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IBC 2019: Our show highlights

Now that IBC has closed its doors and our team have enjoyed a week of frantic plotting and pre-ordering back in Blighty, we thought we’d find out what their show highlights were. Aside from live HDR and 8K broadcasts on the BT Media & Broadcast stand, the theme of the year was very much how to develop and manage your cloud workflow, while admitting that realistically not everything is going to move off-premise…


Liz Sunter
Avid NEXIS | Cloudspaces continues to evolve

While we loved the functionality of NEXIS | Cloudspaces, the original pricing structure – a complicated monthly fee/pay as you go combo that left some customers with surprise overage charges – didn’t have many fans. Thankfully, Avid have replaced this with a series of annual plans that come with fixed capacity and download limits, making it far easier to predict how much you’ll need to spend on storage when you’re pricing up a project. (If you have any credit left from the previous system, you can trade this in against the cost of an annual plan.)

There were demos of the latest version of all Avid’s key software and hardware, including Editorial Management and the new Pro Tools | S4 console (more on that in our audio roundup). Particularly interesting was the Cloudspaces-enabled proxy editing workflow, in which hi-res media was moved straight to Cloudspaces, proxies were edited using an on-premises NEXIS unit, and then only the required hi-res media was conformed back to the on-premises NEXIS, meaning that a single NEXIS unit could handle far more active projects.

Media Composer got a few well-received updates too, including native support for ProRes RAW, native ProRes encoding on Windows machines, and 64-bit DNxHD and DNxHR decode on macOS, so you can preserve DNx material currently encoded in MXF and Quicktime. 


Strawberry takes flight with Skies

We knew Projective were planning to release version six of their Strawberry production management platform, but we weren’t expecting as radical a change as their newly-announced Skies platform.

Designed to remove “time-consuming upload roadblocks common to online collaboration today”, Skies is designed to bridge the gap between your in-house workflows and any cloud services you’re using, giving production and post teams a seamlessly integrated workflow.

The flashiest function we saw on show was Galleries, a new cloud-based media player that streams encrypted proxy footage from your server to any client you invite, so you can enjoy realtime remote approvals. You can brand the gallery portal to suit each client, and your client’s access to the footage can be set to expire automatically as you move through different iterations of the project.

“Strawberry has already revolutionised how many production houses work in-house, Skies will do the same for work with external contributors,” said Projective CEO Derek Barrilleaux. “With Skies, our customers can curate galleries to preview content and release it to internal or external contributors. And because it is an extension of Strawberry, all commentary and feedback is automatically kept in sync with the in-house work. This greatly simplifies the production process.”


EditShare make waves with Flow and Helmut

Projective weren’t the only ones with a splashy asset management update: EditShare used IBC to launch Flow 2020, a forward-looking update to their PAM platform that adds AI-powered facial recognition and audio transcription. While many people are rightly sceptical about trusting such things to AI, our team were on hand for a live demo of this and both the facial recognition and transcription tools were genuinely impressive.

The update also includes a northbound API that makes it easier for you to interface with cloud services (something of a theme this year), allowing for faster search, retrieval and delivery of assets. You can read about that in more detail here.

Adobe users will also want to take a look at EditShare’s new Helmut project tools for Premiere Pro workflows. Key functionality includes video encoding, migration management, render farm control and other back-office tasks that have previously been challenging for Premiere Pro workgroups.

Helmut will communicate with a range of storage arrays (including EditShare’s own, naturally) to automate tasks like ingest, archive and backup, reducing complexity and improving post-production workflows.


SpectraLogic debut StorCycle

SpectraLogic, the minds behind some of our favourite LTO solutions, also unveiled a new storage management solution. While we all know we’re supposed to move inactive projects from online storage to a nearline or archive system, in reality doing so is time-consuming and, frankly, easy to forget. Many organisations clog up their online storage with older projects, and are buying expensive expansions to their online systems when what they actually need is a good spring clean. SpectraLogic’s StorCycle hopes to stop this.

StorCycle allows you to create a new ‘Perpetual Tier’ of storage made of more cost-effective media. It automatically scans for inactive files and automatically migrates them to this tier, reducing your overall storage costs by up to 70%. However, StorCycle doesn’t present this change to the end user – if they ever need that file again, they can retrieve it from the same location as before, even though it has in fact been moved to a different storage volume.


SRT wins over BirdDog

Formerly NDI purists, BirdDog are using the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) streaming protocol to ensure high-quality visuals over poor networks with their latest offering, BirdDog Cloud. BridDog Cloud is a modular delivery platform that allows you to access a full production, studio and control toolkit (including PTZ camera control, tally and intercoms) from anywhere in the world, over the public internet.

“SRT protocol is the fastest growing industry standard for online content sharing between sites, and was an obvious choice for us when building BirdDog Cloud,” said Jan Grimestad, Product Manager and Lead Designer for BirdDog Cloud. “SRT creates a reliable, stable connection complete with AES encryption. Our customers can send video over the internet with low latency and have total peace of mind that their content is secure. We’re really excited to be part of the SRT Alliance.”

The Alliance were out in force at IBC – take a look at a full list of their partners and activities here.


Away from the cloud, Blackmagic Design prove they still know how to steal a show

Blackmagic Design may have been slightly quieter than in previous years – their annual avalanche of press releases actually stayed in single figures – but their ATEM Mini was one of the real stars of this year’s show.

A compact live switcher, ATEM Mini is designed to help streamers produce better live multicam content while simplifying the their workflow. With support for four cameras, a computer connection, DVE, ATEM Advanced Chroma Key, Fairlight audio mixing and a still store for graphics, the ATEM Mini manages to pack a lot into its tiny frame. Once you’re live, you can output your finished content to a USB connection that simulates a webcam, or via HDMI.

Also of note was their Video Assist 12G range. These new models of the company's popular combined monitoring and recording solutions feature brighter HDR screens, built-in scopes, upgraded batteries, 12G-SDI and support for all HD, Ultra HD, 2K and 4K DCI formats.

The display has a brightness of 2500 nits, which means the Video Assist 12G is ideal for HDR work. Blackmagic clearly hope this will be a key market for them, as they’ve loaded the 12G models with HDR-friendly features: the built-in scopes change to HDR scopes when working in HDR formats; files are tagged with the correct HDR information; SDI and HDMI inputs will automatically detect HDR video standards, and static metadata PQ and HLG formats are handled according to the ST2084 standard. The bright LCD has a wider colour gamut so it can handle both Rec. 2020 and Rec. 709 colourspaces, and the built-in Video Assist LCD colour gamut can even handle 100% of the DCI-P3 format.

LaCie say it’s OK to drop your SSD drives

LaCie’s iconic Rugged range is one of our best selling storage options, and we anticipate a similar level of enthusiasm for their updated Rugged SSDs.

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is optimised for 8K and super slow motion content, and is essentially designed to act as a scratch disk in environments where high-speed transfers are essential. Powered by a Seagate FireCuda NVMe SSD capable of speeds of 2800MBps over Thunderbolt 3, the Rugged SSD Pro is the first Thunderbolt 3 portable storage solution offering USB 3.1 compatibility.

If that’s overkill for you, there’s a non-pro 950MBps Rugged SSD that connects over USB 3.1 Gen 2. Both models are IP67-rated for dust and water resistance, have three metre drop tolerance and two-tonne car crush resistance. Both can, if you so wish, be submerged in water of up to a metre for 30 minutes. And both are covered by a five year limited manufacturer’s warranty, and come with a month’s free access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

The most innovative and excellently-named addition to the lineup is the LaCie Rugged BOSS SSD. This 1TB SSD can reach speeds of up to 430MBps, and is capable of direct file transfers via its integrated SD card slot and USB port. A built-in status screen provides realtime updates on transfers, capacity and battery life, so you can manage your workflow without any need for a laptop – though there are iOS and Android BOSS apps you can use to view, name and delete footage. If you’re shooting on a mirrorless camera, you can even use the BOSS as a power pack. See more of our LaCie solutions here


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