What’s happening at IBC 2016?

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The IBC conference theme for 2016 is ‘Transformation in the Digital Era’, very apt for the many challenges facing the electronic media and entertainment industry at the moment.

The IBC Conference and Exhibition, held annually in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is the place to be for discussion and debate around any issues the industry as a whole is experiencing. With an impressive list of speakers and contributors, this gathering is always at the forefront of industry innovation and provides unrivalled networking opportunities for role players from all fronts.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a subject high on the agenda of both the conference sessions and the exhibition floor. Alex Mahon, ex-CEO of Shine Group and now CEO of the Foundry, will give a presentation on her journey from traditional TV to the new world of VR and special effects, and discuss some of the most exciting products of her new company, while Solomon Rogers, founder and CEO of Rewind, will host a Masterclass panel discussion on VR as part of the content and production stream of the conference.

While VR can be considered to be in the ‘early stage’ of development it is predicted to have a disruptive effect on everything from full feature entertainment right through to journalism in the next few years. While many see the rise in interest in VR content simply as ‘another 3D’ experiment destined to fail, many sectors in the industry are investing seriously in VR technology. Movie studios and filmmakers are extending their ambitions from short marketing promos to longer form stories. Disney has invested $65m in a 360-video camera business and Google has started development in a cinema-style VR camera with IMAX, to name a few.

Aside from VR, IP will be high on the agenda with many companies showcasing their latest innovations in IP-based system architectures and new workflows for media and broadcast organisations alike. Sony will host a business transformation themed conference session to ask whether IT and IP are ready to replace the entire broadcast chain.

HDR

High Dynamic range (HDR) will be as popular a subject as last year with many exhibitors showing their wares in a fiercely competitive market from acquisition through production and transmission via fibre link.

Hitachi will showcase their HDR-capable UHD cameras first previewed at NAB. This year, for the first time, the Big Screen Experience features High Dynamic Range projection in conjunction with the Dolby Atmos immersive audio system. The Big Screen Experience conference stream will focus on the wide gamut of key developments that affect the art, science and business of the motion-picture sector from production through to exhibition. Look out for the session on Light Field Cameras with Jon Karafin from Lytro, developers of the much raved about Lytro Cinema camera.

The world’s media is in an evolving state of change and the rules are constantly shifting. Internet players are coming to TV and TV is moving to the web, and while traditional broadcast and pay TV models are constantly under pressure from cord cutters, the best tactic may be to break convention and innovate a way to prepare for the future.

Hackfest, Future Zone and Rising Stars

Introduced last year and gaining momentum this year, the IBC Hackfest is a crazy 48-hour brainstorm session of over 100 talented developers, designers and entrepreneurs presenting their ideas and solutions to three chosen areas of interest – this year it’s classroom education using VR as a tool, the future living room and the future of sport viewing – all involving the VR and Augmented Reality development thread.

Closely related is the IBC Future Zone – a portal to view the future of the entertainment and broadcast industry with cutting edge projects and prototypes on display from the world’s leading R&D labs and universities.

IBC Rising Stars is a free-to-attend workshop that allows young professionals and entrepreneurs to develop essential skills and knowledge that will help them get ahead in the competitive electronic media and entertainment industry. This year’s programme covers discussions on how the accelerating power of technology is driving the media industry, as well as an in-depth session with Alexandre Jenny from GoPro and Michael Ford, a producer from 360VR on the subject of Virtual Reality and its future.

Camera tech and storage

From an equipment point of view, camera technology will be of prime focus with IP connectivity the next ‘new thing’. I would imagine that 360 VR camera setups will be hot items in the exhibition halls as well as a few mystery cameras like Panasonics 8K DXL and possibly a new Super 35 camera from Canon.

Storage is bound to be a big feature – with all the new data that is currently generated we need bigger, better, faster systems. Quantum’s new Xcellis Shared Storage technology will be on show featuring demonstrations of content transcoding and delivery with object storage, the use of hybrid flash and disk storage combining to enable frame-based animation creation and stream-based editing on a single storage system, and embedded applications that run natively on high-performance workflow storage.

As always, LTO technology will display – along with numerous vendors – to highlight its recent rapid development with the release of LTO 7. Plus keep an eye out for the developers of Digital Optical Technology Systems (DOTS) – a failsafe archival system that stores data in microscopic layers for a claimed shelf life of 1 000 years!

The IBC Exhibition covers 15 halls and hosts more than 1 600 exhibitors spanning the creation, management and delivery of electronic and media entertainment. It is far more than an exhibition and conference, it provides visitors with unrivalled networking opportunities and there is something for everyone, whether creative, technical, old or new – you can explore all that IBC has to offer across six days of groundbreaking insight and innovation.

IBC2016 – Amsterdam from 8 to 13 September.

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