Azule chairman Peter Savage gazes into his crystal ball to make predictions about the technology trends that could emerge from IBC 2015.
4k acquisition will go mainstream
Of course, 4k has been a hot topic for several shows but this year will see it move into the mainstream. Alongside the plethora of camera introductions on the show floor, we will also see actual working (and available) 4k essentials such as those needed for UHD sport production like zoom lenses, super slo-mo instant replay machines and RF camera systems.
LEDs will shine
LED fixtures will continue to flood the lighting market as they become available in a myriad of different shapes and sizes. There will be brighter and ever-more adjustable fixtures, flat Fresnels, LED lights that fold and bend (seriously!) even ones that you can wear. More efficient LED engines are making this all possible. Of course, there will also be a lot of people discussing how to keep those fixtures cool…
IP will be everywhere
Linked intrinsically to 4k and UHD, IP infrastructure will be a focus for many. There are still questions to answer here. Many broadcasters are still trying to work out the best way to migrate to IP while manufacturers are frantically attempting to provide technology to help them – and much of it is because people are looking at how best to support the additional bandwidth required to accommodate 4k. IP is a core element of file-based production workflows. It is hoped that its integration will make broadcasting in general that bit easier to manage.
HEVC is key
As you can already tell from reading this article, you won’t be able to move at IBC for acronyms and abbreviations (but that is nothing new). Not just 4k, LED, UHD and IP but also 10GE, 12G-SDI, HDR, HFR, AMS, RAI, TBC, WTF et al. Here is another, and an important one at that: HEVC. Broadcasters are actively seeking technologies that will make them more efficient, increase quality and improve capital and operating expenditure. HEVC fits that bill. It provides broadcasters with an efficient encoding technology for delivering both HD and Ultra HD. It makes better quality video content – both live and on-demand – more affordable. And who doesn’t want that?
More people will be discussing HD than Ultra HD
Yes, there will be plenty of Ultra HD debate: How high should the frame rates go? When can we introduce High Dynamic Range? Which type of High Dynamic Range is best? What about immersive audio? Should we wait for 8k? Should we call it UHD or Ultra HD? But at the same time there will be plenty of TV channels, production companies and facilities from around Europe for whom HD is still an ambition. As we strive for improvement we must remember – in amongst all the shouting about 4k, 8k and beyond – that we also need to support the majority: however silent they may be.