Where is Production Technology Headed for 2019? Part 1

Many in the media business are quick to offer insight into the direction of new technology. This is the beginning of a series of articles where thought leaders in the post community share some of their ideas on upcoming 2019 technological developments.

As we enter a new year, it's often good to ask fellow industry leaders and experts what they see as key upcoming technological changes. Are there certain new fads we should know about, or new solutions on the horizon?

The Broadcast Bridge invited several thought leaders from a variety of system providers to share their opinions about key topics and even offer some 2019 predictions. This article is the first in a series where we ask industry professionals to share their insight on the direction of new technology for post production.

Just to provide some structure without imposing limitations, they were asked to offer their viewpoints about the transition to IP production technology in the light of all the new SMPTE specifications and how post-production is evolving under the influence of factors such as 3D, VR, AI, HD, WCG, HDR and cloud storage. Here are the participants' responses.

Avid

David Colantuoni, senior director of product management at Avid, contributed, “There’s no doubt that today, customers are trending to deliver video and audio via IP streaming technology. This year we introduced a desktop video I/O called Avid Artist | DNxIV, which supports SMPTE video standards, and we’re working to add support for SMPTE 2110.”

David Colantuoni, senior director of product management at Avid.

David Colantuoni, senior director of product management at Avid.

And how has post-production changed?

“We’re seeing a major evolution in a few areas of production,” he said. “The biggest trend is that the amount of original content being produced has accelerated and amplified in the last 18-24 months. Production companies are being challenged to do more high-end production with one tool and turn around content faster than ever. The envelope is being pushed by the need for high-end codecs, 4K support, HDR support and high-quality turnover of video production for finished content.

“Additionally, trends in high-performance and policy-driven cloud storage are becoming even more important as we see production move to the cloud. Driving the most efficiency is artificial intelligence, whether for logging, transcription for cataloging or retrieving assets, media platforms need to parse all of that data and integrate it into their toolset to increase efficiency and lower production costs.”

When referencing what we should be getting ready for, Colantuoni opined that it’s not all about bits and bytes.

“Ultimately, the editor and the creative team will still be at the core of how this content is produced, edited and delivered to our homes. The technology that sits behind the creatives just makes them more efficient. Get ready for a very bright future ahead for post production.”

Blackmagic Design

Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations, North America, for Blackmagic Design, offered his perspective on the growth of post-production.

“Our craft has changed in many ways over the years,” he began. “Now more than ever, time is of the essence, and collaborative tools have become essential to post production. With the increasing demand to produce content faster, post houses need solutions that allow them to work on a given project at the same time to avoid delays and expedite the post production process. This is why products like DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio offer a powerful database with dedicated tools and interfaces that allow multiple users to get the job done simultaneously.

Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations, North America, Blackmagic Design.

Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations, North America, Blackmagic Design.

For example, you don’t have to wait for the editor to lock picture before color, effects and sound can begin. This collaborative environment extends beyond the four walls of a post studio, as the talent recruited for projects doesn't need to be in the same building or even on the same continent.”

On the “where are we going?” question.

“The demand for content across platforms will only continue to increase,” Caniglia said.“What we’ve been building up to, and what the customer need necessitates, all comes down to seamless access to professional tools across disciplines and the most efficient workflows possible. This will allow post houses around the world to work together on projects in larger capacities than we’ve seen before, creating a truly global post production marketplace where the combined talent from around the world is easier to access and partner with than ever before.

“Faster and more accessible tools mean that the democratization of content creation will be accelerated. With that, we can expect to see smaller scale creators, such as YouTubers, generating content that rivals the likes of Hollywood. The demand for content is not going away and it will likely increase as the tools and technology keep getting better and better. Ultimately, this accessibility to both global talent and streamlined tools is what will shape the industry in the years to come.”

Vizrt

Vizrt’s CTO, Petter Ole Jakobsen, referenced the influence of the new SMPTE specifications.

Petter Ole Jakobsen, CTO Vizrt.

Petter Ole Jakobsen, CTO Vizrt.

“We’ve been preparing our products for many years to enable media companies the ability to take advantage of the various IP protocols today,” he said. “SMPTE 2110 is a great base protocol for both infrastructure and content gathering and distribution. There is also NewTek’s NDI (Network Device Interface) which can work nicely together with SMPTE 2110 to give added flexibility. The use of multiple protocols will become quite common as the technology matures, allowing us to use the right protocol for the right situation. 2019 will see an even greater acceleration of the adoption of this technology. It’s going to be quite and exciting year!”

So what is coming down the pike?

“One of the biggest evolutional changes we are seeing is the use of more screens and higher resolution in the studio,” Jakobsen said. “This calls for new ideas in workflows to manage these screens. AR has taken off in a big way as a major tool for telling complex stories in an entertaining and engaging way. Just look at the US election where more or less every major broadcaster was using AR. We also have to be looking towards using many more graphics on the digital platforms to create great looking content for these platforms both in terms of branding and to enhance storytelling also on these platforms. Media companies have a real chance to enjoy a first mover effect here.”

And how about looking to Infinity and Beyond?

“In the years to come we are going to be seeing more graphics at higher resolutions, and with greater complexity,” Jakobsen predicted. ”This will be happening not just on-air, but spreading to all media platforms, often with the same stories using different graphics depending on the final platform.

“Mobile devices are going to become more and more the primary platform for people to consume media, so much more will be happening there. This means that a lot of the content we are creating, specifically for TV, will need to be adapted for those platforms, and often created for those devices first. The graphics will not be burned into the video but will use local rendering on the devices and in browsers so that the end user gets the best possible experience while viewing the branded content.”

You might also like...

DOPs & Post Production: Is This Our New Livelihood?

Before pandemics and the downsizing at traditional, broadcast news operations, many news and non-fiction DOPs were already assuming a significant role in post-production. Whereas frame rates, f-stops, and the character of our lenses, once formed the backbone of our expertise…

The Sponsors Perspective: How HDR Has Blurred Lines Between TV And Cinema

Twenty years ago, there was a clear divide between how you shot and finished a project for Cinema compared to the typical workflows used in broadcast TV. With the advent of streaming services that provide 4K/UHD to a broad…

The Shows Go On

The current social and medical situation with lockdowns and distancing is unleashing new ideas at local TV stations. Some will become the new normal.

Core Insights - Advances In 12G-SDI

Viewing audiences are continually driving broadcasters to deliver improved video formats to further enhance the immersive experience. It didn’t seem so long ago that HD was lauded as the best format ever. Not only did we end up quadrupling t…

Essential Guide: HDR For Cinematography

High dynamic range and wide color gamut combined with 4K resolution and progressive frame rates have catapulted broadcast television to new levels of immersive experience for the viewer. As HDR and WCG are relatively new to television, we need to…