NAB 2015 Wrap-Up: What We Learned at This Year’s Show
Tools for Workflow and Organization
NAB 2015 has come and gone without too much hype of a new cutting edge technology or gimmick to gossip about. Perhaps it is an indication that the industry is ready to settle down and get to work using the tools at hand. There are, however, still some general trends that are worth noting.
First, in contrast to the 3D fad that we experienced a few years ago, UHD or 4K for TV production is definitely here to stay. All of the camera manufacturers have already released 4K cameras (or are about to) from high-end studio models to consumer DSLRs. This is backed with support from 4K/UHD displays, non-linear editing applications (Avid, Premier, FCPX) and streaming encoders. 2015 may not be the year that we see an imperative to move to UHD production, but it is definitely time to start planning for it.
Second, production now applies to any outlet your customer wants to view your content on, without comprising quality. Consumers want to see sharp, crisp, 1080p video every place they choose to – at home, work desktops, tablets or phones. Producers must take this into account when planning and budgeting a production of any level. Effectively, there is no more “it’s just for the web” rationale.
In this article, we’ll focus on some tools that were highlighted at NAB that will make workflow and organization easier for corporate creative teams.
Using Network Attached Storage (NAS) has finally come to the forefront as a way to connect video editors. Fibre Channel SAN solutions used to be the popular and reliable way to network video editors, but NAS technology has surpassed what was previously only possible under Fibre Channel connections. New systems that run on 1GB, 10GB and 40GB connections over copper wire or optical fiber are ready to take their place at the front of the pack.
EditShare is a pioneer in networked shared storage and end-to-end workflow solutions. It has broken new ground with the launch of XStream EFS. This fault-tolerant “scale out” storage system offers enterprise-class storage capabilities and collaboration features to a broad range of production and broadcast facilities at very attractive price points. Designed to support high-bandwidth, high-volume media ingest, transcoding, online collaborative editing and multiplatform distribution of HD, 2K, 4K and beyond, XStream EFS offers multiple levels of redundancy and tremendous scalability – from 10TB all the way up to 5 petabytes (5000 TB).
Also newly announced is EditShare Flow’s updated extension panel for Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud, which gives editors direct access to Flow’s powerful media management tools from within the Adobe Premiere Pro CC application. This in-app integration enables editors to efficiently search across all online and archive video storage locations for clips in the asset management database, view clip thumbnails, modify metadata, and add assets to their Adobe Premiere Pro CC project – all without ever leaving Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
The combination of EditShare storage with the Flow suite of products for Media Asset Management, and Ark for nearline storage to disk or tape, gives production teams a single source of vendor support and maintenance for a complex system that can start with two or three editors and grow to many more.
The GBLabs SPACE line of storage and archive appliances has arrived from the UK with blazing speed. SPACE is simply the fastest NAS storage you will find on the market today, offering a complete line of storage that handles online, nearline, backup and archive.
SPACE provides reliable stream counts for HD, 4K, and uncompressed; even 8K workflows are being run on the platform. The system’s new Core 3 OS provides hierarchical storage management and intelligent storage tiering for the active management of data and media assets. Aging files and completed projects can now be offloaded automatically from online systems onto nearline or tape archive, freeing up capacity for newly ingested material and the latest projects.
Other significant developments include faster and deeper interplay with leading media asset management solutions, class-leading Avid project support, Active Directory integration, and extensive multi-language support.
ProMAX’s Platform Series of high performance workflow appliances was on display at NAB alongside their new Archiving Appliances: Power-Cache and Pro-Cache. ProMAX took the concepts from Cache-A’s products and revived them with new processors, enclosures and optimized heat and cable management.
ProMAX Pro-Cache and Power-Cache archive appliances are designed to provide a simple and reliable solution for creative professionals to backup and restore media from LTO tapes. Easy to install and operate, the systems have been engineered using the latest technology to provide years of fast and reliable archiving. We should see the integration of this technology into the highly successful Platform line during the next year.
The Platform servers are truly workflow appliances, rather than just shared storage. They offer a simple to use interface for both administrators and users, with integrated proxy generation, indexing and tagging, and even rendering for After Effects. They start with the ingenious Platform Portable, and move up to the economical Platform Studio for small work groups, and on to the Platform Online for enterprise work for larger groups and stream-counts.
Avid announced their new ISIS 1000, finally bringing the cost of shared storage from Avid below the $20,000 mark ($17,999 for a 20TB system). For a production team that is all Media Composer and does not need an integrated asset management tool, the ISIS 1000 offers the peace of mind of a single point of support from workstation to storage, color, and sound mixing. The system is expandable to 80 TB.
Archiware P5 Archive / Backup / Synchronize are software tools that enable production teams to easily keep track of their media, without comprising the need for both backup and archive processes. The professional archiving software moves data offline to disk and tape. P5 can be setup within minutes, and works cross platform on Mac, Linux, Windows and Solaris. You can restore data on any platform, as P5 stores it in a platform-neutral format. To ensure high availability, P5 Synchronize automatically detects modified files and synchronizes them to a target destination.
Featured in the Archiware booth this year was Archive Assistant, a handy add-on to Archive P5 that allows editors to confirm edits directly from LTO Tapes. Editors can take control of metadata using the MetaExtract feature to combine and organize metadata from different sources as a part of the archiving ingest. It also automates archiving tasks such as finding non-central footage to archive and creating proxies using Adobe AME.
XenData released their new X2500-USB LTO-6 archive system that connects to notebooks and workstations via USB 3.0. The system includes an external LTO-6 drive with UNITEX USB technology and XenData6 Workstation management software. It is ideal for storing video, audio and image files on high-capacity LTO cartridges. The solution runs on 64-bit Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. For Mac users, the system is compatible with both Boot Camp and VM Fusion.
The X2500-USB is extremely easy to use. Archive and restore operations are always performed using Windows Explorer: the XenData software extends Explorer’s capabilities to transfer files to and from LTO using drag and drop or copy and paste. Files may be archived to LTO from any accessible logical drive letter or network share. Similarly, files may be restored to an available drive letter or share.
NewTek brought some welcome news to NAB for current and future TriCaster owners with the release of TriCaster Advanced Edition. This $1,495 upgrade for all existing TriCaster units supercharges the system with many new features: real-time feeds from internal or external sources into template based graphics; more options for automation with macros, self-detecting inputs, auto-correcting color matching, and intelligent mix/effects settings; faster and greater number of presets for pushing video and stills to social media, YouTube, FTP and more; expanded router support, increasing inputs with an upstream router control for all Pro models; improved streaming encoder; and improved options and rendering for 3D sets.
IPTV and Streaming Encoders
Haivision reinforces the concept of High Quality / Low Latency streaming from point to point over the public internet. It is now possible to link campuses and engage in two-way dialogues without paying for private MPLS lines or third party optimization services.
Haivision’s Makito X encoders and decoders use a proprietary method of Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) to provide end-to-end security, resiliency and dynamic endpoint adjustment based on real-time network conditions to deliver the best video quality at all times. With SRT, you can optimize video streaming across unpredictable networks, like the Internet, by assuring quality-of-service when faced with packet loss, jitter, latency, and fluctuating bandwidth.
Haivision introduced their Media Gateway, which is powered by SRT and provides the ability to aggregate and replicate SRT streams across private and public networks simultaneously. Imagine being able to distribute a live all-hands meeting to offices in New York, London and San Francisco in HD with encrypted security and very low latency over virtually any network.
Cloud Based Editing Becomes a Reality
Adobe has been gradually rolling out a shared assets system called Adobe Anywhere, but many potential users took a step back after seeing the capital intensive investment required in servers and storage to keep it running smoothly.
British upstart Aframe, having started a quiet revolution several years ago as a cloud-based platform for managing and storing video, has made a giant leap forward in announcing their integration with Adobe Anywhere.
Aframe’s central hub handles the storage and management of original native video content, while Adobe Anywhere will provide stream-based editing capabilities to enable the full potential of a truly cloud-enabled workflow. This provides one central place for video, accessible to anyone on the project team with the correct set of credentials. Footage is available instantly in the edit, anywhere in the world, without the need to download the original media.
By embedding Adobe Anywhere for Video within Aframe’s secure cloud platform, users can stream selected assets to the edit. Metadata is kept in sync, so that timecode based markers added by the project team in Aframe are delivered to the editor, and vice-versa.
About the Author
As Director of Market Development, Jonathan works closely with AbelCine’s Integration Services. The department leverages the power of the latest generation of broadcast and communications tools to help configure high-quality, cost-effective production solutions for traditional studio and stage settings, as well as non-traditional venues, and mobile applications. Jonathan also develops business relationships with key clients and helps them take advantage of AbelCine’s integrated service offerings.
Prior to joining AbelCine in 2006 as Director of Production Sales, Jonathan served as Director of Operations for Mega Playground. Previously, he was the Director of Operations for New York Times Television and supported the production of over 250 hours of documentary television production for programs airing on The Discovery Channel, TLC, National Geographic, PBS and Food Network.