Stay in Touch via Social Networks

Home → Archives → Category → HPA Newsline
22 2018 May

Avid Transforms TV News Production for RTS Senegal Africa


Senegalese national public broadcaster modernizes its newsrooms with a new infrastructure based on the MediaCentral platform for faster, more efficient and streamlined news production

Avid® recently announced that RTS, a public news broadcaster in Senegal, has transformed its infrastructure by standardizing on the Avid MediaCentral® platform in combination with Avid newsroom and graphics tools. This solution enables RTS’ four national television networks to engage viewers with state-of-the-art graphics supported by faster, more efficient and more timely news story creation and delivery.

Headquartered in Dakar, RTS broadcasts across four TV channels. With an outdated architecture that was cumbersome and resource-heavy, RTS turned to Avid and its distribution partner, Studiotech, to completely overhaul its two news studios. By standardizing their end-to-end news production workflow on MediaCentral, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, RTS is now seamlessly supporting HD and SD formats in a highly adaptable, fast-turnaround environment.

“We needed a system that would reduce time-to-air, free up our staff for more creative work and help us grow without a lot of additional expenditure,” said Boubou Sall, Director of New Technologies, RTS Senegal. “Avid did that and more, with an integrated ecosystem that eliminated our siloed approach and enabled us to better meet the demands of news production today.”

RTS invested in newsroom and graphics tools for a collaborative news broadcast workflow solution for the creation, distribution and optimization of its news content. RTS chose the Media Composer® | NewsCutter® option, which integrates directly with MediaCentral | Newsroom Management to provide RTS with a familiar, yet sophisticated, toolset that helps users tell compelling stories. Serving as the dynamic nerve center of content creation and distribution, MediaCentral | Newsroom Management allows RTS Senegal to create and deliver news to multiple platforms.

To streamline media production, RTS chose Avid FastServe | Ingest file-based workflow orchestration; Avid AirSpeed® | 5500 broadcast video server; and MediaCentral | Production Management, which manages content creation, automates workflows, and enhances teamwork. Collaboration is also at the core of RTS’ storage, as the Avid NEXIS® software-defined storage platform allows the team to streamline, expand and accelerate workflows as necessary in real time. To modernize its studio and on-air look, RTS adopted Avid Maestro™ | Designer to generate on-air graphics and display impressive large scale, high resolution content on its studio video walls.

“As a member of our global customer community, RTS knew we could deliver a new story-centric workflow that could be easily integrated and deployed across its sites to elevate the throughput and efficiency of its 150-strong production team,” said Tom Cordiner, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Avid. “RTS’ MediaCentral-based newsroom infrastructure provides modern efficiencies that facilitate collaboration, maximize productivity and help them better meet the exacting demands of today’s competitive news environment.”


Read More
22 2018 May

Ford F‑150 and Big Block use DaVinci Resolve Studio on New 2018 Campaign

Blackmagic Design announced recently that DaVinci Resolve Studio was used on Ford’s latest 2018 F-150 campaign, produced by Big Block and agency GTB, with colorist Brandon Chavez and Director Paul Trillo.

Noted for their visually rich and fast-paced spots, Ford’s marketing concept, that their vehicles are not just always raising the bar, but that they are the bar, is reflected heavily in the commercials themselves. Each campaign presents multiple viewpoints of that familiar tag line, and the 2018 campaign was no exception. This year, spots titled “Brainiac,” “Law,” and “Quarterback” each required their own look, while maintaining the Ford style.

The biggest challenge, according to Chavez, was finding a way to enhance the well established look of Ford’s innovative ads. “Finding the look is always my favorite part of the process because it requires putting together multiple ideas and considerations into one execution. In the case of this Ford campaign it was a collaborative effort between Paul Trillo, Agency Creative Director Beth Hambly and myself.”

Chavez and the director chose not to force a look, but rather embrace what was captured in camera naturally. From there, Chavez remained cognizant that each spot would have unifying traits built into the grade, while still respecting the environments. “When I start any session I make it a point to give the creative team options; varying levels of contrast, different color temperatures, etc. In the end the team gravitated towards something that looked distinct but did not alter the natural color of the paint of each truck.”

Chavez used hero pack shots of the trucks as they looked for different color options, selecting their final look from there. “I’m the kind of colorist who believes there are multiple ways we can push things and we should explore those ideas before deciding, and we all gravitated towards the look we ended up using.”

Each Ford spot also required extensive CG elements, time warps and compositing, all with the added challenge of a quick delivery. “As always we had a huge amount of shots that needed effects work in a very short 6 week schedule,” said Kenny Solomon, Managing Director at Big Block. “And since we were linking up so many live action plates without motion control, we had to use all of the tricks of the trade from compositing to CG transitions.”

Some elements needed would only appear on screen for as little as one second, but Big Block insisted on staying true to Trillo’s vision.

Chavez heavily utilized DaVinci Resolve’s tracker both to isolate specific areas in motion, such as windows, but also to integrate a wide range of visual effects that are a part of each spot. “Car commercials are uniquely challenging with all of the movement that takes place within each frame,” said Chavez. “Unlike still photography where you can shape light wherever and however you see fit, here you have to be able to control it as it moves. With the type of camera movements that took place within this campaign, there was a lot of compensating adjustments made throughout!”

Big Block Managing Director Kenny Solomon described the process of collaboration with agency GTB as a dream. “We truly appreciate clients that embrace our creativity, as much as we embrace their brand awareness. GTB was a true partner on the F-150 spots, from development through finish.”

Big Block is no stranger to high end clients, touting regular work with such heavy weight brands as ESPN, Geico and Under Armour, to name a few. But the Ford campaign is something they are especially proud of. “Every Ford spot is such an imaginative process, all put together to make a very strong brand statement,” said Solomon. “Color was paramount in this process and having Resolve in house with the ability to bounce back and forth between edit, Resolve and comp was indispensable.”


22 2018 May

American Cinema Editors Announces Timeline for Applications to its Fall Internship Program for Aspiring Film Editors

ACE LogoApplications have opened for recent college graduates to apply for the American Cinema Editors (ACE) Fall internship program for aspiring film editors.  The program is designed to offer motivated individuals interested in editing a unique opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals.  Applications close on June 30.  No late applications will be accepted.  All applicants are reviewed by the selection committee and ten finalists are invited to interview with the committee.  Two applicants will ultimately be chosen to participate in the Fall Internship program which helps recent graduates with a passion to work in post production get a foot in the door, observing accomplished assistant editors and editors working in film and television as well as participating in ACE events.  The Fall program kicks off with a lecture series in October that all applicants are invited to attend to hear editors and assistant editors speak on a number of topics relative to breaking into the field and real world knowledge of the art and business of film editing.  For additional information on the program visit

The ACE Internship program was launched in 1992 by ACE member Bill Gordean, ACE.  Once it was up and running, he enlisted the help of Lori Coleman, ACE and Diana Friedberg, ACE who, as co-directors, guided and nurtured the program to becoming one of the most successful internship programs in the entertainment industry.  Coleman and Friedberg recently handed the role of co-directors over to two former ACE interns:  Tyler Nelson (“Mindhunter”), who graduated the program in 2006 and Carsten Kurpanek (“Benji”) who graduated in 2008, both of whom have gone on to successful careers in the field and are excited to take the program into the future. “As former ACE interns ourselves, we know first hand the value that this opportunity can bring to someone who dreams of becoming a film editor,” stated Nelson and Kurpanek. “We’re grateful for the dedication of Bill, Lori and Diana to fostering new talent and we are honored to continue their legacy of education, opportunity and mentorship.”

Since its inception, over 50 interns have graduated from the program, many of whom have gone on to make their mark in the editing field including Joi McMillon, ACE who earned the distinction of becoming the first African-American woman to be Oscar® nominated in the film editing category in 2017 for her work co-editing Oscar® best picture winner “Moonlight.”  The highly effective program boasts numerous success stories from early graduates currently working as film editors including Julia Wong, ACE (“X-Men: The Last Stand” and the upcoming “Valley Girl”), Brandi Bradburn, ACE (“This is Us”), Hunter Via, ACE (“The Walking Dead”) and Mark Hartzell (“Lost in Space”) and many working as assistant editors such as Alfonso Carrion (“House of Cards”), Susana Benaim (“The Chi”), Ben Murphy (“The LEGO Batman Movie”), Gretchen Schroeder (“Avatar 2”), Laura Zempel (“Room 104”) and Amelia Allwarden (“Westworld”), among many others.



22 2018 May

AMIA President Dennis Doros on the Role of Media Preservation in a Changing Landscape

Dennis Doros

Dennis Doros, co-owner of Milestone Films, was elected president of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in October of 2017. We asked him to sit down with HPA for a Q&A about the organization and its role in our community.

1. AMIA sits at the cross section of a number of critical activities in media. As in every part of the content lifecycle, things are changing. What do you see as the role of AMIA in this dynamic landscape?

AMIA’s strength is the diversity of roles our members play in the field of moving image preservation. Unlike other associations that defined who could join — and who could not — from its inception, AMIA welcomed everyone interested in the preservation of the moving image. As a result, our members include professionals working at for-profit and nonprofit archives, movie studios, distribution companies, educational institutions, labs, libraries, storage facilities, computer programming firms, and film theatres. Bringing together this diversity of experience and expertise is critical to the ability to embrace new technologies and the continuing challenges of analog media.

Our members have expertise and are actively engaged in every aspect of the content lifecycle, from creation through preservation, restoration, and exhibition.

AMIA’s mandate has always been to foster friendship and collaboration between our members and in this we have succeeded tremendously. As a result, we are the primary post-education resource for moving image preservation and more importantly, we are the premiere think tank for our field. Through our conferences, events, journal, symposiums, and webinars, AMIA members not only come up with the solutions for today’s problems, but are the first to come up with tomorrow’s questions.

2. Can you help the reader understand the difference between restoration, preservation, DAM — and those buzzwords that muddle understanding of what AMIA may be all about?

To me, it is fairly simple. Preservation is the effort to ensure long-term access to original materials – to retard the disintegrating effects of light, temperature and environment in analog materials and to ensure the management and maintenance of authenticated digital content. Restoration involves bringing a moving image back to its original state when it was first seen, whether that moving image asset is analog or digital. Digital Assets Management is the combined effort to store digital materials and define them through metadata so they can be easily recalled now and in the future. Marketing tends to confuse the issues and I would love AMIA to be the leader in our field to educate the public.

3. How did you become involved with AMIA, and how did you come to the presidency?

I came into the film world completely by accident — the president of the film society at Ohio University had shown a trailer for Emmanuelle 3 to a family audience and the Dean of the arts department (Maya Lin’s father) quickly chose me to replace him. I had absolutely no experience in film. At that time, I was getting my major in television production of the arts and a minor in dance history. Over the next 38 years, I have built my career simply by saying yes and being open to challenges.

I got my start in film restoration by volunteering to put together Erich von Stroheim’s Queen Kelly while working at Kino International in the mid-1980s. The success of the film and resulting worldwide publicity established my reputation, but also made me a pariah to a number of the older archivists who resented not only the media coverage but my position working for a for-profit company. By the time I joined AMIA and attended my first annual conference in 1998, my wife Amy Heller and I had already run Milestone Films for eight years. At that first conference I learned that the world had completely changed — thanks entirely to the efforts of AMIA. I was delighted to learn that now I was accepted as a valued member of the community. The archives now wanted to work with us. I immediately found friendships that have lasted for more than two decades.

AMIA-Logo-17-350After attending as a member for several years, I decided that I needed to give back to this incredible organization. I started my AMIA volunteering modestly by helping to move chairs for a panel and doing anything the AMIA office needed, when I had some free time. When AMIA asked me to run for election to the Board of Directors, I said yes again, and I served three two-year terms. Here’s the funny part. After my third term, the AMIA Board gave me a retirement pen with my name on it. Then, two years ago, I was honored to receive the William S. O’Farrell Volunteer Award for significant contributions to AMIA and to the field. I truly believed that I had done my service and could sit back and let others have the pleasure of serving. So it took me by surprise when I was asked last year to run for president. I sat down with my wife (and Milestone partner) Amy, and our 22-year-old son Adam and discussed it.

The AMIA presidency is a big investment of time — often two to three hours a day — along with a fair amount of domestic and international travel. It came down to the question of how much I could contribute to AMIA’s progress. So, over the weekend, I wrote down the programs and ideas I would like to try to implement if I were elected. I have been very political in my life and in my work (among other things, Milestone is very proud of its inclusive catalog and our efforts in the indie film world to pay interns a decent wage) and I have seen recent world developments as a concern to my field. Furthermore, I wanted to create an atmosphere where members would spearhead the future of AMIA and where everybody has an equal stake in the organization. So I did run, I was fortunate to be elected, and to now be part of an active and hard-working board. I have stressed from day one that as president of AMIA, I work for the Board, and the Board works for the membership.

4. What do you see as the critical challenges that are facing the individuals and companies who are working with and managing content — both now and in the future? and, part B to this question in light of your global role: Is it the same globally or are different regions faced with different challenges?

Our challenges remain the same — the resources to properly preserve, restore, and exhibit our moving image heritage.

I think in recent years, we also realize that we are facing real challenges from the natural environment — including the floods in Bangkok that threatened the Thai film archive, the fires in the Bay Area of California that destroyed the Packard archive (and another that came far too close to the UCLA Film and Television Archives in Santa Clarita), and the earthquake last year that did terrible damage to the archives in Mexico. Milestone’s own video archive came under threat during Superstorm Sandy and we are very thankful to the incredible people at Iron Mountain who stayed through that terrible night and ensured that everybody’s material remained safe.

We have also witnessed the rise of intolerance that has destroyed archives and ancient monuments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. AMIA is a global organization with a thousand members from more thirty countries, and as caretakers of cultural heritage we see the threats all around the world. AMIA members are all faced with financial and political challenges that endanger our collections, but as an organization we must recognize and seek ways to help those threatened by with crises and limited resources and work to help them. We are in the midst of restructuring our Advocacy Committee so that it now reports directly to the Board, enabling AMIA to react faster to situations— whether they are at school in Detroit or a national archive in another part of the world. We are also looking to find ways to bring more international archivists to our conference and events so we can share experiences and ideas. AMIA’s participation as part of the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archive Associations (, and the international Archives at Risk program, is an extension of our belief that audiovisual preservation is an international concern.

5. What are the most exciting technologies you see impacting your work and the work of AMIA members?

Our field has made incredible technological advances since I first entered it in 1981. Back then, no one could have predicted that most film restoration would be digitally accomplished, that you could have a Petabyte of digital storage on a bookshelf, and there would be schools around the world to teach the art of moving image preservation. But I am most excited about the advances in the building of sophisticated facilities to preserve our audiovisual heritage, such as the PHI Stoa and UCLA Film and Television Archive. Many of the new facilities built around the world in the past few years have featured ideas that have proven to be radically important additions to our knowledge.

6. What do you see as the job of the future in terms of archives/archivists?

I am continuously amazed at the abilities and interests of our members. I’ve always joked that an archivist is a librarian with a fedora and a whip, but I’m afraid that the Indiana Jones reference severely dates me! One thing that I think separates AMIA from other archivist organizations is our individualism and sense of rebellion. Quite a few AMIA members have gone out and started their own archives — saving thousands of moving images! I don’t know that you would find the same entrepreneurial and activist spirit anywhere else. I think that archives and archivists of the future will need to combine the roles of explorer, student, curator, scientist, gleaner, politician, and show people. The future of our AMIA archivists is activism and we will continue to fight the good fight.

Read More
22 2018 May

Asa Shoul On Digital Coloring

In 2017, digital colorist Asa Shoul was honored with the HPA Award for Outstanding Color Grading – Television for the 2016 “Smoke and Mirrors” episode of Molinare Studio’s hit The Crown, which streams on Netflix. He spoke to HPA Newsline about his career as a colorist, the evolution of technology and his advice to young people eyeing a career in the digital color suite.

Shoul has graded a long list of high-profile films, from the recent Baby Driver, Isle of Dogs and Annihilation to, early in his career, Love Actually, The Constant Gardener, and United 93. His path to becoming a colorist began before college, when he discovered a passion for photography. “I basically lived in my dark room at home for a year and used to cut shapes from cardstock to hide or reveal areas within a photo when printing,” he says. A few years later, he was working as an assistant editor at Framestore when it bought a Rank Cintel MK-III telecine, “It had some of the first very simple shape tools, and I realized that this was similar to what I’d been doing in the darkroom,” he says. “I switched from editing to telecine and never looked back.”

In those early days, to create “strange and interesting looks,” he introduced items such as candy wrappers, combs, and shards of glass in the film gate. “I also used a video mixer to combine layers of images or key and soften highlights,” he recalls. “Although it’s now all digital, I still love to experiment by finding new ways to play with an image, such as combining different grades through shapes or keys, as you might Photoshop layers.”

At Framestore, Shoul began using the Baselight grader from London-based FilmLight. “I had a hand in its development, mainly through requesting features,” he says. “Because the grading is usually the last thing to be done, and time pressure is enormous, we often receive VFX very late and might not have time for fixes or further revisions. We developed techniques on Baselight to be able to ‘fix’ or ‘help’ the VFX.” Now, says Shoul, the digital colorist often does “the bulk of the smaller VFX work in the grade.” “We might paint out a satellite dish in a period film or do some beauty work on an actor’s tired eyes or blend in smoke or stars in a shot,” he says. “We also work closely with the VFX vendors to see if we can take on some of their work if required.”

Shoul started off grading commercials, pop promos and TV, and then evolved into feature films. In his feature film work, Shoul says he loves sci-fi and period pieces. He is currently working on the Ralph Fiennes-directed “The White Crow,” set in 1970s Paris and Russia and shot on 16mm film. “It just looks wonderful before I do anything to it,” he says. With the rise of high-quality TV series, Shoul also found himself returning to grading TV programs, beginning with HBO’s Generation Kill. “It was the first time we approached a TV program – in fact a series – in the same way that we had a feature film,” he says.

With every project, he likes to be involved from the script stage. “With the filmmakers, we discuss various ideas and approaches and pass references back and forth,” he says. He’s also involved in tests for hair, make-up and costumes. For The Crown, for example, cinematographer Adriano Goldman and Shoul carried out extensive make-up tests. “Adriano and I would grade the tests with our desired look and then make JPEGs for makeup to view,” he explains. “Once approved we’d make LUTs for production to use during filming and for dailies.”

When Shoul starts the final grade, the cinematographer isn’t always available, having moved on to the next project. “We might do a ‘color bible’ day when the production is still editing, or do a remote session where I’m in London and they’re in a grading theater somewhere else in the world watching me work,” he says, noting that he and director Wes Anderson did exactly that for Isle of Dogs. “When you have a good relationship with a cinematographer, after a few collaborations, you get a kind of shorthand of what they want or don’t like, and it feels very natural and easy,” he adds. “With new clients, it can take a day or so for me to see an image through their eyes. I have to learn the way they see or like an image to be.”

For young people with a yen to become a digital colorist, Shoul advises they go to art galleries and photographic bookshops and watch as many films from different eras as possible. “Look at where your eye is drawn to and how the artist/photographer has achieved this,” he says. “Try and emulate this in Photoshop or a grading system. Take an image and try to change it to feel like dawn, then sunset, then happy and of course, romantic. Take an image to the breaking point and then see where you feel the image wants to sit, where it feels natural and unforced.” To get a first job, he recommends grading film school student projects for free, to build a reel.



25 2018 Apr

Testronic Expands Film & TV Operations in New Bangkok Office; Operations will focus on Film, Television and Games

Testronic logo 500Testronic, the leader in quality assurance (QA), localization services and compliance for the film, television and games industries, has opened an office in Bangkok, Thailand, solidifying its expansion into the Asia film, television, and games market.  The Thailand office adds to the company’s existing sites in the US, UK, and Poland. Lily Gavin-Allen has been appointed as head of Business Development to lead the new push into the territory. Gavin-Allen brings extensive experience in the Asia market as a business development and localization specialist.

In North America and Europe, Testronic is a trusted provider of localization and QA services specializing in film and television, and games. In expanding into APAC, Testronic will offer FQA and content testing to the new breed of film and TV distribution platforms and content creators, both in Asia and with distribution in the region. Jason Gish, senior VP and GM of US Operations commented, “We are excited about the opportunity to service the film and TV clients in the region. As a myriad of new companies enter the marketplace, Testronic is ready to partner with them to ensure quality of that content across Asian territories as we do in our global operations.”

The Bangkok office will also serve the Asia-Pacific market, which has been the dominant region in the global games industry for many years. The growth in the Chinese mobile games sector in particular is further consolidating the region’s importance as a market. “This is another significant move for Testronic,” concluded CEO Dominic Wheatley. “Last year, Testronic expanded its testing unit in Warsaw whilst the London and Burbank offices also saw expansion. Opening our Asia office is a logical next step.”

Gavin-Allen commented on her new role, “I am excited to be joining Testronic at such a pivotal time for the industry. “With the Asia market expanding into the Western market, and vice versa, Testronic is perfectly positioned to provide a bridge between the two.”

Gish concluded, “Testronic has 20 years of experience in this industry, and the office in Bangkok is another step in growing our services to serve the global film and television community at the highest level.”

The Bangkok office is located at 571 RSU Tower (Unit 903), Soi Sukhumvit 31, Sukhumvit Road, Klongton Nuea, Wattana.




25 2018 Apr

Pixelogic Announces Digital Cinema Services

pixelogicPixelogic the innovative and fully integrated provider of localization and distribution services, has unveiled plans to deliver global digital cinema services this summer. The company will launch these services with a total of 12 projector-lit screening rooms within its Burbank and London locations. Digital cinema expansion to its Culver City, CA and Cairo facilities are planned for later in 2018 with further expansion planned in 2019.

Pixelogic digital cinema capabilities will enable full end-to-end management of assets and deliverables for studio and independent customers. “We have built proprietary, custom technologies to serve our clients and their projects in the most advanced and effective way,” noted Andy Scade, senior vice president and general manager of Pixelogic’s Worldwide Digital Cinema Services, “and that is what our expanded digital cinema capabilities are designed to do from the ground up – bring technological excellence, innovation and efficiency to the process.”

The screening theaters will support a variety of immersive audio formats and will also be equipped with the latest laser projector technology supporting 4k and HDR capabilities. Specific technology partnerships will be announced soon.

Pixelogic’s digital cinema mastering capabilities and KDM (Key Delivery Message) fulfillment services are built on the company’s proprietary operating platform which was developed internally to accelerate the process from script to screen – solving for speed, quality and security.

“Our operating platform is a powerful and integrated content ecosystem incorporating the entire supply chain process: localization and end-to-end mastering for digital cinema, online delivery platforms and physical media,” added Scade. “End-to-end is the key theme throughout our platform, which includes vital capabilities such as the management of assets, schedules, workflows, deliveries, verifications and content review/approval.”

24 2018 Apr

Oscar Nominee, BAFTA Winner Paul Machliss, ACE to Keynote HPA Creative Tech UK

HPA Creative Tech UK, the not-to-be-missed event in London on 27 June, will feature a keynote conversation with Paul Machliss, ACE. Machliss’ work on 2017’s critically acclaimed Baby Driver earned him a BAFTA Award, a Critics’ Choice Award, and an Academy Award nomination. Other accolades include nominations from the ACE Eddie Awards, Satellite Awards, Gold Derby Awards and more for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Hour.  During the keynote session, Machliss will focus on his approach to editing as well as his use of previsualization and other technical advances which help further storytelling.

Richard Welsh, chair of HPA Creative Tech UK, said, “Paul’s work on critically acclaimed Baby Driver was stunning, and the movie has become an instant classic. We are delighted to have him join us at HPA Creative Tech UK. We look forward to learning about his approach to those riveting scenes as well as his perspective on the tools and technologies that are changing the cutting room.  His technical acumen, combined with his immense creative talent, make him an engaging speaker for our audience.”

Born in Melbourne, Australia Machliss began his career in production, segueing to the editing room where he worked on numerous TV series such as the iconic IT Crowd, Fleabag, Fungus the Bogeyman, Black Books, Edgar Wright’s television series Spaced, and Peep Show, among many others. Machliss has numerous credits in comedy and music, including projects with Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, New Order, and Diana Krall, to name but a few. In addition to Baby Driver, his feature credits include Man Up, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World’s End.  Machliss is currently at work on Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would be King, scheduled for release in March 2019.

Here is a 6 minute clip of Paul’s amazing work on Baby Driver.

HPA Creative Tech UK takes place at the gorgeous Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London. Registration is now open at


24 2018 Apr

A Deep Dive into AI at HPA Creative Tech UK 2018

By Debra Kaufman

HPA Creative Tech UK convenes in London on June 27 with a program focused on navigating the frontier of media and technology. Finishing the day’s engaging sessions will be a panel on artificial intelligence, with Arvato project manager Yvonne Thomas and FeedForward AI co-founder/director of business strategy Lydia Gregory. Prior to co-founding FeedForward AI, Gregory was head of growth for an AI music startup and Thomas, an engineer, worked at the EBU where she was involved in 3DTV, UHDTV and other standardizations. We sat down with Thomas and Gregory to get a preview of their perspectives on AI.

Thomas notes thatAI is not a new topic. “But it’s the moment when AI services become more mature and reliable,” she says. “Together with open APIs and advanced software, it’s actually easy to integrate and use those AI services.” Gregory adds that AI is getting proficient at such tasks as object recognition. Because AI solutions are mostly hosted in the cloud, they allow for easy scability and accessibility, she says. But, because AI is new, organizations using AI solutions need specialists, who are hard to find and expensive, to operate their systems. “Since the AI results are not yet 100 percent accurate, training the system is an on-going job,” Gregory adds. “AI must be considered a part of the system landscape. If the system can’t handle or visualize AI data, AI services are of very low value.”

Thomas points out that the media and entertainment industry can benefit from several AI use cases, including using video-centric analytics to enrich metadata to find content more precisely and faster, which helps to monetize it. “Second, AI can be used for predictions, meaning that a server can be repaired before it even breaks down, because AI can predict a failure down time,” she says. “This not only reduces costs but also increases the reliability of a system, especially in a 24/7 operation. Third, AI can increase the level of security by identifying a hack attack early and preventing its continuation.”

An example of the first use case is Arvato’s MAM system, says Thomas, who is its product manager. “Metadata enrichment is essential for a MAM, so that its users can work even more efficiently,” she points out. “The data-based services we currently use focus on video analytics, including face recognition, speech-to-text, lipsync extraction, scene detection and so on.”

Likewise, FeedForward AI has just released, a solution for intuitive audio search. “To find the right track for a video soundtrack, advert or personal listening, we usually have to search through a large database of tracks, and, to do this, we have to use words,” says Gregory. “There is therefore a semantic gap between the words we use to describe the track and the audio itself. We enable a user to find the right track by using deep learning to create a link between the raw audio and its metadata.” Gregory adds that FeedForward AI is working with audio platforms to implement Figaro into their search capabilities. The company also has plans to extend the service to audio with speech, images and video.

Many people in the media and entertainment industry want to get up to speed on artificial intelligence, and both Gregory and Thomas have suggestions on how they might do so. “AI is part of almost every conference and the big service providers offer interesting blog posts of their progress,” suggests Thomas, who also recommends that those who are curious ought to “experiment with AI and be amazed.” Gregory suggests, for those who want to delve into the technology, to check out Andrew Ng’s Coursera course on machine learning or follow AI market research on TechEmergence.

What does the future hold for AI in our industry? “Overall, I am optimistic,” says Gregory. “New technology has always caused disruption but so far, AI is being used in the media & entertainment industries to augment the creative process. In a world where more content is required more quickly, the ability of machine learning to power solutions that decrease time to market is important.” She points out that, “many of the current machine-learning-driven solutions focus on the content finishing part of the lifecycle,” such as localization, compliance, improving discovering as well as restoration.

Ethics should always be a part of the conversation when talking about AI, says Thomas. “Overall, people fear AI although they seem to find it fascinating,” she says. Those who look closer recognize its benefits. Even though this means that many jobs will be automated, it doesn’t mean an overall job loss. The machines need to be trained and maintained, therefore only the job tasks will change.” She also cautioned that, because AI results aren’t completely accurate, users must take this into account when examining the resulting data. As to whether machines will take over the industry, she notes that, “the limits are being set by humans.” “If we like them to become more intelligent and self-learning then this is our decision,” she says.

20 2018 Apr

Fortium Showcased Latest Post Production and GDPR Security Solutions at NAB 2018

Demonstrations included new encryption-on-the-fly and smart folder authentication features for video and personal data encryption-at-rest solutions.

fortium_logo_640x480_1Los Angeles—Fortium, leading provider of digital content protection solutions for film, television and broadcast, demonstrated the latest features of its MediaSeal encryption ‘at-rest’ and ‘in-use’ solution at NAB 2018.  Demonstrations showed how MediaSeal protects sensitive media files from cybercrime and accidental distribution without impacting post-production and localization workflows. New features include Smart Folders, for encryption-on-the-fly, and Smart Card. for advanced authentication. Fortium also demonstrated the latest version of Patronus, its DVD Screener anti-rip product.

With cybercrime on the rise, media and entertainment companies need to ensure their content has the best possible protection. “Leaks are becoming more common and the cost borne by victims, in terms of monetary loss and damaged reputations, is becoming every greater,” said Fortium CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith. “MediaSeal is an easy-to-use and effective tool for securing files during film and television post-production, sound and picture editing, localization and marketing production. It protects files from theft and accidental loss at rest, in motion and in use.”

In other NAB news….

  • Fortium CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith participated in a panel discussion on security as part of Avid Connect 2018 at Wynn Las Vegas. Titled Security in the World of Media: Content Is King, Keep It Safe!, it is scheduled for Saturday, April 9, at 2:00 p.m. Gilliat-Smith will be joined by Microsoft Azure’s Joel Sloss and moderator Brad Dick of The Broadcast Bridge.
  • Mathew Gilliat-Smith appeared in a live-streamed interview on Digital Production Buzz.
  • Fortium will took part in an NAB Show Live panel discussion on Security in the Cloud.
  • Fortium will gave an NAB Destination NXT Spotlight Talk on cybersecurity.
  • Fortium led an NAB CM|IP Presentation entitled Your Risk, Your Reputation – Security Is Our Biggest Challenge at the CM|IP Presentation Theater, SU13205CM.