Well it was not the warmest February by a long shot but the sun was out even if it was not really doing much and London was doing what it does best. (Polluting, stealing looking rather sorry for itself!) So I met up with my colleague from work and we descended upon Earls Court to this year’s Broadcast Video Expo.
BVE is a broadcast nerds heaven, full of all the latest camera and studio gear, which also means its full of billions of camera operators all thinking they are going to be making this year’s hard hitting doc or crappy scripted reality TV show smartly dubbing the brand of already existing shows, I imagine something like, “The Only Way is Big Sister”. You may say it sounds crap (Which it does) but that has never stopped them before has it, after all, just what is the X-Factor?
I had 2-3 Seminars pencilled in my diary but having a couple of hours before the first one we took a wonder to just make a mental note of all the vendors and the magic on display. Canon had brought a sweet shop as a set (free sweets) which then had a range of camera all setup around the edge so you had something to shoot playing with the camera. They also were showing off the new prototype G1X, which for a compact camera was pretty friggin smart, not quite as there as a PEN or NEX5 but since it did not have lens change options maybe it would be wrong to compare it.
LINK – Image from Canon.com

Watched a quick demo on AVID use in which the guy demoing had no idea why there was no sound until he found the volume control for the PA (Could only laugh at this point)

After walking for about an hour and chatting to people we knew and talking about things that interested us I noticed exactly what was missing, where was the VOD orientated vendors, Transcode, workflow and deliver solutions? Where were the people talking about the next break though in codec choice to support 3D to “no Glasses” 3D supporting devices like tablets and laptops? 3D was also lacking in its presence, it was there but only in small waves nothing major, it was looking like most vendors were and are treating these two aspects of broadcasting as elephants in the room, it’s there but we really don’t want to talk about it yet! This is a shame, Video on demand if treated in the right way now could help rescues the broadcast industry. With ad revenue dropping all the time because of the change in viewer habits and stats showing that this trend is curving steeper towards VOD style viewing then building workflows and deliveries to deliver focused advertising to a more captive audience would suggest growing ad revenue back from its drop in liner broadcast. When you look at SkyGo where they try to get the system to drop a sponsor where the program would have an ad break you are lucky (or unlucky) if it works and plays the other media 8 times out of 10 it just goes back into the main program. This clearly has to be software (and XML I’m sure) related issues where no one fully understands the power of the media and audiences they have here.

Feeling defeated we went to the seminar “Cloud 2.0” this was hosted by Chyron (http://www.chyron.com/) They talked about the wonders this could bring post production or news production from around the globe and how it could be used to unify a company’s multiple outlets so that the brand image was universal and thus strengthened. I asked about security, “The tools you are offering will need to communicate with systems that are normally considered closed networks for security, how can you expect a broadcaster to hook-up their system to the internet? What security would you have in place?” There response was alot of ers and erms but finally they suggested using watch folder or drop boxes to quarantine the media if you like, before then passing it through a firewall into the protected system. This sounded good but I was still not convinced that will sell it to everyone. I also think they missed talking about how a cloud based system could mean managing workflows for delivery with cheaper effect as well, using cloud would me non or minimal equipment needed this would mean a massive reduction in cost from the outlook, it would also mean staff could, if needed, work from home on days like snow days. Operational staff have never been able to do this in the past as remote access to these types of systems has always been majorly crushed when even a hint of it comes to light. But on the whole the future is cloud so get involved.

Next I stopped at root6 where they were doing a presentation on the history and future or Codecs and file formats, not really bedtime reading, but if you are a video nerd and would like the best quality you can get but don’t have the storage space then it was really handy. I would go into massive detail about it but they did it better and from this link you can download their PDF of the presentation.  www.root6.com/blog

Well now for something a little more fun, GlideCam, http://www.glidecam.com/, They had this tiny little steady cam for your smartphone, If you use the video a lot on your phone then might be worth getting one of these.








They are $50US which will probably be £50 once you include all the tax and overpricing!
Before I left I grabbed a quick massage from the “mobile massage team” so went home feeling great. Really enjoyed the day loads of cool gear to be looked at and really enjoyed chatting to vendors (even if I scared them with my questions about VOD)