Jonathan Try, the vice-president of technology at Amsterdam’s Digital Media Centre, recalls the standards debates, workflow discussions and rain interruptions that epitomized IBC 2010.
As I write this the last day of IBC’s exhibition is just beginning in a rather soggy Amsterdam. The conference has drawn to a close. Every indication is that this has been attended by more people than last year but I have to say it’s very difficult to tell.
Moving through the halls over the last days they’ve been crowded but apparently no more than last year only there are more halls, more floors space and it follows there have been more people.
There’s been some debate on standards this year, which is not surprising. When we moved to HD production it seemed like we could adopt similar standards across the world but not quite. Do the developments in broadcasting simply move too fast for the standards bodies to steer everyone in the same direction and are they just playing catch-up?
I’ve been very pleased to hear a lot of people and especially equipment manufacturers and suppliers discussing the overall costs of channel creation and distribution. More than ever the focus on reducing costs has to be taken seriously by all parts of the industry. Award winning technology is not enough to sell products and services unless it also helps to reduce costs without compromising quality.
A good example is the move to PC based systems where the hardware is much cheaper, but then if you need to increase the number of systems to just get the same service level, the advantage in cost terms needs to be great. And let’s not forget we’re also trying as an industry to ‘go green’ so doubling up on the equipment may be counter-productive.
One theme I’ve noticed in a lot of discussions is ‘workflow’. Up until now it’s been up to the broadcaster to determine the workflow and put together the building blocks to create the overall chain. Increasingly suppliers are working together to control each other’s systems and offer a workflow package, although the extent of the offerings varies greatly. Choosing a solution and being able to simply link it and control within a wider workflow that can reduce operational cost is a definite advantage.
No IBC goes by without announcements of mergers and acquisitions. One that definitely caught me by surprise was the acquisition of Omnibus by Miranda.
Having close working relationships with both companies over the years I might have expected to hear a rumour as the deal got close to being finalized but not a whisper!
Megahertz has also been bought by KIT Digital, a company that is playing an increasing role in this industry and no doubt will play a major part in years to come.
I almost made it to the end of this without mentioning 3D, but although suffering from 3D fatigue, I have to write something. In line with expectations there have been 3D demonstrations everywhere – in fact I think that over the last few days I’ve now seen the whole of Avatar in the wrong order just walking around the halls.
Along with the demos come the rumours about side effects and problems. The more skeptical tell us no one will spend the money on the displays and maybe they’re right.
Disclaimers on the displays say you shouldn’t view while drinking alcohol and other reports are that you cannot perceive the 3D effect after drinking. (This might explain falling over after a drink or two). Will this dampen the enthusiasm for watching football in 3D – who knows?
But then you can always go to the match itself. The 3D effect is not in doubt and the surround sound is great!
As Amsterdam returns to normal tomorrow, there’ll be regret that the show is over but we can start looking forward to doing it all again next year.