September 15, 2008
Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert in 3D Takes Judges’ Prize
Sunday night's lively IBC awards celebration marked out just how broad IBC's appeal really is, with honours going to projects as diverse as a teen singing sensation and multi-platform content distribution; a simple idea to save studio lighting bills and a system to bring 16 times the resolution of HD to our screens.
In a year when 3D stereoscopic display is a main talking point at IBC the top award in the IBC Innovation Awards, the Judges prize, went to Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, the remarkable movie that broke a fistful of records when it opened earlier this year.
The IBC Innovation Awards celebrate excellence in technology, but more than that they reward the application of the technology. These are not engineering awards, but honour complete solutions that meet a real commercial, creative or operational need. The prize goes to the user of the solution.
There are three categories in the innovation awards: for content creation, content management and content delivery. The Hannah Montana movie also won the content creation award for the stereoscopic post production workflow created by Los Angeles post house FotoKem Film & Video, based on technology from Quantel including its Pablo 3D and Genetic Engineering. It allowed FotoKem to meet the requirements of its client, Walt Disney Pictures, to complete the movie in an incredibly short timeframe.
"It was pure serendipity when Walt Disney Pictures presented us with this project," said John Nicolard, head of digital production at FotoKem. "The requirements exactly complemented the technical capabilities we had only recently incorporated into our pipeline using Quantel's 3D technology. The opportunity to work on a project with this magnitude of technical challenge was a deeply satisfying experience."
The winner of the content management award was NBC Universal for its MICAH production workflow. This project, with technical partners Digital Rapids and Signiant, helps NBC prepare and distribute its content for multiple platforms including the web, video on demand and electronic sell-through.
"We at NBC Universal are honoured that our MICAH Production Workflow has been selected as the winner of an IBC Innovation Award and I'd like to thank the Innovation Awards committee and judges for this prestigious accolade. NBC Universal has a rich history of technical innovation in media and to have this project recognized amongst our international peers is a fantastic tribute to our internal teams and technology partners.
"The MICAH Project is an outstanding example of how the close partnership between users and vendors can turn powerful technology into real-world benefits and we could not have accomplished this without the exceptional efforts of Digital Rapids and Signiant. I'd like to thank everyone on our internal team and from Digital Rapids and Signiant for their contributions in making MICAH a success," said Rab Mukraj, Director of Digital Media Delivery at NBC Universal.
With the content delivery award the ceremony returned to music. The prize went to producer and distributor Control Room, for their efforts on the Live Earth day of music in 2007. Their system, developed with technology partners MSN, Intelsat Corporation, Rhozet Technology, EVS, Akamai, Incited Media, Windows Media and QuickTime, delivered live streams and near realtime turnaround of video on demand content onto the MSN portal.
In the largest global broadcast in online history, the system used over 20 channels of video server ingest, 12 channels of playout and 60 encoders, in a workflow environment able to process more than 80 hours of content in a 24 hour period.
"Control Room is honoured to be recognised by IBC2008 for the monumental technical tour de force executed to deliver 24 hours of live events, from seven continents, to raise awareness of the climate crisis," said John Gaydon of Control Room.
At the end of the ceremony the whole Hannah Montana team was called back to the stage for the Judges' prize in the Innovation Awards. This time they were joined by Todd Cogan of PACE, who lead the world in 3D camera systems and shot the music movie. "PACE is proud to have worked with Disney on every level of the project to raise the bar within 3D and revolutionize the production experience," Cogan commented. "We are delighted that IBC has rewarded the Hannah project with this prestigious award."
After accepting the award Howard Lukk, Vice President of Production Technology at The Walt Disney Studios had this to say:- "Special thanks really does go to IBC because it was here last year that I actually met with all those people, and after looking Quantel in the eye and saying 'will you support me in one month to do this project', they stepped up to the plate and really supported us. So thank you IBC - thank you."
Ray Cross, CEO, Quantel said, "It's a huge honour to be recognised in this way by our peers. This business is all about working closely with your customers; the creative partnership between Walt Disney Pictures, and everyone involved that brought the 'Hannah Montana' project to such a successful conclusion in so short a time is a fine example of this philosophy in practice."
Special award is Super
Many IBC visitors will already have seen the remarkable demonstration of Super Hi-Vision being presented here, with the ultra-high resolution coming not just from a local source but from a live camera in London over a fibre connection, and from a server in Torino using two satellite transponders. The technical achievement is so astonishing that IBC elected to present the team involved with a special award.
Super Hi-Vision offers four times the resolution of HD in each direction: an image resolution of 7680 pixels on 4320 lines, with an immersive 22.2 channel surround sound system. Experiencing it is stunning, but it now forms part of international co-operative research between NHK in Japan - which created Super Hi-Vision - BBC, IRT and RAI with support from EBU, a team now known as the Broadcast Technology Futures Group.
The IBC special award is for the first international transmission of Super Hi-Vision content. Achieving this has called for considerable investment in time and technology by a large number of organizations.
In central London there is a live Super H-Vision camera high above the River Thames. The BBC - along with its technology partner Siemens IT Solutions and Services and SIS Live - operate the camera and send video and audio over the London fibre network, compressed using MPEG-2 at 600Mb/s. Cable&Wireless carries it over an ultra-broadband fibre from London into the Rai Centre here in Amsterdam.
In Torino, Italy, RAI is operating a Super Hi-Vision server, feeding into a unique compression engine, using 16 encoders in parallel to compress Super Hi-Vision's native 24Gb/s to MPEG-4/H.264 at 140Mb/s. Eutelsat is providing two full satellite transponders to carry the signal to a downlink on the roof of IBC.
The award was presented on behalf of the partnership to Dr Keiichi Kubota, director general of the Science & Technical Research Laboratories of NHK. "It is a tribute to the alliance of forward-looking companies working on this project," he said. "I know that my colleagues at the BBC, RAI and EBU will join me in thanking our industry partners - Cable&Wireless, Eutelsat, Siemens and SIS Live - who are investing heavily in broadband and satellite capacity over an extended period to make this work."
Amsterdam welcomes IBC
The mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, said "It is an honour and a privilege for our city to host the IBC2008 conference, its guests and participants. Amsterdam has a long tradition, not only as a center to share and nurture varied opinions and ideas, but also for innovative commerce to flourish.
"The city is a platform for the most diverse cultural, scientific and technological developments, thanks to the freedom, commerce and creativity we cherish."
Stand award prizes
White was the recurring theme in the IBC stand design awards this year.
Winner of the shell scheme stand was Swedish company Innobits. The imaginative use of their small space created a snowy landscape. It supported their product, which aims to filter video defects to create a picture that is as pure as the driven snow.
Among the medium sized stands the award went to Ruwido, who used white gauze to create a series of spaces separated by translucent walls. The result is a calm environment in which to discuss business.
For the largest stands, it was Astra that most impressed the judges. Their design uses low walls and distinctive complex curved rising structures to define the different areas within the stand. The same blue and white coloring even extends to the uniforms of the stand staff.
In an exhibition with more than 1300 vendors and multiple halls, it is important that each stand has a strong character to make an impression on visitors. The IBC exhibition design awards honour those exhibitors who make the biggest contribution to the practicality as well as the attractiveness of the whole show.
The shape of things to come
The conference is an integral part of the IBC experience, and still very much the leading forum for the presentation of the latest thinking in technology and applications in the electronic media industry. IBC recognizes this by awarding a prize each year for the most thought-provoking paper on offer.
This year's award went to Mike Knee and Roberta Piroddi of Snell & Wilcox in the UK, for their paper on Aspect processing: the shape of things to come, part of the Cutting Edge sessions. Mike, a Cambridge mathematics graduate, has been involved in image processing research for more than 25 years, and says that much of his inspiration comes while cycling 40km a day in the country lanes of southern England.
"The papers committee faces an almost overwhelming task in just selecting the finest offerings for the conference - we receive many times the number we can use," said conference chairman David Crawford. "To stand out amongst this tough competition a paper has to be informative, push the boundaries of knowledge, and be clearly argued. Mike and Roberta's paper is all three."
Mike Knee made it to the awards ceremony direct from the conference session where the paper was delivered yesterday afternoon.
Quality and innovative entertainment
The 2008 IBC International Honour for Excellence, IBC's highest honour, has gone to Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of Hollywood's most respected figures.
He had a spell as chairman of Walt Disney Studios. During his watch they produced such landmark films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lion King.
He was then one of the founders of DreamWorks SKG: he is the K in SKG between Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Under Jeffrey Katzenberg's leadership DreamWorks Animation has enjoyed a number of critical and commercial successes, including Madagascar, Shark Tale, three Shrek films and Kung Fu Panda. Shrek and Wallace & Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit were each winners of the Oscar for best animated feature film.
Peter Owen, chair of the IBC Council, said "IBC now reaches every aspect of the electronic media industry: technical, creative, and commercial, and we constantly strive to remember that the technology exists just to support those who make possible great television and movies.
"Our International Honour for Excellence, the highest award we bestow, goes to someone who has the vision to seize on the technologies of today and tomorrow and use them to help realize popular storytelling in new and imaginative ways," he continued. "We are delighted that Jeffrey Katzenberg has accepted this award."
Receiving the award, he said "I am thrilled to be among the distinguished list of recipients to have received an IBC International Honour for Excellence. At DreamWorks Animation we aim to create and deliver quality and innovative entertainment for family audiences across the globe, and I am very grateful to IBC for acknowledging our efforts in this area.
"As we enter the year of 3D I have never experienced a more dynamic and exciting time within the film industry than right now. Thank you for this honour."
At the same time as the awards ceremony an enthusiastic audience packed the IBC Big Screen to enjoy an interview with Jeffrey Katzenberg, in conversation with Elizabeth Daley, dean of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
Their conversation in Los Angeles was captured in high definition 3D and delivered to Amsterdam over a live 3D high definition link. It is believed that this is the first time a live transatlantic link has been used for a 3D interview, part of the tribute from IBC to a man who uses the latest technology to create popular entertainment for everyone.
Alongside the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: best of both worlds concert post production, the other project to be short listed for the IBC Innovation Award in the content creation category was a remarkable story in studio lighting.
WPEC-TV, the CBS affiliate station in West Palm Beach, Florida, has equipped its news studio with an all-LED lighting rig, provided by LitePanels (11.G78), a Vitec Group company . Probably the world's first all-LED studio, it was part of the move to HD, so everyone was careful to achieve complimentary light for the talent while delivering sharp and clean images to the critical eyes of the HD cameras.
The result was an artistic success, but also a dramatic improvement in the station's environmental performance. With conventional tungsten lighting the studio power draw was 52kW: with the LED lighting it is just 3kW. Apart from the direct energy saving there is a reduction in the air conditioning, and the elimination of a hazardous waste disposal problem at the end of each bulb's life.
The LitePanels LED solution delivers real environmental benefits without compromising HD quality, and was a worthy finalist in the IBC Innovation Awards.
There were three projects short-listed for the content management category of this year's IBC Innovation Awards, each concerned, in very different ways, with moving to a tapeless environment and using it to deliver real workflow benefits.
Dogan TV is the largest commercial broadcaster in Turkey. Its requirement was for a completely tapeless production system from ingest to playout. The system that Cinegy (7.A43) delivered does just that, using non-proprietary IT hardware and standard software.
"When we started our project we had certain goals to reach. Now when we look back we have seen that we have achieved far more than our expectations," said Hasan Kiragi of Dogan TV. "Being shortlisted for the IBC2008 Innovation Award shows great appreciation for our work."
Mediaset is one of Italy's leading broadcasters, and seen as the home for soccer coverage in the country. It needed to improve its playout and realtime editing capabilities to log, package, edit and deliver content for faster turnaround. It also wanted to add an accessible archive to help repurpose assets.
The solution was provided by Quantum (7.629) with its StorNext technology, allowing simultaneous editing at multiple locations as well as providing cost-effective nearline storage. Mediaset can now turn around its football coverage much more quickly - with clips available to broadcast within 15 seconds - without compromising production values.
Both these projects impressed the judges with their innovative use of technology to meet the real, practical needs of the end user. Their final decision, though, went to NBC Universal, which has worked with Digital Rapids (7.641) and Signiant (IP201) to create a company-wide, multi-centre, multi-format production workflow where content is automatically transcoded and transported from site to site.
Delivering on demand
The initial panel of judges - editors of leading trade magazines from around the world, under the chairmanship of IBC's Michael Lumley - brought the many nominations for the delivery category of the IBC Innovation Awards down to four finalists. Each, in their different ways, reflect the growing demand from audiences for the content they want, where they want it, when they want it.
Createcna (7.647) was a winner in the IBC Innovation Awards in 2006, and they returned this year with a clever solution to delivering interactive services to 3G mobile phones around Formula 1 races. It gives a different viewpoint, bringing the viewer into a closer relationship with the race as it happens.
With this service - which has been used by Air TV, Boomerang TV, Movistar Espana and Vodafone Espana - Createcna delivers the special production service for live events to mobile phones. Because this is a 3G service it is two-way, providing interaction and data download at the same time as the pictures. During the first five Formula 1 races more than 200,000 connections were reported.
Verimatrix (4.B45) has created a delivery service for IOL Netcom, India's first IP-based on-demand television service with access to more than three million subscribers. Using the Verimatrix ViewRight PC Player, IOL subscribers can watch protected premium content over broadband to a computer, creating a viable second screen that can access the same library of content that is available on television.
"Our ability to provide premium on-demand content over multiple screens is a big step towards delivering on our vision of 'anything, anytime, anywhere' for our customers," said Siddhartha Srivastava, president of IOL Netcom. "To be nominated for the IBC Innovation Awards is a great honour, and a strong validation of IOL Netcom's service innovation."
Multimedia Polska broadcasts to more than 600,000 subscribers over both cable and IPTV. Now it is the first operator in Poland to roll out video on demand, using a common system for the two platforms provided by Harmonic (1.C61). The solution includes intelligent asset management for the dynamic distribution of content based on popularity across the 20 nodes around the country.
"To be recognised by the IBC Awards committee is validation for the hard work and dedication it took for the entire team to bring this VOD milestone to our subscribers in Poland," said Tomasz Dybciak, VOD project manager for Multimedia Polska. "To support the needs of our hybrid network architecture - simultaneously servicing cable subscribers via the HFC network and IPTV subscribers via the DSL network - was something we could not accomplish without Harmonic's unique on-demand solution."
The judges' final decision, though, was to award the prize to Control Room, which put together a complex system with technology partners MSN, Intelsat Corporation (1.C71), Rhozet Technology (7.J11), EVS (8.B90), Akamai (6.C28), Incited Media, Windows Media and QuickTime to provide live and interactive coverage of one of the most ambitious music events ever: Live Earth in 2007.
The 24 hour, seven continents concert to draw attention to climate change was covered by Control Room with more than 80 hours of content, all available online for live streaming and for download.
Relevant photos, print quality can be downloaded from www.ibc.org at the press zone.
Established in 1967, IBC has evolved from its roots in terrestrial broadcasting to become the leading event for professionals involved in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide. The exhibition attracts over 1400 exhibitors including all the major equipment suppliers. IBC draws over 46,000 attendees from more than 130 countries that visit each year to see the state-of-the-art. The world-renowned IBC conference tackles all the hot creative, management and technical issues.
For full details, demographics and news visit www.ibc.org.
The IBC International Honour for Excellence, formerly known as the IBC John Tucker Award is given annually to an individual, group or organization demonstrating excellence of innovation, furtherance or application of media technology. The Award reflects the essence of IBC, which is about the creation management, and delivery of entertainment content.