NAB Reflections: Nico Bourdon and Sébastien Verlaine of EVS Discuss the Evolution of the EVS Ecosystem
For sports content creation professionals a stop at the EVS booth at NAB is a must given the company’s reputation in the instant replay server market. But in recent years the company, through acquisition and innovation, has expanded its portfolio and become well known for turning instant replay into just a small piece of a larger content creation ecosystem. SVG discussed the latest developments from EVS with Nicolas Bourdon, EVS, chief marketing officer, and Sébastien Verlain, EVS, head of marketing and communications.
What are some of the big messages from EVS here at the show?
Bourdon: We are accelerating the way we use our Cerebrum control system and the orchestration system to become the central layer of our VIA platform as a way to optimize live production resources and workflows. Our goal is to bring flexibility and simplicity to IP workflows with orchestration on one hand but then also by managing resource allocation for the different types of applications that are available. And then we have the extension of our LSM-VIA replay system with applications like Multi Review and successfully implemented XtraMotion version 2.0.
The first version of our super slow-motion service was only available in the cloud, but with version 2.0, customers can deploy it on-premises, aligning with our balanced computing approach. Our objecting is to enable the best deployment for our customers, meeting their needs and expectations. Some customers, prefer to deploy XtraMotion in the cloud as there is less time sensitivity and they can use the content later on. But others will require an on-prem version which can turn around XtraMotion clips in just five seconds, meaning they can use it on the first replay. And for them, this real-time factor is important.
One of the themes at the show does seem to be that customers don’t want to be boxed in to either cloud or non-cloud.
Bourdon: Yes, that’s the reality as there have been a bunch of investments [in hardware] for so many years and you can’t just write that off from an accounting point of view and move into the cloud. And while the cloud is gaining popularity, it needs further proof of success for its ability to support full live production requirements from a technological and economic stand. Despite it being a major trend, many of our customers are not ready to move completely into the cloud, but we are ready to support them through this transition and make it as smooth as possible.
XtraMotion seems like a product that will be of interest to almost anyone in the industry as it uses AI to create new video frames that can turn any clip into a super slo-mo clip. What has been the reaction?
Bourdon: The reaction has been extremely positive, and version 2.0 is really the confirmation of the hybrid approach. We have already secured contracts with several major broadcasters and facilities companies and that proves it is the way to go. We implemented a mix of rental and licensing model that is flexible, but we also offer on-demand activation for short-term usage for those who are not looking to buy it. In the future, customers will be able to activate the service just before the show, using a pre-paid credit system that converts into XtraMotion usage hours.
What else has been popular at the show?
Verlaine: We introduced Neuron View as our new multiviewer designed for Neuron, our versatile network attached processor. The platform products such as Bridge, Compress, Protect and Shuffle and we recognized the need for a multiviewer in Neuron’s product suite. So now we have a low-latency multiviewer for live productions, that is also designed to be energy-efficient thanks to its FPGA architecture. This sets us apart from competitors in the market, as sustainability continues to be a growing concern.
The EVS product portfolio has expanded a lot in recent years, and you have become as much of a media management company as a replay company. How does it all come together?
Verlaine: With MediaCeption we have a full end-to-end content management solution with IPDirector or IPD-VIA, our web-based PAM at the core. And then we have apps like IPD-VIA Create that was launched at the end of last year. At our partner meeting here [at NAB] we demonstrated the editing capabilities of Create, by accessing media at our HQ in Belgium with a laptop here in Las Vegas and editing on the fly. And then there are the integrations between products like Cerebrum (EVS control and orchestration system) with the LSM-VIA which allows users to easily control some of the production devices that are part of the workflow.
The important message is we are stepping away from siloed products and transitioning towards solutions and to having an ecosystem where we have services that are integrated. And that transition is happening now and it’s tangible.