Sunday, October 23, 2016


  • Friday, Oct. 21, 2016
Telestream to showcase file-based workflow solutions at NAB NY
Telestream Lightspeed Server
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

At NAB Show New York 2016 (Nov. 9-10), Telestream® (booth 1414), a provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, will showcase scalable broadcast quality live streaming solutions, the latest advances in video encoding and transcoding systems, and a new suite of QC tools.

Visitors to the Telestream booth will be able to see demonstrations of Vantage, Telestream’s powerful, scalable, software-enabled media processing platform that manages all media services from the camera to the point of distribution. Vantage allows content owners, producers, and distributors to quickly, easily, and cost-effectively ingest, edit, transform, package, monetize, and distribute their media.

Also showcased at NAB Show New York will be Lightspeed Live Stream and Lightspeed Live Capture, two new applications that deliver real-time, enterprise-class streaming and capture for media and entertainment companies, corporations, government and education. Lightspeed Live Stream solves the problem of preparing real time content for adaptive bitrate live streaming, while Lightspeed Live Capture can independently record multiple channels of SD, HD, or a single channel of UHD.

Attendees looking for a solution to help them create high quality live-streamed productions, including multi-camera switching, graphics, titles, and live encoding, will be interested in Wirecast 7, the latest version of Telestream’s cross-platform, all-in-one live streaming production software, as well as Wirecast Gear, a portable computer workstation that is fully configured for live event production and streaming. The easy-to-use system allows anyone to broadcast professional live productions in a matter of minutes with a fully-configured system built for live event streaming. Wirecast Gear comes with Wirecast Pro live streaming production software. It is ideally suited for marketers, educators, corporate and online trainers, event producers, sports broadcasters, worship service staff, news gatherers and anyone who wants to deliver professional live streamed productions out of the box.

Following the acquisition of QC specialist Vidcheck, Telestream will also showcase the latest version of Vidchecker, an easy-to-install Windows-based QC software for PCs/servers. Vidchecker removes the labor intensive tasks of sight-checking conformance, checking video/audio compliance with waveform monitors and audio loudness meters, and manually correcting levels with video processing amplifiers and other tools. The Vidchecker GUI can be accessed through a web browser either on the local machine or remotely over a network. It is optimized for checking file-based video before and after distribution, and for use by broadcasters to ensure that file, video and audio parameters and levels are correct and ready for broadcast or distribution.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
China's LeEco sets out to shake up US consumer tech market 
Rob Chandhok, LeEco North America chief research and development officer, holds a LePro 3 phone while speaking at an event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Most U.S. consumers haven't heard of LeEco, but the Chinese technology company is setting out to become a household name with smartphones and flat-screen TVs that undercut the prices of Apple, Google, Samsung and other industry stalwarts.

LeEco heralded its entrance into the U.S. market during a Wednesday showcase in San Francisco, where the company unveiled a sleek smartphone called the LePro 3 that will sell for $400 and an internet-connected TV with a 7-foot screen priced at $5,000.

LeEco positions the LePro 3 as an alternative to Apple's latest iPhone and Google's Pixel phone, whose prices both start at $650. LeEco is promising its giant TV, called the UMax 85, will be as good or better than other high-end home entertainment systems that cost $8,000.

Both the phone and TV will go on sale Nov. 2 in LeEco's online store, The company also is selling a smaller smartphone and smaller TVs with screens ranging from 43 inches to 65 inches.

Besides the phones and TVs, LeEco also is coming to the U.S. with a virtual-reality headset, a high-tech bicycle and an electric car in a challenge to Tesla Motors.

The company wants to bundle the devices with other services, including an online video package of shows and movies that ties into its origins as the "Netflix of China."

LeEco, which stands for "Happy Ecosystem," is branching out to challenge technology leaders who have been able to demand a premium for their products partly because they have been pleasing U.S. consumers for years.

"America is the most important global market for us," LeEco CEO Jia Yueting said through a translator during a presentation. "Once we get the hearts and minds of U.S. users, we can move on to the hearts and minds of global users."

Innovation in the U.S. has hit a "bottleneck," making it an optimal time for LeEco to enter the market, Jia said in an interview with The Associated Press that was also translated. He envisions creating a platform that enables consumers to hopscotch from LeEco TVs to phones to cars to watch its video service and use other applications that that company plans to introduce.

The company is using the devices as "Trojan horses," to deliver its digital services, said Gartner analyst Werner Goertz. "This is a general trend in the industry, and LeEco is a prime example of how companies are subsidizing hardware with ulterior motives."

Google is similarly selling its new Pixel phone in an effort to drive more traffic to its search engine and other service, Goertz noted, though that device is being sold at a premium price.'s Echo, an internet-connected speaker that understands and responds to spoken language, also is designed to get boost sales at the company's e-commerce site.

The expectations for LeEco are modest. The research firm Strategy Analytics projects that LeEco will sell about 25 million smartphones worldwide this year. By comparison, Apple had sold 214 million iPhones in the past year ending in June.

Other Chinese companies that tried to make a splash in the U.S. consumer electronics market have barely made a ripple.

But LeEco is making a major commitment.

During the summer, the company paid $2 billion for budget-TV maker Vizio, a well-known brand in the U.S. that sells in Costco and other prominent chains. It employs several hundred workers at its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California, with ambitions to expand in Silicon Valley. Earlier this year, it spent another $250 million to snap up a 50-acre site in Santa Clara, California, where it has approval to build an office complex that could span up to 3 million square feet and accommodate about 12,000 workers. Jia plans to call the complex "EcoWorld."

"They are not taking a half-baked approach," Goertz said. "But I think they are going to be hemorrhaging money for the foreseeable future. The question is how long they can sustain this strategy?"

Jia, who has accumulated an estimated fortune of nearly $5 billion, will shoulder a huge chunk of any losses because he owns half of LeEco. He declined to say how much LeEco has spent in the U.S. so far.

"We are financially prepared to bring a new model and a new value for the U.S. consumers," Jia said.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016
Spanish national broadcaster opts for Mistika toolkit to drive 4K HDR productions
The Mistika toolkit is being deployed by TVA to enhance its 4K HDR productions.
MADRID, Spain -- 

SGO, the high-end postproduction software and systems developer, announced that its Mistika toolkit has been chosen by Televisión Española (TVE), Spain’s national state-owned public-service television broadcaster, to enhance the channel’s 4K HDR productions. Mistika will be used by TVE’s postproduction team and its advanced tools and capabilities, including a facility-wide timeline, will support the network’s collaborative workflows.
Established in 1956, TVE is owned by the RTVE Corporation which has overall responsibility for Spain’s national public-service radio and television. TVE wanted to make sure it was at the forefront of 4K HDR TV production. The Mistika solution not only offers real-time playback in 4K, but a truly interactive solution that the operator can experience at all levels.
“TVE’s significant investment in Mistika will set the standard for future creativity among other channels in Spain,” commented Jose Luis Acha, regional sales manager. “Mistika will enable the broadcaster to combine disparate production operations into one easy workflow that can be dispersed among the team. We’re excited to be working with TVE to help the team create visually advanced 4K productions, but also support them in the move towards 8K and beyond.”

  • Monday, Oct. 17, 2016
MAX music video shot with Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K
A scene from the MAX music video "Lights Down Low"
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that URSA Mini 4.6K EF was used to shoot the music video for “Lights Down Low” by MAX. Blackmagic Design Video Assist 4K was used for 4K monitoring and recording on the intensely packed two day shoot, while DaVinci Resolve Studio was used for color grading the video.
MAX collaborated with production company and full service music management label Crush Music on “Lights Down Low” to create a music video emblematic of MAX’s personal experience behind the song, telling a love story over the better part of a lifetime. “We wanted to show what it would be like to be a fly on the wall,” explained Jade Ehlers, creative director at Crush Music. “It’s a one shot video that we shot with just one camera mounted directly above the room, and you watch MAX experience various relationships. The music video depicts what one’s life might look like if they lived in one apartment their whole life. And when it came down to choosing a camera, the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K was ideal for the shoot.”
With just 15 feet between the floor and the ceiling, Crush was challenged with capturing the full scope of the studio built bedroom, complete with fake windows and artificial lighting. They paired a Sigma 8mm super wide angle lens with the URSA Mini 4.6K to account for the lack of distance between the camera and subject. “We wanted to be sure we had a lens that would give us a wide enough angle to capture the whole room, and the Sigma 8mm worked perfectly with the URSA Mini, which gives us as full frame as we can get.”
Because the video for “Lights Down Low” is shot entirely from the ceiling looking down on the room, the production crew had to mount the URSA Mini 4.6K camera above the set using C-clamps and a dolly. Once the camera was set in place and the shoot began, it was imperative that the camera was not moved, so as not to compromise the steady shot, not to mention the camera was far out of reach from the ground. To work around the physical limitations, Crush hooked up the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K to the URSA Mini 4.6K, which enabled them to manage all camera operations as well as to frame and focus their shot perfectly.
“Everything came out great, we were really stoked on it. Being able to shoot RAW, which gave us tons of information to use in post, and capture 4K was super important for us to be able to deliver an amazing looking music video for MAX,” said Ehlers. “Even before we went into grading with DaVinci Resolve Studio, when we just had the base color, I could already tell the color was going to be amazing.”
“The video for MAX’s ‘Lights Down Low’ was a unique concept because there was so much we had to do in regards to getting the camera just right, and in most music videos you can just shoot something and then scale different angles. This one was more complex in trying to find something that worked perfectly. Luckily, the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K and Video Assist 4K did just that.”

  • Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016
Periscope extends beyond phones as Twitter ups ante on video 
In this June 29, 2015, file photo, Lauren Simo, left, answers questions during a weekly forum streamed via Periscope on the smartphone of Toby Srebnik, Fish Consulting director of social media, at the company's offices in Hollywood, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Twitter is taking the smartphone shackles off its live-video service Periscope in its latest attempt to broaden its audience.

The Periscope Producer feature announced Thursday will let media companies and other users pipe live video feeds directly into Twitter, without using a smartphone to record the images. Since its debut early last year, Periscope had been confined to live video feeds taken on a smartphone.

During Producer's testing phase last week, a Florida television station showing live video on its website used the new tool to redistribute the same feeds on Twitter. To start, Producer will be limited to a small group of media companies such as Disney's ABC News and major brands such as Louis Vuitton. Others can apply for approval at .

Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykour said Producer will be available to all comers soon, something that he acknowledged could lead to unauthorized redistribution of live video. Piracy has been an issue dogging Periscope since people began using the service to broadcast live video of movies and TV shows with their smartphones.

The Periscope extension ups the ante on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's bet that the increasing popularity of online video will help widen the messaging service's appeal.

Twitter already has been streaming more news, entertainment and sports events, including the National Football League's Thursday Night games for 10 weeks during the season. Twitter hopes to build a following beyond people who rely on the service to tweet their thoughts and keep tabs on what's happening around the world. Dorsey sees Twitter evolving into the go-to place for watching live video in a digital town square where people can share their opinions with each other.

Internet companies young (Snapchat) and old (Facebook) are scrambling to get on the live video train, though there are no easy ways to make advertising money off of them yet. That's coming, though. Some companies are already experimenting with livestreaming for marketing purposes. Automaker General Motors, for example, launched out its electric Chevy Bolt EV using Facebook Live earlier this year. Media outlets, meanwhile, are livestreaming coverage of the presidential debates in ways not seen in any previous election.

With the latest move, Periscope joins other livestreaming services such as Twitch and YouTube that allow for broadcasts from sources beyond users' smartphones. Facebook, meanwhile, has so far stuck to a mobile-only strategy. But even with Periscope's expanded capability, Facebook has an advantage with a larger audience.

Since the end of 2014, Twitter has picked up just 15 million monthly users to expand its audience to 313 million people through June. During the same stretch, Facebook gained 319 million users to extend its reach beyond 1.7 billion people.

In an effort to distinguish Twitter from Facebook, Dorsey has been trying to position it as the "people news network" - though with little success since he replaced Dick Costolo as CEO 15 months ago.

Things have been looking so bleak that Twitter's board last month hired investment bankers to woo suitors that might be interested in buying the San Francisco company, according to published reports that cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. The prospective bidders included Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., as well as Apple Inc., and Walt Disney Co.

The possibility of a sale tantalized investors until other media reports made it seem unlikely that Twitter will strike a deal soon. With a sale apparently off the table, the company's stock has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the past week. The shares fell 20 cents to $17.85 in early afternoon trading Thursday.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016
NUGEN Audio's Halo Upmix streamlines 5.1 surround delivery at U.K.'s Fonic
Fonic's dubbing mixer JM Finch

NUGEN Audio announced that Fonic, a full-service audio postproduction facility based in Shoreditch, East London, has chosen the company’s Halo Upmix plug-in to provide upmixing for a range of television and cinema productions. Available in Avid AAX, VST, and AU formats, Halo Upmix automates the creation of a stereo-to-5.1/7.1 downmix-compatible upmix with unique center channel management and spatial density controls.

“Increasingly, we’re required to deliver broadcast projects in 5.1 surround audio, but most music composers still produce audio tracks in stereo. In order to keep to tight delivery schedules, we need to be able to create surround mixes quickly and easily without degrading the sound quality,” said JM Finch, dubbing mixer, Fonic. “Compared to other tools we’ve worked with, Halo Upmix is truly unique in its ability to produce both a high-quality and great-sounding 5.1 upmix and a downmix that sounds almost identical to the original stereo source. Plus, the tool’s highly intuitive user interface and extensive manual controls make upmixing fast and easy.”

Recently, Fonic has used Halo Upmix for two high-profile projects — “Thomas and Friends: The Great Race,” a 60-minute animated film released in May; and “To Build a Fire,” a film based on a book by Jack London. The common thread on both of these projects was the outstanding musical track, originally mastered in stereo. With Halo Upmix, Fonic was able to produce a 5.1 upmix of the music that was almost 100 percent true to the sound of the original mix. 

In addition to Halo Upmix, Fonic uses NUGEN Audio’s VisLM-H2 plug-in for loudness metering and monitoring, ISL 2 for reliable true-peak limiting, and LM-Correct 2 to make quick fixes for easy loudness compliance. Together with Halo Upmix, those NUGEN Audio plug-ins are instrumental in Fonic’s audio workflows — not just for TV projects, many of which are now subject to international loudness regulations, but also for online and film productions. In addition, Fonic is exploring the use of NUGEN Audio’s new 9.1 extension for Halo Upmix, which will expand its capabilities to 9.1 upmixing with overhead positioning.

“Our partnership with NUGEN Audio is very important to our operation,” Finch said. “The ironclad quality and reliability of their solutions is something we can count on; in fact, to this day, we have not had to call on the NUGEN Audio support team. That says a lot about the build of the plug-ins and the rigorous testing that goes into each one.”

“Fonic has been offering some of London’s finest audio postproduction services since 2004, with a culture of providing ‘creative sound by people who care.’ That’s an ethos that we share at NUGEN Audio; therefore we feel especially privileged that Fonic Post has chosen our loudness and upmix solutions,” said Jon Schorah, founder and creative director, NUGEN Audio.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016
RED Digital Cinema rolls out EPIC-W and New WEAPON cameras
RED EPIC-W (l) and the newest WEAPON camera.
IRVINE, Calif. -- 

RED Digital Cinema will begin shipping two new cameras--the highly anticipated RED EPIC-W and the newest WEAPON. Both cameras feature the compact and intuitive design of the DSMC2™ form factor as well as the new HELIUM™ 8K S35 sensor. HELIUM, which is RED’s latest sensor technology, allows for higher resolution in an S35 frame, while maintaining the superior dynamic range found in the award-winning RED DRAGON® sensor.  

The EPIC-W 8K S35 camera captures 8K Full Frame motion at up to 30 fps, produces ultra-detailed 35.4 megapixel stills and offers Super 35 lens coverage. Additionally, EPIC-W is capable of fast data speeds up to 275 MB/s. Best of all, it is priced at $29,500 (for the camera BRAIN), setting a new standard for making 8K accessible to professional filmmakers.

The WEAPON 8K S35 is the latest option in the WEAPON line of cameras, featuring data speeds up to 300 MB/s, the ability to capture 8K Full Frame motion at up to 60 fps, and a sensor upgrade path to the RED DRAGON 8K VV. It is available for the same price as the WEAPON 6K with RED DRAGON sensor, at $49,500 for the BRAIN.

“From the very beginning, we’ve strived to not only develop the best imaging technology on the planet, but also make it available to as many shooters as possible,” said Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema.  “The WEAPON remains our premier camera--and now comes with the option to either go with the 8K HELIUM sensor or 6K DRAGON sensor. 

“Since we began shipping the EPIC in 2010, it has been the workhorse camera of the industry,” continued Land.  “Our latest camera, the EPIC-W, continues that legacy and features our current-gen DSMC2 form factor as well as the 8K HELIUM sensor.”

RED also announced special pricing on these new cameras for registered RED camera owners--as well as those that have placed a deposit for RED RAVEN and SCARLET-W--starting at $14,500. 

“As RED technology advances, we always strive to give our customers the opportunity to update their gear along the way,” said Land.  “Our pricing for RED owners-only will allow them to move into either an EPIC-W or WEAPON with the 8K HELIUM sensor.”

In related news, RED has pre-announced that it will introduce an improved image processing pipeline, including new color science, in the coming weeks. These improvements will be available in-camera on all BRAINs with a HELIUM sensor, and will be available to all footage shot on RED cameras in postproduction. The new image processing pipeline will be made available soon via free firmware  and software upgrades.     

All of RED’s DSMC2 cameras offer incredible dynamic range, shoot simultaneous REDCODE® RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR recording and adhere to the company’s dedication to OBSOLESCENCE OBSOLETE®--a core operating principle that allows current RED owners to upgrade their technology as innovations are unveiled and move between camera systems without having to purchase all new gear.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016
EuclidIQ to demo IQ264 encoding plugin at Streaming Media West
This "Unified Importance Map" generated by IQ264 shows areas that are more or less interesting to the human eye. Blue areas indicate blocks that are determined to be perceptually unimportant, whereas red areas are where the eye notices quality the most.
CONCORD, Mass. -- 

At Streaming Media West, EuclidIQ®, a provider of video compression products that mimic the human visual system, will announce the immediate availability of IQ264, an encoding plugin that is billed as having significant bandwidth reduction with no perceptible quality loss for any H.264 encoder. As quality of experience on every device from smartphones to smart TVs becomes an ever larger factor in the battle for viewers, traditional and over-the-top distributors of premium content are coming under mounting pressure to find ways to improve encoding efficiency on their MPEG-4 H.264 infrastructures.

Unlike pre- or post-processing optimization technologies that pre-encode or re-encode video files, IQ264 instructs the encoder by providing additional parameters important to the human visual system. IQ264 does this by applying perceptual quality optimization (PQO) to produce improved, standards-compliant H.264 encoding. PQO considers the way the human visual system (HVS) processes video and integrates such considerations into the video encoding process.

“Our IQ264 technology allows content creators and distributors to ‘get more from 264’ by creating the most efficient encode the first time media is encoded,” said Frank Capria, chief product and marketing officer at EuclidIQ. “We believe that pre-treating or re-encoding media to save bandwidth will always result in a loss of quality for users. Giving existing encoders more information about what is important to the eye, and what is not gives a superior result every time.”

One of the secrets to the success of IQ264 is in how EuclidIQ tests its results. For too long, encoding companies and manufacturers have relied on mathematical, objective, testing to measure video quality. The scientists at EuclidIQ have developed a practical, subjective testing methodology that generates meaningful results based on how the human eye perceives video. Armed with this data, EuclidIQ has created technology that enables a video encoder to make better decisions about which aspects of an image can be more heavily compressed and which aspects demand lighter processing to guarantee perceived quality.

“Computers don’t watch video, we do. That is why we use subjective testing with everyday people to confirm our results,” said Nigel Lee, PhD., chief science officer at EuclidIQ. “The most advanced objective metrics fall short of subjective metrics and cannot capture video quality as accurately as subjective metrics. This guarantees that our savings are our customers’ savings.”

IQ264 will be demonstrated at Streaming Media West oi booth 216 at the Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency in California November 1-2.

  • Monday, Oct. 10, 2016
ICG to host drone panel discussion at NAB Show NY
A hexacopter drone is flown during a drone demonstration at a farm and winery on potential use for board members of the National Corn Growers, Thursday, June 11, 2015 in Cordova, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) will host the panel discussion, "Drones...Getting Beyond High, Wide (and Stupid)," at the NAB Show New York, formerly known as Content & Communications World. 

Speaking will be Edward Kostakis, chief pilot and head of aerial operations at Xizmo Media, a boutique production company specializing in aerial cinematography. He has worked on numerous music videos, documentaries, extreme sports events, TV series, commercials and real estate and fashion marketing promotions for clients worldwide.

Joining him will be Maxwell Tubman, founder and chief pilot, Steam Machine Aerial and an sUAS specialist and instructor. He has piloted more than 100 media and entertainment projects over the past six years and his credits include the TV series Mr. Robot, Alpha House and The Blacklist and commercials for car companies such as Honda, Land Rover and Jaguar.

Technologist and ICG business representative Michael Chambliss will be moderating. 

The session will be held on Wednesday, November 9 from 11:15am to 11:45 am, on Inspiration Stage 4, in the Javits Center, lower floor, halls 1A - 1C. Topics will include: drone cinematography as an integral part of the camera department, what producers and crew should consider when planning and executing drone shots; best practices for using drones safely, legally, and reliably; the impact of the latest FAA guidelines; and drones' creative potential for storytellers.

  • Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
Facebook's Oculus to start selling hand controllers
This photo provided by Oculus shows a set of Oculus Touch hand-held controllers, expected to go on sale Dec. 6, 2016. (Oculus via AP)

Facebook says it's working to make virtual reality more social as the industry gets more crowded.

With a host of leading tech companies now selling VR products, Facebook's Oculus division is hoping to distinguish its offerings with more interactive and social experiences. At an event Thursday, the company announced a long-awaited shipping date - Dec. 6 - for its Oculus Touch hand controllers, designed to let users make gestures and grasp virtual objects within the simulated worlds projected by Oculus Rift headsets.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, donned one of those headsets for an onstage demonstration in which he visited Mars, played virtual cards with two other people, then made a video call to his wife while standing in a digital simulation of his living room.

Zuckerberg said his company has invested $250 million to back developers building new games and other virtual-reality programs for Oculus, and is vowing to double that amount. He also said the company is working on a prototype for a mobile VR headset that doesn't have to be linked to a personal computer, which the Oculus Rift requires, while promising a better experience than current headsets powered by smartphones, like those sold by Samsung and Google.

Other Oculus executives showed a host of new virtual-reality games for their platform and new tools for software developers to build programs in which multiple players can interact.

In addition to Zuckerberg, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and other company leaders spoke during a two-hour presentation, but co-founder Palmer Luckey did not appear on stage. Luckey recently made a public apology for donating $10,000 to a political group that boasted of creating negative social media posts about Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Oculus has been showing prototypes of its Touch hand controllers since last year, but started shipping its high-end virtual-reality headsets without them this spring. Gartner tech analyst Brian Blau said the controllers will let people do more with the Oculus system, which should increase consumer interest.

But they won't be cheap. Oculus will sell a pair of controllers, with a sensor device, for $199. Oculus says they're designed to be more comfortable and intuitive than traditional video game controllers, which can be purchased for less than $50.