The projects in the works include an archive exchange format, interoperability, standardized captioning interchange, traffic/automatin interface and lip synch. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.
It was fitting that an event as vast as the NAB Show, again in Las Vegas this year, kicked off with ground rules of sorts. Early Saturday afternoon, The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) discussed new industry standards for TV broadcasters and content producers.
- SMPTE is working on an archive exchange format that if followed will make it possible for broadcasters to reclaim that archive, regardless of the storing technology and even if the archive system creator shuts down. “It’s a very fullfledged system … that makes them interoperable across multiple manufacturer’s operating systems,” said Peter Symes, SMPTE director of standards and engineering.
- Speaking of interoperability, Symes said SMPTE is following the work it did creating an interoperable master format for digital cinema, which has led to the creation of a content playlist that makes it easier for different versions of film content to be produced (for foreign markets, for example) and will apply it to a TV context. “It will determine from the set of assets exactly the version you want without having to create and store separately all of the different versions that might have to be produced,” Symes said.
- Symes also talked about the recent law passed by Congress that will require captioning for TV content be available when that content is redistributed for online consumption. The law generated some backlash from content producers, who were concerned that multiple versions of subtitles would have to be created because there was no standardized format for interchange. Consequently, SMPTE has lobbied for a standardized interchange format. “The FCC, having originally been very opposed to this, came around,” Symes said, decreeing SMPTE’s format a safe harbor under law.
- One “great success” was SMPTE’s progress in defining an interface between traffic systems and automation systems, an effort it had unsuccessfully attempted several times prior. “It always degenerated to one manufacturer trying to impose his solution on the industry,” Symes said. But this time out, SMPTE tried to work with a wider variety of constituents, as many as 80 at one point, to collaborate on an interface that worked. “This is giving users a lot more flexibility in selecting what products have to work together,” Symes said. “They can choose based on their capabilities, not on whether manufacturer A has integrated with manufacturer B. BXF is making it a generalized structure that they all can use.”
- SMPTE is expecting to amend another industry “embarrassment” — lip synch. “We’re getting very, very close to an in-service system manufactured by multiple manufacturers with compatibility between the equipment … where you can measure and either alarm or correct at any point in the chain, and hopefully provide a mechanism where we move forward,” Symes said.
For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.