SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022: Tuesday’s Latest From Vegas
The NAB Show has returned to Las Vegas, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are once again chasing down the hottest stories from all over the Las Vegas Convention Center. To make the onslaught of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG is sending you a daily roundup in SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022, with all the top stories gathered in one easy-to-read blog.
Today’s edition features ARRI, Blackmagic Design, Brightcove, Canon, Creative Dimensions, Evertz, GLOOKAST, Grabyo, Imagine Communications, Intelsat, LTN Global, Lumen Technologies, M2A Media, Panasonic, Q5X, Qvest, RT Software, Signiant, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Signiant, Telestream, Tellyo, Telstra, TSL, and Vizrt.
GLOOKAST (Booth N725) is making a splash on the NAB 2022 exhibit floor. At last night’s special event, Co-Founder/President Guilherme Silva announced that former Chief Revenue Officer Allan Delaurier has been appointed CEO. Aside from this shift on the business side, GLOOKAST is demonstrating metadata migration and quick archive retrieval. Designed with hybrid environments in mind, products include Media | Producer for remote transcode and ingest, Media | Services to provide customizable solutions, and Capturer for ingest of IP or SDI feeds to multiple simultaneous destinations. Outside of Las Vegas, GLOOKAST is supplying live ingest with reliability and speed for Canada’s Bell Media.
Want to check out the future of how gamification will change the way sports fans interact with their favorite sports-TV app? Visit Evertz (Booth N509) to see the demo of Ease Live AS, which is currently being used by YES Network for in-app watch parties and interactive gaming (demos of work being done with Bally Sports is also available). “We’ve moved it forward to have a great story,” says Evertz Senior Director, International Business Development, Mo Goyal. “Regional sports networks and content owners can find a way to keep users engaged throughout an event with interactive graphics for things like trivia and, eventually, sports betting. We’re seeing a lot of interest in what we’re doing here.”
Blackmagic Design’s (Booth N302) DaVinci Resolve 18 video-editing/color-correction app coupled with Blackmagic Cloud offers the kind of cost-effective collaboration that makes it more accessible to more professionals no matter where they work or live. And while, yes, there is a $5-per-month charge, every user who needs to collaborate on content does not need to pay an additional $5. According to Blackmagic Design President, Americas, Dan May, only the organization or person hosting the project files needs to pay $5: “Everybody else can have a free Blackmagic account and work on the project. The Blackmagic model has always been how to bring more people to the table and getting them trained and educated on how to use these tools.”
Vizrt (Booth N2619) has a lot going on at NAB 2022, including an NDI Pavilion with a dozen NDI product providers. But, for sports-related highlights, CTO Gerhard Lang cites the Viz AI modules. “One of the most prominent ones lately is the Object Tracker, which we used on NASCAR and other events,” he explains. “The control interface allows the operator to easily pick up the object to mark and then have a graphic identifying it on top with a 3D effect. It’s super easy to use and very helpful.” Another cool feature (especially in the age of TikTok) is the combination of Object Tracking with Eye Tracking and vertical presets to cut vertical video out from a UHD feed. “That was done live and with a very good result,” adds Lang. Being previewed at the booth is Vizrt Engine 5, which will offer adaptive graphics that make it easier than ever for live graphics to be created once and deployed over various platforms without having to be re-created.
Alongside web-control-based CG, newsroom graphics, virtual studio, augmented reality, videowall, playout, and channel-branding solutions, RT Software (Booth N1731) is showing how machine learning and AI in its Tactic range of sports-analysis solutions make it dramatically faster and easier to create compelling and informative sports-analysis graphics and storytelling. The automatic Player Detect function enables operators to attach graphics to multiple players and, with just a click on the players, to follow them as they move within the video. Version 6.0, shown for the first time at NAB 2022, exploits AI even more to allow automatic camera calibration to tie graphics to the pitch and allows such graphics as offside lines, speed, or distance, which previously needed a manual calibration, to be added in seconds.
Panasonic (Booth C3607) is finally getting the chance to exhibit solutions originally slated to be shown at NAB 2020. Most notable is the expansion of its KAIROS platform to include cloud-based workflows. The new offering is paired with the on-premises KAIROS IT/IP platform for integration within any KAIROS ecosystem. At the booth, Senior Category Owner, Advanced Technology and Video Production, Michael Bergeron and Solutions Sales Manager Keith Vidger are spotlighting how this service supplies the same high-quality services whether the user is located onsite or at a remote location. The two executives also expect this system to have an impact at the collegiate level, with content creators for an institution sharing files with counterparts at different venues or multiple schools working simultaneously on conference-wide projects.
Q5X (Booth C7406) is displaying a new generation of MicControl software featuring a totally new user interface and the ability to monitor telemetry and control all settings on both Q5X Axient Digital transmitters and Shure Axient Digital receivers from one screen. The software also supports full control of Q5X analog transmitters. Remote control of additional analog receivers will be available later this year. “This is the first NAB since we announced or collaboration with Shure in 2020 and launched the line of Q5X Axient Digital transmitters,” says CEO Paul Johnson. “The new ability to remotely control both the transmitters and receivers from a single GUI in MicControl is a feature that our users have been asking for.” MicControl software works in conjunction with the handheld Q5X MicCommander and Network Gateways and facilitates rapid and accurate setup of in excess of 150 audio channels. Q5X’s gear is now used for most major-league sports, including the NBA, MLB, MLB, and NHL. Johnson is pleased with that, of course, but points out how upper-end–market saturation creates challenges for growth, since most collegiate leagues don’t currently permit wiring athletes for audio. He sees future opportunities in academic-sports practice and other training applications, which can help develop AV training materials.
Creative Dimensions (Booth C3626) is discussing its latest projects for professional and collegiate franchises. After supplying the focal point of the Las Vegas Raiders’ Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center during the pandemic, the company is developing studio sets for two NFL clubs that will be completed at a later date. One of the more recent projects in the professional space is the studio sets for the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. President Joel Roy — accompanied in the booth by Director, Broadcast and Versa Products, Michelle Etheridge and Business Development Associate Daniel Kiley — sees a new industry trend toward more-lightweight and -flexible sets. The standup bistro table offers a solution for a pregame show on social media, a ceremony during halftime, or branding for quick onsite hits.
TSL (Booth C5420) showed an expanded SAM-Q audio monitor with new SAM-Q-NET and SAM-Q-EDIT tools. The updates integrate SAM-Q advanced monitoring with an IP-networked environment, with ST 2110-30 and ST 2110-7, as well as multiple control options including NMOS. The unit’s 1-GB capability significantly reduces the cost of operation in situations where 10 GB isn’t either available or needed, according to Director, Products and Technology, Mark Davies. “We’ve always covered REMI-type workflows with SAM-Q monitoring, but now we also address control and do so with IP connectivity,” he says, explaining the dynamic behind the new software developments and noting SAM-Q-NET’s support for both in-band and out-of-band operation.
ARRI (Booth C7925) is spotlighting the fusion of cinematography and live production. The AMIRA Live cinematic Super 35 live TV camera, which debuted in March 2021, is being used during live band performances at the company’s booth. This live demonstration also features ARRI’s systems for cinematic lighting, most recently used for the new Sportsnet studio in Toronto. While postproduction and studio-based projects are the company’s bread and butter, Technical Sales Representative Chase Hagen is highlighting possible use cases for events in real time. One product is a 19-lb. rig that can hold a 66-lb. camera. In addition, live-event personnel can tap into new technology with familiar settings through customizable applications. The company’s recent partnerships in sports include work with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and top-flight esports organizations for LAN events taking place in a controlled environment.
Imagine Communications’ (Booth C2122) Aviator cloud platform goes a long way toward solving a key problem: improving management of advertisement playout in a digital environment. The cloud origination ecosystem is focused on providing great video and audio quality and also seamless program-ad-promo transitions for content and live events. “We have a lot of customers making good economic use of popup channels that are per-event or special-event channels,” says CTO Networking and Infrastructure John Mailhot. “We created the right workflow environment to spin those up and down very easily, including all of the bindings of how traffic and advertising fits into them. Ultimately, the goal of all these channels is to get the ad on the right stream at the right viewer at the right time. And that’s the objective with Aviator: to make the integration effort repeatable as part of a deployment so that it’s done well on every channel we deploy.”
Looking to improve your virtual reality experience? Definitely check out the Canon (Booth C4432) RF5.2mm F2.8 L dual fisheye lens. A lightweight, compact prime lens, it also has a wide-angle field of view and also has 60-mm distance between the two lenses, making the left and right lens locations similar to the distance between actual eyes. The result? Greater similarity to human vision, increasing the 3D effect and making it more natural. And with 8,000 pixels across the two lenses, it also delivers top-notch resolution.
Telestream (Booth C3007) made a big announcement that it has struck a new multiyear enterprise-wide deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group that will establish unlimited use of Telestream Cloud Services for all of its products and services. Sinclair is using the Telestream Vantage Media Processing Platform for cloud and on-premises media-transformation and orchestration workflows. “Since January, we’ve already processed more than 1 petabyte of content through Vantage consisting of hundreds of thousands of files,” Sinclair Broadcast Group SVP/CTO Mike Kralec said in an official release following a press breakfast on Monday morning. “It represents a substantial saving in terms of both cost and time.” Sinclair reported that it is centralizing reception and processing of commercials, syndicated programs, paid programs, and promotions for all 600+ of its channels, which include the Bally’s regional sports networks.
The cloud production platform Tellyo (Booth N1932) is showcasing some of the biggest changes to its flagship Stream Studio solution: most notably, a significant upgrade of the platform’s graphics offerings. Head of Marketing and Communications Stuart Russell notes that, since partnering with SPX Graphics, Tellyo is able to offer users a deeper catalog of customizable live graphics for both broadcast and streaming. Stream Studio also boasts a new playout feature that enables content creators to build and run 24/7 channels combining multiple and different video and content assets.
Signiant (Booth W2912) is looking beyond its established file-transfer offering with the new Media Engine modern media-management service, which it is previewing in Vegas. Built into the Signiant Platform, Media Engine allows Signiant’s SaaS customers to easily search, preview, and take action on media assets across all their Signiant-connected storage, from anywhere in the world. According to Chief Marketing Officer Jon Finegold, customers can perform federated searches across multiple content repositories, both on-premises and in the cloud. Results are immediately actionable via the powerful services available on the platform anchored by Signiant’s best-in-class fast file transfer. Media Engine will be included with every Signiant SaaS subscription and will be available to all customers on July 1.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has opted for M2A Media’s (Booth W8903) VOD-to-Live offering to deliver its new Courtside 1891 TV linear channel to its broadcast partners. M2A’s VOD-to-Live solution, a combination of streaming product M2A Live and aggregation/distribution tool M2A CONNECT, has provided FIBA with the ability to “maximize the value of FIBA’s VoD archive to the benefit of their broadcast partners and, ultimately, basketball fans all over the world,” says M2A Media Chief Executive Marcus Box.
Brightcove (Booth W9332) is showcasing its data-analysis credentials, with the firm’s recently established Audience Insights division pledging to help users of its video platform and third-party services, such as Kaltura and Vimeo, to better understand content and subscriber data. The division, which was established following Brightcove’s February acquisition of Wicket Labs, provides customers with actionable data, says Marty Roberts, co-founder of Wicket Labs and now VP, media analytics, at Brightcove. Brightcove Audience Insights aggregates data from a host of sources, presents it to Brightcove customers via a dashboard, and routes it into marketing systems. “We will continue working with all kinds of video platforms,” says Roberts. “For Brightcove, it’s good practice, and there is a general understanding that everyone gets smarter when working with similar types of data.”
Qvest’s (Booth W5711) new cloud-based editing solution built on the Qibb integration platform offers Adobe workflows, project management, and cost management via a single service package. The editing solution is already deployed by Mediacorp in Asia, with 50 editing stations and fully cloud-based collaborative projects being worked on. Chief Executive Peter Nöthen sees the market as ready for greater adoption of cloud-based tools: “Our clients tell us their employees are not always in their facilities; they are increasingly mobile or home-office-based for work. The cloud and, especially, this editing solution help people work together on a project without being in a particular facility.”
London-headquartered M2A Media (Booth W8903) is looking to open an office in the U.S. later this year. As part of the plan to establish a physical presence on the West Coast, M2A will recruit engineers and sales and operations staff. Chief Commercial Officer Matt Hughes says, “We want to be able to support our clients and make sure we do the best possible job for our customers in the sports-broadcasting sector in the U.S. who want to use our solutions, particularly M2A Live and M2A CONNECT, to scale quickly.”
Lumen Technologies (Booth W4418) and Disney Streaming are teaming up to produce standardized CDN configuration metadata and application programming interfaces (APIs) for the streaming-video industry. According to Lumen Technologies VP, Product, Content Delivery Services, Pierre-Louis Theron, standardized metadata will allow content providers to use a common metadata model and a single API to publish CDN configurations to vendors. Without this standardization, organizations must separately model and publish metadata within each CDN vendor’s proprietary API or management portal. With contributions and leadership from Disney Streaming and Lumen, the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA) recently published the first version of the Configuration Interface Specifications document and version two is under way and expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Intelsat’s (Booth W7004) latest service offering, dubbed Cloud Connect Media, offers customers a connectivity solution that provides secure access between the IntelsatOne Media Network and Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to Director, Product Management, Media, Pascale Fromont, Cloud Connect Media is designed to provide content providers with a private, dedicated secure gateway between AWS and the Intelsat global media-distribution network. This collaboration can provide Intelsat media customers a more efficient way to connect to the playout, video-editing, and additional resources they use in the cloud while still accessing the IntelsatOne media network for centralized distribution and managed services, including uplink and/or downlink to key satellites and teleports, co-location, and other services. C-SPAN will be the first Intelsat customer to use Cloud Connect Media, which is currently available in the U.S. and Europe.
LTN Global (Booth W10116) has launched LTN Arc, a fully managed production solution that enables media organizations to repurpose and decorate centralized feeds into customized streams for distribution on multiple channels. According to GM, Event Production and Transmission Unit, Mike Burk, LTN Arc enables large media organizations to achieve greater reach for their live-event content by simplifying large-scale digital event versioning to capture dual revenue streams through tailored solutions. The scalable, fully customizable solution includes versioning services to prepare content for various destinations, watermarking, slating, video insertion, and SCTE insertion. Customers can add announcers or voiceovers in their local language when pursuing a global distribution strategy, along with active video clipping, highlights, and decorated event recording.
Since the previous NAB Show, a lot of exhibitors have transformed themselves, whether by launching new product lines, acquiring new companies, or inking partner deals that expand the company’s scope. In an example of the partner route, Telstra (Booth W10509) has rolled out the Media Production Platform, a managed solution that is focused on reducing capital expenditures for clients while also adding simplicity to production and contribution deployments. Key to the offering is Grass Valley’s Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP), which, when tied into Telstra’s network of master-control rooms and connectivity services provides a powerful and flexible option for clients big and small.
Showcased at the AWS Booth (W3500), Grabyo is taking a big step in accepting broadcast-level formats. The company’s cloud-native, broadcast-grade live-production workflow introduces SRT and Zixi streaming alongside numerous new capabilities to its cloud video platform. “We can ingest them, synchronize them, and output them in the backend for broadcasters to play out,” says Grabyo President, Americas, Mike Kelly. “Traditionally, we have always handled RTMP and HLS ingest, and now to be able to handle the broadcast side is something that resonates with the audience [of NAB 2022].” Grabyo offers a suite of live-broadcasting tools that includes a browser-based control room, multiviewer, audio mixer, stream synchronization, and multi-platform streaming integrated with video capture and transport services like LiveU, Dejero, and Haivision.