Top 10 Techie Tips from ICB, Amsterdam

Last month our team left the office behind and set off on their techie adventures in Amsterdam. IBC (International Broadcasting Convention), 15 exhibition halls of the latest technology from acquisition through to delivery.

Covering the ground for Icon were Post Production Supervisor Tom Cooper, Production Manager Sarah Walker and PTA’S Jalahni Clarence and Ben Jenkins. They’ve given us their Top Ten Techie Tips from the convention:

1.UHD – Ultra High Definition
In the Future Zone TV manufacturers were showing off the latest 8K and HDR displays. The broadcasters and TV manufacturers are pushing for more UHD content and the talk of the rest of the industry is working out how to deliver it. Icon is leading the charge by already delivering River Monsters in 4K!

2.HDR – High Dynamic Range
Atomos had a huge stand and were showing off their new HDR monitors that allow a director and cameraman to film with the correct exposure and preview their shots in HDR in the field.

3.HFR – High Frame Rate
Camera manufacturers are providing higher frame rates as the new UHD standards push towards delivery at 60 and 120 frames per second. Oscar-winning director Ang Lee gave a keynote speech about shooting his latest film in 4K, 3D and at 120fps. He urged filmmakers to push on with higher resolution in both the picture and the frame rate to bring a new era of film making.

4.VR – Virtual Reality –
Atomos believes live VR is the Emperor’s new clothes but the rest of IBC disagreed heavily. The technology is advancing rapidly with new 360 cameras, rigs and drones from Nokia and GoPro but the delivery resolution is still lacking which can reduce the immersion. There were amazing demos with the Nokia OVO camera using 360 sound to deliver a scary film set in an abandoned asylum.

5 - Camera Remote Control
The camera manufacturers were showcasing devices that allowed for control of iris, focus and zoom from a remote location or a different position on the camera. Cinegear’s remote air control allows you to control these settings from an iPhone whilst ARRI had specifically designed controllers that work with a shoulder rig to allow control through a conveniently positioned thumb-wheel.


6 - Video over IP
One of the changes talked about by the big post-houses and broadcasters is the future of video networking, with signals carried by IP (Internet Protocol) through Ethernet cables as opposed to traditional SDI. While this is unlikely to affect production companies directly it illustrates a trend of the industry to move towards generalised delivery methods via the internet as opposed to dedicated (and expensive) video networks.

7 - Premiere Team Projects 
Adobe announced a new feature coming later this year which involves full project sharing via the cloud. Called Team Projects, it allows collaborators using After Effects, Photoshop and Premiere user to work within a single project to share assets, selects and cuts. It also provides a time-machine style rollback feature to view the project as it was at any time since it was created.


8 - Black Magic
Black Magic Design were showcasing their latest acquisitions to broaden their scope of products across the production workflow. On the camera side this includes their new URSA mini 4K film camera with a massively improved user interface along with their Video Assist 4K for high res monitoring and recording for any camera. For post-production they released the new iteration of their editing and grading software, Da Vinci Resolve 12.5 and budget priced video scopes and standards converters.

9 -DPP Delivery
As part of the move to tapeless delivery of television programmes there has been a strict code put in place by the UK based Digital Production Partnership to standardise delivery. This has been accepted by the major UK channels and they are now attempting to get the rest of the world on board. Due to this there have been updates to Automated Quality Control software from Tektronics, Vidchecker and Baton to allow the testing and correction of masters. On the audio side new plugins from NUGEN and Izotope ensure audio mixes adhere to the latest loudness regulations.

10 - Intelligent Content Delivery
On the broadcast side of things a lot of the talk was about focused and intelligent content delivery. Perspective Media had their latest technology on display which used metadata and algorithms to adjust the delivery of a programme to match the habits of the viewers. This could range from changing the length of a show or changing the editorial focus to match viewer preference, including more action or back story for example. The technology is young but it illustrates the viewer focused future of television.

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