NAB 2017: AWS, Dell EMC, G-Tech Tout 4K Delivery, Storage; Prime Focus Technologies Focuses on CREATE App

Underscoring the huge presence that Ultra High-Def (UHD) had at NAB, Amazon Web Services (AWS) teamed up with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide the first live 4K live video stream from the International Space Station (ISS) April 26. The stream was delivered during the Super Session “Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood.”

The event was a “good example” of technologies being used from both AWS and its Elemental Technologies division, CMO Keith Wymbs told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) at the show, adding the company had done a lot of work with 4K before this – albeit nothing involving ISS. Early on, about two years ago, the main challenge involved with 4K was managing the huge amount of bandwidth required for UHD, he said. Now, the main challenge is the continued lack of enough 4K TVs and other UHD-capable devices, he added.

AWS supports ATSC 3.0 and has seen “a lot of demand for it” especially in South Korea already, he also said, attributing that mainly to the fact that the government there mandated a shift to UHD broadcasting. Demand has been somewhat lighter in the U.S., he said.

The recent rebranding of Elemental Technologies, meanwhile, included a name change to AWS Elemental and an accompanying new logo that was on display throughout the entire AWS NAB booth.

It was the first time since AWS bought Elemental about a year and a half ago that the company had just one NAB booth, Wymbs said. Last year, AWS and Elemental each had a separate NAB booth, he noted.

Also at the NAB Show:

Dell EMC

UHD also played a role at the Dell EMC booth, via demonstrations at the company’s Create Solution and Deliver Solution Zones that tied into its announcement of a new, All-Flash Isilon storage solution. At the Create Solution Zone, Dell EMC demonstrated high-speed, uncompressed 4K editing with partner Autodesk and compressed 4K multi-stream editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. At the Deliver Solution Zone, Dell EMC demonstrated next-generation content delivery models including 4K and virtual reality (VR) 360-degree TV that leveraged All-Flash Isilon as the center of an Internet Protocol TV/over-the-top workflow.

dellnab As technologies that enhance the viewing experience continue to emerge, including higher frame rates and resolutions, high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG), underlying storage infrastructures have to effectively scale to keep up with expanding performance requirements, Dell EMC said in a news release announcing All-Flash Isilon.

The announcement of the All-Flash version of Dell EMC’s flagship” Isilon scale-out networked attached storage (NAS) was the “biggest news on the old, legacy” EMC business for the company at NAB, Tom Burns, CTO of Media & Entertainment, told MESA at the show. “Being able to do All-Flash in a NAS lets us compete with” storage area network (SAN) “for very demanding workloads,” like uncompressed 4K, 10-bit Digital Moving-Picture Exchange (DPX) in RGB, he said.


G-Technology touted upgrades to its storage product line with new Thunderbolt 3 drives all designed to handle 4K video.
The new line includes G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3 (available now at up to $699.95 for 10 TB, with 12 TB available next quarter for $799.95).

It’s targeted at creative professionals and features dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a USB-C port that supports USB 3.1 Gen 1. Users can daisy chain up to five additional devices, allowing them to stay connected to multiple drives and quickly move HD and 4K footage through a single connection, the company said in a news release.

gtechnab Also new is G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3, a removable dual-hard drive storage system with features including the ability to plug in 4K 60 HDR displays and editing tools, allowing creative professionals to quickly access, browse, edit and backup digital libraries, the company said. It will ship in June in prices ranging from $749.95 for 8 TB to $1,549.95 for 20 TB and 24 TB will be added next quarter for $1,999.95.

The G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3 is an 8-bay transportable drive solution designed to handle demanding multi-stream workflows of 4K and higher, and will ship in June at prices ranging from $4,099.95 for 32 TB to $8,599.85 for 80 TB, the company said. A 96-TB version is following next quarter at $10,199.95.

In addition to the growing 4K demand, Matthew Bennion, G-Technology senior product marketing manager, told MESA at the show “what I am continuously amazed by is the interest and demand for VR workflows” that customers often need help with.

He added: “Drones obviously is another big trend. There’s a lot of great camera systems” being made available that can be used to shoot up in the air while attached to drones. There’s just “more and more ways of using these imaging devices to create more and more rich video,” as people keep finding new ways to tell stories visually, he said.

But he conceded that drones can also be a very costly new way to tell a story if the user isn’t careful, noting that he himself had a drone that crashed with data onboard he hadn’t backed up. The accident cost him about $3,000, he said. Moral of the story: one should always back up one’s data – especially when it’s attached to a drone high in the air that is far more likely to hit something that can destroy it than that hard drive on one’s desk.

Prime Focus Technologies

At NAB, Prime Focus Technologies touted the launch of CREATE, a mobile-first solution for end-to-end production management from screenplay to production on one piece of software, with a connected supply chain.

pftnabA production module of the CLEAR Media ERP Suite will help creators digitize, “end-to-end, the pre-production and production phases of the content creation process,” the company said in a news release.

It will allow users to “plan and manage production better, and make higher quality creative decisions quicker leading to enhanced operational efficiencies by reduced rework,” Prime Focus said. CREATE “ensures continuity, access to assets, approvals and inventory management seamlessly,” it said.
In an interview at the show, CEO and founder Ramki Sankaranarayanan, told MESA that the CREATE app is available for Android and iOS devices. It’s “probably the boldest experiment” by the company among the five initiatives it recently unveiled, he said, stressing that CREATE is “brand new” and represents “the first time we’re bringing something like this” to customers.

CREATE was a “natural extension of our Media ERP vision and the outcome of our conviction that extreme digitization of the production process is the need of the hour,” he said in the news release.