NAB 2019 Reflections: Mediapro’s Mario Sousa on the Company's Combined Vision
The company aims to be a ‘360-degree partner’ offering technology and services
The Mediapro NAB 2019 booth was abuzz with activity, literally: it featured not only the OmniCam 4Sky cabled camera system flying overhead but also a wealth of other technologies available through the Mediapro family, including WTVision, Overon, and AutomaticTV.
“We wanted to have more impact this year, so we showed Mediapro as not just a group of companies but really as a 360-degree partner, especially when we talk about soccer,” says Mario Sousa, head of sales and marketing, U.S., Mediapro. “Mediapro is about technology and services, and we wanted to tell our leadership story.”
One highlight was the Omnicam 4Sky camera, the cabled camera system that plays a key role for La Liga, the Spanish professional soccer league.
“It can do HD or 4K, and it is working in 4K mode for all the matches in Barcelona and at Real Madrid’s stadium,” Sousa says. “It is agnostic as far as the camera choice, but it is as light as it can be so it can be used for indoor events like basketball or concerts. And now we are transferring the 4Sky knowledge from the development and operational team based in Portugal to other countries like the U.S. and in the Americas.”
AutomaticTV, which has an automated production system that relies on camera tracking, was on hand with new features like 60p and the ability to have more cameras than previous systems.
“There have been a lot of improvements, and now it can be used for the high and low end of the markets,” says Sousa. “That area will grow a lot, as the output of an automated production is much better than other approaches for low-cost productions.”
Automated feeds will also be a big part of the future of iso feeds and coverage ultimately used by the coaching staff and team for player evaluation.
The Mediapro technical offering also expands into master-control operations as well as telecommunications and distribution. Oberon, for example, is the Mediapro arm that distributes La Liga content around the world via Mediapro’s own fiber and teleports. It has also created its own line of encoders and decoders.
“We decided a long time ago to be a services provider,” says Sousa, “but then we realized that sometimes the market does not give us the products we need, so we began developing them from the inside. The good news is, when you need to test and push new technology, there is nothing better than having a production company, because you can test every day and make the products mature enough to go to market.”
On the WTVision side, Mediapro showed augmented-reality graphics and also demonstrated how they could be integrated with the 4Sky camera. Also on display were PCR solutions to automate any live production as well as Master Control Room working models as the WTVision technology was coupled with what Overon has achieved.
“PCR automation has more features and capabilities, and now a single person, even on-air talent, can do an entire show, including video switching to recorded and live content, graphics, and even run a playlist,” says Sousa. “That makes it really possible to make a production low-cost and efficient.”