As the professional broadcast world prepares to gather and glimpse the future at IBC 2015, we talked to Bill Roberts, Adobe’s senior director of Product Management for Creative Cloud Video, about the rapid evolution of video, the newest creative tools, how technology is helping filmmakers find their audiences, and why we are all going to want a new TV.
What are some of the top trends you’re expecting to see at IBC this year?
Bill: The biggest trend, I think, is the change in home consumption with the introduction of UltraHD. What that means is the resolution of the screens is going higher—4K—so about four times as large as what most people have in their homes today. The frame rate is getting higher, moving from 25 or 30 frames a second, depending on where you are in the world, to 50 or 60 frames. This means that time is spliced into smaller chunks, so there’s less blur in each frame. The videos become sharper and more life-like, which is especially exciting for sports like hockey and baseball, where viewers are keeping track of high-speed objects.
What’s most exciting, for the first time in the history of television, there will be a mechanism to deliver more color and light to the home with UltraHD.
One of the best comments I heard somebody make when they saw these things combined on a modern television is that it looks like a window on reality. It just changes your whole perception.
For events, like live sports, they become so much more compelling. For dramatic productions, the storyteller has new visual levers to pull creatively to cause or amplify emotion.
Another area of innovation is on the creation side. Professionals are beginning to work with touch screens. We focused on a workflow where an editor can keep their hand on the keyboard to maintain maximum speed and access keyboard shortcuts, while their non-dominant hand can select different areas of the screen and change the input focus. This is making our interaction model more modern and efficient—something that we think our customers will adopt.
What do you think is driving the biggest trends in video?
Bill: The largest shift is happening in the entertainment industry where “over-the-top” services [the delivery of video or audio content over the Internet], such as Netflix and Amazon, have become a mainstay.
Traditional cable satellite television existed without too much disruption for around 50 years, but now it’s being significantly challenged by these over-the-top services and a business battle for viewership has emerged.
One factor driving consumers to watch shows from an over-the-top service is the higher quality experience. These providers are taking advantage of technology like UltraHD to help differentiate their services.
TV manufacturers are also getting into the previously mentioned UltraHD game as a way to entice consumers to upgrade their television sets. A few years ago the industry got excited about stereoscopic (or 3D) television. A big splash was made but the experience at the time wasn’t good enough for people to upgrade. On the other hand, when people look at the beauty and clarity of a 4K screen, it’s enough to make people want to invest in a new television.
What are some of the most interesting tools filmmakers are experimenting with right now?
Bill: Remix is an audio feature in Adobe Audition CC that allows you to take a song and change its length to whatever you want it to be. This is important because there are many people who want to have a 15-second audio bed to share a video on Instagram, for instance. Currently, people just use a section of music and fade in and out; with Remix, you type in the amount of time, it analyzes the song’s structure, then delivers a piece of music which has the same sonic arc and sounds like a complete song in the duration that you want. The amazing thing is, when you listen to it, you will not hear the transitions. It allows people to have a much more polished video.
Also, we introduced a new feature to help achieve the popular look of super slow-motion. Many new cameras in the market today shoot very high frame rates to let you create this, but what if you don’t have one of these cameras? We have optical flow re-timing in the next updates. It’s GPU-accelerated and blazing fast and allows for absolutely fluid and pristine editing, opening up the creative possibilities for filmmakers.
Earlier this year, we debuted Character Animator, an entirely new way to create animations from your Photoshop or Illustrator files by using a web cam and microphone to animate them. Now, we’ve added multi-touch so users can make their characters “perform” using a touch-enabled laptop. The characters not only respond to head movements and speaking, users can move the characters’ hands or other body parts using multi-touch. It can be done in real time or slowed down by 50 percent for more precision. It’s really exciting to see new models of interaction to create high-quality professional content.
How do you think Adobe’s major Creative Cloud updates fit into the ongoing evolution of film editing?
Bill: Technology breakthroughs in hardware and software, particularly in the areas of cameras and acquisition, have increased the pace of change over the past five years. New distribution models have upended the industry. This requires a company to be dynamic and be in sync with the industry—something our customers rely on us for. With Adobe Creative Cloud, we’re constantly collaborating with our customers and continuing to deliver the best creativity tools in the market. At the same time, we also help push and drive our customers by providing them with the most innovative tools that keep them on the cutting-edge of their industry.
With new models of video consumption, what tools do filmmakers need to find their viewers?
Bill: In a new world of over-the-top services, content no longer lives on a 24-hour broadcast wheel. In this environment, content is downloaded, and therefore must be searchable for people to engage with it. Think about when you use Netflix—you hunt for new shows and expect good recommendations based on your preferences. Moving forward, the asset itself needs to be smarter. As part of the creation cycle, we need to ensure that when the asset is delivered, it’s wrapped in as much rich metadata as possible, so that content is discoverable. This will ultimately lead to more monetization for content owners and more content we love for you and me.
Find out more about the latest innovations to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Primetime, Adobe’s multiscreen TV platform that helps media companies deliver, monetize, and measure TV and video.