IBC 2000: Keeping Up with
by Janet Sandle,
the Adham Center for Television Journalism,
the American University in Cairo
DVD authoring and web
streamingjust two of the buzzwords popping up at the International Broadcasting
Convention 2000 in Amsterdam this September. I last attended IBC in 1997, and
the technological changes in those three years are overwhelming.
The purpose of this trip
was to keep updated on what broadcast equipment is new on the market. My particular
interest is in field camera equipment and non-linear editing systems suitable
for a training program.
The editing stations on
the market are numerous; the most attractive system for our purposes is one using
native-DV. The DV material can be transferred in its original state onto the edit
system without recompression or any digital-analog-digital conversion. After attending
many demos, I came back to favoring the Sony ES-3 edit station. Just prior to
IBC, Sony had introduced their system in Cairo, and it had made a powerful impression
on experienced editors and students alike, all of whom are familiar with non-linear
editing. The Windows NT based ES-3 is a complete system with a complex breakout
box, making it easy to input various other video formats. Since almost all of
our library material is Betacam SP and the more recent material is DV or DVCAM,
no problem is created in switching formats. The editing interface is user-friendly
and there are no more long waits for complex rendering as it can be done in the
background while you continue working.
The choice of cameras
was easy. Having used the Sony DCR-VX1000E digital handycam for the past two years,
the new Sony DVCAM DSR-PD150P just introduced into the market was the obvious
choice. The semi-professional DVCAM is superior in quality to the consumer DV
format plus the newer model offers more features. The XLR audio inputs are a big
plus, as is the pull-out viewfinder which flips over to face the reporter shooting
herself doing an on-camera close. Since we train VJs (video journalists) with
the students working completely alone, there will be no more framing guesswork!
On top of all this, the PD150P is very reasonably priced.
Having shot and edited
your work, it doesn't stop there. IBC had many large companies exhibiting professional
digital video solutions on the market for editing, authoring, and streaming your
video and audio--Pinnacle Systems, Matrox, Media 100, and Avid to name a few.
Authoring software allows you to take your edited sequences, add creativity and
make them interactive with the ability to provide any creative facility you may
require. The next step is streaming. The video is compressed into any standard
streaming format ready for the Web. Web streaming allows you to watch the video
and audio signal as it comes in, so you don't have to wait for a file to download
before you can begin viewing it.
A popular product at IBC
this year was the PVR. A PVR (personal video recorder) can let you create your
own "personal TV channel." You buy the recorder and the service and with a little
input on your program preferences it will learn what you like. Your favorites
are recorded onto a computer hard disk so you can watch anything from a live broadcast
to your special weekly episode at any time, even pausing or using instant replay
without missing a frame.
The keynote address was
by David Wood, the European Broadcasting Union's head of new technology, who explained
the history of international transmission of picture and sound from 1950s until
today. His speech had a touch of humor and was very informative. Wood said the
future looks good with a fair environment for broadcasters, with the quality going
up and the cost going down. There were numerous lectures and workshops, and those
that one could not attend could be bought on audio cassette.
The eleven IBC exhibition
halls are enormous, and to cover the ground means a lot of walking. One reprieve
is that you no longer have to carry the dozens of heavy catalogues and brochures
on your shoulder, as nowadays it is a CD-ROM in your bag, or a swipe of your registration
card and all the information is posted to you. TBS