NAB 2013: Conference Notes – The State of Disruption

A surprisingly large number of people, at times as many as 100, stayed at NAB through Thursday afternoon to attend the 2-day Disruptive Media Conference produced by Ned Sherman and Digital Media Wire. Executives from companies such as Sony, Adobe, Rentrak, Scripps, StumbleUpon, nScreenMedia and others discussed the current impact of disruptive media and what they anticipate for the future. Continue reading NAB 2013: Conference Notes – The State of Disruption

NAB 2013: Cloud-Based Production with Adobe Anywhere

First announced at last year’s NAB, cloud-based production service Adobe Anywhere is scheduled to launch in May and will be on display at next week’s NAB (booth SL3910) in Las Vegas. The toolset enables collaboration for creative professionals using Adobe Premiere, After Effects and logging tool Prelude. It uses Adobe’s Mercury streaming engine, a server that streams relevant video frames and scales quality based on available bandwidth. Continue reading NAB 2013: Cloud-Based Production with Adobe Anywhere

Proposed AS-10 Metadata Spec Aimed at Streamlining Video Workflow

  • A new video metadata specification that would enable efficient interoperability of video between cameras, editing, playout and archiving may arrive as early as next year’s NAB Show, reports TVNewsCheck.
  • The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) has spent the past nine months developing AS-10, aimed at retaining and rendering readable the video metadata across devices that come from different vendors.
  • “Our goal is to have a single file that could move from camera to edit to playout to archive and back, really to be able to traverse the entire work flow,” says CNN’s Michael Koetter, who also serves as the AMWA director.
  • “I would love for CNN or CBS or whoever to be able to walk up to a [product] and see a little badge on it that says ‘AS-10 Inside’ and have some greater level of assurance than I do today,” adds Koetter.
  • The AS-10 effort has drawn support from CNN, NRK (the Norwegian state broadcaster), and vendors such as JVC, Sony, Harmonic, MetaGlue, MOG Solutions, Canon and Adobe.

Programming across Multiple Platforms: Is HTML5 Changing the Web?

  • HTML5 is quickly becoming the standard online programming technology, with support from the likes of Amazon, Rovio Entertainment, Pandora, Zynga and various online publications. The trend has also been fueled by browser support from competitors Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.
  • Last week, Adobe announced it would stop development of the rival Flash format for mobile devices.
  • “HTML5 is a major step forward,” says Netscape creator Marc Andreessen. “HTML5 is going to put power back in the hands of creative people,” adds Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee.
  • “Some 34 percent of the 100 most popular websites used HTML5 in the quarter ended in September, according to binvisions.com, a blog that tracks Web technologies,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Resume searches by hiring managers looking for HTML5 expertise more than doubled between the first quarter and the third quarter.”
  • “If you want to be delivering a Web experience around multiple devices, you have to be doing it in HTML5,” explains Danny Winokur, Adobe’s general manager for interactive development.
  • The technology is also being used for media-rich ads and games for social network apps. The article suggests this is only the beginning.

Adobe Announces Aggressive Focus on HTML5, Abandons Mobile Flash

  • Adobe will no longer continue to develop its Flash Player for mobile devices. Instead, it will focus its resources on HTML5, according to the company’s blog.
  • “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” writes Danny Winokur, VP and GM, Adobe Interactive Development. “This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.”
  • Future efforts for Flash on mobile devices will focus on creating native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.
  • “Did Apple ensure mobile Flash’s demise by preventing it from competing properly? Or did Adobe’s insistence on keeping the format proprietary, complicated by Flash’s alleged performance issues, tie Cupertino’s hands?” asks TIME. “Whatever the case, with Adobe’s mobile development switching to HTML5, all eyes are on the desktop version of Flash, and whether after nearly a decade-and-a-half of use, Adobe will eventually opt to retire it, too.”

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3: For HD Video and 3D Gaming on Multiple Platforms

  • Adobe announced this week Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to enable “console quality” 2D and 3D games and scientific visualizations for multiple platforms including Android, Apple iOS (via AIR), BlackBerry Tablet OS, Mac OS, Windows, connected TVs and others.
  • Adobe touts 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash 10 and AIR 2 enabling 60 frames per second rendering and console-quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected TVs. A production release for mobile is coming.
  • Content protection is available using Adobe Flash Access 3 on supported platforms — “including support for mobile platforms,” explains the press release — with support for rental and subscription options “to more than 80 percent of the U.S. pay TV subscribers.”
  • HD full frame video quality can be displayed on iOS devices using H.264 hardware decoding to deliver 7.1 channel surround sound.

Autodesk: Smoke for Mac Strikes Balance Between Cost and Performance

  • Low-cost software tools are driving the democratization of the post industry, suggests Digital Content Producer, and one result has been the availability of editing and effects services from some new players.
  • However, some professionals realize there’s more that impacts the bottom line than price.
  • “Rather than solely building a business on Apple’s Final Cut Studio or the Adobe Creative Suite,” suggests the article, “a number of new producers have found that Autodesk’s Smoke for Mac OS X has struck the right balance between cost and performance.”
  • Digital Content Producer profiles several companies that are currently using Smoke to attract and maintain their clients (including Boogie Studios, Glyph Corp. and VODA Studios).
  • “Autodesk’s Smoke for Mac OS X is a relatively new product, but it brings a level of finishing to the Mac platform that has been out-of-reach in the past,” indicates the write-up. “Thanks to a heritage of years of Irix and Linux development, the product starts as a seasoned offering, complete with a very high brand appeal among clients. These ingredients have given the early adopters a definite creative and business edge.”
  • “Clients have really responded well to our offering of finishing services,” explains Sebastian Dostie of Montreal’s Boogie Studios. “It’s great to have the audio mix on Pro Tools and video finishing on Smoke under one roof, because everything can get done in the same day at the same facility, including any last minute changes. We love that Smoke is on the Mac platform, because it makes it easy to bring in the offline editor’s FCP edit list or to use Photoshop on the same computer as Smoke. Performance and reliability has been great and clients feel very comfortable when they hear that you are using Smoke.”

Adobe Announces Acquisition of IRIDAS Film and Video Technology

  • Adobe announced at IBC in Amsterdam that it has acquired certain assets of IRIDAS, “a leader in high-performance tools for digital color grading and enhancement of professional film and video content, including stereoscopic technology.”
  • The deal is part of Adobe’s efforts to invest in its own video software solutions, Premiere Pro and After Effects, at a time when videography is democratizing (especially with the arrival of video SLRs) and some consumers are frustrated by changes to Final Cut Pro.
  • “The IRIDAS Speedgrade software offers the ability to refine video in a number of ways, notably what’s called color grading, which can shift a video’s color tones to give a particular look,” reports CNET.
  • According to Adobe’s press release: “With the addition of IRIDAS technology, Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium and Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, the world’s leading video tools for professionals, are expected to gain a comprehensive set of tools so video editors can manipulate color and light for any type of content, including professional film and television. The addition of premier color grading tools exemplifies Adobe’s commitment and leadership in the digital film and video space.”
  • Adobe also explained that the deal will help the company move forward in regards to the growing trend in 3D video.

Muse: Adobe Promises Creative Code-Free Web Site Design (Again)

  • Adobe has released a preview of Adobe Edge, which uses HTML5 technologies to bring “Flash-like animation and interactive development tools to the Web.”
  • The company also unveiled a beta version this week of its new Web publishing tool (code-named “Muse”) that is intended to enable users to design and publish Web sites without the need to write HTML code.
  • According to Digital Trends, the Muse tools will be familiar to those familiar with Adobe InDesign and will be implemented via the Adobe Air desktop application framework.
  • For those interested in additional information, the article outlines Muse by its four steps of production: Plan, Design, Preview, and Publish.
  • Adobe Muse is currently available in beta for Windows XP or newer and Mac OS X 10.6 or newer (Adobe Air 2.7 framework must be installed). Pricing has yet to be announced for the 1.0 release expected in early 2012.

Vizio Releases $299 Android Tablet in Time for School

  • Vizio has released an 8-inch Android tablet priced at a mere $299. It features Adobe Flash, a three-speaker configuration and a MicroSD slot for expanding to 32GB.
  • The Wi-Fi tablet is being promoted by Vizio as an affordable back-to-school option and as a media device designed to interact with TVs.
  • According to the press release: “The VIZIO Tablet features VIZIO Internet Apps Plus which combines the latest technologies with a unified, easy-to-use and fun user interface across select future VIZIO HDTVs, Blu-ray players and other devices — further differentiating the sleek VIZIO Tablet. In addition, the new Tablet is able to control nearly every element of a user’s home theater with a universal remote app and includes a built-in HDMI port with HDCP support for content protected HD playback on the big screen.”

Adobe Announces New Web Creator: Alternative to Flash?

  • Adobe has announced Adobe Edge, its new HTML5 Web motion and interaction design tool.
  • Gizmodo reports: “Far from Adobe surrendering to Apple and the good HTML5 fight, Adobe’s Edge Web creator is simply a little shrug and acknowledgment that HTML5, CSS and JavaScript will get them on more mobile devices than Flash will.”
  • Compatible with Macs and Windows, it can be used to add motion to existing HTML documents and create visually rich HTML and CSS3 content from scratch.
  • According to the company’s press release: “While in public preview, Adobe Edge will be a no-charge download that Web designers are encouraged to explore and provide feedback on, to help shape future preview releases. To download the software, visit www.labs.adobe.com.”
  • The post includes a 5-minute video preview from Adobe.

Adobe Demos Flash Video Streaming at NAB

Adobe previewed its new video streaming technology at NAB, built on the Adobe Flash Media Server. The new features and capabilities are designed to help stream protected video to mobile devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone, Motorola Xoom, Samsung TVs and Atrix smartphone.

Last year Adobe introduced HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) for the Flash Platform, which leverages the MPEG-4 fragment container format using H.264/AAC codecs. The company is now adding support for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), an MPEG2 transport stream used by devices including the iPad 2. Adobe explains that HLS support within the Flash Media Server reduces “the publishing complexity for broadcasters who need to reach browsers supporting HLS through HTML5 (such as Safari) or devices where Adobe Flash is not installed.”

Adobe also demonstrated its next version of the Flash Media Live Encoder, that enables users to “capture a live broadcast stream and publish out to multiple devices including Android, Apple iOS and Samsung TVs.”

You can check out a seven-minute video demo on the Adobe blog.

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