Michael Accardi, President, CueScript
Matt Kellogg, Global Sales Executive, StreamGuys
Charlie Dunn, General Manager, Tektronix
Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV
Gordon Daily, CEO & Co-founder, BoxCast
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: The IBC trade show starts a week from today so tonight on The Buzz, we’re looking ahead to some of the announcements that will be made at the show. We start with teleprompters. Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript. Tonight he gives us advice on how to pick the right prompter, how to improve your prompter reading skills, and what they are talking about at IBC.
Larry Jordan: Matthew Kellogg is the global sales executive for StreamGuys. This 17 year old content distribution network helps people from broadcasters to podcasters bring their content to an audience. Tonight he talks about the differences between live and on demand streaming where StreamGuys fits in the production process, and what they are announcing at IBC.
Larry Jordan: Charlie Dunn is the general manager for video products at Tektronix. Tektronix measurement gear was indispensable when all media was analog. Tonight we want to learn where Tektronix fits in the expanding all digital media world, as well as discover what they will present at IBC next week.
Larry Jordan: Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development for IPV. This is the company that makes Curator, a media asset management system that works both locally and in the cloud. Tonight he shares news of a new product and a new partnership that enhances the power and flexibility of Curator.
Larry Jordan: Gordon Daily is the CEO and founder of BoxCast. Webcasting is exploding in popularity far beyond the traditional roles of broadcast stations. Tonight we learn how BoxCast can connect anyone to an audience as well as their latest news for IBC.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts – production – filmmakers – post production – and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.
Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. It is impossible to overstate the importance of IBC to our industry. Held every September, and located in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, IBC is a major conference, trade show and product announcement venue. Similar to NAB in Las Vegas in the spring, these two shows serve as a metronome, determining new product timing as well as a way for each of us to take stock of our industry and figure out where we’re heading in the near future.
Larry Jordan: Tonight’s show is the first of three that we’re dedicating to news and announcements from IBC. In all three shows, we’re looking to see what’s new, and how it will impact us. But IBC isn’t the only big news next week. You would need to be living under a rock not to know that Apple is announcing new iphones next Tuesday which means that shortly thereafter we’ll also have new operating systems for iphones and Macs and the rest of Apple’s gear.
Larry Jordan: While new iphones are not something we cover directly, the new capabilities of the operating system such as ARKit, the Apple filing system, and the HEV compression codec provide new opportunities for many of us. I’ll be watching Apple’s announcements along with the news coming from IBC, and share my thoughts with you on next week’s show.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue provides quick links to the different segments on the show, plus articles of interest to film makers, and best of all, it’s free and released every Saturday.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: So what have we got in the news this week?
James DeRuvo: Yesterday Sony announced their brand new, top of the line full frame cinema camera called The Venice. Interesting name. It’s a full frame 6K camera that supports initially 4K but you can buy a license for full frame 6K and anamorphic modes. It’s 36 by 24 millimeter sensor package is really cool because it has a swappable chassis which means it’s upgradable.
Larry Jordan: So what do you see as the purpose of this camera?
James DeRuvo: Sony will still be offering the high performance F65. Venice is clearly designed to be the once and future king, and I think it’s all wrapped around that future proof sensor design that will make it a work horse camera for Sony for some time to come.
Larry Jordan: Sony’s got a new camera, what else is new?
James DeRuvo: Panasonic has unlocked 6K in the GH5, kind of. Its September upgrade, coming at the end of this month will unlock 6K recording, plus an anamorphic video mode, and also will add hybrid log gamma to support HDR and 4K.
Larry Jordan: Is this really a 6K camera?
James DeRuvo: That’s why I said kind of, because the new resolution is actually 4992 by 3744, so it’s not strictly 6K.
Larry Jordan: It’s like 5K.
James DeRuvo: Yes, I know, but we always knew that the GH5 had more under the hood Larry, so who knows how far that sensor can go down the road?
Larry Jordan: Alright, so Sony and Panasonic have both got new toys. What’s the third story this week?
James DeRuvo: FilmConvert has launched their fifth annual Color Up competition, where you’ll be able to submit a short film in one of six categories, including creative, documentary, music video, wedding, commercial and something called non-vocal. Prizes include packages from Filmstro, Blackmagic DaVinci, Rode, Rhino and many others.
Larry Jordan: So what’s FilmConvert’s intent for the contest?
James DeRuvo: The Color Up contest is basically you make a short film and then you color grade it using FilmConvert. Although this is strictly speaking more of a color grading contest, the competition is really open to any filmmaker who’s looking to hone those skills.
Larry Jordan: So what other stories are you covering this week?
James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following this week include DaVinci Resolve 14 is shipped. The Canon C200 will get a firmware update next year, but honestly, we’re not really sure it’s going to be worth the wait. And DJI upgrades their Mavic and Phantom drones.
Larry Jordan: Where can we go on the web to learn more about these, and other stories?
James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Why am I not surprised you recommended that website? James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and James, as always, thanks for joining us this week.
James DeRuvo: Talk to you soon, have a good weekend Larry.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript and he has more than 27 years in the broadcast industry working at top tier companies such as Sachtler, Anton/Bauer, Autoscript and Vitec Videocom. Hello Michael, welcome back.
Michael Accardi: Thank you hello.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe CueScript?
Michael Accardi: CueScript is a state of the art prompting company. We basically have a team of all prompting experts and we’ve been able to put together from scratch a very clean solution. One of the reasons I can say clean is, we don’t have any legacy products to work with, so when we started to design our on camera units as an example, we really could do things that were just revolutionary. No tools necessary, no loose pieces. When we started designing our software, we really went for a full IP solution from beginning to end, but we also recognized how people are using things. That’s the beauty of our team. We have so many years experience out there with customers, and I stress the point that we spend a lot of time with customers.
Michael Accardi: So we’ll talk about our IP, it’s very exciting, everyone’s talking about IP. But we also can plug our controllers in via Cam Bus or USB or whatever we need. We make sure that we have a system that works for our customers.
Larry Jordan: First, the cynic in me says “Every company I’ve ever met says they talk to their customers.” Why is your conversation more useful?
Michael Accardi: I don’t find people do as much talking as they used to.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Michael Accardi: We kid around about the fact that we’re the new company that likes to do things the old fashioned way. We spend more time in front of our customers than probably anywhere else, and that’s really what’s helped us. When we did our first development meetings, we had customers there in the development meetings. This is why we build things without tools, without loose pieces. Typically most prompting companies think, “No, prompters get set up once, they stay in the studio and so it doesn’t matter if you need a tool, and doesn’t matter if there’s a loose bit. It gets set up once every ten years.” That used to be true, but with the world changing with the demand for news being so high, prompters are everywhere. We did more prompting during the elections in the States, during the Brexit stuff with the UK, prompters were going in field everywhere, and not just small prompters, full studio set ups. So being close to the customer, we have a little bit of a different idea in many cases.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like you’re saying prompters are moving outside of broadcast. Are you seeing more prompter use in a non-broadcast environment?
Michael Accardi: Absolutely. As a matter of fact one of our newer products is a prompter designed for PTZ units, those pan tilt zoon, all in one cameras. You would never expect that to have a prompter on it, but you can’t believe the amount of schools and industry and flash cam applications where those cameras are being put. And the last thing is, “I never thought I had to put a prompter on it,” so this product has, again, taken us a little bit out of the broadcast only world, and given us a really good market to work with.
Larry Jordan: This I think brings me to a key question which is, I know that when I’m on camera, if I can’t get my script memorized, which I can’t, having a prompter is vital. But there’s 800 million prompter companies out there. What questions should we ask to be able to pick the prompter that’s best for our situation?
Michael Accardi: To that extent, my favorite question I get all the time is, “I have a small camera, I need a small prompter.” My point is, “Because you’ve got a small camera doesn’t mean your talent’s eyes got any better.” So, how old are the presenters? How good are their eyes? Are they willing to wear glasses? How long are the pieces? What’s the distance? What’s the lighting environment? Then you can really choose the prompter to fit the application.
Michael Accardi: We have the opportunity and for a while we were working with ipad prompters, and it’s a very big market. But we’re finding we weren’t having satisfied customers and actually decided to leave that section of the market because it doesn’t give the kind of visual confidence that most of our customers are demanding.
Larry Jordan: When you say an ipad prompter, that’s not that they were using the ipad camera as the recording device, they were using the ipad to display the script?
Michael Accardi: Right. They’ll use an ipad to display the script or some android device. They’re so small, they’re very comfortable to work with, but they’re very small, key factor, they’re not very bright, key factor and they’re highly reflective, key factor. Which means that anything over a few minute piece is really difficult for the talent.
Larry Jordan: If I have a small camera, whether it’s a mobile device or one of these small hand helds, if I put a big prompter in front of it, aren’t I haven’t real problems with the talent eye scan going back? They’re way outside the camera, then they’re looking at the camera, then they’re way outside again, simply because the lens is so small and the prompter is so big?
Michael Accardi: More important than the size of the lens is really the type of screen you’re using. One of the weird things we take a look at is everything is wide screen right now, but when you look at the prompters, especially the better prompters, you’ll never find anything but a four by three screen. Four by three keeps your eyes from going too far right or left. If you have a 16 by nine screen, your eyes will go too far right and left. So the four by three screen is what’s preventing that eye travel that you’re speaking of.
Larry Jordan: What advice do you give to somebody that’s on camera that wants to sound more fluid when reading from a prompter?
Michael Accardi: It’s really a question of not reading to the script. The script is supposed to follow you. And that’s where the prompter operator, and the talent, have to have a synergy together. So they have to actually speak like normal, and not follow the prompter. The prompter should follow them, and that’s where the prompter operator and the talent together become a team.
Larry Jordan: In other words, the person speaking needs to be slightly ahead of the prompter so that the prompter’s always sort of catching up?
Michael Accardi: Well when the person is reading, they should feel comfortable hesitating. They should feel comfortable pausing. A lot of times, they think the letters are moving, therefore I have to keep moving. No, they should pause when they want to, and as they do that, the operator will pause the prompter. The talent should inflict the speed, and resting points, not the other way around.
Larry Jordan: For podcasters which is an increasingly growing market, how would you specify a minimum system for prompting? Because clearly they don’t need a full blown studio system with all the bells and whistles, but what should they get?
Michael Accardi: Your basic system is going to be a very straightforward prompting system which is going to allow direct viewing. We’re a big believer in direct viewing, so that you’re looking directly into the lens, you’re not looking below, or above the lens. Then a basic software like our WinPlus Premier software, allows for all the editing, the scrolling, the smoothness, the prompter will have the direct view to the lens. That’s a basic system to us.
Larry Jordan: The entry level price for that is about what?
Michael Accardi: Full system would be about 5,000 list.
Larry Jordan: Alright. What are you showing at IBC this year? Is there prompter technology we should pay attention to?
Michael Accardi: We’re showing an end to end IP solution. We’ve always been an IP with our software, where you can put our video boxes in the server room, you can have your computers anywhere. Foot controls, hand controls, all IP.
Larry Jordan: You’re using IP not to mean intellectual property, but to mean connected via Ethernet?
Michael Accardi: Correct. All Ethernet connectivity. So we’ve always had that capability. What we’ve added is the ability to actually send the information to the prompter, out on the camera, over the Ethernet as well. So I don’t have to have a single piece of co-ax cable if I choose not to.
Larry Jordan: Does that mean we can switch these devices from one unit to another, because we’re using an Ethernet protocol?
Michael Accardi: Correct.
Larry Jordan: That makes it a whole lot more flexible if you have multiple studios or multiple prompters, you can then feed the right signal to the right prompter without having to rewire a whole patch panel.
Michael Accardi: Correct. You can actually do it multiple different ways. You can have our traditional cube which actually generates a composite or HDSDI signal. You can have those in the server room and just call them up as you need them and have the signal then routed through your video router. Or you can even take that box out of the equation and go straight IP directly into the prompters, and route that through your Ethernet. So you have multiple ways to do it.
Larry Jordan: That is very cool. You’ve been doing prompters for a long time. What do you see are the challenges or has it just become a job and it’s not interesting anymore?
Michael Accardi: Well I have been doing prompters, but I’ve been more than anything else in the broadcast equipment industry and I just think it’s a great industry. It keeps changing and my feeling is that if things don’t change, they die, so I’m fine with the changes, but it keeps being fun. I think it’s a great group of people, a great industry, always keeps you on your toes, so I just love it.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more about your prompters, where can they go on the web?
Michael Accardi: www.cuescript.tv.
Larry Jordan: That’s cuescript.tv, not .com, but cuescript.tv, and Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript. Michael, thanks for joining us today.
Michael Accardi: Thank you, my pleasure.
Larry Jordan: While Matthew Kellogg is currently the global sales executive for StreamGuys, his career began on air in radio. He started at KOZZ in Reno, Nevada, ended at KCBS in San Francisco, and now at StreamGuys, Matt helps the top broadcasters in the industry find solutions to their streaming headaches. Hello Matt, welcome.
Matthew Kellogg: Thank you very much, and hello.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe what StreamGuys does?
Matthew Kellogg: That’s a complicated question. We’ve been in business for 17 years, and we’re one of the first content delivery networks, a CDN, on the block and today we remain one of the best, wholly and independently owned CDNs with a streaming backbone at its core. That’s one of our differentiators.
Larry Jordan: Let’s just define a couple of terms. What’s a CDN, and would you be a competitor to say LiveView or StreamCast?
Matthew Kellogg: CDN content delivery network, we are the infrastructure and back end to the streaming. CDNs typically have multiple instances round the country, and or world, where they can deliver their content, and we do that. So we have data centers where we have servers in Chicago, two in Chicago, Virginia, Amsterdam, home of IBC where we’ll be going, Tokyo and New Zealand. As far as our competitors, because we are a CDN, we can do audio and video so really anybody from Akamai to Triton and in between, would be considered a competitor, but we all agree that there’s plenty of business out there for all of us.
Larry Jordan: 17 years. Why did the company get started?
Matthew Kellogg: Our president and founder, Kiriki Delaney I believe had one of the first internet radio stations ever. Rastamusic.com is the website you can go to and check it out. He started it in 1997, and it was pretty quick that Kiriki realized that the service he wasn’t getting wasn’t very good, and the prices he was paying was expensive. He realized that with his technology know how an how to put together internet radio streams already, he could provide a better service and more affordable pricing. That’s really been the mainstay of our 17 years. We pride ourselves on being affordable, reliable and scalable.
Larry Jordan: Help me understand how you fit in the streaming picture. I do a weekly audio podcast that gets streamed to the web. You aren’t involved in the production, where do you take my podcast, where do you get involved?
Matthew Kellogg: That’s a great question. For podcasts and on demand delivery, we provide the hosting, and delivery. What happens at certain times when podcasts grow in popularity, the subscriber list grows, and if you hit a certain number, one server can no longer handle that and you will have problems downloading that. So as a CDN, we provide what we call high availability and load balancing, which means we host your content on multiple servers around the world and they are drawn on equally upon download. So we can provide the reliability there and because we do scale on high, large traffic podcasts, we’re also affordable. So that would create just a better user experience overall. Within the on demand and live streaming for that matter, we have the ability to insert dynamic ad insertion or server side ad insertion through our partner AdsWizz which we work with very closely, so now you have the ability to not only monetize your on demand content, but geotarget your messaging dependent on where that content is being downloaded, and or played.
Larry Jordan: Is there a difference in technology needs between someone who’s streaming on demand and someone who’s streaming live all the time?
Matthew Kellogg: There are some similarities and some differences. For broadcasters, one of the differences would be their content is coming from on air. We have solutions such as the SG Recast where we can ingest your live stream, and create that on demand file available for on demand, seamlessly and without any effort on the broadcaster’s part. So, let’s say you have a morning show. We can start that. It could be trigger via time schedule or metadata, and that starts at six am, and at ten am when that morning show is over at 10.01, that is now available online for on demand consumption. So we can certainly help simplify the workflow for the broadcasters.
Larry Jordan: From your perspective everything you do is on demand? You’re not providing live services as much as you’re providing storage hosting and delivery of on demand services, so people can listen to the programs whenever they want, wherever they are?
Matthew Kellogg: We do both honestly. Live streaming is our core functionality, and on demand was born out of live streaming and the technology that came from streaming media. If you look at on demand and the definition, you essentially are streaming, it’s just how that is consumed. So we do both. Large scale on demand hosting, but we also provide live streaming for some of the best and top broadcasters around the world.
Larry Jordan: It seems to me that although you do live, the principle effort is in on demand? Your advertising is on demand, and you describe the service mostly as on demand. Is on demand where the market is?
Matthew Kellogg: I think on demand right now is where the interest is. Not necessarily the market. For broadcasters in particular, they’re still trying to figure it out. As well as advertisers, they understand that podcasts are huge, but it’s still like a moving target, and for us we just want to be able to ensure that people are getting the audio that they want without any hesitation and to be able to create compelling content at the end of the day is the key differentiator. So if you have compelling content on air, it’s going to be compelling online. And on demand.
Larry Jordan: What are you talking about at IBC this year?
Matthew Kellogg: At IBC we are definitely more talking about our software as a solution, tool sets for the live and on demand, which we like to call the SG Recast. The SG Recast is a Pandora’s Box literally of functionality for the broadcaster. We are going to be unveiling some new features with our SG Recast. The new features we’re going to be unveiling are ad insertion, tagging, which allows you to visually tag the location of your on demand file. Mid roll, pre roll, and post roll ads. We’re also going to be talking about the integration that we have with our AdsWizz partner for maximizing the monetization that I alluded to earlier. As well as keeping your old podcast evergreen with the dynamic ad insertion. So being able to go back ten years or however long your on demand content’s been in that cloud or being shelved, we can go back and recreate new pre and post roll advertising. Again, this is a part of a larger unit of the SG Recast where you have the ability to ingest a live stream and turn that into on demand, which is a very important feature for radio stations where the bulk of their content is coming from over the air. So we’re able to help automate that workflow, simplify the workflow and monetize the on demand content that’s made available.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about what StreamGuys provides, where can they go on the web?
Matthew Kellogg: You can go to streamguys.com.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, streamguys.com, and Matt Kellogg is the global sales executive for StreamGuys, and Matt thanks for joining us today.
Matthew Kellogg: Thank you so much for the time.
Larry Jordan: Charlie Dunn is the general manager for the video product line at Tektronix. His group focuses on analysis and monitoring of content in the rapidly changing world of media and entertainment. Hello Charlie, welcome.
Charlie Dunn: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am doing great, because I get a chance to talk with you. Let’s start by how would you describe Tektronix?
Charlie Dunn: Tektronix is a broad multinational company focused on test and measurement and I manage the part of Tektronix that’s focused on test and measurement for media and entertainment.
Larry Jordan: Tektonix developed its reputation in analog video. I remember using your gear years and years and years and years. But where do you fit in the new world of digital media? There’s no cables to plug into.
Charlie Dunn: There’s several parts that we plug into the workflow. We’ve been a part of television since the analog days and there’s been waves and waves of transitions, and right now we’re experiencing another set of those waves of transition. So as we move to UHD and of course 4K and HDR, we really focused on a product that is a waveform monitor or known to the industry as a scope, and we really help people do that in both live production and post production where you need a lot of fidelity and a lot of understanding of the signals. But we also have a lot of quality measurement tools that are available in the file domain, and those are for automated QC or automated analysis of the files that are generated in a production environment.
Larry Jordan: Measurement is now included in all post software. Why do we even need Tektronix gear?
Charlie Dunn: It provides another layer of fidelity, another set of unique measurements for the customer. Where I think software includes basic waveform and vector, Tektronix goes the additional steps to provide the tools that I would say are needed for the best productions or people looking for the highest quality. So we have a unique set of measurements, one example of which is the Diamond Display which helps you set black levels, helps you adjust out the colors, just in the right way that are very hard to do with those integrated tools.
Larry Jordan: Traditionally Tektronix was priced for and installed by large facilities and networks. Should independent video creators even consider using Tektronix?
Charlie Dunn: Tektronix products will start under $4,000 and we will go up and support the very best productions that there are and those may go up into the high teens, but I think depending on the kind of production, and what people spend on that, I think we’ve got a spot for everyone.
Larry Jordan: That gets me to all the new toys, what are you showcasing at IBC?
Charlie Dunn: At IBC we’re really focusing on the three big transitions that are happening in the industry. One in the live production space is really moving beyond just 4K and moving into the world of HDR. We’re really showing how we’re bringing tool sets to help customers with that both as they’re shooting it, and as they’re posting it up. We’re introducing a new technology which we call a Stop Waveform where we look at the picture more in stops, which is what people are more familiar with, and it helps them tell the difference between something that’s SDR and HDR and helps them manage those higher peaks that they’ll experience in HDR.
Charlie Dunn: In the other domain, more facilities, the technology of SDI is transitioning to packet based IP and we have a whole series of tools that are helping customers transition not all the way in a hybrid mode where we can do SDI and IP, and really helping them become familiar with how these new technologies work.
Larry Jordan: I just realized something you said, I just want to make sure I understand it clearly. One of the things that you really emphasize is being able to provide monitoring and support for live productions. Is that really the focus of the company, of your group?
Charlie Dunn: I would say as television has evolved, more and more what really is television is what’s created in live production. So more and more our customers want to do those productions in the best way that they can, whether they’re shooting it live and posting it up, or it’s really a live event. It has become a focus for us, but we still support what I would say are more of the offline tools in terms of post or in video on demand applications as well.
Larry Jordan: If we’re working in a file based environment, does Tektronix have a solution for us?
Charlie Dunn: We have a tool that we call Aurora, and that Aurora tool will work in a file based domain. So if you have a file and you want to be sure that the audio’s in correct, and that your video quality is accurate and that the syntax of the file’s going to play in a Netflix or an Apple environment, our tool will do that in an automated fashion and generate a really useful report for someone who’s producing that material to know what was wrong or have confidence that it passed.
Larry Jordan: Charlie, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
Charlie Dunn: They can go to www.tek.com.
Larry Jordan: The general manager for the video product line at Tektronix is Charlie Dunn, and Charlie thanks for joining us today. I enjoyed the conversation.
Charlie Dunn: Thank you for the time Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Keeping track of our assets is important to any project, but media asset management software is often misunderstood or not even used. Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development and marketing for IPV. IPV makes Curator which is an all in one media management system and they’ve got some cool news coming up at IBC. Hello Nigel, welcome.
Nigel Booth: Yeah hi Larry, good to speak to you again.
Larry Jordan: It’s always my pleasure. It’s been about four or five months since last we talked, so let’s bring us up to date. How would you describe Curator?
Nigel Booth: I’d describe Curator as a scalable MAM solution. You often find with many MAM solutions, they’re available and they’ll fit your current requirements, but key to it is to actually provide a system that can scale up, so what Curator does is it allows you start small, and scale up as your business needs require it.
Larry Jordan: What does scale mean to you? What are we scaling?
Nigel Booth: We’re scaling things like the number of users, the number of different workflows that you might have in any organization, so whether you’re working in the creative services department, or whether you’re working as a librarian, an archivist, then you need to scale the solution to meet all of those requirements. They’re very diverse across both sports, creative services, the reality TV space, and of course, broadcast as well.
Larry Jordan: Is this a locally stored function, or is it available on the cloud?
Nigel Booth: That’s a good topical question for IBC. Our solution is available both as an on premise solution, a cloud solution or in terms of what we’re seeing these days, more of a hybrid solution. So you may well have things like the proxies located in the cloud, and you’d have the high resolution storage stored locally. And that’s more of an issue these days as we move towards 4K and 8K and virtual reality type workflows where a lot of the costs in terms of moving to the cloud are based around the ingress and egress costs. So moving the data in and moving the data out. But having just the proxies stored in the cloud allows you to manage that and manage connectivity of multiple users across multiple locations in a very elegant way.
Larry Jordan: I think that’s really smart, because proxies are small, they transfer up quickly and what you need from a media asset management system is simply saying, “Where is this file so I can get my hands on it?” Proxies solve a lot of those problems.
Nigel Booth: Absolutely. You’re right, and we have the concept of media stores. So a media store could be in London, it could be Atlanta, or could be in Hong Kong, but providing a unified single piece of … into the content means that that storage can be stored anywhere in the world, but you see a proxy of it. Importantly, it’s not just about creating a proxy and storing a smaller file there, it’s about how you stream it and how you allow multiple users to interact with the same piece of content at the same time. We’ve employed some advance streaming techniques that allow you to move around that proxy very quickly as if you had the high res locally.
Larry Jordan: What are you announcing at IBC?
Nigel Booth: We’re announcing a number of improvements for the creative services type users. So very much around the integrations with tools like Avid and Premiere, and very much about the management of productions, tasks and sequences. You typically find that it’s not just about importing a single piece of media, it’s about importing a production. And a production may well consist of a number of different files, that could of course be co-located or located anywhere, and you need to manage those into a video production. We’re announcing a number of tasks to help that within both Avid and Premiere workflows, and it truly makes collaborative editing available at a relatively low entry price point as well.
Larry Jordan: Which forces me to ask, what is the entry price point?
Nigel Booth: I knew you were going to say that Larry. It is a difficult one, and it really depends on what you want to do, but I would say that we start offering our solutions at around the $15-20,000 a year if you were looking at a subscription type model. We also have virtual models that are available, but we can truly start to have solutions for small production houses right the way up to the enterprise.
Larry Jordan: Is IPV exhibiting at IBC anywhere else other than its own booth?
Nigel Booth: This year we’re majoring on our demonstrations on the Microsoft booth, where we’re showing true hosted services on the Azure platform as well. But also importantly, we’re integrating with the Microsoft artificial intelligence tools, both for text and object recognition, and it makes for a very exciting and compelling demonstration Larry.
Larry Jordan: How are you using AI?
Nigel Booth: We’re integrated with their services, so we will push a piece of video essentially over to their tools, such that it’s indexed, and that index live automatically comes back into the IPV Curator system. We can then identify things like voice to text and also object recognition as well, and their API is fairly rich, and it allows us to integrate fairly seamlessly. You’ll see content being analyzed and then ingested directly into Curator with both text and object recognition. It’s really cool.
Larry Jordan: For people that need more information and want to keep track of your latest announcements, where can they go on the web?
Nigel Booth: They can go to our website which is www.ipv.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s three letters, ipv.com and Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development and marketing for IPV. Nigel, thanks for joining us today.
Nigel Booth: Thanks very much Larry.
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Larry Jordan: Gordon Daily is the CEO and co-founder of BoxCast, a live video streaming company and at the start of his career, years ago, he received both a bachelors and masters degree in computer engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Hello Gordon, welcome.
Gordon Daily: Hi Larry, delighted to be here.
Larry Jordan: We are delighted, and especially congratulations on your new fatherhood, that you’re awake enough to be able to talk to us.
Gordon Daily: Hopefully it stays that way. I’m glad to be here.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with something simple. How would you describe BoxCast?
Gordon Daily: BoxCast is a technology for live streaming. We’ve built a live stream platform to support live events, scalable to any size for any organization and it’s all the piece parts, it’s the hardware encoders, transcoders, the player, the protocols, all packaged together to create a worry free way to do ultra high level, high quality live streaming.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to start the company?
Gordon Daily: The reason we were really serious about helping folks live stream is we saw all these amazing events and experiences that were happening, but not everyone could be there in person. So technology was in people’s pockets with smartphones that were coming out, but we realized that something needed to be done to make it possible for people to be able to experience those events, but just didn’t know the technology was simple enough. So we decided to build an automated way to do it.
Larry Jordan: Is your product hardware, software or both?
Gordon Daily: In order to make this work for people in an automated way, it has to be a little bit of all those things. We’ve got a set of hardware products that we sell that take the heavy lifting out of configuration and technology, to capture any video signal. Then we’ve got the cloud video distribution infrastructure to deliver that video to any size audience, watching on any kind of device.
Larry Jordan: Earlier in the program, we spoke with the folks at StreamGuys who provide a content distribution network, and many of us are familiar with LiveView. How is BoxCast different from those companies?
Gordon Daily: With BoxCast we have the content delivery network piece of it, but we also have the transcoding piece of it. So traditionally live streaming’s been a piece parts activity, where you’ve maybe got a teradek to capture the video, and then you maybe have a wowza transcoding service to have the video be transcoded and make it work, and you might have a content delivery network. What BoxCast does is makes all of that happen in one consolidated place and this system that we’ve built from the ground up, all these different pieces work so beautifully in concert, that what happens is you get better reliability, it’s more affordable, it’s more cost effective and it’s so much easier to maintain and rely on when it happens. It just makes it a lot simpler.
Larry Jordan: Walk me through the process. Let’s make it easy, let’s do a concert, and I’ve got two or three cameras that are covering a concert, or 20, whatever. How do I get my concert to somebody who wants to watch it at home? Where do you fit into that whole puzzle?
Gordon Daily: When we first start out, what we do is work with the organization, and say “Hey, what do you want your video to be?” Most organizations say “Hey, I’d love the video to be on my website, and at the same time maybe on these different social media platforms.” With BoxCast we set it up so that one copy and paste into the website, it’s configured. Folks go to BoxCast.com to schedule their events and to figure out all the other different streaming definitions they want to syndicate video out onto. And once that event’s scheduled, then they can just plug it into our hardware, or they can send a video via anybody’s equipment, to stream to us. But most simplistically, they just plug the video and the audio from the event into our little box, and everything then just happens automatically. Doesn’t matter the audience size, doesn’t matter if it’s live or archived. It can even do monetization. It’s everything packaged up in one really simple, easy to understand platform.
Larry Jordan: So basically, I’m taking the output of my production switcher and my audio mixer, feeding that into your box, you’re compressing it, feeding it up to essentially a server on the web, and then distributing it from that server to the end user? So you’re taking all that distribution hassle off us, is that correctly stated?
Gordon Daily: That’s correct. So whatever program output they’ve got from their mixer, or we’ve even got, in some more simpler cases, if it’s an event, we can even use our ios app. We’ve got a really nice best in class video streaming app for ios that can make it even easier than that. But most people, especially the bigger production houses we work with, will just take their program output from their truck, their mixer, and then we handle all the hassle from that point on.
Larry Jordan: Do we need to hire additional people to use your gear? Do we hire you as a service provider, or is it really just plug it in and don’t worry about it?
Gordon Daily: We are a self service platform, so we don’t send a crew out. And it’s great for any kind of film crew, or organizations that are ready to do the videography themselves. I know this sounds interesting or maybe unique, but there’s times where fixed cameras do the job. You know, one of the biggest industry earners in sports Larry, and there’s already a camera for the coach up in the press box. So what’s beautiful is you just plug in that camera that’s already there into our box, you plug the announcers in if you want to add those, you can even plug in any scoreboard from any manufacturer, we’ve got connectors for that, and we’ll actually overlay the video with the score in the cloud for you with the data of the sporting event.
Larry Jordan: I’m chuckling because you guys have done a lot of thinking in terms of how to make this simpler.
Gordon Daily: It’s all about automation. We try to do anything we can to make it easy and automated.
Larry Jordan: So how do you price your service, and hardware?
Gordon Daily: It’s really simple. Starting at just $19 a month, that’s our entry level plan. We include unlimited viewing and transcoding with that. Most of the time you got to pay $1000 to have full transcoding for all the different profiles, but we include that with all our plans. Depending on the different types of features that you need, different organizations have different needs, it’s just a monthly subscription service to let that streaming happen. If you want to use our equipment you’d buy one of our box casters. We’ve got one for $500, we’ve got a more sophisticated one coming out this fall, which I’m really excited to share, that’s going to be a little bit more than that for the professionals.
Larry Jordan: How about audience size, because clearly there’s a bandwidth charge for the audience?
Gordon Daily: You know, we’re large enough as an organization now that we’re one of the few companies that don’t charge extra for audience size. We don’t care how big the audience is. What we’ve found is that that usually is something that will handcuff an organization to be a little apprehensive to get started, and in our experience because we do so much, we can offer organizations to stream without an added expense for the viewership.
Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time and before I rush out and buy another BoxCast for this company, what are you showing at IBC and maybe I’ll save my dollars until you ship the new stuff?
Gordon Daily: We’re really excited to be showing off our new BoxCaster Pro. It’s targeted to the more professional audience. It’s looking for professional quality audio inputs. We’re talking balance, XLRs, it’s looking for SDI connectivity. This new BoxCaster’s pretty sophisticated because it enables true 4K streaming, it’s got 4K resolution, 60 frames per second, high dynamic range, HDR and it compresses it with HEVC, which is the next up and coming compression standard. What’s most surprising though is that all this package solution, the box is only $2,000. It’s 1990 on our website, and we’d be happy to meet anybody. We’ll be at IBC and if anybody wants to meet us, we’d love to catch up with them there to talk about it more and show them what we’ve got.
Larry Jordan: Now, HDR is still a movable spec, and HEVC, not everybody can play because mainly it’s not released much to the wild. So is this a box which we should off on getting, or when does it release, and how do we fit it in with the technology that’s available to us today?
Gordon Daily: No need to hold off. We’re taking pre-orders now for it. The reason why it’s ready to go now is because we handle the transcoding for you. So if a viewer device doesn’t have a fast enough internet connection, doesn’t have the better compression, no problem at all. We’ll transcode that down to a format that fits their device so when people go to play it, it just always works. So those have a really fancy HDTV that’s 4K and they got the bandwidth to sustain it, it’ll play right from the BoxCast app on their smart TV. So we’ve got all those things figured out for you, and that’s why we’re leading the charge with this 4K distribution.
Larry Jordan: In other words, you’re transcoding simultaneous in HD stream and a 4K stream and a standard dynamic range, and a high dynamic range? You’re having multiple streams fit out of the box?
Gordon Daily: Oh yes, and a 240 for your old mobile phone. Your cousin has an older mobile phone, we can fit that too. When we work with these organizations we have to make all these different things a non issue. That’s the beauty of the transcoding. That’s why every organization needs to think about having the play or being able to play it no matter what the circumstances are. It doesn’t matter if you’re small or large, all organizations have that need, that’s why we include it with all of our plans.
Larry Jordan: What kind of bandwidth do I need for my machine up to your server? Because it sounds like suddenly I’m going to need a fair amount of bandwidth going up?
Gordon Daily: If you’re going to want to have the video quality look fantastic, the more bandwidth you’ve got the better the picture’s going to be. But that’s part of the automated system. We’ll detect automatically for you what the absolute maximum quality you can get in for the best picture quality you can get. And because we’re transcoding it in the cloud, you only have to send that one single best picture. Traditionally with video streaming, at the source where you send the video, you had to send all the different sizes that you want people to be able to see. But that just takes too much bandwidth, so what we’re trying to do is get the best possible picture you can with your uplink speed.
Larry Jordan: Ah, so I misunderstood what you said. You’re doing all this multiple transcoding but I’m feeding a single stream from my production to your server, and your server is then creating all the different versions that are needed in the cloud?
Gordon Daily: Yes, that’s right. And our box on site does a best in class job of compressing it given the circumstances and dealing with all the network conditions. I mean, the other thing we built into this platform is something we call BoxCast Flow where it’s like a Zixi or an SRT on steroids, where we can deal with intermittent traffic issues. Where maybe not every data package is making it up, we can air correct for it, we can honestly control the flow, we can play some games that helps to encrypt it so that people can’t inspect the package. All these things that you don’t want to have to worry about, we’ve solved with the protocol since we’ve got both ends of the pipe. We make the box to stream it, we make the servers to do their fancy transcoding so it works more reliably for people that want to stream.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more, where can they go on the web?
Gordon Daily: They can find us at boxcast.com, our website.
Larry Jordan: All one word, boxcast.com, and Gordon Daily is the CEO and co-founder of BoxCast. Gordon, thanks so much for joining us.
Gordon Daily: Thanks.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking. Companies have been sending out press releases either pre announcing their IBC news or reminding us that they will be at IBC and we need to visit their booth for the last two to three weeks. August as you can imagine, is a very difficult time to get anyone to think about business, so the rush of press releases picks up significantly after September 1st. As I read these releases, one phrase that I’m not seeing a lot this year is “game changing,” and its cousin, “This changes everything.” And I think this is a pretty good thing because from my email and the people I talk with, we’re all pretty exhausted with having our game changed every six months. Where the gear we bought in February is suddenly out of date. This constant upheaval can work in an industry that’s flush with cash but most of us, both media producers and the companies that supply them, are struggling with lower revenue and a need to stretch our equipment further.
Larry Jordan: All too often we become paralyzed, unwilling to purchase something new for fear that it will be outdated in a month or two, and this hurts all of us. End users because we can’t take advantage of the latest technology, and manufacturers because no-one is buying the technology they have on sale today. Instead, what I’m seeing is an increasing emphasis on extending the gear that we already have. One example that James mentioned at the beginning of our webcast was Panasonic, unlocking features in the already existing GH5. The hardware we bought last year, now does more. I’m seeing Sony also apply the same software upgrade technique to expand the features of their existing cameras rather than force us to repurchase all new gear.
Larry Jordan: I expect this extend through software trend to continue at IBC though there will always be new gear announced, that’s just the nature of the beast. However, by reassuring us that the gear we buy today won’t be obsolete tomorrow, everyone benefits. As an industry we need to keep growing and pushing the envelope of technology, while as media creators budgets may continue shrinking and competition keep increasing, new technology opens up new markets for us to explore and exploit. Provided that technology remains affordable and available. One of the things I expect to see over the next 12 months is a continued balancing between manufacturers needing revenue to continue development, and end users needing stability to make money on the gear they have before investing in the next new thing.
Larry Jordan: But at least right now, it seems the game is not changing right out from under us. Just something I’m thinking about. And as always, let me know your thoughts.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for this week, Michael Accardi, with CueScript, Matthew Kellogg from StreamGuys, Charlie Dunn from Tektronix, Nigel Booth from IPV, Gordon Daily from BoxCast, and James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.
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Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.