IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show wrapped up its first face-to-face event in three years last week in Las Vegas.  In spite of the name, this is an internationally attended trade conference and exhibition showcasing equipment, software and services for film and video production, management and distribution. There were 52,000 attendees, down from a typical 90-100k, with some reduction in booth density; overall the show was reminiscent of pre-COVID days.  A few members of IPTC met while there: Mark Milstein (vAIsual), Alison Sullivan (MGM Resorts), Phil Avner (Associated Press) and Pam Fisher (The Media Institute).  Kudos to Phil for working, showcasing ENPS on the AP stand, while others walked the exhibition stands.

NAB is a long-running event and several large vendors have large ‘anchor’ booths.  Some such as Panasonic and Adobe reduced their normal NAB booth size, while Blackmagic had their normal ‘city block’-sized presence, teeming with traffic.  In some ways the reduced booth density was ideal for visitors: plenty of tables and chairs populated the open areas making more meeting and refreshment space available.  The NAB exhibition is substantially more widely attended than the conference, and this year several theatres were provided on the show floor for sessions any ‘exhibits only’ attendee could watch.  Some content is now available here: https://nabshow.com/2022/videos-on-demand/

For the most part this was a show of ‘consolidation’ rather than ‘innovation’. For example, exhibitors were enjoying welcoming their partners and customers face-to-face rather than launching significant new products.  Codecs standardised during the past several years were finally reaching mainstream support, with AV1, VP9 and HEVC well-represented across vendors. SVT-AV1 (Scalable Vector Technology) was particularly prevalent, having been well optimised and made available to use license-free by the standard’s contributors. VVC (Versatile Video Coding), a more recent and more advanced standard, is still too computationally intensive for commercial use, though a small set made mention of it on their stands (e.g. Fraunhofer).

IP is now fairly ubiquitous within broadcast ecosystems.  To consolidate further, an IP Showcase booth illustrating support across standards bodies and professional organisations championed more sophisticated adoption. A pyramid graphic showing a cascade of ‘widely available’ to ‘rarely available’ sub-systems encouraged deeper adoption.

Super Resolution – raising the game for video upscaling

One of the show floor sessions – “Improving Video Quality with AI” – presented advances by iSIZE and Intel. The Intel technology may be particularly interesting to IPTC members, and concerns “Super Resolution.” Having followed the subject for over 20 years, for me this was a personal highlight of the show.

Super Resolution is a technique for creating higher resolution content from smaller originals.  For example, achieving a professional quality 1080p video from a 480p source, or scaling up a social media-sized image for feature use.

A representative from Intel explaining the forthcoming SuperResolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A representative from Intel explaining their forthcoming Super Resolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A few years ago a novel and highly effective new Super Resolution method was innovated (“RAISR”, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.01299); this represented a major discontinuity in the field, albeit with the usual mountain of investment and work needed to take the ‘R’ (research) to ‘D’ (development).

This is exactly what Intel have done, and the resulting toolsets will be made available at no cost at the company’s Open Visual Cloud repository at the end of May.

Intel invested four years in improving the AI/ML algorithms (having created a massive ground truth library for learning), optimising to CPUs for performance and parallelisation, and then engineering the ‘applied’ tools developers need for integration (e.g. Docker containers, FFmpeg and GStreamer plug-ins). Performance will now be commercially robust.

The visual results are astonishing, and could have a major impact on the commercial potential of photographic and film/video collections needing to reach much higher resolutions or even to repair ‘blurriness’.

Next year’s event is the centennial of the first NAB Show and takes place from April 15th-19th in Las Vegas.

– Pam Fisher – Lead, IPTC Video Metadata Working Group

Lúí Smyth from Shutterstock presenting at IPTC Spring Meeting, Lisbon, April 2019, back when we had in-person meetings!

With less than two weeks to go, we are pleased to announce the full agenda for the IPTC Spring Meeting 2022.

The IPTC Spring Meeting 2022 will be held virtually from Monday May 16th to Wednesday May 18th, from 1300 – 1800 UTC each day.

IPTC member representatives can view the full agenda and register at https://iptc.org/moz/events/spring-meeting-2022/

Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Updates from all IPTC Working Groups, including Photo Metadata, Video Metadata, NewsCodes, Sports Content, NewsML-G2 and News in JSON
  • Updates from the IPTC PR Committee and the IPTC Standards Committee, including votes on proposed new versions of IPTC standards
  • Invited presentations from:
    • United Robots, presenting their “robot journalism” system built for media companies
    • Axate‘s micropayments system for publishers
    • Kairntech presenting their content classification system used by Agence France-Presse among others
    • Bria.ai‘s image generation and manipulation API backed with cutting-edge artificial intelligence
    • Consultant Henrik de Gyor speaking on the latest developments in synthetic media
    • Laurent Le Meur from EDRLab discussing the W3C Text and Data Mining Community Group’s recommendation for a Text and Data Mining Reservation Protocol
  • Member presentations:
    • Recently-joined IPTC members will have a chance to introduce themselves and their organisations to the IPTC membership
    • The New York Times presenting their “Papertrail” system used to target advertising based on content metadata
    • Margaret Warren from ImageSnippets discussing what she learned when creating NFTs from her artwork
  • Member discussions:
    • IPTC members will be discussing how we might be able to simplify rights management with a cut-down basic set of rights assertions, possibly creating a simpler alternative to RightsML
    • IPTC members will also be discussing the News Architecture and how we can better utilise the key data model that underlies both NewsML-G2 and ninjs
    • and more!

Attendance to the 2022 IPTC Spring Meeting is free for all delegates and member experts from IPTC member organisations.

Invited speakers are welcome to attend the day on which they are speaking.