Upcoming work: articles for BVE broadcast show, Feb 2017

Over the next few weeks I am writing a series of articles for the BVE Show, which takes place at the end of February at Excel.

The outlines are below, please feel free to submit comment to me directly (if commenting for more than one piece, please indicate the article(s) in your response.) You can email me via this link. There is no fixed deadline, but I will start filing stories on Jan 31 so do respond ASAP!

I’m keen to have comment from manufacturers, service providers, broadcasters, production companies and freelance professionals, as well as analysts and other researchers covering the field.

BVE 2017: Article outlines

Broadcast & Connected Media:

Broadcast: IP integration
How do broadcasters make the transition to IP networks, and what are the pros and cons? The UK’s BBC, for example, plans to build its New Broadcasting System entirely around IP. But what does IP mean in a live studio context, and how do we make the most of it? IP should lead to greater interoperability, agility and faster more efficient workflows. Will broadcasters benefit from moving to a more IP – and more IT – focused approach to systems?

Connected Media: Demystifying OTT
There is more to OTT than Netflix and iPlayer. New OTT services have the potential to give new players in broadcasting – both brands and content owners – direct access to an audience. What are the starting points for OTT, whether it is via a web browser, an app, or on a smart TV, what is its market share, and is it a threat or challenge for broadcasters?

Production & Acquisition:

Production: Commissioning
Until quite recently, almost all TV programmes were commissioned by network, whether terrestrial, cable or satellite. The centre of gravity is shifting, though. As well as services such as BT Sport, we’re seeing original content being commissioned by OTT services. High-profile examples include Netflix’s The Crown and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and of course, Jeremy Clarkson’s Grand Tour. What other opportunities are there, and how have moves such as BBC3’s transition to all OTT affected commissioning?

Cinematography and lighting: Shooting in 360
Shooting 360 degree content is an even greater technical challenge than shooting in 4K, or even in 3D. Early 360-degree systems were often almost home-rigged systems based on GoPros, or highly specialist custom made tools.
Now, with consumer-focused 360 degree cameras – some promising broadcast-quality footage – how should professionals approach this new medium?

Post & Workflow:

Post: HDR
How will the advent of HDR recording and broadcasting affect postproduction? Editors and colourists will need to understand, and know how to make the most of, several different versions of HDR- which standard is likely to win out? They’ll also need to know how to mix HDR and standard footage to best effect, and how both transmission, and the viewer’s display, will affect the viewer’s experience.

IT and data: Cloud
The cloud has revolutionised much of IT. But broadcasting and visual media, with their reliance on very large files, has yet to see the full benefit. Although some areas, such as collaboration and workflow management, lend themselves to cloud computing, and services such as Vimeo and YouTube are ‘in the cloud’, other areas, such as video editing and archiving are not. Could that change?

AV, Integration & Live

AV: Systems integration
Is audio-visual integration now IT integration? AV systems, regardless of size, rely more and more on standard IT architectures, whether that is Cat6 cabling, IP transmission, or equipment based around PC hardware. With the advent of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, we could see even greater convergence, as AV hardware becomes ‘smart’, and configuration is via NFC and smartphones or tablets. How, though, do AV managers select the best technologies, and work more closely with IT?

Live production: The rise of immersive tech and experiences and what do they mean for audiences
The goal of a theatrical production has always been to make the audience feel ‘just like being there’. With the latest generation of immersive technologies, that is closer than ever to the truth. Improvements in sound and lighting, 4K and HDR displays are all making experiences more realistic. But what is the role of VR and AR, and 360-degree video, in a live production environment? Will viewers take to goggles-based VR at a live event, or are immersive room environments the way forward?


Standards in audio production
Audio is one of the more stable parts of the production landscape. But even audio is undergoing change. Consumers are becoming more aware of audio quality, and are starting to seek something better than MP3 or AAC for audio on demand. Loudness remains a debating point among broadcasters and audio professionals, and new audio formats – such as binaural recordings or 360-degree audio – present both new opportunities and challenges. We look at the key trends.

Trends in wireless audio
Audio pros might have felt the audio world had stabilised with the UK’s move to Ch38 for wireless mics and IEMs. But discussions continue about the best use of scarce radio spectrum, and the rules could change again. This, and a wish for universal systems that work around the world, is prompting more manufacturers to move to systems working in unlicensed spectrum, such as 2.4Ghz. What are the pros and cons?

Creativity & Immersive Tech:

Branded content: Brand loyalty through audience engagement
Branded content is coming of age. Until recently, branded material was dismissed as advertorial or worse. But with changes in the media landscape, and new ways to produce content and delivering it online, brands are playing a growing role in commissioning and distributing content. Production values are improving rapidly, but how do brands, and directors working for brands, ensure that the content really does engage?

Immersive tech: VR

Virtual reality is about more than gaming, or gadgets for smartphones. Already, broadcasters are using VR technology to give a different view of a subject, such as in the BBC’s recent Italy’s Invisible Cities series. But can broadcasters provide viewers with direct access to a VR experience, directly or via OTT services, or will the technology remain the preserve of the computer and the smartphone?