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20 2017 Jun

Avid VENUE | S6L Powers Red Hot Chili Peppers World Tour

Renowned front-of-house engineer Sean “Sully” Sullivan selects Avid’s flagship live sound system to deliver exceptional sound quality for “The Getaway” World Tour

Avid recently announced that front-of-house engineer, Sean “Sully” Sullivan, has chosen its flagship live sound system, Avid VENUE™ | S6L, to mix front of house for the Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway World Tour. Powered by the MediaCentral® Platform, the most open, tightly integrated, and efficient platform designed for media, Avid VENUE | S6L gives Sully the unrivaled flexibility and performance to meet the demands of one of the biggest tours of the year.

Until now, the Chili Peppers’ tours have been mixed on an analog console, but with the help of sound provider Rat Sound, Sully recently transitioned to the Avid digital live sound system, part of Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to create, distribute and optimize media. A second S6L system is used backstage by recording engineer Jason Gossman, who mixes the recordings the next day before uploading them to the band’s website to be sold as MP3s.

“We can achieve much better results with digital due to the options the architecture provides—you have endless possibilities,” said Sully, who mixes for some of the world’s biggest artists, including Rihanna and the Beck. “My first time hearing the full band was in front of a crowd. The house lights went off and it was time to go. It’s not how I typically like it to go, but since they sent me recordings of shows, the power of S6L’s Virtual Soundcheck made it easy. For me, Virtual Soundcheck is the biggest game-changing event in live sound since the beginning—it’s that big of a deal.”

Sully and Gossman have both been longtime users of Avid VENUE live systems, and immediately appreciated Avid VENUE | S6L’s new preamp design and extended headroom. Sully shared, “Not to say that the Profiles were bad, but the S6Ls are obviously better. That’s where I think the biggest difference is. Avid has upped the game as far as the input quality goes.”

“Every year, our distinguished live sound customers rely on Avid’s powerful tools and workflow solutions to tackle the biggest tours around the world,” said Jeff Rosica, President at Avid. “With Avid VENUE | S6L’s versatility, unmatched integration with Avid Pro Tools®, and cutting-edge capabilities, Sully can provide stellar sound for the Red Hot Chili Peppers tour. That’s why it’s the top choice for the industry’s best live sound engineers.”

Avid VENUE | S6L is a fully modular, flexible live sound mixing system that delivers best-in-class functionality for a range of live sound mixing applications, including front-of-house, monitor, broadcast, theater, and more. Offering unprecedented processing capabilities—with over 300 processing channels—S6L delivers unrelenting performance and reliability through its advanced engine design, backed up by modern touchscreen workflows and the scalability to easily handle large, complex tours and events. Like all Avid VENUE systems, S6L provides seamless Pro Tools integration and on-board industry-standard plug-ins, with higher track counts and more processing power than ever before. With a comprehensive array of network and I/O offerings, users can easily configure the system to meet the demands of any type of show.

20 2017 Jun

Avid Showcases its Latest Innovations at InfoComm 2017

Avid features innovations for seamless immersive audio mixing, fast 4K video workflows, free industry-standard tools for aspiring artists, and more

Avid® is demonstrating innovations to its industry-leading audio and video solutions powered by the MediaCentral® Platform – the industry’s most open and integrated platform designed for media – at InfoComm 2017. Innovations to Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions enable media enterprises, creative professionals, educational institutions and aspiring artists to easily create immersive mixes, access industry-standard tools for free and create content with even more speed, efficiency, and collaboration.

“At InfoComm 2017, we’re demonstrating our latest innovations to help the entire professional AV community—from AV professionals to educators and those just starting their careers—to create, distribute and optimize media,” said Jeff Rosica, President at Avid. “With the transformation of Avid Everywhere™ from vision to reality complete, we’re accelerating the pace of innovation to help our distinguished customer community solve their most critical issues and bring their creative visions to life.”

Innovations on display at the Avid booth include:

  • Dolby Atmos mixing for Pro Tools® | HD and S6
    With deep integration of Dolby Atmos in Pro Tools | HD™  audio post professionals can now create massive multichannel mixes more easily in the industry’s leading immersive audio format for movies, TV shows, music, and video games.
  • Avid Artist | DNxIQ™ to accelerate workflows with 4K monitoring            
    With the powerful new Artist | DNxIQ video interface’s extensive format support, from SD to 4K and Universal Mastering, video professionals can quickly and easily respond to changing content demands and deliver to a wider range of channels and devices.
  • Avid NEXIS® enhancements for even greater speed and efficiency
    Avid NEXIS now offers greater bandwidth scalability and extended workflows with Pro Tools, empowering creative teams with even better speed, efficiency, and collaboration.
  • Media Composer® | First, bringing industry-standard tools to aspiring artists
    Avid Media Composer | First gives aspiring creative professionals, students, and those just starting their professional careers free access to the same creative tools used by the world’s most successful filmmakers and television program creators.
  • Furthering commitment to education
    The new Avid Media Campus program offers a deeper partnership with Avid, and flexible volume licensing and deployment options, to help educators better prepare the next generation of creative talents and media professionals for careers in the media and entertainment industry.
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20 2017 Jun

Ted Harrington on Security in the Industry

by Debra Kaufman

Security has become an area of great concern in the media and entertainment industry, since the Sony hack in 2014. This year, TheDarkOverlord hacked Larson Studio and released most of the fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black,” and later hacked ABC’s “Good Morning America” Twitter accounts. How worried should you be? And what can you do to protect your company? HPA spoke with security expert Ted Harrington, executive partner at Independent Security Evaluators to find out.

Awareness about security is indeed increasing.  It is important to note, however, that the threats to M&E aren’t necessarily increasing, but rather awareness about those threats. These challenges have existed all along. The Sony breach was a catalyzing event that heightened the urgency for organizations to approach security proactively rather than reactively.

Security is a business problem, not just an IT problem, and executives are starting to recognize it as such. Every major attacker category is interested in stealing content assets, and all for different reasons, which makes it an immensely difficult position for defenders to handle. That was actually a primary motivator for Independent Security Evaluators when we committed to working here years ago, because we love solving complex problems.

One of the most crucial cybersecurity areas is surrounding applications.  Adoption of applications is very rapid, and is fundamentally changing the business of content creation and distribution. Applications also entail a vast collection of attack surfaces for adversaries to pursue.

Ransomware has gotten a lot of attention. According to Forbes, cybersecurity firm SonicWall reported about 3.8 million ransomware attacks in 2015, which skyrocketed to 638 million attacks in 2016. The best way to protect against ransomware criminals is proper offsite backup, and it’s critical to note that many organizations don’t set up backups at all. Or if they do, they do so improperly, and so the primary data and the backup data often get compromised in the same event.

Although some people still fear the putting content in the cloud, this fear is irrational. We find that most people fall into one of three categories: irrationally confident in the cloud, irrationally afraid of the cloud, or somewhere in between. We advocate that everyone should be in that third category. A healthy dose of skeptical paranoia combined with a reasoned approach to risk-taking is how executives should consider pretty much any business decision, including whether to adopt cloud services.

Content assets are more at risk in a cloud environment than in physical media, because the attack requirements are lower. However, it is worth noting that the only “unhackable” system is one that is disconnected and buried in concrete – and how usable is that system?  All aspects of any business make tradeoffs, and there are ways to utilize cloud services that are effective in minimizing risk.

The primary risks of utilizing cloud services are the same risks as not using cloud services: exploitable design flaws, exploitable implementation flaws, improper configuration, broken trust models, and so on. Fundamentally, the only difference between cloud and on-premise is that someone else owns the hardware. The manner in which an organization must consider adversaries, architect systems, and protect assets are essentially the same whether or not they own the hardware.  Cloud actually even offers some security upgrades: while the primary tradeoff of utilizing cloud services is that an organization entrusts the data to someone else’s hardware, the benefit return is that the cloud service providers are constantly investing in hardware upgrades, have extreme physical security measures in place, and have the latest and greatest of everything. A company that manages their own equipment on premise usually tends to not invest as heavily or as frequently in upgrades.

All studios require their technology vendors to undergo some sort of security testing prior to approval to access content, and most require the vendors to pay for it. In many cases, all organizations on both sides of that equation do not understand the assessment methodology that is required, and there is usually a drive towards cheap pricing rather than through assessment. But security is not overhead to be reduced, it is a business enabler to be invested in.

Bigger companies tend to be the more common targets, but smaller companies tend to be lesser able to defend themselves or afford adequate security measures. At the same time, smaller companies tend to be the engines of innovation, and the bigger companies (such as the studios) partner heavily with smaller companies (such as many of the technology vendors). Attackers know this. Malicious campaigns are often organized around what is known as a “stepping stone attack,” which is targeted at the smaller vendor companies that have lower defenses but the same access to the extreme valuable content assets. In the event of a compromise, both the small company and the big company thereby get hurt.

Steps companies should take right now to protect themselves are to understand and adhere to principles of secure design. I recently wrote a whitepaper on this topic, which you can read here. My advice is to invest in a proper security assessment, and avoid more cursory approaches like black box penetration testing, automated scaring, or reliance on compliance. Investigate your systems for weaknesses from the perspective of the adversary. Because, whether you do or do not approach your security weaknesses thoroughly, make no doubt about this: the adversaries will.

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19 2017 May

IHSEs Draco KVM Extender Compliant With Intel’s OPS+-Equipped Displays

IHSE created the Draco OPS+ KVM to support the growing number of digital signage and command-and-control installers implementing displays equipped with Intel’s open pluggable specification (OPS+). It is based on IHSE’s Draco Ultra DisplayPort CON extender and features video and USB-HID display components for KVM.

The Draco OPS+ package design is based on OPS+, which Intel created to help standardize the design and development of ultra-high-definition digital signage devices and pluggable media players. It was launched as a way to bring standardization to a highly fragmented media player market. By utilizing an Intel-owned Arria processor and creating a simplified architecture, OPS+ has allowed for more cost-effective design, deployment and management of display devices such as IHSE’s OPS+ KVM.

As large video displays become more centralized to business operations, it becomes more critical that manufactures prioritize what works best for the end users. In many cases, users add a typical KVM extender module to connect the display back to the computer source over long distances. However, current remote extender concepts add an additional box, which increases the amount of cables and power connections needed. This adds an additional layer of hardware maintenance and more possibilities for a security breach. With the pluggable slot design of OPS+, a higher level of security is possible while reducing the need for additional power. By repackaging the Draco ultra console (CON) extender to fit the OPS+ slot, IHSE created a module design that effectively lowers the deployment and field maintenance costs associated with connecting workstations or digital signage over long distances.

From the OPS+ extender CON unit, a duplex fiber cable can increase the distance between the display and source by up to 10 kilometers. By incorporating a KVM matrix switch, multiple OPS+ extender modules can be easily managed over IHSE’s Tera Viewer GUI. The KVM switch’s built-in control methods allow permission-only access to touch-screen displays, podium presentation equipment, or an operator’s workstation before granting access to the CPU.
Normally system installers and users of large video walls are the ones who are looking for affordable and reliable extender solutions that support 4K video and KVM/touch-screen interfaces. Although many commercial enterprises are quickly moving to 4K resolutions, they are still strapped with limited bandwidth access and minimal budgets for upgrading to higher resolutions. However, new compression technologies, such as the Fraunhofer IIS lightweight image coding technology (Lici) used in IHSE’s OPS+ KVM extenders, yield higher color accuracy and improved image quality to overcome the limitations of traditional video compression techniques. IHSE’s new OPS+ Ultra DisplayPort extenders can manage up to full 4K (4:4:4) 60 hertz at 30 bits without latency.

With KVM systems like those from IHSE, it is not necessary to configure OPS+ extender endpoints on the network. Using IHSE’s flex-port technology, users simply connect OPS+ modules to the matrix switch, and the switch automatically configures them for the port assigned. There is no need to create IP-mapping structures, thus eliminating the need for IP addressing of each OPS+ device. As future displays are added, a technician can simply attach an OPS+ module to an open port on the KVM switch and be operational in minutes.

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19 2017 May

IHSE’s New Draco vario Extenders Support SDI Signal Formats

IHSE’s Draco vario KVM/SDI converters advance the capabilities of SDI-to-computer video by automatically detecting the input video format and instantly changing between SDI broadcast formats to high-definition DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort computer video formats. Traditionally KVM and broadcast systems have been considered isolated architectures, but now with IHSE’s new 486 Series, these different architectures can be shared and configured under a single matrix system. The Draco vario KVM/SDI extenders are used in TV studio, postproduction, digital cinema or audio-visual applications in which users need to show digital video from an HDMI source on a professional SDI monitor, or input an SDI source for preview and monitoring purposes through a KVM switch connected to a computer display.

KVM has become much more important for broadcast-related system design because of the increased adoption of digital video servers and computers throughout the broadcast ecosystem. As system designers continue to integrate server-based architectures for editing and playback options, they must configure systems using traditional human interface devices, such as a keyboard and mouse from each workstation. However, KVM is usually considered part of the backroom network services, so many of the latest features of a professional KVM system are missed during the original design phase.

A key benefit of the Draco vario KVM/SDI extender is its ability to connect directly to a KVM matrix switch. Previously, creating an SDI-to-HDMI conversion required a secondary converter box connected to the KVM extender. In this scenario, each display or source connection required additional cabling, power and a converter unit, thus doubling the unit cost and maintenance concerns. With the Draco vario KVM/SDI, the conversion to and from the extenders happens inside the same module, thereby reducing power consumption and cabling and eliminating the need for extra power outlets or module placement.

Video scaling and deinterlacing is included in the SDI extender, enabling conversion as required between 720p50/60 or 1080i50/60 SDI video streams and digital formats including 1080p, 1600 x 900 and 1920 x 1200. This capability ensures that the appropriate video resolution is available to suit the connected monitor. SFP modules are available to suit dual-input and dual-output configurations. In addition, the extender supports a loopback option, enabling an SDI signal to be passed on to additional SDI devices while being input into the extender for KVM distribution.

There are two models available: the L486 model that converts SDI input signals to IHSE’s flex-port technology for integration to a KVM matrix switch, and the R486 model that converts flex-port technology to SDI for connecting broadcast-style monitors. Each model offers optional redundant flex-port connections that can be used for critical-path applications where a backup system is desired or where a source needs to be shared between two separate switch systems. This capability enables an uninterrupted connection during maintenance, a backup system in fully redundant or missional-critical environments, or the ability to share CPU sources between multiple KVM systems.

Both the L486 and R486 models support optical fiber connections between the extenders and KVM matrix, and can extend video, keyboard and mouse up to distances of 10 kilometers on each side of the matrix. Often it is necessary to run a second cable to a different matrix in case the main input is lost. With an optional extender that adds dual-port links for redundancy, these converters can automatically switch over to the second input­­––a great option for operations that cannot afford to lose a signal or go off air.

 

19 2017 May

Industry Accolades for Avid Customers at BAFTA® Television Awards

British Academy of Film & Television Arts honors the creative professionals behind British television’s most captivating programs

Avid® congratulates its award-winning and nominated customers for their outstanding achievements at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards, hosted by the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA®).

The awards recognize the very best in television broadcast on British screens in 2016 with the most prestigious British television industry accolade. With projects brought to life with industry-standard tools from the Avid Artist Suite nominated across multiple categories, Avid talent was of the highest caliber in the 2017 shortlist.

Many of Britain’s most respected creative professionals relied on Avid’s comprehensive tools for media creation to deliver a catalog of compelling and unforgettable programming. They used tools like the preeminent nonlinear editing system Avid Media Composer® and the industry-standard digital audio software Avid Pro Tools®, powered by the MediaCentral® Platform—the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media.

Documentary series 24 Hours in Police Custody follows the trials and tribulations of the British police force, and was nominated in the Factual Series category. Brought to screens by The Garden Productions, the series was cut on Media Composer by post house Evolutions TV.

“With such a high caliber of television content creators nominated, it’s a privilege to be nominated for a BAFTA for the work we completed on 24 Hours in Police Custody,” said Simon Kanjee, Managing Director of Evolutions TV. “Media Composer is vital when our customers edit and it gives us the freedom to work at the speed our customers require to meet demand.”

The majority of nominees for the BAFTA TV Award for Soap and Continuing Drama, including iconic British soap operas EastEnders and winner Emmerdale, also relied on Media Composer. In the Drama series category, another award-winning project crafted with Avid solutions was the critically acclaimed BBC drama series, Happy Valley, which explores the grittier, darker side of everyday British society.

“Avid’s industry-leading solutions have enabled our distinguished customer community of the UK’s most talented, creative storytelling professionals to connect with their audiences more efficiently, powerfully and collaboratively,” said Avid President, Jeff Rosica. “We congratulate everyone involved on their outstanding achievements and we look forward to seeing the work that they and their peers create for all of our enjoyment in the future.”

Other award-nominated projects that relied on Avid creative tools include entertainment programming like Strictly Come Dancing and sports productions like Six Nations: England v Wales.

 

19 2017 May

Drone Cinematography

Drone usage has become a staple in cinematic television production. Each new innovation brings new decisions to be made by producers, directors, cinematographers, and drone operators. Join Michael Chambliss of Local 600 and a panel of experts as they discuss how the latest drone technology is driving innovation in television production quality, safety, and reliability.

Friday June 2, 12:30-1:30 PM Paramount Theater

Panelists:

Rodney Charters, ASC Cinematographer (The Last Ship, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, 24)

Decker Watson, Executive Producer/Showrunner, Deadliest Catch

Ernie Montagna – Drone Operator, Original Productions (Deadliest Catch, Bering Sea Gold)

Deran Sarafian, Director / Producer (Rosewood, The Strain, Rush, House M.D)

Chad Daring, Drone Pilot (Rosewood)

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19 2017 May

AMIA Presents Spotlight Award at DAS 2017

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) presented Dr. James Hendler with the AMIA Spotlight Award on May 5 during the organization’s Digital Asset Symposium in New York. The Spotlight Award is given in recognition of significant contributions to the organization or to the field of media preservation and access. Dr. Hendler’s visionary role in creating access to diverse content through semantic technologies and machine learning led to the AMIA Board’s decision to honor his accomplishments.

Dr. Hendler is the director of the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, and the Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also serves as a director of the UK’s charitable Web Science Trust. A highly respected author and expert, Hendler has written over 350 books, technical papers and articles in the areas of semantic web, artificial intelligence, agent-based computing and high performance processing. His most recent book is Social Machines: The coming collision of artificial intelligence, social networking and humanity.

“Dr. Hendler’s pioneering work with semantic web, artificial intelligence and open data have been invaluable to our field and will continue to inspire and define the expanding universe of digital moving image archives,” said AMIA President Andrea Kalas. “We are indebted to him – he has helped content and metadata be available for researchers of today and dreamers of tomorrow.”

An originator of the “semantic web,” Hendler received the 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship and is a former member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board, and a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, the IEEE, and the AAAS. He is also the former chief scientist of the Information Systems Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a U.S. Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. In 2012, he was one of the inaugural recipients of the Strata Conference “Big Data” awards for his work on large-scale, open government data. Hendler also serves as a columnist and associate editor of Big Data, a peer-reviewed industry journal that provides a unique forum for world-class research in this growing field. In 2013, he was appointed Open Data Advisor to New York State, and in 2015 he was selected to serve on the U.S. Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee. Last year, Hendler became a member of the National Academies Board on Research Data and Information.

AMIA is a non-profit professional association established to advance the field of media archiving by fostering cooperation among individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, description, preservation, exhibition and use of audiovisual materials. AMIA’s members range from those who work solely with moving images to organizations where media elements are only a small part of their collection and individuals who want to protect their personal collection (home movies, small gauge or video), as well as film buffs concerned with losing our visual heritage.

 

19 2017 May

ICG CineGear Panel: Telling Stories with LED Lights

Cinematographers have a new creative tool in their arsenal: high quality LED lighting sources. LEDs offer greater flexibility, control and reliability. The lights can be hidden discreetly under a table, wrapped around a pole and even floated (hung). LEDs enable greater subtlety and precision, they open the door to new kinds of lighting schemas and new ways to design and control color palettes.

Hear from leading cinematographers and gaffers discussing how they work with off-the-shelf products, custom built sources and lighting programmers to finesse traditional looks and to explore new visual territory. Learn about their artful use of LEDs to convey mood, character and plot points on highly regarded motion picture and TV projects.

Saturday, June 3, 10:15 AM-11:30 AM at the Sherry Lansing Theater

Panel participants Include:

Mike Bauman, Gaffer; Phantom Thread, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 2

Ronald Dragosh, Gaffer; Chicago Justice, Chicago PD

Jess Hall, BSC, Director of Photography; Ghost in the Shell, Transcendence, The Spectacular Now

Erik Messerschmidt, Director of Photography & Gaffer; Mindhunter (DP), Gone Girl (Gaffer), Fantastic Four (Gaffer)

Rachel Morrison, ASC, Director of Photography; Black Panther, Dope, Fruitvale Station

Steven Poster, ASC, Director of Photography; Amityville: The Awakening, Southland Tales, Donnie Darko

James Plannette, Gaffer; The Artist, The Adjustment Bureau, Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic

Lisa Wiegand, ASC, Director of Photography; Chicago Justice, American Crime, Chicago Fire (pilot, Seasons 1-3)

 Moderator:

Michael Chambliss, Technologist & Business Representative, International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 600

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19 2017 May

“VFX for Episodic – Magic on the Small Screen” at Disney on June 1 at 7pm

Join VES for an insider’s look into Episodic VFX and meet the leaders who are changing the landscape of TV and VFX.

The evening includes:

  • Overview of the current landscape, the trajectory of the business and the opportunities
  • Panel of Pros, including those who make it happen (VFX and compositing supervisors, producers and VFX coordinators) and production studio executives who discuss the meteoric growth, their challenges, their goals
  • Refreshments, beer/wine and networking!

The event is open to all (just $25 for non-VES members; free to VES members).  Register Here