer is able to generate more compelling content sooner and deliver better value returns. “Potentially, if the customer took Flexible Access for just one month, that’s clearly not going to work,” says Cross. “If we can do this, then we can help transform the broadcast industry.” INDUSTRY BLESSING “We started this journey by partnering with some of our closest customers, working together to create a new approach that could help them transform their businesses for the better,” says André Torsvik, head of marketing strategy and planning at Vizrt. ”Their perspective is already baked into Flexible Access. “Before, a customer ’s quote might include 50 different things that would need to be put together in order to create a solution. Nowadays, we can provide one suite and one price, which can be swiftly deployed and up and running,” he adds. Torsvik says the proven Vizrt products that are used across the industry still exist inside and underneath, powering the Solution Suites. “There is all kinds of potential for synergies,” he explains. “You will see some changes, especially in the Live Production Suite, where we have a
WE HAVE STREAMLINED OUR SOLUTIONS TO GIVE FRICTION-FREE ACCESS TO VIZRT WORKFLOWS
and innovate. “We obviously spend a lot of money building software and investing in it, but fundamentally, requiring a customer to pay for everything up front to use it certainly doesn’t make sense for the market. “Our industry is at a point where a smart kid on YouTube can make a show that rivals the audience of a local TV station for a much lower cost. For our customers and broadcasters to compete for those audiences, they need to be able to try things – they need to pay to create new channels, but you can’t drop $2m on studio investments just to try that out.” However, the model offered by Flexible Access means that instead of instant returns, Vizrt is looking to share some of the investment risk with
combination of a software switcher, automation and advanced graphics. Nobody else offers anything like it in the market.” Another thing that’s flexible is the installation. The software can be installed locally, on specified off-the-shelf computer hardware, or virtualised for use in private or public cloud environments. “Remote deployment is embedded into every package as a basic offering,” says Wind-Mozley. “If you want to have our engineers turn up and do a turnkey then, yes, absolutely, that’s an option, too. We want to look at the entire customer experience.” Torsvik adds: “We understand that people are not going to move to the cloud or remote immediately, and so we’re continuing to serve
says Wind-Mozley. “We sold it to the customer for a reason, it was purchased for a reason, all of those reasons still stand true, and we are absolutely here for our customers. Flexible Access means that now, they have additional options open to them.” Customers who really need the traditional business model are also covered. Cross explains:
them by providing hardware for those who need to purchase today. But we are also in the process of publishing hardware requirements for all these suites to enable people to find ways to run it anywhere they want – or even on equipment they might already have. We want to supply solutions you could use on-premises, in a private data centre, or private cloud or public cloud.
YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE GREAT PRODUCTS AND YOU’VE GOT TOMAKE THEM ACCESSIBLE TO CUSTOMERS
This choice should be determined by you and your business needs rather than being determined by a technical constraint.” However, existing Vizrt customers will not be forgotten. “We’re still committed to our installed base and them driving value from their investment,”
“We obviously know that this way of thinking is a change for the market, but we are very excited about this direction and we are going to support our customers through this transition. One of our key initiatives has been ramping up the user experience. A product that’s not usable is not a product at all. If people don’t get to use your innovation, it’s really got no value. You’ve got to make great products and you’ve got to make them accessible to customers.” CUSTOMER FOCUS To help aid the transition to Flexible Access, the company has completely restructured its approach to customers. Wind-Mozley explains: “We’ve taken our professional services, our training teams, our pre sales and solution architecture teams, and we’ve created a Customer Success unit whose job is to simply sit down with customers and ask: how can we help you be more successful? “Our Newsroom Solution does exactly that,” he adds. “It’s designed so journalists can understand it and use it quickly, so the broadcast engineer can harness it and so the CFO can see how it’s going to drive value for their business. Because only by our customers being successful can we be successful.”
There’s no such thing as a “self-made” person. We asked some of our media tech friends about the inspirational people who made them what they are today
John Wastcoat Zixi SVP strategic alliances & marketing
What do you do? I am responsible for Zixi’s OEM, technology alliance, reseller ecosystems and overall corporate marketing. I create partnerships, helping both parties generate more revenue, and get the message to Zixi customers about why they will be best served working with us. Who has been a mentor in your career? Michelle Munson, co-founder and CEO of Aspera, and now the same for Eluvio. What did she teach you? “Do one more thing.” In smaller software companies, everybody works long and hard, but it is important to give everything for your customers and employees. Even as CEO, Michelle would take support calls so that the overburdened support team had less to do and the customer would have a great experience.
You see that, and at the end of a long project when you are tempted to shut it down for the day, you know you should do one more thing, and then one more thing. It adds up, and customers are the beneficiary. What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? When you are busy with a hundred things, it’s easy to ask colleagues to execute a task. But if you explain the “why” of what you are asking, they get a better sense of strategy and use those experiences going forward. Who would you like to mentor? Not only the people on my team, but the field sales and engineering teams who interact with partners and customers. It’s important to remember that everything you do represents the company and other employees.
Madelon Olsthoorn 24i Chief marketing officer & partnerships
What did they teach you? A good mentor doesn’t tell you what you should do or what you should believe. They ask you the right questions so you can figure it out for yourself. Albert Vergeer taught me that a person’s success is 50% talent and 50% discipline. This has truly resonated with me. Having a balance of these qualities creates a person’s success in PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT a role and makes their contributions to a company more valuable. What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? Personal development is just as important for growth as professional development, and is something a mentor can add huge value to. I have always managed to find someone within companies to provide that for me, and I aim to pass this on to 24i colleagues every day. I try to incorporate some form of mentoring into all interactions, with the goal of helping people personally and professionally. Who would you like to mentor? I would love to mentor the next female CEO of a mediatech company like 24i or Amino. The best people are those with a willingness to grow. Anything is possible, regardless of age or gender, and I like helping people realise that the world is truly open for them. Someone open-minded and flexible to new ways of working would be a great mentee.
What do you do? As chief marketing officer & partnerships at 24i, I am responsible for 24i’s marketing and partner strategy, roadmap and activities. Currently, I am focused on developing our team to grow from being a purely event-focused organisation to being more digitally driven. Throughout my career, I have found inspiration and mentoring through direct managers and the leadership teams around me. Having this engagement on a day-to-day basis has always helped stimulate my professional growth. Mentioning just one would not do justice to all of them! Every phase in life requires new insights and my mentors have helped with every step. I started out at Liberty Global in 2005, mentored by Rudolph Regter and Brigitte van der Bijl. I moved to the Young Potential Programme at KPN in 2007, with well-respected leaders such as Albert Vergeer, Hugo Suidman and Diederik Rosenbaum. Then, becoming a working parent, I joined 24i’s leadership team where I found inspiration in Jacqueline Smit, a thought leader in the media industry, but also a forerunner in female leadership. Having a broader perspective and a deep knowledge of the industry also helped me become a Who has been a mentor in your career? supervisory board member of one of the local Dutch broadcasters. My role has changed constantly, both privately and professionally, and I’ve needed to adapt to this change along the way. A good mentor can guide and help you discover your path.
Catherine Crawley Cooke Optics Director of marketing
What do you do? I am thrilled to be leading this ongoing challenge of driving marketing, content, commercial social media and engaging community management for this iconic British historical cine lens manufacturer. We make “the best glass in the world” for cinematographers and their favourite hire companies worldwide. Made in Leicester, in the British Midlands, United Kingdom. Who has been a mentor in your career? Every boss I’ve ever had has been a mentor, whether leading by good example, sharing knowledge and empowering me and the business to reach our full potential – or by bad example of how not to do it, which is equally interesting, but a lot less pleasant. I actually had a famous mentor: musician and entrepreneur Dave Stewart. I became studio manager of his start-up with ex-Microsoft partner, the late Paul Allen, in The Hospital Club, a multi-discipline business of TV studio, gallery, restaurant, music studio and private members club. Dave visualised it as a modern-day version of [Andy] Warhol’s Factory built in an old hospital in Covent Garden, close to his London home. What did they teach you? What was interesting at The Hospital Club was how the then CEO, representing the investor, and Dave (creative director) were world’s apart and how I became piggy in the middle in disputes over creativity and finances. It was clear that creatives are often misunderstood, but that without experience in creative businesses, senior commercial management were the ones with a fundamental misunderstanding. What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? Research, research, research. Trust your instincts, but make sure you fully develop ideas and costings, and the strength of an internal pitch is as important as an external one. Keep an open mind to where opportunities present themselves. Some of mine have come from (i) being spectacularly sacked for my involvement in a parody memo which led to my job at Spitting Image ; (ii) someone I met on a dating site and built a platonic friendship with led to my job at the Top Gear Track Experience; (iii) hearing about a cruise ship hire and pitching my previous attendance and database of the Cannes Film Festival led to the Gumball Rally; (iv) taking on a freelance, multi-client, social media agency contract job from a cold incoming LinkedIn recruitment approach led to my current job at Cooke Optics. You just never know. Who would you like to mentor? Someone at least 20 years younger than me (at 53) who has as much to teach me as I them. All knowledge and learning is a two-way street. The world is constantly changing and we need to try our best to keep up, continue to learn and stay curious.
Matt McConnell MediaKind CEO
What do you do? I’m honoured to be part of an inspiring and talented team of media pioneers, committed to delivering for our customers day in and day out. My job is simply allowing our people to do what they do best. Who has been a mentor in your career? John Schanz – master connector, silo breaker and all-round superhuman. He was chief network officer at Comcast, where we worked together for more than five years. He and I shared the same beliefs in leading with care and thoughtfulness in all operations, which helped elevate me to another level. What did he teach you? It’s all about the team and the culture. The primary focus for any business leader should be to hire great people, give them the resources and support they need, then get out of the way. Your job is to make them great. What things have you learned that you would most like to pass on? The importance of authenticity, trust and transparency. It’s really all about finding people with that wiring – you can’t make that up. Who would you like to mentor? When you’ve witnessed a great mentor in action, you find that mentoring is not so much a lesson, but rather a character. I hope to be an example of character in all my work, every day, for people starting out at MediaKind and all the way up to my peers on our leadership team.
Charles Conroy The Switch VP gaming
What do you do? I lead esports initiatives at The Switch, driving the expansion of our business in the gaming sector. The Switch is a global leader in live video production and delivery, working with most of the major esports leagues and organisations around the world. My ultimate goal is to have every game on the planet using our services! Who has been a mentor in your career? I’ve had two great mentors throughout my life. Before I joined The Switch, I was a gamer-turned-team-manager and then owner, so I ran my own businesses and didn’t have a particular boss or supervisor to guide me. As such, my father, Alexius, was a first real mentor. In the early stages of my career, he taught me invaluable lessons in business and entrepreneurship. As a businessman himself, he showed me how to run and grow a successful business, as well as how to develop employees. The second mentor I’ve had is Joe Cohen, who is The Switch’s president, sports – and who also happens to be a Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame member. He has worked with the NBA, NHL, MLB, and just about every other sports organisation worth talking about. Joe taught me everything I know about broadcast and really took me under his wing when I started at The Switch in 2019. He understood the opportunity we had to bring esports into the broadcast sphere, and the insights and guidance he gave me about broadcasting were invaluable. What did they teach you? My mentors were quite different, in that one taught me how to run a business, while the other taught me all about broadcast and how it works. But I would say both taught me the importance of cultivating and maintaining honest relationships. My biggest takeaway from business is to treat people honestly and fairly– if you do that, you’re giving yourself a big advantage. Treating people in the right way will ultimately give you a leg-up on competition. People that don’t operate with these principles tend to be remembered in a negative way. What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? The importance of tenacity and not being discouraged when you hear your first “no”. Because you will hear a lot of them! Secondly, remember that relationships are the most important part of business. Who would you like to mentor? There are several I have mentored over the past decade, people I’ve met both within and outside of the broadcast industry – including employees at Complexity Gaming, where I was chief development officer. I like to mentor those with ambition, drive, a willingness to learn – that embody the principles of honesty, ambition and integrity. Those are the people that I get excited about helping and guiding.
Sadie Groom Bubble Agency/ Rise F ounder
What do you do? I am the MD of Bubble Agency and founder of Rise, an advocacy group for women in the broadcast technology sector. Rise has four main programmes: (i) The Rise Awards, celebrating global female superstars in our industry; (ii) Rise Up, our educational programme for schools; (iii) Rise Events – currently virtual with our In Conversation With series; (iv) our award-winning Rise Mentoring programme, which in 2020 mentored 28 women from the UK and Singapore. Who has been a mentor in your career? My Dad always owned his own business and told me I could do it and start anything I wanted to, whether that was Bubble or Rise – to this day we still talk business at least once a week. Next was Sallie Ryle, head of communications for ITV – being in-house, she taught me why I should stay running an agency. Last, but not least, my current mentor/ coach who I do pay for, but is worth every penny. He never gives me the answer, but I get there a lot quicker with him and sometimes come up with some real off-the-wall ones which have worked brilliantly. What did they teach you? A mixture of things: y y You can do anything you want in this life and if at least you have tried, no one can criticise you y y Do what makes you happy y y To set goals, plan for achieving those goals on a quarterly basis, and be accountable to someone What have you learned that you’d most like to pass on? y y Make sure that you are having a good laugh y y Being part of a community is important – be part of as many as you can that work for you and make you happy y y Write things down with a pen – it is one hundred times more likely to go in Who would you like to mentor? [United States vice-president] Kamala Harris – yes, I know she would probably mentor me, but I just want to be in her company at this time right now.
Nicki Fisher Clear-Com Sales director EMEA
What do you do? I manage the Clear-Com and Trilogy sales and pre-sales team covering the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia for our broadcast and professional AV business
Who has been a mentor in your career?
through my career, always ensuring I stay true to myself and remembering the strength of a team. Dave provided guidance and structure for me approaching an interview for my first management role. Unfortunately, despite the preparation, I did not achieve my goal, as another interviewee had team management experience. I was disappointed and felt I would never reach my dream. It was Dave that made me realise this experience would only make me stronger. I just needed to take the experience, learn from it, and try, try again. It was not long before my dream became a reality! What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? Throughout my career, I have learned the value of having a strong support network to turn to for advice. It’s important to be conscientious, but also enjoy what you do. Life is too short and it’s important to enjoy every minute. Who would you like to mentor? For the past three years, I am lucky to have been a mentor on the Rise mentorship programme, providing support and inclusion for technology roles across the broadcast community. This brings value not only to mentees, but to all the wonderful mentors who share their valuable time and support to those on their career journey. I am passionate about supporting the next generation in engineering careers. I am a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassador, helping primary and secondary school children by sharing my knowledge of the number of technology careers in the broadcast industry, for those wishing to progress in STEM subjects.
I was fortunate to be introduced to the concept of mentorship very early in my career with Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the early 1990s. During this time, HP spent a good proportion of time on skills and career development, so I established mentors to assist and support my journey from individual contributor to manager. One of these was Roger Beevor. He gave me my first break as a female sales engineer in an all-male Aerospace and defence team. Another was strategic accounts director Dave Farrant, who had great knowledge of sales processes and always remained calm, even in the most difficult negotiations. What did they teach you? On interview, Roger immediately said that he would like to hire me, but there was one small challenge before he could offer me the role – he wanted me to meet the team. As I arrived in the meeting room, he advised: “Just be yourself, they are not making any more!” He was exactly right, and as I responded to an interview panel of ten men firing questions, they asked if I had any questions for them. I said: “Would you like me to join your team?” I had effectively asked for the job and their consent. Roger knew that by doing this, he would establish the support of his entire team. This has resonated well
THROUGHOUT MY CAREER, I HAVE LEARNED THE VALUE OF HAVING A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK
Jannicke Mikkelsen, FNF VR/XR director & DoP
What do you do? I mainly specialise in films shot underwater, aviation and space. I love working on the cutting edge of technology and constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible to create today. Most of my time is spent sampling the latest technology tech-entrepreneurs have to offer. I bring this back to the film industry for the sole purpose of creating films that were previously considered impossible to shoot. In October 2020, One More Orbit was released. It’s a feature documentary depicting myself and the crew of eight aviators and astronauts on a flight mission that launched from Nasa, Kennedy Space Center. Our mission was to smash the world speed-record in circumnavigating Earth via both the North and South Pole. For this movie, I created a communications system to coordinate all the geosynchronous satellites around the world to track our aircraft orbiting Earth, while traveling at 92.5% of the speed of sound. For the live stream, 55 million viewers tuned in to cheer us forth to the new world record, now standing at 46hr, 40min, 22sec... and 12 milliseconds, but who’s counting…? Who has been a mentor in your career? I’d like to list a few cinematographers who have always been there for me, having shaped both my work and me as a person: y y Philippe Ros, FSC, y y Stuart Harris y y Roberto Schaefer, ASC y y Suki Medencevic, ASC y y James Neihouse, ASC y y Nancy Schreiber, ASC y y Sharon Calahan, ASC And although the next names are not recognised as cinematographers, they are all exceptional photographers and have greatly influenced the future of our visual language. They have supported me in all my crazy ventures and egged me on to pursue even bigger dreams in life. They are: y y Dr Brian May, CBE – Queen guitarist. y y Sir David Attenborough – wildlife filmmaker. y y Dr Buzz Aldrin – second man on the Moon. y y Col Terry Virts – Nasa astronaut. y y Nina Kellgren, SBC y y Brian Tufano, BSC y y Rolv Håan, FNF y y John Christian Rosenlund, FNF y y Paul Rene Roestad, FNF y y Angus Hudson, BSC
What did they teach you? That if you can dream it, you can build it. Every one of my close mentors opened my eyes to what can be possible if you just dare to put your mind to it. No matter what you do, you must pursue it with 100% of your being. You can’t pursue anything at just 75%. What also amazes me with my mentors is how they have all managed to find like-minded people to develop an all-star team, working together to make the impossible, possible. There is a unique magic when we work together to break down the barriers of what we previously thought impossible. It is a feeling of the universe aligning, even after all your failures and battles. I believe this is why being a filmmaker is so incredibly addictive. This work is all-consuming. You need to look after your mind, body and soul. At times, work drains me until I have nothing left to give and am reduced to an emotional lump on the floor. I take at least two hours out of every day to work my body and make sure I am in the best physical fitness I can be. This is important, as I can take on everyday challenges and also pass my physical endurance tests to What things have you learned that you would most like to pass on? qualify for work missions. Don’t forget your mental wellbeing, either. Meditation never worked for me, but I play the piano. Find your passion in life before you find your job. This work is not nine-to-five. You have to live, sleep, breathe, eat what you do. Who would you like to mentor? Did someone tell you that you weren’t worthy of becoming who you want to become? I want to mentor you. I want to mentor the person willing to leave all that behind and embark on a journey where anything is possible, as long as you work methodically to achieve a goal. I want to mentor people with a story to tell. These stories shape us as humans and inspire the new generation to come. NO MATTERWHATYOUDO, YOU MUST PURSUE IT WITH 100% OF YOUR BEING
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