Shotgun


Published on Wednesday, 27 May 2015

IBC2015 Innovation Awards Celebrate New Broadcast in Action

The IBC2015 Innovation Awards have announced the shortlists in each of its three categories for the best broadcasting and digital media applications in content creation, content management and content delivery. The shortlist is intended to reflect major topics currently affecting broadcasting and electronic media. Among the shortlisted projects are new ways to regionalise content efficiently, create collaboratively and engage with audiences more closely.

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The IBC Innovation Awards focuses on real-world applications. The 10 finalists who will appear at the Awards event in September are the end users of collaborative projects between broadcasters, media enterprises and service providers who shared a defined goal, sought appropriate partners and achieved the necessary systems together. The winners will be announced during the IBC Awards Ceremony on 13 September.

Content Creation

In the Content Creation category, three projects encompass social media, local radio and sports oversight. First is the UK’s Channel 4 and its talent contest ‘The Singer Takes it All’. This was entirely dependent on an app, first to allow the contestants to audition karaoke-style, then for real time voting on live shows to choose a winner, intending to engage viewersby recreating the excitement of live television. The partners were Chunk Digital, Electoral Reform Society, Endemol and Tectonic Interactive.

ViLoR, Virtualised Local Radio, is the BBC’s project to reinvent services for regions of the UK, keeping the content local but developing systems to reduce equipment costs by 75 per cent. The 40 BBC local radio stations each have their own creative teams, but all use common, centralised equipment in one of the first large-scale roll-outs of broadcast as a service. Mainly developed in-house, the project used skills and equipment from a large, diverse group of suppliers including Broadcast Bionics, Cisco, EMC2, Glensound Electronics, HP, Oracle, Scisys, Technica del Arte, VMWare, Vortex and several others.

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The third category finalist, National Basketball Association operates a central broadcast facility in Secaucus, New Jersey. The NBA now has a new replay centre managed by software-defined networking that its officials use for review and decision-making. With the possibility of 15 simultaneous games and nine camera angles at each one of these, that means managing up to 144 feeds in a simple enough way to allow the game officials to concentrate on making the right decision quickly. Cisco, Evertz, Samsung, The Systems Group and Zayo came together to collaborate on the set up.

Content Management

Two of America’s largest broadcasters are on the shortlist for the most innovative content management project, each making use of IP connectivity and software-defined video in new ways. Television Group has implemented a real time IP distribution system for content around its New York distribution facility, based on 40 and 100 gigabit Ethernet and handling uncompressed HD for more than 200 affiliated stations across the country. The hardware and software infrastructure comes from AC Video Solutions, Arista, Imagine Communications and The Systems Group.

ESPN is also planning for an IP future, and has opened one of the world’s first large-scale, fully Ethernet connected production facilities. Digital Centre 2 contains five studios, 16 edit suites, six control rooms producing some of the most recognised sports television in the USA. Its broadcast and engineering partners included Arista Networks, Evertz and Vizrt.

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Local content producer SBS Broadcasting in Amsterdam has been investigating ways to improve the viewer experience of its films and drama series. It recognised that maintaining dramatic, high contrast audio was critical, but it needed to be achieved with high quality loudness practices, particularly on channels with commercial breaks. A final concern was the development of a very efficient, automated workflow. The result was an anchor-based loudness normalisation workflow, using equipment from Delta Sigma Consultancy, Minnetonka Audio and Nugen Audio.

Dock10 in the UK has also developed rapidly into an extremely efficient production and post production studio. Over time it has consistently encouraged collaborative and remote working, and its implementation of Field Dock, which allows creative teams to connect into its post network from locations wherever they choose, earns it the fourth nomination in this category. The technical team from dock10 worked with Avid and Limecraft.

Content Delivery

While many countries have now switched off their analogue television content delivery, few are even close to achieving this in radio. Norway is the exception - it has now shut off its FM radio network, replacing it with a DAB+ service that reaches 99.5 per cent of the population. The country’s broadcast transmission provider Norkring led the project on behalf of broadcasters Digitalradio Norge, NRK, P4 Radio Hele Norge and SBS Discovery. Systems support and provision came from 2WCom, Aldena, Cisco, GatesAir, Kathrein-Werke, NEC, NetCom, Net Insight, Relacom, Site Service, SmartGrid, Spinner, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting and Telmec Broadcasting.

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AMC Networks
International transmits popular television channels into Latin America. It recently devised a means to tailor the content for Portuguese-speaking Brazil, differentiating it from the rest of the content, which mainly speaks Spanish. Rather than take on the expense of a separate feed for Brazil when only some of the content needed replacing, it developed a sophisticated system which stored replacement content in the cloud, triggering it using watermarked break bumpers. It allows a seamless workflow between AMC in New York, playout partner Telefonica in Spain and local satellite distributor Sky Brazil, and uses systems from Amagi Media Labs.

Pac-12 Networks, the broadcast arm of the conference of 12 US west coast universities, manages to deliver 850 live televised sports events a year to viewers. To handle all of this content, it uses commodity internet connections to link a basic crew at the event with its three central control rooms in San Francisco. The system, which allows talkback, telemetry and telemetric data to travel to and from sports venues as much as 2500 km away with less than a frame delay, was developed with Internet2, Nevion and T-Vips.

The IBC2015 Awards Ceremony takes place at 18.30 on Sunday 13 September, in the RAI Centre. As well as the Innovation Awards, the ceremony will include the announcement of the Judges’ Prize, the IBC International Honour for Excellence and awards for special merit, best conference paper and for exhibition stand design. www.ibc.org