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IBC and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“Hey, if we want to deliver to a broadcaster and Netflix and Apple, how do we do this with full compliance and no loss of quality?”

Over the last few years, trade shows have become very challenging. If the exhibitors are like restaurants in a food festival and the visitors are the customers, ask yourself this question? If the percentage of restaurants are increasing faster the percentage of visitors, and the visitors are spending less time (very few spend all 5 days – most are there for a day or two), and the cost of being there keeps going up, how can we be successful? Especially, even if your fare is of exceptional quality, it may not be as mainstream as the 400 item menu that some of the larger stands offer.

 

So, we book appointments and do our mailers and to try and make sure we get our share of visitors, but this strategy only works for people we know. Surely, we are there for the “new” customers. Enter our G&T event at the end of the day… This rant is just a moan about the frustration of trade shows. I guess people want to hear about the show itself.

 

Despite the fact that we do offer some popular beverages on our IBC stand, besides our products, of course, we have seen fewer and fewer walk-ons in recent times. So, it was refreshing and encouraging this year to get a surge of interest above and beyond the appointments we had scheduled. Here’s a bit of what was discussed all throughout the show…

 

Deploying Loudness and associated audio processes is still a major concern. Visitors to our stand were interested primarily in loudness for broadcast, loudness for social media, on-prem, as well as cloud deployment. Along with loudness, automating a number of audio processes, such as upmixing and audio encoding, were also hot points of discussion.

 

We know that, in terms of addressing loudness for broadcast, the conventional method of keeping the average correct (as exemplified by a hardware processor) has been unsatisfactory, often compromising the quality of the mix and offering no satisfactory solution for online delivery. Audio, like the need for high dynamic range (HDR) and high resolution (4K, 8K) video, is becoming a significant consumer driver. At long last, traditional broadcasting is meeting its match with credible and increasing number of online delivery platforms.

 

Broadcast and online delivery platforms pose challenges for delivering audio. The specifications are already out there, and many more media companies are looking at how they can improve their approach to loudness. However, the expertise in delivering loudness compliance with high quality has proven challenging. And this is where we make our contribution, by working closely with our clients and helping them deliver high-quality audio to varied and exacting specifications.

Interest in loudness for social media and OTT platforms has increased dramatically. We noticed people at IBC saying, “Hey, if we want to deliver to a broadcaster and Netflix and Apple, how do we do this with full compliance and no loss of quality?” All of the multiplatform issues that were present but ignored 10 years ago have become a reality. Now OTT content providers are truly credible competitors for ad revenue traditionally monopolized by broadcasters. And therefore, content providers are demanding that audio is suitable for the platforms.

 

The original audio master has to be compliant to broadcast standards, and versions of it have to be created to be suitable for the online platforms where the listening environment (planes, trains, coffee shops…) is a lot noisier than the typical living room.

 

This is where we believe we can offer critical efficiency and cost savings – without compromising audio quality in meeting the delivery spec. Sure, someone could actually go into Pro Tools and create 40 different versions, but it would be a waste of time, talent, and money. So, we envision a scenario in which our automated audio processing tools use a single piece of content to deliver every version needed to accommodate broadcast, social, and OTT platforms.

 

It is not enough to feel satiated by stodgy fast and comfort food. High-quality fare with all the fast-food convenience is becoming more important for a lot of our customers.

 

That’s where we see things going, and we were pleasantly surprised that in spite of being the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (or was it a bar, or was it a booth?), we were busy and our customers ate heartily and left happy. And the G&T went down well.

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