Cine-Live and the Future of Mixing Workflows to Tell Better Stories

Thinking back to some of my earliest days of analog, standard definition, video production with tube and early chip cameras, there was always a desire to capture and deliver the “film look” to show a more polished and professional finished project.  Whether it was a commercial, music video, documentary, or other high-profile production, we were always chasing that elusive goal of making what we had just that much better.  At that time, early 80’s through early 90’s, you had two choices, shoot and finish with film, or spend a fair amount of your budget on the “Film-Look” process to give it that particular look.  The “look” is the same one we see today in the majority of our theatrical releases, one-hour dramas, mini-series, many commercials, and other big budget productions. 

Today we all know this “look” as shooting at 23.98 or 24 to give that theatrical story-telling look and feel, driving away from the “reality” of 60 FPS video, or even 120 FPS for hyper-reality, as well as a shallow depth of field to drive home the focus point(s) of the storytellers.  It’s been around as long as film has, and the debates about what frame rate to shoot at appears to have gotten fiercer today as we have more options.  48, 72, 120, 240, where does it stop?  What are the goals, what are the tools, who’s the audience, what’s the emotions desired to invoke and convey to the viewer?

For the most part there’s always been pretty clear-cut lines of demarcation between video story-telling and film story-telling.  I think those distinctions have been challenged over the last decade and even more so today as we continue to fight to make our projects stand-out against the heavy competition from all directions.  Now that feature films can be shot entirely on an iPhone, camera kit that is affordable for story-tellers with minimal budgets and great ideas can land huge deals that the post production can be completed in your room, basement or local coffee shop.

Over the last couple of years, when my phone rings with a potential client on the other end of the line, I’m being asked more and more, “Can you shoot multi-camera “live” with a larger than 2/3” sensor camera, at 23.98, or 24 FPS, giving me a different look, and helping to craft a more emotional and evocative story, that will help set my company, my corporate spokesperson, my product, my music, my career, apart from what the majority of others are doing in the world of video production today, and to do it at or less than a traditional multi-camera video shoot using a remote mobile truck or fly-pack system?

Throughout our current time period, there have been pretty clearly defined lines of demarcation between scripted television, live entertainment and live sporting events.  A typical scripted, North American, television (this includes dramas, documentaries, sitcoms, commercials, mini-series, movies of the week, etc.) production usually works off of a typical “film/cine” camera such as an Arri, Red, Venice, film, Canon, Blackmagic, or the like.  It involves a cinematographer or DP, it has one or more camera operators, DIT’s, Lighting Directors, AC’s (camera assistants), Utilities, grips and others that all have jobs that are well known and understood within the industry.  Before shooting begins there is usually a period of time that is dedicated to camera testing that may include multiple cameras, different lights, filters, lenses, wireless focus, zoom and iris controls, and other operational workflows designed to capture and deliver the desired end result to the viewer.  Once the equipment decisions have all been made there is a period of camera prep time (1-4 days or more depending upon the complexity of the project) where the cinematographer, camera assistant(s) and potentially one or more camera operators all get together to assemble and do full working tests of each system so that when it’s delivered to set it’s all ready to go and any potential problems have been worked out in advance.  The majority of these productions are captured at a frame rate of 23.98 or 24 and use a larger format, single image sensor, to provide a more emotional story-telling feel.  Between the “suspended-reality” of shooting at 23.98 and the much shallower depth of field using a larger single image sensor, we have a look and feel that we’re traditionally used to experiencing in a theatrical environment with a feature release.

In the world of “Live Entertainment” (awards shows, talk shows, variety shows, concerts, live multi-cam sitcoms and dramas, reality shows, etc.) there are some of the same testing procedures with a scripted television show but in many instances these are produced with remote mobile production trucks or trailers, or large “fly-pack” systems housed in a room near the stage or shooting area using a fixed complement of equipment.  The mobile unit may arrive 1-2 days in advance of the production, with a fixed set of cameras, lenses and accessories that have some flexibility for mixing and matching but not to the level of what we normally find in the scripted television pool of equipment.  The majority of these shows are captured with cameras that have 3 sensors of 2/3” inch diagonal measure at a frame rate of 29.97 or 59.94 and are the traditional “live video” that we’ve experienced most of our lives.  In this environment we may find some of the same crew as in scripted television but more than likely we’ll see a cinematographer/DP, camera operators, lighting director, Utilities and grips but the job of recording falls to a “tape op” inside the truck and not a DIT on set, and there may, or may not, be any camera assistants if the camera systems are all pre-configured and only need to be removed from their cases and assembled.  For shows that are on-going (daily or weekly talk shows, game shows, etc.) everything may remain in place for the duration of the show and the crew arrives a couple of hours before the start time to turn things on and assure that nothing has failed and needs repair or replacement.

For the majority of sporting events the world moves even faster for the cast and crew.  With the exception of large events like the Super Bowl, Masters, World Series, etc., the large majority of sporting events unfold with the mobile production truck arriving the night before, or the morning of the event, unpacking the cameras, lenses, tripods/heads, microphones and other gear and putting it in place, turning it on and being “ready for action” within 2-3 hours of arriving.  If cable is already in place at the venue it makes it even faster.  Once the event is complete, the process reverses and the truck may be on its way to tomorrows production before the clock strikes midnight.  Like the “Live Entertainment” world the cameras, lenses and recording options are usually fixed to the equipment that travels with the truck and the workflow is adapted to what’s available.  The crew is usually smaller and does not have the need for extended preparation or set up time.

Each of these three basic workflows have their benefits, challenges and limitations. 

Enter the (relatively) new “hybrid” workflow that we’re seeing more and more of in the community.  With the newer “cine” cameras being a bit more “plug and play” that is lending the ability to incorporate those tools into a more traditional “broadcast” workflow that derives the benefits of cine with the workflow speed of broadcast.  Over the last few months we’ve seen an uptick in customer requests for quotes for this workflow as well as in the use of it for their productions.  Recent projects include a Billie Eilish concert at the Greek Theatre, 34th Annual ASC Awards Show at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, and a large corporate (Fortune 100 under NDA) product launch with a streaming distribution. 

With a director and producer that understand the storytelling values of this technology it’s now possible to incorporate this into productions that may have been previously cost limited to a traditional television broadcast production. Using these cameras, with a pre-configured and tested set of lenses and accessories, it allows the truck and crew to roll up to the event the day before, or even the day of, perform the power, set up and test in just a couple of hours and be ready to “roll tape” in a shorter period of time, at a cost that is relatively the same as if using broadcast cameras and lenses.  During pre-prep calls with the production team the workflow of shooting format, frame rate, Camera LUT (look up table), recording format, camera control and other requirements are set in advance so that everyone is on the same page as the truck parks and the equipment is pulled for set up and test. 

Moving to this hybrid workflow provides some great benefits for productions that require some additional storytelling capabilities.  The majority of broadcast and cine crews are already familiar and trained in many of these areas so little or no additional time is needed to bring everyone up to speed.  It also brings both of these groups together, blending the best of both worlds to benefit key stakeholders, from content producers to the viewers.

OTT Streaming: SVOD and AVOD Business Models

NAB Show recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dan Rayburn to discuss his outlook on the broad competitive landscape of OTT Streaming and the various business, technological and consumer factors that will effect the industry over the next year. The below is an excerpt from our conversation. 

NAB Show: With new streaming services including HBO Max and Peacock coming to the market in Q2, consumers continue to have many options when it comes to both live and on-demand video content. With so many choices available, what will be the primary differentiating factors for near term and long term success of these new OTT platforms?

Dan Rayburn: As consumers we all like having lots of choice, but with so many OTT services available for live TV, sports, movies and TV shows, consumers are definitely feeling overwhelmed. Many are going to have to start making hard choices of which content is most important to them and how much they are willing to spend per month, to get their video fix. The good news is that we all have different tastes and we also have a lot of AVOD services offering content without a subscription. These free services tend to lack premium content and newer TV shows and movies, but for some, that’s a tradeoff they are ok with. The good news is that new services like Peacock will offer a mix of different business models, with both live and VOD content, with different price points based on what you want to consume.

Measuring the success of OTT services will be done using different metrics, based on the business models of the parent company. For example, AT&T said if HBO Max helps to reduce the churn of AT&T Wireless subscribers by one basis point month, that would save AT&T $100M per month. But services from Hulu and Apple don’t involve wireless customers, since neither of those companies are a mobile carrier. So all of the OTT providers will measure success from different business standpoints, which is separate from how the industry and consumers measure the “quality” of the video. Content has and always will be king and reliability and ease of use come in just behind that. But we also have to keep in mind cost. Consumers have a limited budget and there will be different thresholds on what their maximum spend will be per month. It will vary, since we have different content tastes, but once it all shakes out, I expect many U.S. households will take 3-4 OTT services per month.

There are a lot of opinions in the industry on what the tipping point is for the number of services in the market and it’s a topic we’ll be discussing at the Streaming Summit in detail, with speakers from HBO Max, Starz, Amazon and others.

NAB Show: For subscription based services, will the measurement for subscriber growth be harder to quantify because of free trial offers such as we’ve seen with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+? 

Dan: Disney just recently released subscriber numbers for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ saying that as of February 3rd, Disney+ had 28.6M subscribers, ESPN+ had 7.6M, Hulu has 30.7M. Disney also detailed what the average revenue per user (APRU) was and did comment that it was a little lower since Disney+ came to the market, do to all the discounts at launch. Apple hasn’t disclosed how many subscribers they have to Apple TV+ and since you get a free account for one year if you buy a new iPhone, iPad, or Mac, even with numbers we wouldn’t know how many subscribers Apple TV+ has that paid for the service. Over the last year we’ve seen much more transparency from companies on subscriber numbers and I expect that will continue. Alphabet, for the first time, released subscriber numbers for YouTube TV in February which hit 2M. So more data is coming to the market and the majority of it is being done to help keep investors updated, since these companies are all spending billions of dollars to launch new services in the market.

NAB Show: What will be the impact this year of all the AVOD services in the market that allow free streaming with advertising? 

Dan: We’ve seen a big growth in the number of AVOD services in the market which now include Tubi, Xumo, Pluto TV, IMDb TV, YouTube, Roku Channel and others. For some consumers, they are most interested in free content and aren’t looking for the newest content or popular live sports. The majority of these services are also owned by larger companies where the free services are part of a larger business model. ViacomCBS owns Pluto TV, IMDb TV is owned by Amazon, Google owns YouTube and the AVOD services are part of a larger video content strategy. It’s too early to know the impact to SVOD services from AVOD offerings, other than the fact that all of these videos services are competing for out time and we only have so many hours in the day we can watch video.

NAB Show: With Netflix recently announcing that consumers will be able to stop preview videos from automatically playing, and with the OTT landscape becoming increasingly competitive, do you anticipate more of an emphasis by OTT plaforms on enhancing the overall consumer experience? 

Dan: Every single OTT platform, be it live, SVOD, AVOD or a combination of them are heavily investing and focusing on the user experience and have been for years. From video startup times, search and discovery, voice control, player UX/UI features and HDR, to the reliability of the video playback, quality of experience (QoE) is priority one. With new OTT services coming to the market they have to look and work just as good as their competitors, if not better. There are a lot of very talented engineering departments at all of these companies pouring over tons of user experience data, to see how they can continue to improve on the QoE, with many making changes in real-time. We’ll have multiple sessions at the Streaming Summit talking about QoE, including a presentation by the former Director of Operations Engineering at Netflix, who will discuss how Netflix achieved insane video streaming QoS through deep integration.

NAB Show: Recently, the media reported that Apple had hired one of Netflix’s engineers. Would this be considered a type of precursor of a future technological arms race to ensure that all these streaming services are on the leading edge of innovation?   

Dan: The success of any OTT service is based on a large volume of talented engineers, not just one person. One new engineer hire does not change a company’s strategy or success in the market and many media outlets, like the one that reported on the hire, simply want to write for headlines. That said, there are a lot of companies spending money right now to get the best talent possible as they grow and build out their video services. Developers, product managers, data analysts and others that know the streaming video stack are high in demand right now and that’s not expected to slow down any time soon. If you add up just the top six OTT platforms by the number of subscribers, combined, they will spend more than $25B this year to license, produce and deliver content. It’s a great time to be in the streaming media industry for those that have the expertise.

Dan Rayburn, Streaming Media Expert, Consultant, Chairman, Streaming Summit, NAB Show and Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan, is considered to be one of the foremost authorities, speakers, and writers on streaming media technology, content, and business models. An avid blogger, author and analyst, Dan is often referred to as the “voice of the industry” and has been quoted in more than a thousand news items by nearly every major media outlet over the past twenty years. His blog is one of the most widely read sites by content owners, Wall Street money managers and industry executives in content, broadcast and media sectors.; 917.523.4562

Shaping the Future of Media & Entertainment

In recent years, content creation, distribution and consumption have become all-encompassing. Consumers have an endless array of options, from mobile to social and broadcast to streaming. In such a dynamic landscape, crucial challenges lie ahead for leading media companies to pivot and adapt to rapidly changing technologies. The fading print publishing industry has become a warning for other media spheres – what was once audience’s first choice for information and entertainment now faces the challenge of survival with the increase number of Web, broadcast and mobile sources.

For media and entertainment giants to face these challenges head on, they must be willing to break out of their comfort zone and embrace innovation. New technologies enter the market daily, not only helping businesses reach a wider audience, but also helping them better understand what types of content audiences are truly interested in, how they feel about that content, and how they want to interact with it – not just consume it.

It’s no secret that industry titans are typically slower to adopt emerging technologies that are steadily changing media landscape (e.g. cord cutting and second screen), but it’s also extremely difficult for promising up and coming companies to cut through the clutter and get in front of media executives to present their innovative solutions that speak to these changes.

Enter SPROCKIT – an alliance of corporate executives and emerging companies that is solving this problem.

SPROCKIT brings together media and entertainment leaders and entrepreneurs to showcase and collaborate on products and services. SPROCKIT was designed in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters to facilitate the connections and conversations needed to further the industry. Hand-picked SPROCKIT startups are able to collaborate with major media and entertainment players, including Disney/ABC Television Group, Comcast, Cox Media, Graham Media Group, Google, Hearst Television and Univision Communications Inc., among others.

Since debuting in 2013 at NAB Show, SPROCKIT has featured 37 startups – many of whom have used their new connections and insights to drive successful partnerships, growth opportunities, and even investments and acquisitions. A few examples of SPROCKIT success stories include:

  • SocialNewsDesk – a social media platform designed for newsrooms, which was acquired by Graham Media Group
  • Cognitive Networks – a Smart TV content platform which announced $14.5 million in Series B funding from a number of investors, including Hearst Ventures, a division of Hearst Corporation
  • SnappyTV – a platform for live clipping, editing, and distribution of high-quality video which was acquired by Twitter

For the 2015 program, kicking off at NAB Show this April, industry leaders will hand-select up to 30 emerging companies based on their potential to disrupt the market and their solutions to challenges faced by media and entertainment professionals. SPROCKIT has already announced the first 10 companies participating in this year’s program that have developed solutions in areas such as content delivery, data analytics, advertising and more. In the weeks ahead, the final startups chosen to play a role in SPROCKIT will be unveiled here.

Each of these companies has a unique solution to some of the industry’s most difficult questions – some provide ways to reinvent content on mobile, whereas others focus on television engagement and analytics – but all aim to leverage innovation to further media and entertainment as a whole. Through the year-long SPROCKIT program, executives and entrepreneurs together can shape the future of the industry by building relationships to tackle cross-sector challenges, forecast trends and bring solutions to market.

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StartUps and Innovation

Mobile Moves Ahead

What exactly does 5G mean? And what are the implications of this new mobile technology for media businesses?


[Reprinted from the September/October 2019 issue of The Financial Manager]

People like labels. Companies like labels. Industries like labels. In today’s complex world, they simplify things, and allow us to sort them into more easily understood categories. 

So how much simpler could the label “5G” be? One number and one letter – a thing of beauty. But as Einstein famously said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” And that’s where the problems with understanding 5G begin.

The label is applied to a very wide range of technologies, and it is understood to mean different things by different people, companies and industries. That kind of confusion certainly has occurred for other forms of emerging technology. But in the case of 5G, the term has been leveraged by marketers for their particular purposes, and already co-opted into substantial hype and resulting misconceptions.

The value of the label 5G has been thereby diluted, and its value diminished rather than increased in helping us understand what the technology is, and what it means to the businesses that may use or be affected by it in the near future.


The origin of the term comes from the world of wireless technology standards, where it implies (as you might guess) the fifth generation of cellular phone technology. But as in the passage of previous generations of technologies, the boundaries between them are not hard and fast. (See “The Wireless Solution” below)

5G will replace 4G in two distinct phases. First, the introduction of 5G will prompt the rollout of new mobile software, because the new technology allows somewhat more efficient use of existing wireless bandwidth than 4G does. This is an incremental change, not unlike previous transitions between wireless technology generations.

This transition has already begun in some markets, and will continue over the next few years, as new mobile devices that support the technology become available.

But the second phase of 5G will truly open up new horizons, as it will allow far faster connections. This is mostly due to its use of wholly new, higher frequency operations – so-called “millimeter wave” (mmWave) bands – which allow wider bandwidth connections per user. Don’t expect to see this broadly deployed until the mid2020s, however. And even then, it will only be found in densely populated urban areas. Even 5G’s strongest champions agree that it’s unlikely mmWave 5G will ever be seen in rural areas.

Until now (i.e., through the 4G era), wireless phones have operated in various bands between 600 MHz and 6 GHz regions, but with the full deployment of 5G, frequency bands above 24 GHz (mmWave) will be used. That will allow users to connect to the network on much wider-bandwidth channels. As a result, full 5G deployment will provide consumer devices with connectivity up to 20 times faster than with 4G, while also increasing the capacity of simultaneous users per cell.

If this seems too good to be true, bear in mind that these higher transmission frequencies will necessarily limit the coverage zones for individual cells to much smaller areas. They may be as small as a few tens of meters in diameter per cell.

This means that the 5G mmWave deployments will require vast numbers of transmitters and antennas spaced closely together for the system to work practically for customers, which is why the full impact of 5G will only be felt in urban areas.

Notwithstanding the geographically limited nature of mmWave deployments, though, other benefits promised by 5G generally include: 

  • Greater robustness, such as fewer dropped calls; 
  • Low latency, for faster data transfer; 
  • More sophisticated antenna design to allow more users to connect at higher speeds in a given area without interference; 
  • Network slicing, which allows multiple forms of usage to share the network simultaneously, such as smartphones and Internet-of-things (IoT) devices; 
  • Edge computing/virtualization, which puts cloud computing servers physically closer to customers, further reducing latency and reducing network congestion.


Another 5G feature, which worries some in the traditional media businesses, is its so-called “broadcast mode.” This allows a one to-many delivery format akin to broadcast radio or television service.

Such capability already exists in the current 4G LTE system, but 5G further expands it. Yet even 5G’s broadcast mode is not infinitely scalable like traditional broadcasting has always been. Even if it was, the economics of the system do not appear likely to entice mobile network operators into entering the radio or television business.

However, one media sector that does seem particularly vulnerable to new competition from 5G is the multichannel video program distributor (MVPD) business. Some wireless operators are considering the use of 5G as a “last meter” (or “last tens of-meters”) delivery method for IP-based service bundles to the customer without stringing cable into the home.

5G’s wideband, wireless connection from the antenna on the street pole to the homes on the block (or to the multiple units of an apartment building) are an appealing and potentially cost-effective alternative to traditional hard-wired fiber or coax – or even small-dish satellite – delivery of television and/or broadband Internet service to residential customers. So some 5G effects may be felt by traditional fixed (i.e., wired) rather than mobile operations. Or, put another way, 5G offers wireless operators new ways to compete with traditional wired telecom businesses.

Nevertheless, the net result of 5G’s impact on existing media businesses may be ultimately beneficial, as traditional operators find ways to use 5G services to improve operations. For example, content creators will benefit from enhanced connectivity for live backhaul of content from remote sites, while weather forecasters and other data-collectors can deploy massive numbers of sensors using IoT devices for accelerating their services.

Crowdsourcing of content or audience interaction also could be boosted by the increased capacity and speed of 5G. Yet another possibility is convergence with the similarly IP-based ATSC 3.0 system soon expected to be deployed by television broadcasters, by which broadcast transmission and wireless broadband service can be used together and simultaneously to provide rich and responsive media experiences to tomorrow’s audiences.

Yes, there’s a lot to like – and some to worry – about 5G among media businesses. The best advice now is to avoid the hype and continue to study the real prospects for the technology, to learn how it can best work with, or against, your existing services.

Most of us have already experienced transitions between generations of modern mobile telephony. It seems almost miraculous how the world of cellular phones has evolved so quickly over the mere four decades in which it has existed. But there’s no magic to the evolution – just good standards and practices by the industry.There are international standards bodies that continually work to allow wireless services to develop at a relatively fast pace. Among them is the International Telecommunications Union, a part of the United Nations that manages and resolves the use of different telecommunications methods used in different countries and regions. Another is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which develops international standards for interoperable mobile broadband software and hardware.3GPP has developed an approach called long-term evolution, which expects new releases of backward-compatible mobile telephony standards to be issued on a regular basis. This means that wireless network operators can support multiple generations of consumer equipment simultaneously over periods of time.For example, when the industry moved from 3G to 4G, there was no mystical night during which everyone’s phones upgraded. People’s older phones continued to work like they used to, even as new technology was deployed by carriers. At the same time, customers who purchased new phones could enjoy the benefits of the latest services. Wireless operators maintain and continue to support the legacy generation of technology for a long period of time after they begin to deploy the next generation of technology. This also means that wireless operators require adequate spectrum to operate multiple, parallel systems during any transition between technology generations.And of course, the Internet – to which wireless phones allow mobile connectivity – also evolves in an elegant fashion, as managed by the standards of the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium. Ideally, customers never notice these evolutions, since their old phones continue to work until they replace them with new phones, which then work better. What customers don’t recognize is that their new phones may be connecting to a different network than their old phones did, even though they are still using the same wireless provider’s services. This quiet evolution is designed to theoretically continue indefinitely.

Skip Pizzi is vice president of technology education and outreach at the National Association of Broadcasters. He can be reached at

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Tech Talk

How Content Creators Thrive in the Direct-to-Consumer Era

Last year there were several rounds of rumors about the possibility of Netflix users losing their easy access to high-profile sitcoms. In June, streamers despaired at the American version of The Office  leaving Netflix. In December, they fretted over Friends.

The rumors proved to be unfounded, but not impossible due to the rise of one of the biggest trends in the media marketplace — direct-to-consumer content models.

As the cord-cutting economy matures, major content creators are following suit. HBO has managed its own streaming content for years through HBO Go, while CBS All Access has been gaining ground, and NBC confirmed in January it would release a streaming service in 2020. Disney said it would release a streaming app in 2019 that would feature not just classic Disney properties but Star Wars and Marvel content as well.

Content creators will thrive when they effectively build their brand in a competitive streaming market. Along with disrupting the marketplace, the major streaming services have contributed to the changes in how content is produced. Content creators should prepare for the future now.

1. Learn new skills and tricks in the workflow of film and TV production

While many are anxious, this is a great time to learn new skills and take advantage of the shifts in the content development process.

For example, editors now are generally being asked to do other tasks beyond their normal job description. The lines between pre- and post-production tasks are blurring. With the rise of CGI and motion capture, arguably the biggest innovation in 21st century film, the distinct phases of filmmaking are changing; those involved in pre-production often must think about the visuals of the finished product more often. Nothing is happening in the same order that it used to happen. There is more outsourcing around the globe for these jobs, and many, many more freelancers.

At NAB Show, from April 6 to April 11 in Las Vegas, there will be a large number of technologists that can help you identify a path of new skills that you might need to learn. Being able to wear many hats will make workers indispensable in the new content job market.

Knowing a broad set of skills will set you up to succeed in the new landscape, where streaming platforms have set up their own content studios and studios are launching their own streaming platforms. This is true even on the local level, as broadcasters are hustling with ATSC 3.0, so they can deliver localized content to both digital device users and the latest generation of television sets.

As artificial intelligence reaches maturation, it is going to have a huge impact on workflow in the broadcasting field, and we’re already starting to see its influence on content curation and creation. Not only has AI been used to create personalized movie trailers, for example, AI is being harnessed to study trailers to predict what films audiences will want to see.

NAB Show has an entire theater dedicated to AI including discussions on how content is colliding with machine learning, the blockchain, and cloud technologies. The AI+Cloud Campus will provide you with the information to take on trends today.

2. Acquire business acumen

Because of all the disruption, there is an opportunity in the content industry for those who are willing to embrace the challenge.

If you are interested in starting or needing to grow your own production company, NAB Show has a dedicated track as part of  Post | Production World, that would help you get started. Focused on providing hands-on training for content creators interested in refining their craft, Post | Production World also includes a Business Track that features sessions about working as a freelancer in the industry and even crowdfunding projects.

The Business Track is ideal for people trying to work independently in the industry, and even includes important discussions about the psychological toll of this work, such as a session on imposter syndrome. One of the most essential sessions of the track is called “Launching Your Creative Business,” an in-depth exploration of the business, financial and tax side of operating a young creative business. The session will be important for any new entertainment entrepreneur because it will go into the details of incorporating your business and handling issues with the IRS. Another important session, “Successful Strategies for Distributing Your Creative Product,” will educate attendees on how to get your creative work out into the world.

Distinguished contract lawyer Seth Polansky will lead another useful session in the Business Track, “Contracts for Creatives.” Polansky will provide tips for reading and understanding contracts for content creators; he will also outline contract red flags you should look out for.

3. Make one-on-one connections

Having a far-reaching network is now becoming extremely important for everyone involved in the content creation and distribution industry. It is more important than ever to connect one on one with actual people. This means that you should go to events — physical events attended by other skilled people — like NAB Show.

Because more people are freelancing in this environment, more people are working from home. Not only are workers in independent silos, content companies are becoming silos themselves as their content libraries become more specialized. 

A very exciting element of NAB Show is its Birds of a Feather (BoF) gatherings, where industry experts and attendees gather to discuss and learn about various hot topics. These are great opportunities to not just learn about industry trends, but to actually meet and engage other members of your community.

The Community Mixers at NAB Show are more informal networking events, ideal for passing out business cards. Aimed at women working in the technical fields of film and video production, #GALSNGEAR will host several pop-up panel discussions and networking sessions at NAB Show, too.

Wide-ranging industry events like NAB Show don’t happen all the time, so take advantage of this opportunity to expand your business network. An estimated 100,000 industry insiders attend the show, which provides an efficient use of your time with easy access to innovators in media, entertainment and technology.

There is a huge list of exhibitors already signed up to take over the floor. What is unique about NAB Show is the diversity of experiences and the depth of the collective knowledge base there.

The breadth of the film and television industry will be at NAB Show, and so should you.

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Thought Leaders

Evaluating Multi-Vendor vs Single Vendor Approaches for Your OTT Service

One of the biggest decisions businesses face when rolling out new services is whether to use a single, end-to-end platform vendor or a multi-vendor approach. When it comes to video solutions, though, the benefits of an end-to-end platform outweigh the disadvantages, making it the preferred choice of many companies. Here are a few reasons why:

Reduced Complexities

One of the biggest advantages of an end-to-end platform is increased compatibility. Using a multi-vendor approach, there’s always the possibility — and sometimes the inevitability — that individual components or solutions will be incompatible with one another. Even worse, as video technologies continue to evolve and mature, companies juggling multiple vendors may find themselves using a mishmash of products and services that don’t support seamless integration.

In contrast, by using an end-to-end approach, companies can ensure maximum compatibility, offering a consistent, streamlined array of video features to their customers. 


All too often, multi-vendor approaches rely on products and services that were created with a specific project in mind. This can lead to services that may perform one task very well, but fall behind in other tasks, lack key features, or is incompatible with alternative video formats. Further, companies taking a multi-vendor approach must have employees or third parties manually connect or map data between respective product components, which can be extremely time consuming (we will touch upon this below). Taking a single vendor approach, gives you the flexibility for agile development and the ability to move quickly on new projects.

Streamlined Workflows

The management of video services is complicated. Customers using a multi-vendor approach often find themselves overwhelmed by these challenges. With an end-to-end solution, however, the workflow becomes the responsibility of the platform provider, who has the single focus of delivering high-quality video services. Companies using an end-to-end approach can leave the technical aspects of multi-platform management and support to their platform provider and instead focus on delivering great, high quality content to customers, regardless of the devices they use. Companies no longer have to worry about writing code or creating interfaces between each component.

End-to-end solutions result in an improved video workflow. Too often with multi-vendor strategies, valuable time and resources can be spent just trying to make various parts of the process work smoothly, even when there are seemingly no inherent incompatibilities. Different development processes, backgrounds, and goals can result in wildly different approaches to various steps, making it harder for your company to focus on what’s really important.

With an end-to-end solution, every step of the process shares a common lineage, making it much easier to establish effective, streamlined workflows — no headaches or misunderstandings involved. 

Time-to-Market and Reduced Costs

With an end-to-end solution, you don’t have to spend time negotiating individual video and software licensing agreements. Even more, your IT department doesn’t have to spend precious time and resources integrating and supporting various components and services. For example, the process of integrating data either manually or programmatically is often very time consuming. Best of all, this streamlined process greatly speeds up time-to-market with new features and abilities, helping you stay competitive and take advantage of new opportunities. In short, end-to-end solutions save you — and, by extension, your customers — money.

Of course, your company won’t reap any of the benefits of a single vendor approach unless you choose the right end-to-end solution. As managed service providers are hard to come across with very few existing in the industry, selecting the right partner that doesn’t rely on any third-party vendors or components is key. This will allow you to leave all the technical aspects to the service provider, and focus on your content.

For more information about evaluating the multi-vendor vs. single vendor approaches, download our NeuLion’s latest e-Book, “Does Your OTT Service Have Too Many Moving Parts?”

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Thought Leaders

Engaging the Active Viewer in the Age of the Smartphone

Co-authored by Tom Segal

Stop me if you’ve heard this before (no doubt, you have): media consumption, particularly video-based media, is increasingly becoming an active experience for viewers; and in order to create compelling media moving forward in the era of the smartphone, producers must account for this new paradigm in consumption habits.

Despite the narrative of the lazy millennial, the reality is that young consumers thrive on perpetual engagement – both through the customization of their content and through constant decisive stimulation, like any good video game. What seems at a distance to be a kid staring dead-eyed into a rectangular iVoid is in fact a person rapidly acquiring new information on the fly. Chuck Klosterman recently commented on the effectiveness of Twitter being the idea that, any time you look away, there is something wonderful and fresh to be found when your gaze returns to your feed: a distinctly 2018-level psychology that has now seeped its way into any form of content worth consuming.

As far as live programming goes, sports is clearly the king. The Super Bowl (and NFL in general) dominates like no other. Social media as a vessel for discussion and reflection on the action in real time has become the default method of viewing for many. The NBA in particular has embraced the value of an active fan base excitedly sharing ideas and videos – while providing free advertising for the product and presenting additional opportunities to be marketed to by paying advertisers – to the point that “NBA Twitter” has become a defined culture of its own.

It should come as no surprise that fantasy sports has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and one that is increasingly becoming a core element of the sports viewing experience. Fantasy sports presents its own form of customization outlet – build your own team and show how much better you are than everyone else! After being treated as something of a nerdy sideshow for years, broadcasters and leagues now directly incorporate fantasy elements into their product on the front end. NFL broadcasts now prominently display updated fantasy stats on the ticker at the bottom of the screen and feature in-game updates geared toward the fantasy player: a desperate attempt to steal the gaze of the viewer who is otherwise furiously refreshing their ESPN Fantasy app on their phone or scrolling through the myriad browsers opened on their computer.

Then there are video games, whose effect on all-things consumption continues to accelerate. Ask any teacher about the term “gamification” and prepare for a sigh. And video games themselves continue to evolve as a format: this effect will soon be reflected in other video content. Video games were once a linear experience – literally. Think about the early Mario games, where the goal was simply to get from one side to another; from the left side of the screen to the right. And now consider what modern Mario environments (or GTA, or any number of story-based first person games) look like – massive worlds ripe for exploration where the user may not even follow the directive storyline allotted to their character.

The next logical direction is for a sports league to integrate all of these use cases – fandom, fantasy sports, video games, etc. – into a single product, where a digitized, decentralized front office maintains complete control over decision-making and is compensated for successful engagement accordingly. Someone should look into this…

This active viewer model goes beyond even sports, as fictional television series continue to understand the value to be derived from an active viewer through hashtags capturing user-generated promotions and apps that literally guide viewers through the stories that they are watching – anything to avoid the fate of a DVR-induced fast-forward through advertising. In order to create truly rich stories, there is a complexity inherent that sometimes requires groupthink to fully embrace. Who among us could possibly have understood what was going on in Westworld without Reddit threads? Good content increasingly relies on an audience getting itself educated, particularly those broadcast in serial format.

And let’s not forget the massive integration of live viewer voting into such unscripted competition ratings hits as NBC’s The Voice, which has been leading the way since 2013.

Even MBA courses at Harvard have live-tweeting as a requirement.

According to an eMarketer survey on consumption habits, 51% of television viewers in 2014 used their smartphone while simultaneously watching their favorite shows or sports (the so-called “second-screen experience”). By 2017, that figure grew to 74%, and that total will undoubtedly approach 100% moving forward (until Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg has figured out how to merge these experiences into one seamless screen, RIP Google Glass).

We are embarking on a cultural revolution wherein technology and connectivity allow us to capture ideas, energy, and dollars like never before. We also have a new generation whose life experience necessitates immediate and seamless engagement. This combination presents an unparalleled opportunity for content creators and distributors. The audience will increasingly become receptive toward opportunities to interact, and in fact will demand that this be a natural component to their video consumption experience. It is only a matter of time before cinemas drop that disclaimer at the beginning of all movies telling you to put your phone away, though this remains the last bastion of freedom from the connected viewer.

The smarter we can be about implementing intelligent engagement practices on the front end, the more likely we can avoid a fate of Mike-Judgian proportions in this brave new world.

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Technology is Creative

Leading a global multimedia agency offers a brilliant opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of media partners. As a content producer, we get to contribute to our clients’ journey of maintaining success and relevancy for their audiences – online and on-air.

Today, Ruptly works with over a thousand media brands globally. It is incredibly rewarding to see footage provided by our journalists in international coverage across the world – resonating with a varied audience groups in multiple regions.

Getting to this point over the past five years, as “Change” and “Disruption” became the key words in the media landscape, has been a challenge. Yet it was the challenge that provided the most opportunities for the growth of our business, as clients across broadcast media attempted to engage, attract and develop new platforms for their brands, they required content and collaborative business relationships to offset this growth and scale new audiences. This allowed Ruptly to enter a market and scale a company globally as clients looked for alternative providers that had exclusive access in news hot spots, engaging content across light news verticals to drive traffic, new experiences in VR or delivery that needed to be on demand to social channels.

With the opportunity to learn first-hand from our partners, we saw a real demand in a content provider that is able to be flexible, agile and open to experimentation. For example, last year we have enabled dozens of media outlets to source and use 360 content for the first time as we introduced the format to our platform. Furthermore, we have launched a live streaming platform that offers an out of the box simple three step delivery method to client platforms, be it breaking news or fun viral content, this allowed us to be faster than the completion in delivery, and importantly offer lower cost. No longer do you need large scale budgets to go live across the world as a small or medium entity. This was an important step to attempt to level the market in terms of price points for small and medium clients. 

The platform lets users broadcast or stream multiple live events simultaneously, including lives in 360 degrees. 

I strongly believe that technology is creative. Simplifying the process for broadcasters and publishers, who otherwise would not have been as keen on introducing a new format to their coverage as easily as they did – is a result of a creative approach to developing technology.

All signs indicate that in the coming years the ability to experiment, adapt and stay flexible is going to become increasingly important for a healthy media business. There is definitely a responsibility on the video agencies to apply all that to content production, delivery and monetization models.

Learn more about here.

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Xiaomei Wang

[ 00:00:19 ] So you know I have been personally working in the big data analytics for the past 18 years or so. You know based upon the recent global big survey. The number one trend in that industry in particular in the media industry as well is customer centricity. The other is about how to personalize things. So when it comes to my session that it is really about you know how we can actually. Leverage a personalizing view view or experience to actually improve the content of your type. So you know Noddy’s.

[ 00:01:10 ] I would say a lot of the business entity. They said okay we’re already personalized customer experience. But if Repya was I knew a little bit right a lot of people saying okay I’m telling my customers and just for the sake of pegging the customers. But a ways that the insiders in our cognitively inside the platform to look at how to best to personalize services to our customers our audience in this particular case is we’re really looking at the entire landscape. So we not only actually get the insight for the audience themselves we use various attributes to understand based upon the audience data the viewership data in this particular case to get to the attributes and the insight into the audiences themselves. More importantly because we are talking about a personalized experience so don’t forget those things all the content the site. So that means we have to do something similar. We need to do the content a tagging we need to use various attributes we use machine learning algorithms models to analyze content themselves so that we can best describe the content. Only after you are able to test to understand your content. At the same time your audience then we use a very rich set of the analytics and the models and Elbrus them to use our matching anjing. In another words recommendation anjing to bring the most relevant content to your audience. That is the way we achieve the optimal personalized viewing experience so. There’s many different ways you know to categorize the audience right. So seems like those static information the name age and home address those are very simple and straightforward. But nowadays with the introduction with the end of it it’s more so with a recent introduction for the adoption of the API in two different industries. People are getting more insight into the customers and audience. So for instance I have been working with so many customers around the globe. I would say was a very interesting example I also share with you is the personality insights. So if you ever go to one simple example here is go to that pad Talk Web site and you fly into my own Twitter handle the shomrei on the skull w n g. Guess what. What law. Actually it immediately pops up more than 20 attributes. Related to Sharma’s personal. Insults. That a person has a the insides. The first time when I look at it it really blows me away because I do understand who it is. But you know what. I still have so many attributes which I have not been so consciously aware of in the past. But when I look at the personality inside analysis immediately introduce additional attributes. When I see it yes I knew that’s show me and that could best be described Shammi is the same philosophy and a simple code apply to the other customers. And we are using that particular features and functions and the AI capabilities are in many different arenas that is just a one very recent example in terms of how I can introduce and it did arrive a lot more insight into us so that we can make sure that whatever our recommendation we will become more personalized more precise as well. So there’s many different the data sources available. Today which can help us to derive or get the Inside Out of our customers or audience. In other words. So for instance every single move. Every every behavioral. Actions. It all generates data that indeed it actually is a very good. Digital Footprint of who you are. What do you like. For example if you go to the Web site the click streams. You know how many times you go to a particular Web site how long you’ll stay which particular link you click. It To all the facts who you are right and all those behavioral data is analyzed. This is a one common example we are doing as of today to get the inside of you. Another very common. Example is based upon your social media presence that Twitter Instagram you know snap chat Facebook you name it every single little digital for. Print here. We actually actually combine all of those information. We do the sentimental analysis. Right the social media data is a very good source for the sentimental analyses so that we can understand your thinking behavior so we can get more insight into you when you are watching a movie when you are actually viewing a some news. What is your sentiment. It is so that we can based upon that to provide you the relevant information rather than the services. For example theres another example we actually have our particular. Dress which is one of the atut actors that present here the idea of the collar in York City years ago. That is when the actors walk down the red carpet based upon the social media tricks around her. You know her dress actually will reflect a different the lights that it is actually. Another very interesting is Dempo in terms of how I actually analyze those sentimental. They are into the real time to bring new value or new vision to the world. Privacy is indeed together with security is the number one concern or challenge I may see in these words. When we come into this new era. Right because literally every single digital fruit footprint you have. We are actually allow other people allow those technologist to analyze and understand you. So in order to create harmonize this society all together it is really quizes several issues to all work together. You know at the government level we are actually observe that around the globe every single crunching those new policies coming out to regulate the business and people’s behavior. Right. And also it is a business. Entity level. We are actually encouraging the business entities to follow the secret side to follow the government and laws and policies so that we can put a very honest brings practice in the marketplace and also to the people level. We’re actually sometimes and more so we need to cover our own. Confidential information very well. So it really requires a convergence of. You know given the level of the collaboration so that we can have a very harmonized society. And also I just want to share with you the common practice that for the business entities like ours what we do is we not only actually follow the government the laws and the policies. And another thing I really want to live together in the larger degree is you know we the common practice for us is we only analyze the data. It is a segmentation novel. We never allow them to analyze individually in the business practice landscape. So yes we are allowed to analyze the data but we will aggregate the similar group analyze get to the. Then the segmentation of that information can be best utilized for business values. So everybody’s mind is at peace.

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Backstage Conversation Season: 2017

Ram Devineni

[ 00:00:19 ] This entire project started for me back in December 2012 as you might remember there was this horrible gang rape that happened on a bus in Delhi. I was involved in these protests that were happening in the city and all over the country. And at one of these protests I spoke to a Delhi police officer and asked him what he thought about what happened to her and what was happening around him. And he said something that really got me started. He said No good girl walks home alone at night implying that she either deserved it or she provoked the rape. So at that moment I knew immediately that the problem of gender violence was not a legal problem but a cultural problem. And I wanted to approach it as an artist from that context. Now I’m a documentary filmmaker and the first instinct was to make a documentary. But I realized immediately that a documentary No teenager boy would watch it and they were the audience I was trying to reach. They just don’t watch documentaries in India. So I changed the format completely and decided to go with the comic book because Comic books are incredibly popular in India and especially with teenage boys and ended up creating India’s first female superhero who’s a rape survivor and the comic book got released in December 2014 and went immediately super viral with now over 26 million readers worldwide and close to 600 new stories. Sure. I mean it’s it’s really hard to sort of equate especially when things go viral because it was not nothing we anticipated it at all like we thought it would be a very small release. We had a big launch party at the Mumbai Comic-Con. But when things go viral it sort of goes out of you completely out of your control. Now I can tell just from just analytical that it really really reached a broad demographics. I think we still our focus is on teenage boys and we reach them primarily through the comic cons and through school distribution. But when it comes to viral I mean it just pretty much touches everyone. I was surprised overwhelmingly the response was incredibly positive. I mean this was in a radically new original idea of Indian female superhero. It was a rape survivors and it hasn’t been done before. And obviously there was a lot of fear on my part and everyone that I worked with that we would get a lot of feedback and negative feedback for broaching something like this. But I think the motivation was very clear and pure. And what’s kind of the beauty of the comic book format is these topics you know the first one is about rape and the second one is about acid attacks that we put out. No one wants to talk about these topics are really addressed them. But when you sort of put in the context of a comic book and especially if a superhero construct that everyone knows it becomes very accessible and equally important and it gives empowerment to survivors. I mean the goal of this whole project was to create empathy and understanding for survivors and to challenge patriarchy which is the core of the problem of gender violence Yeah I mean we were one of the first comic books to use augmented reality back in 2013 more we’re developing it. A.r was just on the fringes. No one really heard of it. I mean pokey Montandon was not released. It took another two years before Pokemon came out. So we were really on the forefront of using a car. The beauty of art in comics is our work so perfectly with comic books because it takes the images and put them to life. And it was a perfect fusion of two radically different mediums comic books originally of low tech I mean almost a monologue. It’s printed comics and then you take the app or the technology on your smartphone and you make something very low tech comes to life and we’ve done even more extreme stuff we’ve actually created street murals in Mumbai all over all over the world. So you know murals that are like three stories high and you can activate them and literally you see the characters on the walls coming to life and telling a story. You know we were like really on the cusp of kind of doing this and we one of the first implementations of A-R in India. So. So we were in a sense way ahead of where society was because I remember showing A-R at the comic cons in other places and it was like magic. You know people just didn’t understand what was going on. And so you have to sort of take that take those risks that at times it’s it was it was quite phenomenal the amount of attention we got and the response. I mean soon after we released the first comic book the UN Women the United Nations honored the project as a gender equality champion two years before they recognized Wonderwoman. So we were ahead of the curve on that. And then recently Fast Company honored the project as one of the top creative projects for business in 2017. So all of this was sort of not planned and it’s very exciting to see it come to fruition. Equally important is is actually more important and is very recently we started disturbing the comic book in schools in Delhi and where we were sort of coming home to where originally started from my protests in Delhi to now having the comic books available in schools in Delhi. It’s a very complex question. I mean I know a lot of people are very dubious when corporations try to do so should justice activism or or try to do products that deal with social issues. I mean I think the reason why this project was successful and I guess why we got recognized is the fact that everyone involved in the project or independent artist. I think if it was a corporation or a government trying to do something like this the audience especially teenage boys would totally react against it. You know they would they can smell a rat. And I think you know comic books have always been this underground very on the edge of form of storytelling and and it’s always been something I’m ever growing up reading comic books. It was something that I would take up to my room lock the door and read it. You know something like I’m very personal to me. And as a teenage boy it kind of inspired me or imagine something different you know. And I think that spirit has to always remain what you create. I’m not against making money. In fact I mean the comic book was never a money making endeavor. In fact all the digital copies and the printed copies are free. What we do how we raise our funds is through grants through the Ford Foundation through the World Bank and they support it and we support all the efforts we do.

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Backstage Conversation Season: 2017