FEED Issue 23

Exploring the future of media technology


How businesses turn employees into viewers



If you’re a company director who really only everwanted to be a TV star, then your quest is over. This issue we look at the booming enterprise video sector, where production and broadcast tools that normally reserved for producing consumer content are aimed inward to be used for engaging employees and colleagues. The CEO’s

EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 nealromanek@bright-publishing.com

annual Christmas address can now be turned into a major multimedia production, streamable to any device, anywhere. Company huddles can now take place in an interactive space, combining video conferencing, data sharing, polls and Q&A. Employing easy-to-use and widely available streaming tools also offers the chance of revolutionising how we do conferences and trade shows. Rather than flying to a foreign location, paying for a hotel and sitting red-eyed through the handful of panel sessions you’ve highlighted, there’s no reason you can’t view conferences virtually. This can be from the comfort of your own office, or bedroom, or bathroom for that matter, and using a suite of digital tools to interact in real time. But what about the future? Will VR and AR mean we can all beam in and out of each other’s work spaces at will like some transporter-happy Star Trek crew? And will haptic technologies, combined with immersive, binaural audio, enable us to experience a real sense of the presence and atmosphere shared with colleagues on the other side of the globe? We’re all now very comfortable with the world of Video Everywhere. Get ready for the world of Work Everywhere.

STAFF WRITER Chelsea Fearnley



SUB EDITOR Felicity Evans JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Elisha Young

CONTRIBUTORS Ann-Marie Corvin, Michael Burns, Adrian Pennington

DIGITAL HEAD OF DIGITAL CONTENT Daisy Dickinson ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Matt Snow +44 (0) 1223 499453 mattsnow@bright-publishing.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Krishan Parmar +44 (0) 1223 499462 krishanparmar@bright-publishing.com DESIGN DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings





exercise your brainwithourmediatech crosswordon page 74. you couldwina limited-edition feedt-shirt!

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NEWSFEED Dispatches from the world of online video

10 13 34 42 50 56 60 64 68

YOUR TAKE Viewers are more willing to watch ads than you think – as long as you put their needs first STREAMPUNK TOOLS Audio start-up Sonic Presence has developed an easy way to create immersive, binaural sound TECHFEED – MICROSERVICES Cloud microservices promise to change how we do broadcasting. How far along the journey are we? GENIUS INTERVIEW We talk to journalist Martin Boudot, whose work shows how our lifestyle is damaging the rest of the world XTREME Eliud Kipchoge is the first human to run a sub-two hour marathon. We learn how the event was livestreamed HAPPENING – SPORTSPRO OTT SUMMIT The SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid explored putting fans first and making athletes entertainers HAPPENING – ADOBE MAX Adobe’s big annual tech conference put mobile creativity centre stage START-UP ALLEY This month, a tool for clip sharing, a mobile app for viewing linear TV and a tool for developing AR experiences OVER THE TOP It’s terms & conditions v free speech when a protest at an esports tournament leads to controversy

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26 ROUND TABLE A (hypothetical)

space tech company asks our experts how to set up its enterprise video

An overview of tools and techniques for building video-centric corporate comms

Graphics company Vizrt uses its own tools to build an internal channel

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6 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades



AWS is partnering with telecos Verizon, Vodafone, South Korea’s SK Telecom and Japan’s KDDI to deliver a service to allow developers to create applications with single-digit millisecond latencies. Many 5G applications, such as mobile gaming, AR/VR, autonomous cars and the Internet of Things require almost real-time functionality. Traditional architecture is

incapable of ultra-low latency, because it takes too long to collect and process data. Edge computing helps reduce this time by bringing core network functions closer to the point of collection and is one of the characteristics of 5G. AWS Wavelength offers computer and storage capabilities at the edge of partner telecommunications’ 5G infrastructure,

meaning latency-sensitive elements of an application don’t need to be sent to a data centre. This significantly reduces the amount of time data spends travelling around a network. Developers can use the same APIs and tools, with non-latency sensitive elements of an application processed at one of Amazon’s 22 regions around the world.


Microsoft and Warner Bros have collaborated to successfully store and retrieve the 1978 Superman movie on a piece of quartz glass that is roughly the size of a drinks coaster. It was the first proof of concept for Project Silica, a Microsoft Azure initiative that develops long-lasting storage technologies for the cloud, reducing the provider’s long-term storage costs and environmental footprint. Using infrared lasers to encode the data into voxels (the 3D equivalent of pixels), the data is stored within the quartz glass and machine- learning algorithms can decode the patterns to read the data back.

material also doesn’t require the energy-intensive cooling required to protect the data stored today. “If Project Silica’s storage solution proves to be as cost- effective and as scaleable as it could be – and we all recognise it’s still early days – this is something we’d love to see adopted by other studios and our peers and other industries,” says Vicky Colf, the chief technology officer at Warner Bros. The technology is still in development, but Mark Russinovich, Azure’s chief technology officer, assures: “We’re now in a phase where we’re working on refinement and experimentation, rather than asking ‘Can we do it?’”

Compared to hard disks, which wear out after three to five years, and magnetic tape, which lasts up to seven years, quartz glass storage could potentially last for centuries. And, unlike other

storage technologies, you only need to write the data onto it once. As the glass doesn’t need to be stored at a constant temperature or in a moisture- free environment, the

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7 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades

It’s a New Year and FEED has plans! We don’t think of them as New Year resolutions – since those are usually broken before Valentine’s Day. We think of them as goals – a few things we’re doing to improve and expand the FEED brand and, we hope, improve your experience as a reader. Podcasting – Yes, we’re going to expand our digital offering in 2020 with original downloadable content. This, we hope, is going to be more than your typical podcast and will extend outside the usual media tech conversation. Gender parity – We don’t do too badly at FEED already, but given the need to have new female voices commenting on the media tech space, we are committing to a 50% or higher proportion of female editorial contributors for each issue. Dumping plastic – We will be dumping the plastic, in which our magazines are delivered, for something entirely compostable. It costs us a bit more, but we are actively looking for a sponsor to support the endeavour. FEED events – We won’t elaborate too much. Just know that we’re exploring ways of doing industry events in innovative, collaborative and cross-platform ways. And we want to partner with you to make them happen! FEED LOOKS AHEAD TO 2020 OUR TOP GOALS:


Professor Noel Sharkey, an expert in the field of AI, has urged the UK government to ban the use of all decision algorithms that impact on people’s lives. In an interview with The Guardian , he expressed concern over a series of examples of machine- learning systems being loaded with bias. On inbuilt bias in algorithms, Sharkey said: “There are so many biases happening now, from job interviews to welfare to determining who should get bail

and who should go to jail. There should be a moratorium on all algorithms that impact on people’s lives. Why? Because they are not working and have been shown to be biased.” According to The Guardian , Sharkey has had discussions with the biggest global social media and computing corporations – Google and Microsoft – about the innate bias problem. “They know it’s a problem and they’ve been working, in fairness, to find a solution over the

past few years, but none so far has been found.” He added: “Until they find that solution, what I would like to see is large- scale pharmaceutical- style testing. Which means testing these systems on millions of people, or at least hundreds of thousands of people, in order to reach a point that shows no major inbuilt bias. These algorithms have to be subjected to the same rigorous testing as any new drug produced that ultimately will be for human consumption.”


With a decade of experience using computer vision and machine-learning algorithms to power the creation of interactive video, Wirewax has turned its technology to assist media companies in solving the problem of organising large archives of digital assets. Wirewax Media Services (WMS) can process video assets to find duplicates, organise programmes, detect subtitles, suggest ad insertion points and more. It can also allow clients to compare similar

assets to check for any potential issues at scale, before sending to distribution. WMS claims to revitalise hefty manual processes that would otherwise take months to deliver. Early testing with multimedia giants has seen average cost savings around 80% and processing time reduced from months to minutes. The offering is already earning a reputation at an elite industry level, winning the IABM Broadcast and Media Award for the Manage category at IBC.

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8 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades


Fortuitously timed to coincide with FEED’s enterprise video special, Kaltura has published its survey of how companies are approaching video. Its the sixth survey of more than 1200 employees at companies with over 500 workers, focused on video’s role in workplace communications. With entire teams and technological systems devoted to internal training, learning has a huge impact on the digital culture of a company. While learning and development professionals have been leveraging video as part of training for some time, emerging technologies and changing attitudes towards video in the consumer market – now that we’re accustomed to consumer-grade video from Netflix, Hulu and their competitors – are also changing the role of video for learning and development. The 2019 State of Video in Enterprise report reveals almost all employers use video to train their employees, with over 91% of respondents reporting that their company is using video for learning and development and 88% seeing video use as steady or growing in their organisation. The majority also prefer it, with 69% saying they would rather learn a new skill from video than from a written document. While employees prefer video as a method of learning, this doesn’t mean they’re paying attention. A surprising 72% of employees admitted they do not give training videos their full attention, but this differs depending on an employee’s age. Despite the special relationship millennials and gen Z have with video, only 23-24% reported to always paying attention. Baby Boomers were the most diligent with 44% reporting they always watch their videos, and only 1.45% saying they never pay attention. Kaltura suggests using micro-learning videos to teach skills. These short videos are easy to consume and available for employees any time and anywhere, whenever they need to learn something new or brush up on a skill. HOLDING ATTENTION Fortunately, employers have found a solution to making training videos more engaging, with 82% of respondents

personalised engaging video as part of their onboarding, learning and reskilling. One additional trend that’s quickly gaining in popularity is virtual classrooms, which allow employees to interact with instructors in real-time, and the lessons can also be recorded and referenced later through VOD.” While video use is increasing, the report reveals organisations do not empower employees to create their own videos. Nearly a third of employees create videos for work purposes, including meetings and screen-share recordings, tutorials for colleagues, marketing videos, sales videos, testimonials, video emails etc, but only half of respondents said they have access to the basic video creation tools necessary to make videos that could help spread knowledge across the organisation. This will allegedly limit organisations’ ability to fully leverage video’s capabilities. Kaltura recommends empowering employees to create their own videos to encourage them to share their knowledge with colleagues looking to learn new skills. It also suggests making capture via phone officially approved, since it leverages a tool most employees already have and promotes video creation without increasing overheads. Read the full report at corp.kaltura.com

saying they find watching interactive videos holds their interest more than traditional ones. Videos can be made interactive by adding hot spots that link to extra materials or videos, embedding quizzes and even building videos where the content and storyline change depending on the viewer’s choices. Another way to get employees’ attention is through live training, which is poised to become one of the pillars of enterprise learning in the future. “Video has long been a critical tool for learning in real time as well as on demand,” said Dr Michal Tsur, Kaltura’s co-founder, president and general manager of enterprise and learning. “That’s why forward-thinking organisations have adopted a video- first and mobile-first approach, offering VIDEO HAS LONG BEEN A CRITICAL TOOL FOR LEARNING , IN REAL TIME AND ON DEMAND

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10 YOUR TAKE Audience Engagement



Audiences are willing to watch advertising, but you have to choose your moment OVERCOMING AD AVERSION

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11 YOUR TAKE Audience Engagement

IAN SHARPE: Proper, personalised audience engagement, is the next frontier for content owners

ord cutters, binge watchers, content connoisseurs, sports streamers – we spend more time on screens than ever. The

CLAIM HEARTS, NOT JUST EYEBALLS Advertisers must learn not just how to engage, but when to engage and with what

sheer volume of video online is growing exponentially: 78% of people watch digital content every week and over half of us (55%) consume it daily. Mobile phones are now immersive theatres, gateways to more streaming services than we could possibly subscribe to, all jostling for our attention and our credit card details. This presents huge challenges for businesses: how can broadcasters retain and monetise audiences in such a competitive arena? If the viewing revolution has taught us anything, it’s that the audience experience can’t just be about a glut of content, but how we engage with what we see. Increasingly, the audience wants to get up close and personal. We’ve seen in the esports space, particularly on Twitch, how the best streamers encourage interaction, creating connections with each transmission. The audience accepts tailored advertising and product placement all over the screen, absorbing it as part of the experience rather than as a disruption. It’s almost like a HUD, part of the interface, mirroring gaming culture. And while the abundance of visuals might seem like clutter to some, it doesn’t mean the lesson can’t extend to other types of content or that other audiences don’t crave extra information. How often do we watch TV while browsing the web, phone in hand? Despite the readiness for the audience to engage, there is a lack of good solutions available. Current advertising often lacks contextual relevance and timeliness, resulting in (according to one report) 65% of people skipping online video ads as soon possible. Therefore it is becoming VIDEO HAS BECOME A NATURAL PART OF THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE THAT BRANDSCANUSE

increasingly difficult for businesses to establish the commercial performance of video advertising. RELEVANCE IS THE MESSAGE Consumer interaction with video content will continue to evolve, so businesses will need to find new ways to engage, or risk falling victim to ad saturation. The goal for successful video advertising is ensuring a sale, so it must speak to the consumer by offering something worthwhile – and that means targeting. Sophisticated behavioural targeting uses information collected by the business to reach customers based on their previous online activity. This directly indicates if they are likely to be interested in a product, in addition to uncovering what users are considering purchasing. The future of video advertising relies on businesses employing data-driven advanced behavioural techniques, to reach an engaged audience in a cost-effective manner. But more than that, relevance is about timeliness. Timing can mean hitting just the right moment in a particular customer journey, or leveraging the instant that a customer is ready to engage. To convert the impulse to purchase into a sale, businesses need to deliver their message at a critical juncture. Pre-roll and mid-roll don’t do that, they simply slot in before or during videos with no link to what the content is, or what the audience is experiencing. This is where augmented video advertising comes in. By offering the directness of a call-to-action on the screen at key moments in a drama or sports match, augmented video ads allow businesses to grab the customer’s attention and drive higher click-through rates. And the call to action is much stronger when video advertising augments the consumer experience rather than detracts from it.

PERSONALISED ADVERTISING WINS In today’s market where consumer attention is divided across devices, only engaging, relevant video ads will command consumer attention. This is where impersonal programmatic advertising fails; consumers feel intruded upon, force-fed content they didn’t ask for. Some vendors offer one-size-fits-all solutions that suffocate, rather than entice, the consumer. Businesses need to create content that will command their audience’s attention, such as branded experiences such as stats or polls, interactive banners and native product placements. According to a study by Jivox, personalised video advertising can boost engagement three times more than traditional ads. Businesses should use the data collected from behavioural targeting to personalise messages based on their audience’s browsing behaviour, location, time of day or demographic profile. Video has become a natural part of the online experience that brands can use to quickly engage their audience, particularly if it is congruent with content they might have sought out deliberately. As a result, businesses are pouring more time and resources into engaging users with extraordinary video ad content. While video advertising can be effective, consumers are now exposed to so much video content they have become adept at recognising poor quality video ads. Businesses need to go one better than simply understanding customers: they should understand what customers want at specific points in the customer journey. By understanding the context of moments that matter, businesses can engage those who are ever harder to reach with more impact. Personalised experiences with timely relevance, that elicit the right emotional reaction, are key to breaking through the noise and creating a connection.

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13 STREAMPUNK TOOLS Sonic Presence

Sonic Presence has developed a recording solution that gives creatives a point-and-shoot way to capture immersive, spatial audio WHAT YOU HEAR IS WHAT YOU GET Words by Neal Romanek

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14 STREAMPUNK TOOLS Sonic Presence

udio qulity in online video is... variable. There’s the beautifully shot video with unbearably bad sound recorded on the

camera’s built-in microphone. And there’s the webcam video with carefully recorded ASMR for sending chills down your spine. As producers, and viewers, come to realise just how powerful the headphone audio experience can be, they are turning to more sophisticated audio tech. Sonic Presence is offering a solution called the VR15 Spatial Microphone, which uses an iOS or Android mobile device to record lifelike binaural audio which mimics human hearing response. The system features a microphone placed over each ear of the person recording, resulting in audio that reproduces the presence of actually being in the space, directly hearing the action as it is happening. The VR15 came out of the decades- long audio expertise of Russ Hamm, Sonic Presence’s head of R&D and principal architect. The idea came one day when Hamm saw a New York street artist whose music he wanted to capture, but he thought that bringing in a high-end microphone and video gear would destroy the intimacy and spontaneity of the performance. The result was him developing a discreet spatial microphone worn on the ears that records exactly what you hear. Hamm began by pairing the system with GoPro cameras, to facilitate easy recording in a multitude of settings. A year later the microphone was adapted for iOS and for Android. “In wearing these microphones, your audio point of view is exactly the same as your point of view when you are watching the scene,” says Hamm. “There’s a match between picture and sound, and that’s important in making you feel like you are there. A lot of audio is done with lavaliers that are close-mic’d, and really there is a disconnect between what you’re seeing and what the audio sounds like.” KEEPING IT SIMPLE The binaural set-up also helps to enable the ‘cocktail party effect’, that capability of human hearing to select and understand a conversation in a noisy, crowded room, an environment which would produce only a wall of impenetrable noise if recorded by a single microphone. “We did interviews at a barbecue, with a band playing, and we interviewed some people who were talking quite softly. But since we were able to reproduce the complete, three-dimensional sonic picture, the music from the band didn’t interfere, because you realise that the band is behind

you, so your mind filters out that and you focus on the source in front of you, the people who you are interviewing. You can pick out various conversations going on around you.” The Sonic Presence technology is actually relatively simple. Sonic Presence’s Michael Fremer, who approached the company as a sceptic, but is now part of the company’s core team, explains. “When we were at VidCon last summer (see the August 2019 issue of FEED ) a lot of techie people who came to our booth said, ‘This sounds fantastic. What kind of digital signal processing are you using?’ And we said, ‘Nothing’. So they said, ‘Oh, so you’re doing the processing in the phone?’. And we said, ‘No, we’re not using the phone.’ They said, ‘Well, it must be in the application…’ and so on. There was a disbelief that something so

simple could create this audio that we think in some ways surpasses the immersive audio people are doing for VR experiences.” Considerable development however has gone into the interface and handshake between the microphones and the recording application on the mobile phone. The Sonic Presence VR15 is compatible with over a dozen applications for iOS and Android. PROPER PLACEMENT Sonic Presence isn’t the only binaural recording solution on the market. Neumann offers a human head-shaped binaural recording solution – designed to preserve the sonic reflection and absorption specific to human hearing – graded to be used for a variety of applications. Neumann’s KU 100 dummy head will set you back about

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15 STREAMPUNK TOOLS Sonic Presence

in its careful attention to the way it is capturing the sound. “We spent a few years nailing down the exact placement of the microphones, and testing out different sensors and microphones to find that exact sweet spot on the human head to be able to perfectly capture the spatial effect that is the result of human anatomy. The placement of our microphones, which is just a little in front of the earlobe, gives you a rock-solid centre image that a lot of binaural recording really misses. Sometimes in binaural recording you miss that direct centre.” The placement of the microphones means there is no in-ear monitoring, as in the Sennheiser Ambeo. Sonic Presence’s developers believe that allowing a creator to hear real-world sound, just as a director would want to watch actors in real life rather than on a monitor, is one of their product’s strengths. “We’re happy to make a straightforward product that does one thing very, very well,” says Fremer. Hamm was amazed at the positive reception the company had at last year’s VidCon. Run-and-gun creators, YouTubers and microbroadcasters are the product’s target customers. The solution is set to be available this month. “We are capturing the audio in the widest dynamic range we possible can,” says Russ Hamm. “All the user has to do is put the sensors on their ears and press record. It’s a point- and-shoot device.” WE SPENT A FEW YEARS NAILING DOWN THE EXACT PLACEMENT OF THEMICROPHONES

£6800/$8000. On the more affordable side, companies like 3Dio offer binaural recording technologies, with microphones inside artificial ears, for around £500/$400, and a number of companies have earphone/mic combo solutions. Roland’s

CS-10EM costs around £73/$55 and the Sennheiser Ambeo combines monitoring with recording. The Sonic Presence VR15 will cost $150. Fremer says that Sonic Presence differs from other binaural recording solutions

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Griffith Observatory finds a rendering solution in AWS Thinkbox for its latest planetarium show, Signs of Life

he planetarium at Griffith Observatory has come a long way since Jim and Plato sought refuge in its seemingly

Niemack and Dawn Fidrick have pledged to “stay true to the science while creating an emotional cinematic experience”. The team behind the show spent a few years developing its script along with 3D previs, before launching the highly meticulous task of modelling, texturing and developing 253 CG assets with a variety of 2D and 3D software. Led by VFX supervisor Gee Yeung, the team grew to 20 astronomical artists, who animated, lit and rendered each of the 44 shots that make up the show. “Implementing established tools and workflows from the VFX industry to a dome show was a true growing process. As our studio, pipeline and culture solidified, brilliant and stunning visuals started to become reality and a compelling new planetarium experience in LA emerged,” Yeung says. Attached to the Satellite studio is a small building that was constructed specifically

for this project in 2017. Affectionately named the Mini Moon, it hums round the clock with electricity and an ample supply of air conditioning to house the team’s render farm, which is the infrastructure made up of computers, cables, servers and digital storage. The render farm was designed with support from GPL Technologies in Burbank, CA, and maintained by show production technology administrator, Benjamin Roudenis. The team renders 8192x8192 dome masters, which are fisheye lens images projected on to the planetarium’s 76-foot dome-shaped screen via six Christie Boxer projectors. The Zeiss Universarium Mark IX star projector steals the show when it rises from the centre of the planetarium to illuminate the dome with its highly impressive optical LED-illuminated starfield. processing power to turn the visual effects artists’ work into beautifully rendered CG images, so it was essential the team had a rendering management system that could easily integrate with the digital content creation applications alongside Autodesk’s Shotgun pipeline tools and and be flexible STAR SCALING It takes a phenomenal amount of

endless night sky back in the 1955 youth- gone-wild melodrama, Rebel Without a Cause . They watch a presentation called A Trip to the Moon , featuring zodiac constellations and the destruction of the universe, which is coupled by sound effects, flashing blue lights and dissonant strings to simulate a world destroyed “in a burst of gas and fire”. And, although Jim and Plato are stunned by the explosion, it is irrefutably linked to the film’s underlying message of man’s small existence – and not the special effects. The latest show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, Signs of Life , has a very different delivery. It is a fusion of art and science, based on what is known about the universe and cinema. Producers Bob


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to scale as the Mini Moon’s rendering capabilities expanded. The team opted for AWS Thinkbox Deadline, which is a rendering management system that enables render farms to extend on-premises rendering to AWS, and scale rendering workloads to hundreds, or even thousands, of cores in minutes. Roudenis states: “The engineers at Thinkbox have provided us with a high level of expertise and support for Deadline and understand its crucial role in our production pipeline.” Since 2017, the team has submitted 16,013 jobs, which included 5,991,632 tasks that produced 31,243,872 frames for the 34-minute Signs of Life show. Yeung boasts that: “Deadline has been instrumental in orchestrating the data, tasks and render nodes into a symphony, which we use to compose our melody of pixels.” As a result of this efficiency, the team at Griffith Observatory’s Satellite studio concluded that AWS Thinkbox Deadline would be its “central hub for all things rendering in the future”. CRAFTING THE COSMOS Art director and well-known astronomical artist Don Dixon reveals some challenges presented by the tricky canvas on which the

– such as a planet – the surface nearest the camera begins to bulge forward and creates a strange effect that makes it look smaller than desired. One solution for this, Dixon reveals, “is to use a field of view greater than 180°”, which has the effect of lifting parts of the landscape that would normally be out of sight below the base of the dome into view, so the horizon fills the dome even behind the audience to create “a feeling of vastness”. The team at the Griffith Observatory says it has found the perfect render management solution in AWS Thinkbox and looks forward to presenting the results at the premiere of Signs of Life in May 2020.

SPACING OUT Griffith Observatory now has a ‘Mini Moon’ to house a render farm for its CG content

dome masters are projected. He explains that, because every square inch of the dome receives light from every other part, “a cross-bounce effect occurs and reduces the contrast of an image so drastically that it appears submerged in a grey fog”. To correct this, Dixon and Yeung take a chiaroscuro approach to compositing shots. Critical elements are immersed in pools of light, and environment and background elements are kept in relative darkness. The 180° fisheye lens can also be problematic. The camera has to be close to an object for it to look big in the dome, but as the camera gets closer to an object

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Australian broadcaster Network 10 is using cloud services to make its live video transport more efficient and cost-effective CLOUD BECOMES A BROADCAST CELEBRITY

ig broadcasters all over the world are embracing the cloud. Recently Network 10, one of the largest TV networks in

Australia, selected AWS Media Services to support its video transport structure for remote production. Network 10’s latest season of the global hit franchise I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! , taking place in South Africa, utilises the newly adopted AWS Media Services tools to enhance livestreaming delivery of the celebrity action. Other Network 10 shows, including The Bachelor , Australian Survivor , and MasterChef Australia will be leveraging the technology as well. Network 10 is one of the first companies in Australia to use AWS Elemental MediaConnect, a cloud-based service for the high-quality transport of live video. The new technology enabled Network 10 to securely transport video from Kruger National Park in South Africa to its Sydney-based production studio for the 2019 season, and will be used again in the upcoming seventh season of the show. “By working with AWS, we have been able to deliver more content and, more importantly, richer content for production and advertisers,” says Jason Tuendemann, chief information and technology officer at Network 10. “We are excited to be one of the first customers to use AWS Elemental MediaConnect in the Australian market.” On previous seasons of I’m a Celebrity , the production team at the Network 10 studio in Sydney was unable to see the transmission go to air through traditional physical infrastructure, and had little confidence in specific timings for live broadcasts. By using AWS Elemental MediaConnect, Network 10 no longer has to rely on traditional transmission methods, such as satellite technology, which is more expensive. Previous solutions also did not

Technology Partner Aspera’s High Speed Transfer service, Network 10 reduced its production turnaround window from overnight to less than two hours, and in some cases, only a few minutes. This new collaboration will complement AWS Media Services already employed by Network 10, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaConvert. AWS Elemental MediaLive

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Adam Beavis, commercial director for AWS in Australia and New Zealand and Jason Tuendemann, chief information and technology officer at Network 10

offer the level of redundancy, quality, and resilience that Network 10 required for the I’m a Celebrity broadcast. Using a combination of AWS Elemental MediaConnect and AWS Advanced APN

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is a streaming tool that encodes live video for play on any device, from broadcast television to internet-connected devices such as mobile devices and connected TVs. With another tool, AWS Elemental MediaConvert, Network 10 can process video files and clips to prepare on-demand content for distribution or archiving. For the future, Network 10 will be looking to use AWS for delivering video services on- demand and with additional flexibility. Network 10 started working with AWS in 2015 for projects where it needed the scale and reach of cloud to support the hosting and distribution of its content. The company also needed to deliver secure, reliable and scalable infrastructure for expanding its international footprint as it innovated and sought to improve customer experiences. Since then, Network 10 has moved more workloads to the cloud, including

Australian news site 10Daily and streaming service tenplay, and is using a suite of other AWS services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Relational Database Service, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, and Amazon ElastiCache to store and process on-demand and archival footage. “The Australian broadcasting industry is undergoing an incredible transformation using digital technology,” says Adam Beavis, commercial director for AWS

in Australia and New Zealand. “Network 10 was charged with delivering a high-quality stream of

live video content at low cost – a task that AWS Elemental MediaConnect has made a reality.”

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Corporations are putting video at the centre of their internal communications and the tools to do it are becoming easier to use and access IT’S SHOWTIME IN THE BOARDROOM Words by Neal Romanek

ideo has become the ideal way to attract and keep people’s attention and it is starting to be used widely inside

Companies rarely stick with a single vendor for all parts of the business, and this extends to internal communications. We all use email, but just because we’re using Outlook doesn’t automatically mean we’re going to adopt Microsoft Stream as a video platform (although many do). The tools used are dictated by the scale and requirements of the communications. “Lots of big organisations use video streaming internally,” says Ward. “But a lot of the companies we work with almost have tiers of service within the business.” A call among a handful of people where participants need to share the viewing of some slides or a PowerPoint deck is something easily provided by Webex. Microsoft Stream or Facebook’s Workplace might be used for a wider company broadcast. At the higher end might be big, set pieces at corporate events, or major announcements involving the senior leadership team, watched by many viewers. This is where companies like Groovy Gecko are brought in. “I’m almost seeing organisations come up with a menu: ‘If it’s 40 people and my peers in management – that’s Webex. If it’s the entire board talking to the entire organisation – that goes to an external supplier.’ That differentiation is becoming

businesses – not just in Skype chats, but in a systematic way to shape companies and deliver internal messaging. FEED spoke to livestreaming and corporate production expert Groovy Gecko to learn how corporates are using video to transform their businesses. “Every business is trying to reduce face to face, and to cut travel bills and carbon emissions,” says Jake Ward, Groovy Gecko’s business development director. “Face to face is still really good, but what you can do with four out of five meetings is replace them with something that feels engaging and interactive in video.”

JAKE WARD, GROOVY GECKO "They tend to call us when the people on site need more support"

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more refined with big organisations,” explains Ward. Microsoft Stream has become a go-to platform for the lower-tier video events, in no small part due to its inclusion with Microsoft Office. The Microsoft tech is something that most IT departments feel confident in implementing, whereas a broadcast or video tech vendor – potentially offering essentially the same product – might be intimidating. It’s the rare business that wants to invest time or money on new software and training when something already available will serve. As result, Stream has the potential to push out Webex and Skype for those second-tier video applications. “I don’t think Stream is sophisticated enough to take over the high-end stuff right now,” says Ward. “But you’ll see continued development and more and more features. It’s in the one-to-watch category.” LET’S PUT ON A SHOW For the big set-piece corporate shows, a jump up in technology, expertise, budget and technology is required. Some of these might even employ peer-to-peer software specialising in livestreaming over corporate networks like Hive or Ramp. Over the last year, Groovy Gecko has divided its


INVITATION TO CONNECT LinkedIn Live (right) is leveraging all of the brand's social tools to hypercharge its new streaming platform

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webcasting product into two parts. The company offers full production services for livestreaming corporate events, but they have also developed a SaaS offering, which they can offer to corporates who have their own internal production teams and studio. “They tend to call us when the people on site need more support for the webcasting. It might be a location that doesn’t normally do a webcast that they would like to present from. Or they might be trying to use an international video conference to produce a webcast from that. Or they just might want higher quality with real cameras put into the video conferencing unit.” Additional management can also be important when the broadcast requires interactivity between a large number of participants. A dedicated moderator can make Q&As and polling run much more smoothly. Groovy Gecko has built interactivity into the latest version of its own platform which allows audiences watching a broadcast in a room to access the same interactivity available to those online, by scanning a QR code with their devices. “That means when you put a poll out, you don’t just put it out to the people online. And it also allows the in-venue audience to type in questions anonymously rather than having to go up to a microphone. It’s amazing how many more questions you get from the room based on that tool. People ask harder questions. We can moderate it of course but we can start to see some commonalities when people can speak freely.” Ward thinks that interactivity in these events can change how the business does its corporate comms. “You see a lot of internal comms which are a video, a PowerPoint and people being spoken to. But more and more you see people going with a more engaging

set-up and you can use the tools to do that. You might use polling to ask the audience what they want to focus on. They’ll engage more and they’ll get the information they need rather than just sticking to ten minutes on each topic because that’s how you’ve decided to structure the presentation.” Interactivity can then affect how the production itself is presented. Rather than being stuck on a stage, you might have the opportunity to move around an area to visit different presenters where they work, producing a workplace intimacy rather than the top-down feel of a mass of people sitting in an auditorium. “It can be a much more modular, magazine-style approach, where people are doing different things, and there’s a change of technique and personnel so you get information in a more interesting way.” SOCIAL LIVE One relative newcomer to the corporate video sector may be set to become top of the heap soon. Early last year LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Live, a video platform built for businesses. THE IDEA OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ALL FLYING TO ONE LOCATION MAY NOT EVEN EXIST IN TEN YEARS

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BOOTS ON THE GROUND With the right strategy and technology corporate events can be turned into high quality video content

Built in collaboration with technology partners – which include parent company Microsoft, Telestream, SwitcherStudio, Wowza live video marketing platform Socialive and enterprise training video platform Brandlive – LinkedIn Live has been operating in an invite-only beta. It aims to be a go-to online location for conferences, training videos, awards event and quarterly addresses. LinkedIn used to be the platform that everyone was on, but no one knew what to do with. In the past few years this has turned around and it has become an effective social media tool for the corporate world, helping companies with everything from recruitment to brand building. Its effective integration into the business sector – internationally – makes LinkedIn Live a singular force in the world of B2B video. Facebook’s Workplace is another social media-based attempt to offer video tools for business. Workplace has a shallow learning curve, employing the familiar Facebook interface. Workplace offers live broadcasting within posts which is analogous to streaming on Facebook Live. The tools allow granular control of which groups or individuals in the organisation can watch the broadcast, or interact with question or poll functions. “I see more and more

businesses using Workplace as at least one tier of their internal comms,” says Ward. REPLACING FACE TIME Exactly how much will video replace corporate face time in the future is anyone’s guess but it seems certain that the changes businesses need to make as we shut down the carbon economy will mean less travel and more screen time. “The idea of tens of thousands of people all flying to one location may not even exist in ten years. I think it’s interesting to think how you can give something that feels authentic in that space. We’ve done some trials in that space where we’ve done live 360 video streaming for internal comms and it allows you to completely rethink how you’re doing something.” Although are still ok with being hunched over a conference room speakerphone, as business leaders realise the power that video has to engage and persuade inside a business as well as outside, corporate comms may become increasingly video-centric. Executives may have to learn to be producers as well, and employees, audiences.

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VIZRTV: TECH VENDOR TURNS BROADCASTER izrt is known as one of the world’s Words by Elsie Crampton

company used speciality enterprise social networking site Yammer for some of its internal communications, but its similarity to a social media site was problematic. Since the site prioritises engagement, an important message from the CEOs could be drowned out by pictures of someone’s baby. “We had to find a way to make sure the CEO’s message or the important message of the day gets lifted up to the top,” says Chris Black, Vizrt’s head of content and communications. “And it’s been proven that video is the most effective way to communicate with people, which is where this new initiative came from.” Earlier this year, Vizrt acquired NewTek, a media technology company specialising in affordable tools for microbroadcasters and live production teams who need user- friendly speed and flexibility. Suddenly, Vizrt has all the pieces in place to do an entire internal broadcast facility on their own. “We have the switchers, NewTek’s NDI protocol as an IP standard, the graphics tools, virtual sets and AR,” says Black. “All these pieces were there, it just took putting them all together, like our customers do.” VIZRTV ON THE AIR The new internal channel, called VizrTV, was trialled in late November with a simple live show delivered from Vizrt’s Bergen, Norway R&D centre and corporate headquarters. The show was done three times to accommodate the working hours of Vizrt’s global workforce. Microsoft Stream was the platform used to deliver the address, which included a talk by Vizrt Group CEO Michael Hallén, and incorporated a Q&A. “Because we have offices in Sydney, Bangkok, EMEA, North and South America, there is no perfect time zone, so we delivered the stream three different times,” says Webb, who as internal comms director is also producer of the show. “At some of the larger offices, they got together in a conference room and watched the live

When a high- end video technology company decided it needed a corporate comms solution, it decided to put its own tools to the test

top technology companies for high-end graphics and virtual sets for television. Its tools are

used on everything from sports events and weather to election coverage, providing visual fireworks and data illustration. However, the Norway-based company has 700 employees in 30 offices around the world, meaning that effective internal communication has become an ongoing challenge as the company expands. “We wanted to not only reach our employees, but engage them,” says Catherine Webb, internal communications lead at Vizrt. “For a while, we’d been thinking about the fact that we produced all these amazing products for broadcasters. Why can’t we use them for ourselves internally to do what broadcasters do? Reach an audience and engage with them as well.” Vizrt already had a solid internal comms system in place, but knew it was time to up its game. The company had tried internal newsletters, webinars, town halls and various internal social platforms. The

REALITY CHECK Vizrt’s studio in Bergen includes a full virtual set and uses Viz Virtual Studio to incliude AR graphics in the broadcast

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STREAM ON VizrTV was trialled in late November and the stream included an address from Vizrt CEO, Michael Hallén

stream as a group. People working from home could watch on their laptops. We also had people watching it live from airports. Other people who weren’t able to catch the live stream watched on demand later.” The Bergen studio includes a full virtual set, using Viz Virtual Studio to add in AR graphics. The virtual set has multiple, ‘virtual’ video walls built into it, which are treated for the purposes of the broadcast as if they were physical video walls on the stage, able to display graphics or video, controlled by Vizrt Software. The production team uses a software-based switcher, called Viz Vector, which is based on NewTek technology. All the components are tied together using NewTek’s NDI protocol for IP-based video. The plan for Vizrt going forward is to try to have fun, while learning how to develop an effective, video-rich internal comms platform. It hopes to use more AR in the productions and to give its developers a chance to show off and experiment with


things that might not be broadcaster-ready. “We hope we can use it as a play tool and learning tool for our R&D team,” says Webb. “The R&D teams are guys who don’t get out of their office much,” adds Chris Black. “They’re sitting there crunching code most of the time. This is going to allow the R&D guys to come in and actually see how this stuff is being used. They’ve already gotten a few ideas just from our first session.” CORPORATE IDOL The new studio will also be used for other business-building ventures, including ‘Viz University’, an online training resource to help Vizrt users build their skills as well as webinars and sales demonstrations. It can also be used as a testing ground and showcase for Vizrt partners, like camera tracking software developer Stype, to integrate and promote its products. Black is also looking to see how the set up can be rolled out to other businesses looking for the next step in corporate communications. For starters, he’ll be replacing the flagship Viz Vector graphics platform with the Tricaster Mini, a switcher newly released by NewTek aimed at the corporate and microbroadcaster market.

“Then it becomes something that is more palatable for corporations. If we can add something like that, with some very simple graphics, and have it easily tie into Microsoft Stream or another streaming platform, then it can become something easily used for corporate communications by industry.” spokesperson. As he focuses his attention on making sure the VizrTV broadcasts run smoothly, he will have to abdicate his role as Vizrt’s on-camera personality. As a result, the company has launched a ‘Vizrt Idol’ to scout it’s in-house talent for suitable hosts. “We’ve gotten a lot of submissions from all over the company. What we want to do is find a person who has the pieces of the talent there, a spark that we can see. And then we’ll get them public speaking classes and presenting classes and get them on the stage to be the new host for VizrTV.” Using video to build a brand has become essential for many businesses. It looks like those same tools can be just as effective when aimed inward. With real broadcasting tools used for corporate communications, it looks like people are finally going to get paid to watch TV at work. Black, trained as TV director, has also traditionally been Vizrt’s public

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