• Investment will enable iSIZE to accelerate its traction and to continue strengthening its technical team and patent portfolio
• iSIZE has already secured licensing agreements with leading technology and streaming companies
iSIZE, a deep-tech company that applies deep learning to optimize video streaming and delivery, today announces that it has raised a further $6.3 million in funding as it seeks to make streaming more environmentally friendly without reducing quality.
The round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from existing investors including TD Veen and Patrick Pichette, Chairman of Twitter and ex-CFO of Google. This brings the total funding raised by the company to $8.2 million.
The amount of video streamed over the internet is at all-time high, a trend which has been accelerated by the pandemic and the shift to working from home. At the same time, streaming and content companies are facing pressure from users and advertizers to deliver ever-increasing video quality. With forecasts projecting video to reach 82% of total global internet traffic by 2022, there is also growing awareness of its carbon footprint, with research indicating that it already contributes to more than 1% of global emissions.
As a result, streaming and content providers are increasingly turning to technology to address the challenge of delivering a reliable and high-quality experience while managing the financial and environmental costs of doing so.
To help solve this problem, iSIZE has pioneered deep-learning solutions that optimize video streaming quality while reducing bitrate requirements, allowing for a significant reduction in data and energy consumption.
The potential impact of its technology is huge and iSIZE has already attracted attention from some of the world’s largest technology companies to whom they already licensed their BitSave technology.
Headquartered in London, iSIZE was founded by Sergio Grce and Dr. Yiannis Andreopoulos who saw an opportunity to tackle the challenges caused by the explosion of video streaming. The founding team combines many years of research in machine learning, neural networks and video signal processing, evidenced by dozens of research publications. The company is also a graduate of the Creative Destruction Lab Oxford 2019-2020 programme where it received advice and investment from expert mentors.
iSIZE intends to use the funding raised to accelerate its traction in the U.S and to further strengthen its technical team and patent portfolio to continue improving the results and innovations it delivers to its customers.
Sergio Grce, Founder and CEO of iSIZE, commented: “Today there are more people streaming more video than ever before. Our customers recognize both the commercial opportunity and their social responsibility to optimize their video delivery pipelines with our pioneering technology. We are excited to partner with Octopus Ventures to tap into their network and expertize in building world-changing companies.”
Simon King, Partner and deep tech investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “The technology iSIZE has created is pioneering and is already being used by some of the world’s largest companies to reduce the costs and energy used in streaming. Consumer demand for high quality video is only going to increase as our devices are upgraded, so it’s vital that we find new ways to reduce the environmental impact. We are very familiar with this space having been an investor in Magic Pony and Sergio is one of those visionary founders who we believe can build something truly special.”
iSIZE’s leading product is a proprietary AI-trained, deep perceptual optimizer that is trained to ‘see with the human eye’ in order to optimize video quality and deliver significant bitrate savings. Its technology has applications across VoD, live streaming, gaming and IoT and bolts-on to the existing conventional video delivery pipeline while integrating with all video encoding standards (including AVC, HEVC and AV1) – all without requiring changes to the streaming process or to end-users’ devices. This allows its customers to improve the end-user experience and reduce costs without breaking standards and with minimal deployment risk.
Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual production, has now integrated its virtual production software - Mo-Sys VP Pro - with the Sony Venice camera. Capturing the dynamic camera settings data direct from the Sony Venice, users can simplify and speed-up virtual production workflows.
The Sony Venice full-frame digital cinematography camera is rapidly gaining popularity, not least for the large number of software-controlled resolution and aspect ratio settings available. Mo-Sys VP Pro links directly to the camera software, monitoring every take and shot to highlight any mis-matched settings, whilst capturing the Venice camera data to assist in down-stream post-production compositing.
The integration means that Mo-Sys VP Pro goes into record mode whenever the Sony Venice camera starts recording. Mo-Sys VP Pro captures the file naming format the camera uses to name the media files, and uses the same name for the metadata file containing the camera settings data, ensuring that matching the two together in post-production is simple.
Mo-Sys VP Pro is now the most versatile and up-to-date virtual production solution for film, TV, game cinematics and live broadcast. Mo-Sys VP Pro is integrated with Unreal Engine and supports either live or recorded virtual production workflows, using either green/blue screen studios or LED volumes. It provides compositors with additional lens data – like F-stop, T-stop and shutter angle – making VFX compositing much easier.
“Virtual production is a powerful creative tool, for film as well as for television,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “It is a complex business, though, and smart systems that speed synchronization and set-up in post-production give a huge boost to productivity. Once more, Mo-Sys is leading the industry with intelligent, practical, integrations, whilst also supplying camera tracking solutions with the highest levels of precision and data resilience available on the market today.
Mo-Sys recently announced the Cinematic XR Focus feature for Mo-Sys VP Pro, allowing camera operators to pull focus between real and virtual elements within an LED volume. This type of focus pull was previously impossible to achieve but using a Preston lens controller, Mo-Sys StarTracker and Mo-Sys VP Pro, it is now easily achievable.
Production and storytelling specialists nxtedition is set to launch the latest version of its core software. The new release will bring a range of additional and improved functionality to the platform, all aimed at boosting operational efficiency.
“At its heart, nxtedition is a platform for storytelling,” said Robert Nagy, lead developer & co-founder at nxtedition. “We continually talk to our users to find out what they need to do their jobs, but most important we plan upgrades which will enhance the user experience without over-complicating it. Our users need to work swiftly and accurately.”
Typical of the new functionality is instant access to basic editing and voiceover tools for any clip in the system. This allows a journalist to quickly build a story by simply assembling the pictures and adding a script, through intuitive controls. The toolset is good to produce typical news stories, but if there is a need for more sophisticated craft editing, nxtedition offers a plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro as required. The plug in supports WebDAV to stream the high-res material (not proxies) directly into a premiere pro edit at high speed.
The new release helps users plan their work, through improved search and calendar tools, on-screen tabs, and search indexing of all graphics and subtitles. Colour correction can be applied to any video clip or image in the system to match footage from different sources, and outputs can be rendered in multiple formats. Ingest record from SRT and NDI® feeds is now well proven and widely used so is also supported.
Additionally, an exciting new feature will allow users to create HTML5 graphic templates within After Effects and export them for use on-air in nxtedition at great speed. Using the generated event users can then change any dynamic fields for text, colour, scale and position and there is even support for AE Expressions and animations.
“Release 19.4 is another important step in the development of an ever-more agile, more creative user experience,” Nagy added. “The nxtedition platform is rapidly growing in applications, from new media streaming services to national broadcasters, because it puts the right tools in front of the journalists, producers, planners and editors. It is powerful without being complex – that is its strength.”
Software version 19.4 will be available to all existing users from May 2021, with a programmed upgrade agreed with each client.
Full list of new features added to 19.4 release.
• Image Tools
• Colour Correction
• HQ + LQ Recording
• After Effects HTML5 graphic template export
• Ingest adds SRT & NDI® support
• Native Edit Render
• Edit Improvements
• Reduced Latency
• Inline Search
• Searchable Graphics & Subtitles
• Calendar Improvements
• Facebook Publish Rehaul
• Searchable Render Status and Errors
• Straight Alpha Support
• Controller Improvements (MIDI Support added)
Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual studios and augmented reality, is installing a StarTracker system in the Los Angeles studio of StandardVision. This extensive facility builds on StandardVision’s unrivalled experience in design and implementation of large-scale displays, with an LED studio for virtual production.
StandardVision has an enviable reputation for both the creative and technical aspects of architectural lighting and digital media. Projects have been completed in California and around the world, from the new airport in Doha, Qatar to Hong Kong. The unique StandardVision value is both to integrate and install class-leading technology, and to create compelling visual content for the displays.
As part of their creative services, StandardVision Studios, in the heart of Los Angeles, operates a 10,000 square foot studio with a green screen and an LED volume for creating display content. These screens are now enhanced with the Mo-Sys StarTracker system enabling all types of virtual production.
“Alongside work for our own clients, we found we were being approached by movie and television people who wanted to try out ideas,” said Alberto Garcia, CTO of StandardVision. “Our plans for the studio matched well with theirs, particularly around the Unreal Engine for virtual environments.
“We needed to precisely place real cameras into virtual worlds,” he explained. “We looked around but it was clear that Mo-Sys had a strong reputation in the industry due to StarTracker’s precision and operational resilience. The producers we have coming in recognized Mo-Sys as the way to go, so it was a simple decision to choose StarTracker.”
StarTracker is widely regarded as the leader in camera tracking technologies, using a random pattern of reflective dots – “stars” – on the studio ceiling. Once mapped, which takes just a few moments, any StarTracker camera can be precisely located in three-dimensional space, and for 6-axes of movement. In addition, precision lens data enables the CGI elements to be distorted to match the camera lens for even greater realism.
“StandardVision is a remarkable company, developing creative solutions on a massive scale,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “We are very excited to be working with them on their studio, and we look forward to further challenges in the future.”
Mo-Sys installed StarTracker in the StandardVision studio in mid-April 2021.
Rohde & Schwarz meets Bayerischer Rundfunk’s requirement and develops unique mobile R&S®TMV9-4 DAB+ transmitter that can be transported in a small van, configured and operational within minutes of arriving at transmitter site.
Rohde & Schwarz, a global leader in TV & radio terrestrial transmission, has created a world’s first in developing a new super-compact and lightweight portable emergency DAB+ transmitter for Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) in Munich, Germany. This revolutionary new transmitter design is a variant of the company’s R&S®TMV9-4 DAB+ transmitter and ensures continuity of broadcast across BR’s DAB+ radio network.
Despite having one of the most stable and reliable DAB+ transmission networks, BR’s engineers saw a need for a reliable back up transmitter in the rare emergency situations or where scheduled maintenance requires a transmitter to power down temporarily. Rohde & Schwarz’s adapted TMV9-4 DAB+ transmitter is incredibly compact (73 x 147 x 86cm) and weighs just 250 kg. Still, it provides deceptively high 3 kW output power.
BR is using the transmitter as an emergency transmitter during the extension of their DAB+ transmitter network as an important and reliable bridging option. The new transmitter is mounted in a specially designed mobile transmitter rack system with hand grips to ease lifting and wheels to assist moving to and from a vehicle. The Rohde & Schwarz unit easily fits within a small trailer pulled behind a car or small van, and can be taken to a transmitter site within minutes of an outage occurring.
Rohde & Schwarz engineers have developed a series of optimized hardware plug-in interfaces on the transmitter, which are designed to enable ultra-fast, on-site set up and commissioning. Despite its innovative design, the new transmitter utilizes the same standard components that are found in the transmitters throughout BR’s DAB+ network so no extra spares inventory is required.
“Incidents where part of our DAB+ transmitter network goes offline are extremely rare, but still we felt that this back-up option would be valuable,” commented Roland Janik, Head of Special Department - Infrastructure Transmission Sites at Bayerischer Rundfunk. “What they have created is unique in that a transmitter in this power class can be transported easily without a truck, and system setup is optimized for ultra-rapid bringing to air once it is on site.”
“Appreciating BR’s requirements, we demonstrated our ability to create customized solutions based on our standard transmitter system portfolio”, commented Manfred Reitmeier, Vice President Transmitters and Amplifier Systems at Rohde & Schwarz. “With the implementation of this special customer requirement, we are also strengthening our market position with full compatibility between standard and customized solutions.”
Now seen as one of the most informative and influential industry gatherings, the 10th annual Devoncroft Executive Summit will be held, virtually, 27 – 29 April. Recognizing the importance of the event, Starfish Technologies is one of its sponsors.
Starfish is an established and successful technology company delivering innovative solutions and expertize, particularly in transport stream processing, transport stream splicing, video transcoding, IP delivery of media streams, opt-out signal encoding/decoding and Audio Description systems. Built on a foundation of rigorous software development, Starfish develops patented techniques to deliver the next generation of media stream processing and delivery.
“The media industry was finding its way along the transition path from SDI-based architectures towards fully software-based systems and IP, when the pandemic hit us all with the need to support remote production and operation through virtualization. I believe it has forced the industry to skip forward around five years along its natural evolution path” said Peter Blatchford, CMO of Starfish Technologies. “This year’s Devoncroft Executive Summit is a great opportunity to share experiences and develop a real understanding of what has worked and what has not, and the implications for the future. That is why we have committed to be a part of the event.”
Joe Zaller of Devoncroft added “Just as the media industry has had to transform itself, so we have had to completely rethink our flagship event. Anyone who has tried taking a physical meeting and simply put it on screen knows that it does not work, so we have devoted a lot of time and energy to creating a virtual summit which really delivers for every delegate. To make that happen, we are extremely grateful to our sponsors, like Starfish, who have backed us to continue to provide the content and context that media leaders need.”
More information on the Devoncroft Executive Summit can be found at devoncroft.com/2021-summit-overview/
Large number of Mo-Sys camera tracking systems available for creative producers across all the Salford studios.
Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual studios and augmented reality, is extending the capabilities for virtual and augmented reality at Dock10’s studio complex in Salford. Dock10 already had five channels of camera tracking, and it is now adding a further nine, ensuring the technology is available for multiple clients simultaneously.
In any creative production marrying live action with computer-generated scenic elements, the CGI needs to know exactly what the camera is seeing to ensure the combined image remains precisely locked. StarTracker is widely regarded as the leader in camera tracking technologies, using a random pattern of reflective dots – “stars” – on the studio ceiling. Once mapped, which takes just a few moments, any StarTracker camera can be precisely located in three-dimensional space, and for 6-axes of movement. In addition, precision lens data enables the CGI elements to be distorted to match the camera lens for even greater realism.
Dock10 initially invested in StarTracker for the premium sports show Match of the Day for BBC Television, along with the educational service BiteSize Daily. By adding nine more StarTrackers, Dock10 can provide camera tracking and virtual production across multiple studios and productions simultaneously.
“Directors want to be able to work in different sized studios, to accommodate a range of performers, physical sets and mixed reality,” said Andy Waters, head of studios at Dock10. “To meet this growing demand from our clients, we took our experience with key enabling technologies like StarTracker, and super-sized it across all our studios.”
Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys, added “Dock10 offers a unique capability in the UK – producers have the freedom to choose the size of studio right for their job, and put in it the technology they need. Virtual and augmented reality is an important part of so many productions today, from commercials to game shows, talent contests to sports analysis. By its very simplicity, StarTracker makes set-up for virtual production fast and easy.”
New Mo-Sys Cinematic XR Focus enables Cinematographers to seamlessly pull focus between real and virtual worlds.
Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual production, has solved a major creative limitation when using an LED volume for virtual production. Cinematographers who needed to pull focus between real foreground objects – such as actors – and virtual objects displayed on an LED wall – such as a car - have been unable to do this as the lens focal plane stops at the LED wall, meaning the car always remains out of focus.
Now, with Cinematic XR Focus from Mo-Sys, Focus Pullers using the same wireless lens control system they’re used to, can pull focus seamlessly from real objects through the LED wall to focus on virtual objects that appear to be positioned behind the LED wall. The reverse focus pull is also possible.
Cinematic XR Focus is an option for Mo-Sys’ virtual production software VP Pro working with Mo-Sys’ StarTracker camera tracking technology. Cinematic XR Focus synchronises the lens controller with the output of the Unreal Engine graphics, relying on StarTracker to constantly track the distance between the camera and the LED wall. The solution is available from Mo-Sys and is compatible with Preston wireless lens controllers (Hand Unit 3 and MDR-3).
“Production companies have excitedly embraced virtual production and on-set finishing using LED volumes. The ability to create any internal or external set background or set extension with an LED volume, has truly changed the dynamics of film making,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys.
“But there have been limitations. Pulling focus – a fundamental part of the grammar of movies, to direct the audience’s attention to different parts of the screen – has been difficult. The Cinematic XR Focus software add-on transforms the possibilities, allowing Cinematographers to freely realise their creative ambitions.”
Recent advances in LED display technology have meant that it is now perfectly practical to shoot in-camera VFX shots in real-time. Having the finished virtual graphics on the LED wall means that there is no green/blue spill to remove in post-production, as the LED volume casts the correct soft lighting around the talent. All this reduces the cost of post-production compositing which, along with the savings in location costs, make virtual production a financially attractive and time-saving choice for producers.
Now, with the freedom to make more creative focus pulls, thanks to Cinematic XR Focus from Mo-Sys, Cinematographers can add even greater storytelling value to their productions.
See it in action here: https://youtu.be/6Uz0Qpyc-04
Pixel Power, the global leader in graphics production and master control playout automation, has delivered a configurable StreamMaster PRIME system to WFMJ, the NBC and CW affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio. The new StreamMaster PRIME is a direct replacement for an existing Pixel Power LogoVision graphics generator.
StreamMaster PRIME is a turnkey appliance, implemented in software running on COTS hardware, with a flexible function set. It is designed specifically to provide a replacement for individual devices in a traditional master control and playout architecture, and supports SDI I/O for easy integration with existing infrastructure. WFMJ had been using a Pixel Power LogoVision system for many years, but the hardware operating system was no longer supported by Microsoft so a replacement was needed.
In the WFMJ application, StreamMaster PRIME is largely automated, taking data from the station’s BTi system and displaying news tickers, Lotto results, school closure information and election data. Control and template design uses StreamMaster Control Toolbox, a software application included with the technology. The system underlines the station’s branding and graphic identity, and operates completely automatically under normal circumstances.
“StreamMaster PRIME is precisely what we needed,” said Bob Flis, chief engineer at WFMJ. “We could unplug the old system, plug in the new and it carried on working perfectly. We were used to the high-quality graphics from our old Pixel Power system, and this keeps up the great look. StreamMaster is software defined so it is future proof, we can add new functions as our needs evolve.”
James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power added “This is exactly what StreamMaster PRIME was designed for. WFMJ is not yet ready to upgrade its complete playout system, but needs to replace one existing piece of legacy equipment. With StreamMaster PRIME in place they can build on the functionality it has, and it can form part of a fully virtualized, IP connected playout system in the future when WFMJ is ready.”
The installation at WFMJ was negotiated by Heartland Video Systems. The StreamMaster PRIME was delivered in December 2020 and is now on air.
Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in virtual production and image robotics, announced today the appointment of Tanner Woodward as Sales Director, West Coast US.
Arriving at Mo-Sys with extensive industry experience, Woodward joins from RED Digital Cinema, where he spent five years managing existing channel partners and establishing new dealer networks, as well as creating the corporate creative vertical. Working with a wide variety of creatives, from small content creators to large scale live and in-studio production teams, Woodward built on his previous work as a camera operator and systems workflow manager for live events, specializing in speed, reliability, and efficiency all the way through from pre- to post-production.
“I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity with Mo-Sys,” said Woodward. “The one thing I’ve learned in my time working with creatives, is that the most valuable tools are those built to empower creativity while making life easier and more efficient. Mo-Sys creates such innovative tools and solutions, and I couldn’t be more honored to be part of this team.”
Part of an expansion plan on the US West Coast, Woodward’s appointment reflects an ongoing investment in the LA sales and support team, which has doubled in recent months, and precedes the imminent announcement of the opening of the Mo-Sys LA office.
This news follows the earlier appointing of Mike Grieve as Commercial Director and he brings with him extensive industry experience across production and post-production, most recently in virtual production having held CCO roles at Ncam Technologies and The Future Group.
“Mo-Sys has such an incredible range of yet-to-be released virtual and remote production products, combined with significant plans in image robotics, that it represented an irresistible opportunity” Grieve said. “Growth last year verified the potential the company has, but 2021 looks even more promising, so it was an easy decision to join the Mo-Sys leadership team.”
Boasting 25 years' experience in virtual technologies, Grieve’s role is to expand Mo-Sys’ market share of virtual production, remote production, and image robotics.
Michael Geissler, CEO Mo-Sys commented, “We welcome Tanner and Mike to Mo-Sys when we are seeing significant expansion, directly related to the increase in demand for virtual and remote production technologies. We are expanding our amazing team for the future and, with pros like Tanner and Mike onboard, I know we are in safe hands.”
Tanner and Mike will be attending the ASC Awards on Sunday 18th, 7pm BST, where they will be previewing an exciting and unique focusing technology for LED volume use, which will be officially announced and released the following week.