The highly-prized IBC Awards were presented in a glittering ceremony on Sunday 13 September. Digital access, connectivity and the future of media were very much to the fore.
The IBC2015 International Honour for Excellence, IBC’s highest accolade, went to microprocessor company ARM for the technology embedded in virtually every smartphone and tablet. ARM processing can be found in many other areas of the media chain, from cameras to wireless base stations.
ARM’s CEO, Simon Segars, could not be present at the ceremony but sent a video message. “We’re looking forward to an exciting future, a future where content is created and consumed in many different ways, be it in the home, on mobile devices or in the cinema,” he said. “For our part, we’re working on the underlying technology that is going to make that a reality, and we are looking forward to seeing the future delivered.
If ARM is driving the industry forward, it was a look at the past which garnered the International Olympic Committee the Judges’ Prize. Protection of its archives, dating back more than a hundred years, is enshrined in the Olympic Charter. But an audit revealed that, within just a few years, 50% of the videos would be unplayable, 20% of the faded photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available for much of the collection.
Thanks to a skilled team of technology partners, a seven year programme has safeguarded the legacy. “Heritage is really important: it is a part of the Olympic charter,” said Jean-Benoît Gauthier of the IOC. “This project was the first steps: now we want to manage the history of the future of the Olympic movement. Next year from Rio we will add 4,000 hours of video – I hope you will enjoy them.”
The primary responsibility of the judging panel – an international group of editors and commentators – was the IBC Innovation Awards. These unique awards celebrate not just new technology but the way that it is used to solve real-world challenges, whether they are creative, commercial or technical.
Channel 4 from the UK took the award for content creation, for an app linked to its live talent show ‘The Singer Takes it All’. This witty and engaging way to create appointment to view live television allowed viewers to vote and see, in real time, contestants moving forward towards the gold zone, or back towards oblivion.
The award was accepted by Karen Troop of Endemol/Shine UK, the production company which made the series. “We are thrilled to win this award at IBC and would like to thank Channel 4 for commissioning this ground-breaking, interactive series,” she said. “We also hugely appreciate the input of Chunk and Tectonic Interactive in putting complete control in the hands of the audience at home.”
The most innovative project in content management was judged to be Digital Center 2, the new all-IP production facility for ESPN. While many projects around the transition to file-based infrastructures were submitted, the ESPN centre with its five studios, 16 edit suites and six control rooms impressed the judges.
“Using technology to create, enhance and distribute content is one of our key advantages, and helps us fulfil our mission: to serve sports fans, anytime, anywhere,” said Jonathan Pannaman, vice president of content and production systems at ESPN. “Digital Center 2 is the embodiment of that premise.”
File delivery and the cloud were behind the winning project in content delivery. Sundance Channel Global wanted to add a Brazilian variant to its Latin American service, without the cost of a completely separate service and satellite feed. With lead technology partner Amagi they set up a cloud service to deliver the replacement content which was seamlessly spliced in to the main feed at Sky Brazil.
Accepting the award, Dave Alworth of Sundance Channel Global said “The IBC Innovation Award is a prestigious industry recognition. We are grateful to the jury members for recognising the content regionalisation work we have accomplished in Brazil with our technology partner Amagi.”
“The importance of the IBC Innovation Awards is that we can capture what is at the cutting edge in the real world,” said Michael Crimp, CEO of IBC. “The people who collect the awards are the ones using the solutions, and the solutions are what is needed today. So it is good to see that the themes being hotly debated here at IBC, like live IP broadcasting, the cloud and multi-platform engagement are what drives these award winning projects.”
The technical papers in the IBC Conference remain the most important place to unveil new research and ground-breaking developments. The IBC Best Conference Paper Prize recognises this, by presenting an award to the paper which both presents exciting and original work, and sets it out in the most clear and engaging way. The IBC2015 Best Conference Paper Award went to Tim Borer and Andrew Cotton of BBC R&D for their paper ‘A display independent high dynamic range television system’.
The evening ended with a special feature for the audience. Dominic Glynn, senior scientist at animation powerhouse Pixar, was invited on stage to talk about their work on ‘Inside Out’, the first movie to be released in a high dynamic range format. Interviewed by host Rob Curling, he outlined both the technical and creative challenges, and by showing a trailer he invited the audience to IBC’s screening of the full movie in a special extended colour gamut version.
Exhibition Stand Design Awards
With around 1,800 exhibitors, each stand has just a few seconds to catch the attention of the visitor. The IBC Exhibition Awards reflect the best stand designs, with a team of judges touring all fourteen halls to choose their favourites.
Winner for best use of shell scheme space was Rosco, whose stand was described as eye-catching and inviting, with a good use of space and clear messages. The judges highly commended Flowcine in this category.
Es’HailSat took the award for best free design stand on a smaller plot, of up to 100 square metres. The judges were impressed with the way the company reflected its Middle Eastern heritage as well as presenting their services well. Highly commended was DekTec.
From the larger stands, Vizrt was judged a runaway winner, with the panel saying that “it is more than just a stand, this is artistic sculpture”. Highly commended large free design stands were DJI and Riedel.
IBC2015 Innovation Awards
With more nominations than ever before, the judges had a hard task cutting the list down to a shortlist of just 10. All were honoured at the ceremony, with short videos on each, and every finalist on stage to collect a certificate or, for the lucky three, a trophy.
Channel 4 was on the shortlist last year, and went one better this year to take the award for best content creation project. Technology partners were Chunk Digital, Electoral Reform Society, Endemol and Tectonic Interactive.
Also on the shortlist in this category was the BBC’s project to support its 40 local radio stations with centralised IP technology while leaving the presenters in their communities – broadcast technology as a service. Developed largely in-house, the project used skills and equipment from a large number of suppliers, including Atos, Broadcast Bionics, Cisco, Comrex, EM Computers, EMC2, Glensound Electronics, HP, IMI Mobile, Mayah, Microsoft, Oracle, SCISYS, Technica del Arte, Telos Axia, VMWare, Vodafone and Vortex.
The second highly commended entry was also a centralisation project. This time it provides video replays for the National Basketball Association. Their new replay centre supports 15 simultaneous games. Technology came from Cisco, Evertz, Samsung, The Systems Group and Zayo.
In the content management category the award went to ESPN, who fought off three tough competitors. Arista Networks, Evertz and Vizrt were among the technology partners.
Disney/ABC is also making huge strides in IP connectivity and software-defined video. Its New York distribution facility is now an ethernet network, handling uncompressed HD for more than 200 affiliated stations across the USA. The technology comes from AC Video Solutions, Arista, Imagine Communications and The Systems Group.
SBS Broadcasting in Amsterdam wanted to maintain the excitement of high dynamic range movie soundtracks while keeping within the best loudness practices and in an automated workflow. The result was an anchor-based loudness normalisation workflow, using technology from Delta Sigma Consultancy, Minnetonka Audio and Nugen Audio.
Dock10 in the UK is now established as a highly efficient production and post centre, built around flexible and powerful technology and networking. Its Field Dock service won it the last of the highly commended certificates in the content management category, allowing creative teams to connect into the network from locations or anywhere else they choose, uploading dailies or editing remotely. The technical team from dock10 worked with Avid and Limecraft.
The three finalists for the IBC2015 Innovation Award for Content Delivery were very different. The winner, Sundance Channel Global, was for a cloud delivery solution. Pac-12 Networks brought its sophisticated IP contribution network, which puts the cameras and microphones at any of the arenas in the 12 West Coast Universities it supports, but keeps the production control at its San Francisco headquarters. That allows it to cover 850 live events from just three control rooms. Technology partners include Internet2, Nevion and T-Vips.
The last port of call was Norway, where transmission authority Norkring has rolled out DAB+ digital radio across this large and mountainous country, now reaching 99.5% of the population. It means Norway’s radio broadcasters can work towards FM shut-off in 2017. This extensive project involved 2WCom, Aldena, Cisco, GatesAir, Kathrein-Werke, NEC, NetCom, Net Insight, Relacom, Site Service, SmartGrid, Spinner, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting and Telmec Broadcasting.