NAB 2013: Ryan Salazar Wraps Up His Favorites
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So, here it is -- we come to the finish of another smashing NAB year! The 2013 NAB Show was an overwhelming success and fun was had by all! I kept busy with NAB SHOW LIVE! With several videos, I saw some old friends, made some new friends, and had one of the best times of any NAB Show I've attended!
I'm always on the lookout for cool stuff that will appeal to everyone, but I'm also looking for things that I can use every day as the Director of Engineering & Post Production Technology at studioZ Productions in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Of course, as with every Show, I'm asked about what stood out to me -- what was the Show's biggest kept secret that nobody paid attention to... well, this year it was the interactive television technology. What, you ask? But what about the 4k-8k chatter? What about that? Everybody's heard enough about that... frankly, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" 4k hasn't even made it to enough theaters to create a buzz about it... and 8k is still quite a few years off. I want to put my money on the interactive television. OTT, as it's called -- "over the top" (indicating the set-top boxes).
Although iTV was tried years ago (anyone remember "Qube" by Warner Communications -- they tried it in Columbus, Ohio), people think of it as a polling device, where they click an A, B or C button to signal their like, dislike or choices (for answers on game shows or selection of different products to buy on home shopping networks) rather than the "new wave" of interactivity, as it's now available, thanks to all the portable handheld devices that are out there that can receive streaming programs virtually anywhere.
"If you think about the web in general, it's a very interactive medium, where you can navigate, find what's interesting to you, personally, so people bring that expectation to the web when they're consuming media on these connected devices," says Erika Trautman, Co-founder and CEO of FlixMaster. "What we do is make it easy for content creators to build experiences where viewers can navigate through the videos, select what's relevant to them and interact in all kinds of ways -- the ways you interact with everything else online: click to find more information, click to change how the video [functions], where the video goes, click to share it socially, and then we allow this two-way communication between the video and the websites, so the video then becomes really integrated into the overall web experience."
Erika explained further: "A really cool thing about when you bring interactivity to video, you unlock this whole other analytical layer way beyond u-count and dropoff rate -- you can actually show how engaged people are -- if they're clicking multiple times, how they're navigating through videos -- and if there's some end-goal that you're seeking -- whether it's a "subscribe to our newsletter" or "buy something from our site," you can track how the video actually leads to that end-call to action."
Despite the outward appearance of being "consumer-driven," the ultimate purpose for iTV is advertiser-centric. Today's technology provides the ability to actually track objects within the video, so that any part of the video can become a "clickable hotspot" or a button, allowing the individual objects to become "recognized" so that you can click on them to buy them.
"So, if somebody likes my tie, they could click on my tie, and buy it," offers Steve. "The tie manufacturer could sponsor the spot," says Erika. And that's how you start monetizing iTV.
Education, training and customer support can benefit from this technology, providing decision trees that can track movement and determine problem areas or spots where the decision-ladder is most effective.
EDITING IN THE CLOUD
Snappy TV is going for something similar -- a live-Cloud editing platform. The idea is simple -- essentially, you would see something on video, clip the scene, then be able to tweet a link to that clip in seconds.
"This will really kick-start the video-viral process," says Mike Folgner, Co-founder and CEO of Snappy TV. "You get more shares, more views, if you Tweet within the first minute, versus if you Tweet an hour later." This is similar to my "Live-Blogging," which everyone experienced at the 2012 NAB Show; I saw something, then immediately blogged about it with pictures and video clips on my website, www.ryansalazar.net. Snappy TV lets you Tweet slices edited "on the sly" -- you become your own post-production studio in real-time.
Being in charge of technical operations for more than 37 audio, video and new media staff at a studio that BANGS out more than 1,800 television and 800 radio spots monthly -- Asset Management has always been one of my priorities, and it was nice to see such a concentration of concern over it at the Show this year!
Tektronix was there, showing off their New Sync Pulse Generator -- the SPG8000® -- a new class of SPG! Their Master Sync / Master Clock Reference Generator sets a new standard in reference generators, as it provides critical timing and synchronization signals for not only modern broadcast, production, but mobile trucks and OB vans, and post-production facilities via advanced sync signals, test signals, and ANC data generation capabilities.
The legendary Grass Valley -- always a show-pleaser -- didn't disappoint again this year by showing-off its GV STRATUS®, bringing to the next level of efficiency automated, rules-based file operations and, when combined with the new EDIUS® XS nonlinear low-resolution proxy editor, the result is improved workflows, greater collaboration, enriched content, and exceptional content management. I'm HUGE on file-based workflows, automation and asset management. STRATUS takes you there! Grass Valley continues to impress me with super-smooth operation and seamless integration between different functions in this platform. IT TURNS ME ON! :-)
Sony was one of the boldest exhibitors, displaying the Media Backbone Enterprise Management System -- a synergistic workflow system that can even help improve monetization of assets and upgrade management visibility into the a streamlined operation. Instead of replacing your current transcoders, color correction and editing systems, Sony's approach orchestrates the systems you already have...WOW! -- getting them to work together in harmony -- providing a powerful Content Management System with role-based access and audit trails that give the right people fast access to the right assets.
"We're no longer defined by hardware or software, codecs or resolution," said Chris Grey, General Manager, Broadcast & Content Creation Solutions, Professional Solutions Company (PSAP), Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited. "We're also moving beyond broadcast to many other markets that require the highest-quality video, like education, corporate, and houses of worship. And we've moved beyond the actual hardware to deliver full-scale solutions for content production, enterprise workflow and media asset management." How can you manage, access and track all that valuable content? The answer: Sony's Media Backbone Enterprise Management System.
And then there's ToolsOnAir, featuring the just: Broadcast Suite, a highly-acclaimed software package designed to create a complete TV production facility in a Mac. just: is designed by broadcast professionals, for broadcast professionals. This is on my short-list of cool NAB Show sights -- it was far more impressive in person than just reading about it! I'll try my best to tell you just how awesome it is, but even I might not be able to pull that off!
Not only is it an integrated suite of Quicktime-based applications created specifically to meet the fast-paced, data-intensive demands of a live TV broadcast facility -- it's the WHOLE PACKAGE, folks! All the software tools a television studio needs running on a Mac! just: provides seamless integration of video, audio and multi-format graphics, along with powerful timeline-based automation, asset management and full compatibility with Final Cut Studio and Adobe(R) Premiere(R) Pro CS6. I'm sure I didn't give it the heralding it deserves... For more information about this wonderful product, go to their website at: www.toolsonair.com.