Sony announce VENICE ahead of IBC 2017

Sony announce VENICE ahead of IBC 2017

Sony have announced VENICE, their first full frame camera designed for high end film production. Pitched as a camera “created by and for the cinematographer”, VENICE has had a cracking reception so far, including a winning review from Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda.

 

venice_3_4_view

 

As NewsShooter point out, VENICE doesn’t feel like a traditional ‘filmmaker’s camera’, including as it does several of the popular features from the F55 and F5, chief among them the built-in variable ND filter. However, its most radical departure from tradition is that the entire front sensor block is user-removable. Sony plan to release different sensor blocks optimised for different types of shooting, which users will be able to swap in the field, without the need for a clean room or paid upgrade from the Sony team.

Image capture

The camera has a full frame 36 x 24mm sensor. It supports full frame, anamorphic and spherical Super35 framing, with additional modes slated to be added in future upgrades. Natively, VENICE uses E mount lenses, but is designed to work with adaptors to give you access to PL lenses – Sony’s end goal is to make a camera that’s lens and aspect ratio agnostic. You get 15-plus stops of latitude, and while the decision to limit the camera to ISO 500 has been slightly controversial, Sony insist that this limit gives you the best performance from the camera.

The camera captures footage in 16-bit Scene Linear RAW and X-OCN formats, and that NewsShooter interview reveals that ProRes is set to join the party either before shipping or slightly after as a free upgrade. It supports dual card recording, and will work with your existing R7 recorder.

Other nice touches include dual menus – one for you and one for your assistant, on each side of the camera – and an advanced cooling system that means the camera runs very little danger of overheating, despite its small form factor (133 x 159 x 172 mm and 3.9kg).

venice_exploded

Why 6K?

Sony say they chose to limit the camera to 6K rather than 8K because at 6K they can deliver better skin tones, richer colours which blend more smoothly, and more detail in the highlights of your shot. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll already know our team’s feelings about shooting over 6K, but to reiterate: we support Sony’s decision to go with the wider colour gamut over the additional Ks.

Availability

While final pricing and a release date are yet to be 100% confirmed, the estimated release date is next February.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The kit list: Expanding into live streaming on social media

The kit list: Expanding into live streaming on social media

Unsure about bringing video live streaming in-house? Looking for the best kit that will allow you to branch out into live social, and stream directly to various social media platforms? We’ve taken a look at the successful marketing trend that’s dominating feeds in 2017.

With faster internet speeds and the advent of mobile devices, video marketing has increased in popularity as a quick and easy way of showcasing your products or services to an audience. YouTube estimates that one billion hours of content are watched daily, across 88 countries – that’s a lot of reach.

Live streaming then adds another element of marketability to video, with audiences drawn to the appeal of experiencing something as it happens, rather than a recorded event. Live social media gives users immediate access to content and the ability to give instant feedback, heightening user engagement. In fact, according to the Livestream and New York Magazine Survey, 81% of internet and mobile audiences watched more live video in 2016 than 2015, with 67% of live video viewers more likely to buy event tickets after watching a live video of the same event or similar.

All of which begs the question, is this something you should be doing in-house? A case could be made for outsourcing to specialists, but the increased control and agility that comes with doing things in-house – especially when considering the immediate nature of live video – has led many creative teams, including ours, to wonder if they could take this on themselves.

What could you be creating?

As Facebook, YouTube and other large platforms add support for live video, it’s becoming an integral part of many social campaigns, and an extension of the traditional video content you might produce for a cross-platform project.

By utilising live streaming in your marketing, you can create:

Q&As and conversations with your audience. Engage directly with your end users to promote services or share general tips about your industry. Experian hosted a live chat in July on tips for buying a new car, with specialist speakers and interaction with users via the hashtag #CreditChat.

Special announcements and product introductions. Keep your audience up to date with live announcements and immediate access to information as it becomes available, as Nissan did with the launch of its 2016 Maxima at the New York auto show.

Live event streams. Drive ticket sales and participation by giving users a taste of the kind of live experiences your brand can offer. In June this year, endurance event brand Tough Mudder streamed a training event that offered tips and encouraged involvement.

Backstage pass and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Make your audience feel part of your event by granting exclusive live access to places they might not typically be able to go. Grazia UK had success with this by live streaming events from Facebook’s London HQ.

So what kit do you need to invest in?

Relying on one of your team being able to film and stream an event on their iPhone isn’t quite going to cut it for professional events – you need to be able to ensure professional quality audio and video across all your streams, especially if you want to record the stream and repurpose the footage elsewhere in your campaign. Phones typically can’t stream and record simultaneously, so you lose this feature entirely if you base your setup around a mobile, and adding titles and graphics that keep your stream on-brand isn’t something you can do with an iPhone setup.

Luckily, there are plenty of dedicated live streaming products that will give you the high quality, reusable footage. The range of options available can seem daunting, so we’ve asked our production experts to pick out a simple kit to get you started on creating and broadcasting live video directly to your social media platforms.

The Blackmagic Design Web Presenter allows you to stream to all popular platforms, including Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitch.tv and Periscope. It makes any SDI or HDMI video source appear as a USB webcam, so you can use professional cameras for higher quality web streaming.

Also from Blackmagic Design is the Micro Studio Camera 4K, the world’s smallest broadcast quality live production camera capable of HD, Ultra HD and 4K shooting. The camera body is not much bigger than the lens mount, so it’s a super flexible camera head that can be rigged for larger production, and you can control the focus, iris and zoom remotely with an ATEM switcher. Audio-wise, it has its own built-in mic, plus a 3.5mm jack so you can add a dedicated microphone.

And with the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Studio Mini, you can record and play back your live stream for later use. This professional deck records and plays back broadcast quality 10-bit video as ProRes files on commonly available SD cards.

How can we help?

We can provide all the kit you need for live streaming from one place, with 30 day credit accounts (subject to you passing a credit check) and next day delivery on many key items.

If you’re not quite ready to buy, our longstanding relationships with leading media vendors mean that we’re perfectly placed to advise on the directions different suppliers are taking with live streaming, and help you find kit, storage solutions and workstations to support the direction you want to take, as well as advice on how to fit them all together.

If you want to know more about live streaming, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email designsolutions@Jigsaw24.com. If you’re ready to start shopping head to our design store, here.

What are we looking forward to at IBC?

What are we looking forward to at IBC?

Ready for IBC? Our consultants are gearing up for their annual trip to Amsterdam, where they’ll be getting hands-on with the latest releases, meeting our key vendors and finding out what the upcoming year holds for media and entertainment. We asked the team what they’re most looking forward to…

Jamie Allan, Solutions & Business Development for M&E

We’re looking forward to talking to more people about remote connectivity and new methods of collaboration this year. It’s a hugely exciting area of expansion for us and our customers, with many of our preferred vendors bringing updates to enable more advanced connectivity over long distances via public and private networks.

Having worked on some major connectivity projects recently between clients and datacentres, we’re starting to see the huge benefits of colocating or virtualising systems really come into effect on multiple scales. Hopefully at the show we’ll see more vendors embracing this and bringing new solutions to the table.

As usual with a major trade show, we’re expecting our friends at Blackmagic Design to come with some exciting news. Hopefully a full release version of Resolve 14 will be made available, including all the amazing new features we’ve been playing with in beta since NAB.

In conjunction with this, the audio world is anticipating new hardware for Fairlight mixing consoles that will be tightly integrated with Resolve, allowing us to build end to end collaborative workflows for edit, grade and audio mix all in realtime!

Neal Kemsley, Pre-Sales Technical Specialist

I’m looking forward to hearing what Avid have in store for their NEXIS shared storage for media production users. It would be lovely to see more progress on their storage performance capability tiers, as well as built-in tools for migrating data stored in Workspaces among those tiers. Also on my wish-list are some features that have yet to make it to NEXIS, which were lost in the migration from previous Avid products, such as controlled shutdown from an external UPS system and deletion reporting. File access auditing would also be a valuable addition to the product.

I’m also looking forward to hearing about what’s being planned for their Interplay Production Asset Management system, as well as seeing progress on Avid’s Media Central Platform, which I understand has undergone a significant amount of redevelopment work.

David ‘Saxon’ Greenep, Senior Pro Audio Consultant

As the pace of technologies in the audio world continues to grow, I am looking forward to learning about new tech that will further streamline the process of content creation.

I am expecting to see developments in audio over IP as well as DAW and hardware solutions for both Atmos and VR audio. With the new standards available now from Dolby, I will also be interested to see if there have been further developments when it comes to both speaker specifications and speaker calibration systems.

Phil Crawley, Engineer

Although the rush to IP continues apace, some of our higher-end TV and Digital Cinema customers still need the near-zero latency and uncompressed quality that only SDI provides for UHD/4K. I’ll be paying particular attention to Barnfind’s product refresh with their 12G copper/fibre parts. Additionally, Amulet have refreshed their Teradici2 offerings; they uniquely offer external Tera2 parts as well as a soon-to-be-released update for existing customers to monitor their GUI displays at 4K resolution.

Rupert Watson, Sales Director for M&E

As a reseller questing for the latest useful technology on behalf of our customers, we will be out looking for vendors at IBC who are bringing something new to the processes and practice of production and post-production. As technologies advance and merge, we attempt to understand and assimilate new ways of working and to present them to our customers in ways that allow them to make money and prosper from our pathfinding on their behalf.

David Skeggs, Project Specialist

IBC is poised to bring the next round of HDR (high dynamic range) developments and offerings. Ultra HD or 4K coupled with HDR has put a real focus on accurate monitoring within post-production – I’d say now they are more acute than ever before.
Dolby and the BBC have led the development of two very different standards for creating an HDR image, but how has the industry been adopting these? We await to see what updates the monitor manufacturers bring around the wider colour gamut and greater bit depths. Equally, it will be interesting to see how manufacturers have been adopting HDR within products, supply chains and workflows.

Graham McGuinness, Operations Director for M&E
IBC is set to deliver hopefully more complete versions of some of the previews we saw at NAB earlier this year. Of particular interest will be remote editing and cloud-based offerings from manufacturers looking to meaningfully move significant elements of the post-production process online, and drive its potential development as a managed service model. Coupled with the push to high resolution and HDR, it’s going to be an interesting show as always.
Phillip Boettcher, Technical Architect for M&E
At IBC I’ll be most interested in checking out the latest updates to version 14 of Resolve, including any new tools around collaboration and shared projects. There’s a lot of potential in what we have seen so far from shared project databases and networked Resolve suites, but I would like to see more administrative control for this branch of the product now.With the qualification of a new line of servers for Resolve, it is going to be exciting to see the improvements to performance that v14 will bring on the latest hardware. I am also excited to see announcements from storage vendors, such as Ardis for DDP, and look at ways we can utilise their products to enhance our Resolve solution offering.
Want to meet the team?

If you want to meet up with one of the team to discuss your needs, how new releases could fit into your workflow, or what changes you need to make to take advantage of upcoming technologies like those behind remote collaboration, just get in touch on the details below. Who knows, they may even buy you a beer.

If you want to know more on the biggest and best NAB Show releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our roundup post.

Amulet Hotkey promise next gen of PCoIP cards will use new Tera2 chipset

Amulet Hotkey promise next gen of PCoIP cards will use new Tera2 chipset

More and more facilities are relying on KVM over IP to perform post tasks – a system whereby editors can remote into any workstation from anywhere, over just a standard IP connection, using any keyboard, display and mouse.

Amulet Hotkey’s leading KVM solution runs on the popular, trusted Teradici standard (the nearest thing to an industry standard for KVM over IP), and can be added to your systems using an internal card or an external rack mounted solution. It’s long been popular in areas like finance, but has rapidly gained traction in post circles where there’s a demand for remote editing because its public key encryption system means it’s the most secure way to extend your clients’ desktops when you’re under NDA or having to meet strict intellectual property standards.

Already using Amulet? It’s about to get even better…

To keep up with the demands of post customers, Amulet Hotkey have announced that they’ll be releasing updated versions of their DXR-H4 external cards (for new readers, that’s the card that allows your remote computer to connect to the workstation back at base).

The updated version will use the latest ‘Tera2′ chipset from Teradici, giving them access to a feature set which includes support for monitors over 24″ and adding support for quad screens at 1920×1200 and dual screen setups at 2560×1600. Software stability updates for use with Media Composer and Smoke on Linux have been rolled out.

The other great news is that mixed racks of Tera1 and Tera2 cards will be able to work together, so there’s no pressure to instantly replace all of your existing Amulet gear.

Not heard of Amulet Hotkey before? Here’s why they’re good… 

Any network will do While some KVM over IP solutions require a dedicated 1Gb connection, Amulet Hotkey delivers workable results over any network – in tests, our engineers were able to connect to and work on a workstation using Media Composer over a standard home internet connection. In other tests, users in Amsterdam have been able to remote into workstations in London with no noticeable impact on performance.

Industry standard encryption If you need to comply with FACT and MPAA regulations, Amulet Hotkey is your best bet. They are the only KVM over IP solution proven to use AES128/256 bit encryption.

Industry standard connection brokering No matter how many users you need to support or what level of security you need, Amulet Hotkey solutions can be adapted to fit, either through their own lightweight management console, or with help from the Leostream suite of authentication and management tools.

No single point of failure Amulet’s uniquely simple system architecture means that even a large estate continues to operate if the connection broker server fails.

The closest thing to an industry standard for KVM over IP Amulet Hotkey uses Teradici architecture, the most widely supported architecture for KVM over IP. It’s supported by VMware, Dell, LG, Samsung, and many major monitor manufacturers.

On a per-seat basis, Amulet is the best value of the established KVM over IP systems This point is fairly self-explanatory.

If you need to enable long-distance collaboration and on-location editing without compromising on security, Amulet Hotkey’s DXiP solution allows you to rack mount 12 DXR cards (which can be a mixture of Tera1 and Tera2 cards) into 3U of space, giving you a compact, reliable solution that’ll work over the most basic of networks and give you a range of endpoint options, For more information, get in touch on the details below.

Want to know more about KVM over IP? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

 

Crunching the numbers: How much does it cost to bring VR in house?

Crunching the numbers: How much does it cost to bring VR in house?

Virtual reality is huge news at the moment, and whether you’re dealing with PR teams who want to cash in on the attention it garners or creatives who want to push themselves in a new medium, chances are someone’s already asked if your team can produce VR content. After all, it’s just like video, right? Well, not really.

VR content is very much its own animal, and requires a specialist skillset and kit list. We’ve been supplying equipment to the creative industries for over 25 years, and have our internal video workflow (and those of our clients) nailed down. But in order to start offering VR as a service, we’d have to make some fairly major upgrades to our stash of shooting kit, storage and 3D animation skills – and we imagine many agencies are in a similar position.

It’s an investment worth making though, as it’ll allow you to stay current, help clients take advantage of a major new channel, and avoid losing long-term clients to more on-trend rivals. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to invest in..

First things first: what kind of content will you be creating?

Currently, most commercial VR content falls into one of two camps: 360-degree video (video footage that lets the viewer look all around the setting, rather than just showing them a static shot from one angle) and immersive VR (the interactive, 3D-animated kind that makes you feel like you’ve wandered into a videogame). These need very different skillsets and equipment, and are suited to very different projects.

360 video has been used effectively to create more exciting versions of the traditional corporate ‘explainer’ (here’s a great example from The Verge and Michelle Obama). A similar technique has been used in concert videos to give viewers the sensation of really being there, and Topshop used the technology to let visitors to their flagship store experience what it’s like to be on the front row at London Fashion Week.

If you’re already offering video services, you can scale them up to include the shooting, stitching and editing of 360 video. Many 360 degree videos include graphics and animations as well as live footage, and your team probably already has the skillset and tools needed to create these.

Immersive VR has more in common with 3D animation and games development, with most projects taking viewers on a journey through a 3D landscape and allowing them to interact with objects they encounter. Delivering immersive VR requires a (relatively) expensive headset, and if you want users to be able to move around, you’ll need additional hardware to track their movements and stop them walking into walls. You’ll also need specialist hardware and software to create content.

Despite the high initial outlay, many companies are keen on immersive projects because they’re high-impact and memorable, and because their relative novelty means that a well-staged immersive event can be a big PR draw.

What kind of kit will your team need?

Cameras
If you’re shooting 360 video, there are two ways to do it: stick a load of GoPro or Blackmagic Mini Studio Cameras to a rig, then stitch the images together in post to create a single 360 image, or invest in a 360 degree camera.

While the reduce the need for stitching, many 360 degree cameras are less than perfect: lower cost ones are often function like PTZ cameras and have a limited field of vision. They’re fine for live events on Facebook 360 and similar platforms, but not ideal for anything more polished – if your client wants footage they can reuse, rather than the novelty of a one-off viewing event, we’d recommend investing in something higher-end.

As an entry level camera, you could try the Kodak PixPro (£399 ex VAT), which uses a multi-lens configuration to give you close to 360 degree coverage. The Insta360 Pro (£2999 ex VAT) is pricier, but does offer true 360-degree shooting.

If you’d prefer to try the rigged approach, stitching is inevitable (and time-consuming). You’ll need a 360-specific monitoring solution like the Teradek Sphere (£2549 ex VAT), which will stitch your panoramic footage into a 360 format so that you can show clients and directors a rough on-set cut and make sure you have the footage you need – it’s likely you’ll still need to make further adjustments in post, though.

Helpfully, the Sphere includes a rig for GoPro cameras, so if you already have a stash of them and are happy to use them for your 360 work, you won’t have to fork out for a separate rig.

Another option is the Google Jump, a 16-camera rig and asset management system that has the big advantage of allowing you to outsource your stitching. When you sign up to the Jump programme, you get access to the Jump Assembler, where you can send your footage off to be processed by Google (their turnaround is mooted at 48 hours, but users have advised us to budget for a 72 hour wait).

Editing 360 degree/VR footage
Post-production on 360 and VR content is far more intensive than that needed for traditional video. At our recent VR event, Halo Post’s Richard Addis said that VR content is “rarely longer than 20 minutes, but the time spent in post is far in excess of what you’d spend on a 60 minute TV show.”

The key plugin you’ll need is Imagineer Systems’ mocha VR (£865 ex VAT), which brings optimised planar tracking, masking, object removal, and horizon stabilisation tools to host applications including those from Avid and Adobe. Premiere Pro, which you’ll already have access to if you have a Creative Cloud for teams subscription (£708 per user, per year, ex VAT), has its own set of built-in VR tools, too.

Workstations
If you’re producing immersive VR (ie animated 3D environments), you’ll want a top spec workstation for your animators so that they can deal with the sheer volume of footage they’re going to have to render – if your facility has not invested in networked rendering, now might be the time to start looking into it.

Use our HP workstation configurator to see how much your preferred workstation might cost.

What skills will your team need?

While your team may have done video and animation work before, VR is definitely its own niche and VR-specific companies like Framestore and Alchemy are leading the way when it comes to larger, more interactive projects such as this mildly terrifying hiking experience. That said, there’s no reason your existing team can’t take on VR – and particularly 360 video – on a slightly less heart-attack-inducing scale.

If you’re already producing video, you’ll need to find the time and resources to allow your team to familiarise themselves with the new kit, but the main factor is likely to be ensuring that you’re able to perform the extensive post-production and animation work any VR requires, be that stitching, editing, painting out any remaining crew members, creating 3D graphics and, frustratingly, adjusting content so that it can be used on multiple platforms which, as yet, have no common standard (most successful projects have limited themselves to one platform, such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and exploited that platform fully).

Sub-contracting work to a specialist VR company is always a possibility, but if you’re getting numerous requests from clients for VR work and want to make it a permanent part of your portfolio, investing in your own kit and having control over you own content and deadlines might be for the best. For more about the skills and challenges involved, watch our VR panel with experts from Alchemy, Halo Post, Rewind and The Mill, who have all launched successful VR projects.

 

How can we help?

Aside from hosting Soho’s premier panel on the subject, we can provide all the kit you need for VR – cameras, rigs, software, plug-ins, media, monitors – from one place, with 30 day credit accounts (subject to you passing a credit check) and next day delivery on many key items.

If you’re not quite ready to buy, our longstanding relationships with leading media vendors mean that we’re perfectly placed to advise on the directions different suppliers are taking with VR, and help you find kit, storage solutions and workstations to support the direction you want to take, as well as advice on how to fit them all together.

For more on bringing VR in-house, take a look at this sister article for creative teams. If you want to know more about VR, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. If you’re ready to start shopping head to our design storeFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Creative trend: The kit list – getting ready to tackle VR

Creative trend: The kit list – getting ready to tackle VR

Virtual reality is unavoidable at the moment. Marketeers are praising its immersiveness and versatility as tools to increase engagement; the relative novelty of successful VR projects makes them a hit with PR teams, and creative teams are excited to push themselves in a new medium, as you can see from our panel featuring creatives from The Mill, Halo Post, Alchemy VR and Rewind:

 

All of which begs the question, is this something you should be doing in-house? A case could be made for outsourcing to specialists like Alchemy whenever clients ask you for VR content, but the increased control and agility that comes with doing things in-house – especially when it comes to things like integrating 360 video into a wider campaign, rather than staging one-off VR events – has led many creative teams, including ours, to wonder if they could take this on themselves. Let’s take a look at what you’d need.

What could you be creating?

As Facebook, YouTube and other large platforms add support for 360-degree video, it’s becoming an integral part of many social campaigns, an extension of the traditional video content you might produce for a cross-platform project. It’s also become a popular alternative to corporate ‘explainers’ among companies who want to seem cutting edge and, as in this well-regarded example from Michelle Obama and The Verge, with publishers and journalists who want to ensure their content stays relevant as users move to new platforms. (The New York Times also got a massive publicity boost when it gave away a million Cardboard headsets and started making startlingly good immersive journalism).

‘Immersive VR’ – the kind that uses an expensive headset and motion tracking to make you feel like you’ve wandered into a video game – has more in common with games development and 3D animation than traditional film production, although as our panel pointed out, the sense of narrative and need for careful direction remain.

In the commercial sphere, immersive VR has proven to be a great tool for attracting PR at one-off events or tours (this mildly terrifying hiking experience from Merrell, for example or Sotheby’s offering you the chance to climb inside a Dalí painting. You can also climb inside your own sketches with help from Gravity Sketch). However, as VR technology becomes more readily available (and affordable) we’re seeing the rise of more apps for end users.

This is especially true of content that can be consumed via cheaper headset solutions like Google Cardboard. Cardboard-compatible apps have received a mixed response in the past because until recently many of the smartphones it worked with struggled to sync streams of 3D sufficiently well to avoid lagging and motion sickness, but the times they are a-changing, and the chips in phones they are a-getting more powerful.

So what kit do you need to invest in?

When it comes to shooting 360 video, there are two ways to do it: attach multiple action cameras (GoPros are popular) to a rig, then stitch the footage from each camera into a 360 degree panorama, or buy a camera designed to shoot 360, or go all the way and invest in the Insta360 Pro for true 360 filming.

We’d recommend shooting native 360, but if you’re wary of investing that much upfront, Teradek’s Sphere solution comes with a GoPro-compatible rig and a monitoring solution that’ll let you see your stitched footage on-set, which is a huge advantage if clients are going to be present for the shoot. There’s also Google’s Jump programme, for which you’d need to purchase a Google Jump rig, then use the Jump Assembler to send your footage to Google, who return it to you 48-72 hours later, fully stitched.

However you choose to shoot your footage, you’ll want to add Imagineer Systems’ mocha VR plug-in to your editing software, as that makes it possible for you to perform tasks like optimised planar tracking, masking, object removal, and horizon stabilisation directly in your NLE.

Adobe have been quick to add VR tools to Premiere Pro, too, so if you already have a Creative Cloud subscription then it’s well worth exploring those. With the Premiere Pro CC 2017 update, Adobe added native QuickTime DNxHR/HD codec support, so you can create VR media files which play back more efficiently than H.264. They also added VR properties to Clips, meaning Premiere Pro will look for the same metadata added during export, which allows 360 playback in YouTube and Facebook. In June, Adobe acquired Skybox plug-ins by Mettle, for 360 video and VR, which will integrate their functionality natively into Premiere Pro and After Effects, and should be available by the end of the year.

One of the key things from the panel we held (seriously, scroll back up and give it a watch), is that while virtual reality projects tend to max out at around 20 minutes in length, they spend longer in post-production than a 60 minute television programme, as the challenges of stitching footage, mixing audio and performing all your usual corrections and grades now has to be done on far more footage, which is far more difficult to match, may contain 3D animated elements, and potentially contains a crew and other equipment that need to be painted out, because there’s nowhere to hide them in a 360-degree shoot. Even adding motion graphics, as you might want to in a corporate video, becomes much more difficult when they have to exist (and follow the viewer around) in a 3D space.

Doing all this means you might need to invest in higher-spec workstations (asked to describe the ideal spec, our product manager simply said “beefy”, which you’re free to take however you want, but which we think means “the sort of thing you’d work with 4K footage on, why not explore your options in our workstation configurator?”).

How can we help?  

Aside from hosting Soho’s premier panel on the subject, we can provide all the kit you need for VR – cameras, rigs, software, plug-ins, media, monitors – from one place, with 30 day credit accounts (subject to you passing a credit check) and next day delivery on many key items.

If you’re not quite ready to buy, our longstanding relationships with leading media vendors mean that we’re perfectly placed to advise on the directions different suppliers are taking with VR, and help you find kit, storage solutions and workstations to support the direction you want to take, as well as advice on how to fit them all together.

For more on the cost of bringing VR in house, take a look at this sister article for finance teams. If you want to know more about VR, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. If you’re ready to start shopping head to our design store, hereFor everything else, including the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid NEXIS 7.6 introduces High Performance Storage Groups

Avid NEXIS 7.6 introduces High Performance Storage Groups

Avid have rolled out the latest update to the NEXIS shared storage system, boosting peak performance to 2.4 GBps. The new updates allows NEXIS | Enterprise users to build shared storage systems of up to 48 Media Packs, giving them nearly 3PB of storage and a maximum bandwidth of 28GBps or 600MBps per Media Pack – enough bandwidth for 375 streams of XAVC-Intra UHD, or well over 1000 streams of DNxHD. 

They’ve also added support for High Performance Storage Group and Workspaces (HPSG). Historically, when you’ve bound together Media Packs in your NEXIS setup, they’ve been optimised for even performance and reliable, consistent bandwidth. The new High Performance bind setting is designed to give a small number of users the maximum bandwidth possible, so if a small number of your team are working on an ultra-high-bandwidth project, you can bind together Media Packs for them to monopolise, while the rest of your team carry on as normal.

Even NEXIS | Pro users can get in on the action, scaling up to 600MBps – 2400MBps maximum bandwidth (it was previously 400MBps – 1600MBps). Pro units will even be able to support HPSG, though not to quite the same capacity as Enterprise units.

Do all my Media Packs become ‘High Performance’ if I upgrade? 

No. The setting for large-scale, predictable bandwidth provision is still the default, but has been renamed ‘Scale-Out binding’. If you want to create a HPSG, you will need to upgrade your NEXIS system to 7.6, then add new Media Packs in the High Performance configuration. Only packs added after the upgrade can be bound in High Performance mode.

Does that mean I need to buy new Media Packs? 

Again, no, but you will need to remove Media Packs from your existing system, unbind them, upgrade then rebind them. If you’re worried about safely migrating your data or backing up your Storage Group while its media is offline, get in touch with us. We have Avid Certified Support Representatives on staff who can advise you on the safest and quickest way to update your NEXIS setup.

Can any Media Packs be bound in this way? 

High Performance binding is available for 20TB and 60TB Media Packs. Avid recommends that you bind together Media Packs of the same size, so for the best possible performance you would bind 20TB Media Packs to other 20TB Media Packs, and 60TB ones to 60TB ones, rather than mixing the two.

Are there any restrictions on the availability of HPSGs? 

A few, High Performance mode is not available on the NEXIS | E5 engine. Mirroring is not supported in HPSGs. Any NEXIS File System can only support one HPSG of up to eight Media Packs (said group will deliver up to 4800MBps performance for its users). For the moment, Avid recommend not adding more than 10 clients to a workgroup, but we understand that to be a conservative estimate which is likely to grow as the system matures.

If you want to know more about NEXIS 7.6, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Do Creative Cloud Libraries make you work faster?

Do Creative Cloud Libraries make you work faster?

Pfeiffer research has recently shown that using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries can lead to a tenfold increase in productivity when it comes to performing key tasks. 

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, so rather than take these (admittedly thorough) benchmarking tests at face value, we thought we’d get our Senior Designer to face off against herself in an arcade-style design-off. It may not be as scientific as a benchmark test, but it is marginally better soundtracked.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Did you spot us at the Media Production Show?

Did you spot us at the Media Production Show?

Our team are back in the office after a whirlwind week at the second Media Production Show. Thanks to everyone who came to our stand, tried out our kit, and helped us eat our way through 50kg of pick ‘n’ mix over the course of three days. 

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The big change this year is that we’ve teamed up with root6 to become the UK’s biggest and best provider of editing, grading and audio solutions. The two of us were manning one stand this year, and had many of our favourite solutions on show, including the Cintel Film Scanner, DaVinci Resolve with advanced and mini panels, the Avid Pro Tools S3 with iPad Dock, Focusrite’s Red4Pre and workstations with Avid Media Composer.

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As well as showcasing the Cintel Film Scanner and Resolve, we played host to storage solutions from leaders Quantum, showcasing their StorNext shared storage solution, and LaCie. We were showing ROOT6 Technology’s ContentAgent, which provides a central hub from which to manage and automate all aspects of your file-based workflow.

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Highlights of the week include a string of great talks about the future of VR and workshops on cinematography, editing and grading, but our highlight of the week was probably getting to meet living YouTube legend Joe Sugg. We thought it went well but he hasn’t followed us back, so our ascent to social media stardom still seems unlikely.

Over the course of the week, we’ve been asking you to tweet us your best Jigsaw24 stand selfie in order to be in with the chance of winning a Sonos Play:1. We can now officially reveal that the winner is Twitter user @alexchopper1982, who won us over by promising to use his prize to play Jigsaw24 favourite Cotton Eye Joe at every opportunity.

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So, thanks again to everyone who came to the stand! Remember that you can always get in touch with us on the details below if you have any questions about the solutions you saw on the stand, or want to know more about any of our services. Until next year!

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How can root6 and Jigsaw24 help you?

How can root6 and Jigsaw24 help you?

Jigsaw24 and root6 have joined together to create the largest and most experienced audio and video technology services and solutions provider in Europe.

Combined, we have more than 40 years’ experience, working alongside leading creative companies and growing a small army of highly qualified consultants and engineers, so we’re now better positioned than ever to deliver the very best solutions and services for audio and video.

Together, we cover your entire workflow from ingest, editing and finishing to tiered storage and delivery. We also provide root6’s range of industry-standard creative products from top brands, including handy local drives and cables, complete suites and entire network infrastructures.

So how can we help?

The combination of root6’s technical expertise with Jigsaw24’s datacentre, managed service and logistical capabilities means that we can now offer the fastest, most innovative and reliable audio and video solutions on the market, helping you incorporate new technologies ahead of your competitors.

We can provide the full range of the latest products, services and solutions for production, post and broadcasters, allowing you to consolidate existing purchasing and support contracts into a single agreement with one supplier, and drastically reducing the amount of admin your IT and purchasing teams have to slog through.

Our solutions include ROOT6 Technology’s industry-leading ContentAgent solution for media ingest and file workflow management, which makes it easier for non-technical staff to tackle complex ingest, conversion and delivery workflows, including work in the AS-11 standard.

If you want to get hands-on with the latest technology (including DaVinci Resolve, Avid Pro Tools and more), head to our demo facility at 8 Golden Square in Soho to get to grips with the kit and meet our Apple engineers.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.