Discussing AI on Digital Production BUZZ

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Had a great time on Larry Jordan’s show last week; we explored topics around AI adoption in the media industry, and why machine learning and artificial intelligence make such a huge difference to how media can be searched, understood and monetized.  It’s probably the biggest change since video went from analog to digital…

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connectr launches at IBC – great response!

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We launched our new product, connectr™, last week at IBC and the feedback and early orders we received were amazing.  The product is a departure for axle ai – it’s an affordable visual tool for tying together multiple video processing applications (think Zapier for professional video), and the consensus was that our industry really needs a tool like this.  The positive reactions included integrators, broadcasters, corporate and live event video teams and perhaps most importantly, other software vendors.  Early adopters include Archiware, FileCatalyst and ToolsOnAir, with more to follow; integrations for FFMpeg and FFMBC, as well as our own axle ai media management solution, are included.  You can find out more at www.connectr.ai.

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Gerry Field of American Public Television at NAB

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We had a phenomenal show at NAB last month, and one of the high points was this interview with me and Gerry Field, our longtime customer at American Public Television in Boston, as part of the NABShow Live series.  We were able to cover a lot of key topics including Gerry’s workflow and reasons for choosing axle, and also our latest product news from the show including our axle ai Hub appliance (seen in the foreground).  We hope you enjoy it – questions welcome, as usual!


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A night at the Opera

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I was thrilled to visit one of our customers, the National Opera and Ballet of the Netherlands, late in January.  They have a modern building which includes a large theater (capacity 1,600), rehearsal areas and technical facilities for video capture and postproduction.  Frederick Furnee, deputy head of the audio, video and media department there, oversaw the installation of an axle Gear system last year with the help of our tremendous local integrators Future Store.

Frederick showed me around their setup, which includes over 200 terabytes of shared storage as well as ingest solutions from Softron and AJA.  Each performance is captured live, including multiple camera angles when a broadcast is involved.  Their axle system is used by over 50 team members, including postproduction, stage managers, producers, directors and the marketing and social media teams.  They use it to search, playback, tag and subclip material from all of the productions (both opera and ballet) held at the facility, as well as other media and image files.

Perhaps best of all, when I visited the theater they were readying a new production of Tchaikovsky’s opera “A Rake’s Progress”, which had some amazing staging; Frederick was able to arrange for me to attend that evening’s dress rehearsal, with a full house in attendance.  The whole opera takes place inside a large, open-front white box consisting of white plastic sheets, with sets projected on the 5 inner surfaces of the box.  In addition, the area in front of the orchestra, usually closed off, is opened and ringed with a walkway which the singers can use to get closer to the audience at various points.  A number of video projection and live-streaming technologies were used to make for a really dynamic ‘set’; at one point, the main character took out his smartphone and livestreamed himself singing, Vlog-style, onto the projection surface behind him (!).

Over the course of the performance, several characters and props crash through the sides and back of the box; by the end of the evening the set looked like the image above. Overall, a fascinating visit and it was great to see how well our system performs even in a large, demanding live venue like the National Opera and Ballet.  Frederick emphasized how stable the system has been in day-to-day use, as well as its popularity among a wide range of staff because of the simplicity of its user interface.

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Digital Production BuZZ Features axle ai

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Larry Jordan’s renowned podcast series recently featured our CEO, Sam Bogoch – you can listen to the interview or read the transcript here.  The segment with sam starts at the 40:00 mark.  Larry has a unique ability to dig into key topics that impact video editors and make them really understandable.  We hope you enjoy the podcast!  Here’s a highlight:

Sam:   When video went digital, starting around a decade ago, it was still surprisingly hidden.  It just went from being on a tape on the shelf to being on a hard drive on the shelf, often with that same piece of tape or post it note on it, and once you got up to a few dozen disc drives and many of our customers start out with many many dozens or hundreds of disc drives, you still kind of have no idea at a glance of what’s on those drives.  You’ve got to plug them into a computer. Now at least it’s random access now, so you don’t have to actually fast forward your way ahead in the footage.  Nonetheless, it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. So the biggest challenge I see with media, is to present enough of it in front of you in a kind of transparent way that you feel like you could actually find something.  I think from that point onward it gets a lot easier, but until you get to that point, it’s mostly hidden.

Larry:  It’s like a text document… you can quickly search for a word, but you can’t quickly search for a picture and a video clip.

Sam:  Exactly right.

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Killer Writeup of axle on Broadcast Beat

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Broadcast Beat’s Curtis Chan recently did an article on our company and products. Check it out… really sums up what makes axle different.

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Now this is interesting…

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IBM and Sony announced new 330 terabyte prototype tape media this week.  You can read the full details at Ars Technica – they’ve achieved densities of 200 gigabytes per inch!  We and our customers can’t wait for these kinds of storage densities; having all that video and image data will undoubtedly need axle ai-style power to find the good bits!  More generally, we find that video archiving, whether to LTO tape, disk or cloud, has one big snag: how do you know which items to retrieve later on?

By cataloging them with axle ai, you automatically create a database of all your media files along with low-res proxies, file metadata, and tagging information (human or machine-generated).  This means that you can quickly find what you need, months later – and avoid the random, slow approach of trial and error downloading from cloud or reads from tape.

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axle ai launches – finding video is now a no-brainer!


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NAB – today, we announced the release of a breakthrough media analysis and search platform, axle ai, as well as the first product based on this platform. Postproduction teams can save a ton of time that would otherwise be spent manually tagging their media, and can benefit from the ability to find media that may not have been managed at all, often simply with cryptic multi-digit filenames from camera media. The ‘ai’ in axle ai stands for artificial intelligence, shorthand for a variety of deep learning technologies which are rapidly making machine analysis of media files not only possible, but compelling in real-world use.

axle ai helps video postproduction teams bypass the laborious task of entering detailed metadata about every scene. Instead, users simply select a frame from a video, or grab an image from any onscreen source including web pages. axle ai is then able to rapidly identify a ranked list of media clips, as well as the exact segments in those clips, whose contents most closely match the image.

“axle ai is a major breakthrough in media management productivity”, said Sam Bogoch, axle Video CEO. “In conjunction with axle 2017, it brings automatic metadata creation, faster production, and new possibilities for media search and reuse to a wide range of video professionals. This type of solution was not even conceivable until very recently, and we’re excited to be the leaders in bringing it to market.”

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axle 2017 is now available!

We’re delighted to announce that axle 2017, our next-gen radically simple media management tool, is now shipping.  It represents a full year of work on scalability, system stability and new features.  We’re seeing axle deployed in an even wider variety of sites (over 400 in all, including corporate, religious, university, sports, broadcast, and postproduction customers).

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Highlights include:

• support for over 2 million assets in a single database

• new metadata field types and expanded metadata panel size

• optional Advanced Transcode module replaces Telestream Episode Pro and Engine

• optional Softron MovieRecorder integration for realtime ingest monitoring

• optional cloud archiving – this module allows archiving to most major services, including Backblaze, Wasabi, Amazon and Microsoft

• optional mirrored cloud deployment for external review and approval



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Great new FCPX – axle – Avid Nexis workflow video

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Avid’s Bob Russo has done it again – today, FCP.co posted a new tutorial video covering the powerful workflows that are available with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, axle 2017, and Avid’s NEXIS|PRO storage system.  Yet more indications that Avid is really opening up their strategy these days – and also an impressive showcase for for the growing uses of FCPX.

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