There have been a number of interesting announcements at IBC this last week. Adobe has announced a slew of improvements to the various apps available on Creative Cloud. The most significant of which will be Team Projects, when it is released. Team Projects will be asset groups shared between multiple cloud users, with version control and conflict resolution for sequences, to keep editors from overwriting each other’s work. It also creates a project archive, to find and restore previous versions of edited sequences, without manually versioning project files. It appears it also will break down the bloated project file into individual sequences, coming from a shared asset pool that can maintain unique file paths for each user. This will greatly improve media management in collaborative environments, which has traditionally been an issue with the existing architecture. Adobe was also showing off new captioning tools, improved color correction options, and a new visual shortcut editor in Premiere Pro. They have fleshed out the workflows for HDR and VR content, which were both announced at NAB earlier in the year, but with minimal features. When editing VR experiences, multiple camera angles can now be stitched into a single file on ingest, instead of that step being done beforehand in a 3rd party application. After Effects is getting more true 3D capabilities from Cinema 4D technology, and will now be able to playback certain assets in real-time without caching frames.
Sony’s PVM-X550 is a new 55″ UHD OLED display that raises the bar for what is possible in regards to image quality. It is of course an HDR display, that can interpret various gammas and color spaces, even independent controls for each quadrant, allowing direct comparison of different settings and in a quad view mode. As far as I know, this is the first high end professional display that Sony has released anywhere close to this size. There is something different about viewing an image at a larger scale that can’t be simulated any other way. This is the same reason we review feature films on a cinema projector, not just on a high end TV. Scale changes the viewing experience to a greater degree than can be quantified or simulated, so 55″ is a big step over 24″ or 30″ models. I am looking forward to seeing some of these technologies integrated into products where the manufacturer isn’t afraid to display the price, but until then I can still dream. (In HDR)
AJA has a number of new products to show, including a 64 channel SDI router to extend their Kumo line on the high end, and new Video IP interfaces and converters. They appear to be well positioned for the eventual move to IP in the broadcast space, but that transition to IP has much less to offer users in smaller environments. I see SDI being replaced by HDMI in most local settings, as resolutions get increased to 4K. The Kona-IP includes an HDMI monitoring output port as a nod towards that trend, and I anticipate we will see that card integrated into a lot of the IP solutions that come to market in the near future.
Blackmagic Design has acquired both Ultimatte for keying hardware and Fairlight for audio post tools. They appear to be creating an entire integrated live 4K production hardware ecosystem, and are most of the way there at this point. Between the cameras, ATEM switchers, Ultimate keying for studio backgrounds, and Fairlight audio mixing consoles, you have the option of acquiring most of the hardware you need from a single source. This should (in theory) simplify compatibility and support issues when deploying a new infrastructure solution, in that various manufacturers can’t be point fingers at each other over issues that arise, but it remains to be seen whether Blackmagic can earn a reputation of supporting their products as well as their competitors. I have a hard time envisioning them as the next Sony, but who knows, they do have a fairly broad product line at this point, and it continues to rapidly expand.
One unexpected trend I notice, is a lack of Thunderbolt 3 based solutions. As that interface has become more widely available on new PCs, and offers the bandwidth for 4Kp60, I would have expected to see products at least announced that support it. Especially since backward compatibility to Thunderbolt 2 devices is limited, I would expect a push to prevent new Thunderbolt 3 customers from being left high and dry in regards to supported accessories. I suppose we will have to wait for Apple to release new hardware for the host support before we will see much progress in that regard, do to the incorrect perception that Thunderbolt is a Mac interface.