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44 TVBEurope Graphics July 2014

Graphically illustrated Forum

This issue, Philip Stevens explores the varying challenges facing graphic system providers with (in alphabetical order) Ofir Benovici , VP marketing, Orad Hi Tec Systems; Miguel Churruca, marketing director at Brainstorm; Darren Forster, Grass Valley director of product management (master control, branding and subtitling); Alex Fraser, CTO at wTVision; James Gilbert, CEO, Pixel Power; Luke Harrison, product manager, RT Software; Sören Kjellin, CTO, ChyronHego; Reinout Lempers CCO VidiGo; Brian Olson, director of graphics marketing product management, Ross Video; Stephan Würmlin Stadler, EVP sports, Vizrt; Niels Stevens, business development manager, Video at Adobe

What are the current challenges facing

creators of graphics products?

Benovici: If you compare the real estate on the screen allocated to graphics to, say, five years ago, it’s clear that graphics have become ever more important in TV productions, to the point that one may ask if the classical definition of ‘secondary event’ is still applicable for graphics. Couple that with the increased focus on cost reduction and efficiency, and the result is that many more graphics need to be on screen with complex logic and workflow — but in an efficient and cost effective manner. This is the main challenge we are facing. Churruca: Broadcast design is no longer linked to dedicated islands and hero systems, as it has evolved to become integrated into collaborative workflow environments. Formerly, operators were using high-end systems for the whole process, but today it is possible to split projects into smaller actions managed by different designers using compatible systems with different feature sets. So, from a manufacturer’s point of view, the challenge is not only to provide the best toolset and user ergonomics possible, but also to create a product range that is able to cope with different requirements, from inexpensive template editing

Ofir Benovici, Orad

to the completion of the most complex projects. Forster: With ever-increasing demand for video content, the market for graphics products is amazingly buoyant. Graphics are being used to not only uniquely identify and brand channels, but also to drive new interactive experiences. The challenge for product developers is to look at future-use cases for our products and identify the areas in the market where we can maximise the return on investment for our customers. Fraser: Portability. As hardware becomes more powerful, graphic

Miguel Churruca, Brainstorm

products and platforms have had a hard time differentiating and competing in different price ranges. As the ability to achieve the most demanding on-air graphics is available to commodity hardware and graphics cards and with Thunderbolt’s current bandwidths, the shift in interest for companies like wTVision is towards portability. Gilbert: Giving customers sophisticated and audience- capturing branding and graphics, whilst simultaneously offering flexible workflows that automate the production and transmission of graphics to drive down costs.

Delivering multiple versions of graphics across multiple platforms, second screen and multiple resolutions. Many of the alternative delivery platforms have no monetisation and no budget. Kjellin: Combining good and solid technology with efficient user interfaces and workflows is always a challenge. An even greater and more specific challenge is to decide what the product should and should not do. Today, there is already enough computing and rendering power. The challenge is to decide where one product should end

and another should pick up, as well as to have enough self-awareness as an organisation to understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. In the context of being a creator of graphics products, it materialises as having a clear view on what you should do as a company and when you should partner with someone else, or simply refer to someone else — even if that someone is a competitor. Lempers: Our biggest challenge is to make sure the workflow remains simple. More and more broadcasters who want to bring graphics on-air have less time and fewer engineers — so they want to work with all-round multimedia people. This means an easy workflow with maximum result and flexibility. Olson: From my perspective there is still a huge push from the market for more features and functionality. Realtime graphics are used in an amazing number of vertical markets that all have their own unique needs. From a competitive standpoint, time-to- market is the Holy Grail. You need to get there first, or if you don’t, you’d better figure out how to get the work done fast, so you can stay competitive. Stadler: Creating a system that’s flexible enough to use throughout the production chain is a challenge right now. From creation to distribution, we need a system that easily allows individuals to create, edit and then distribute content to a variety of different platforms. Graphics aren’t just being used for an over-the-air stream any more, they must be usable and visible on the internet and through mobile devices. This means the graphics need to work not only for the designers, but also for the producers and journalists who have to change the content on a day-to-day basis. Stevens: There are challenges, but these are as much opportunities, particularly as changes in hardware profile are giving creators of creative products, like us, new ways to show how applications such as Adobe After Effects can take advantage of raw processing. At the same time, leveraging the cloud is a fantastic opportunity for the future. It’s an exciting time as this new method in computing proliferates, and we are exploring many ways to utilise it.

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