Six years of NAB – the evolution of Forscene

The start of NAB Show is just days away and I’m on my way to Vegas today. I’ve been making the trip with Forbidden Technologies to exhibit Forscene every year since 2011, and the company and product have gone through some pretty significant changes in those six years:

From a corporate side, almost everything has changed at Forbidden. Most significantly for Forscene, we have a new CEO (Aziz Musa) with a clear focus on the commercialisation of the business; I have taken over as Business Development Director; and we have a Director of Sales Americas (Richie Murray) leading our North American growth plans.

Forscene, as a product, is unrecognisable if you compare the interface and features to those demonstrated at NAB 2011. This blog couldn’t begin to cover the hundreds of changes and improvements that the team has implemented over the last six years. What hasn’t changed is the core technology platform – but it’s certainly been improved. Our codec now provides a better visual quality, is even more responsive and still uses only 1.5Mbps for full frame rate playback. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Forscene, it is simply the most comprehensive logging and editing cloud platform available today.

Forscene’s presence at NAB reflects these changes to the company and product – we’ve progressed from a single demo pod with a couple of posters on the wall, to a custom build on a stand twice the size of our original booth. Our internal marketing team and PR agency have done a great job in promoting Forscene at NAB 2016 and I can’t wait to see the build on Saturday morning.

Forscene at NAB in 2011 (left) and 2015 (right)

But how has Forscene’s offering changed and what can visitors expect to see at NAB 2016? Maybe it’s best to break it into our core verticals:

Longform broadcast post:

When I started with Forscene we spoke about transplanting the UK business-case to North America. Forscene has a great track record and client list in the UK – the assumption was that North American companies were the same, or similar enough to guarantee that, once exposed to the product, they’d be quick to adopt a Forscene workflow. But we soon discovered that reality and entertainment shows are produced very differently across the Atlantic. We went back to the drawing board (and the boardroom) and, through careful planning and development, can now offer North American clients a solution that suits this region’s workflows. A few significant Forscene developments specifically aimed at the North American market include:

  • A Forscene first workflow. Why go to Avid then to Forscene and back to Avid. Ingesting the original source to Forscene first allows Producers, Edit Producers or Predators to lock a cut, export an EDL and only ingest the high res source they need.
  • Handling the drop frame codecs natively as opposed to only Avid transcoded files
  • Double-system audio and sync. With most productions recording on cameras with separate audio recorders, double system handling and sync is a must-have.
  • Multicam; everything is multicam. For some time we have had multicam logging but now have up to 18-camera multicam editing as well.

Here’s what some of our clients in the America’s have to say about their experience with Forscene:

Sabine Kertscher, VP Post production, Magilla Entertainment

“Other then the powerful logging and editing features that Forscene offers, I am particularly impressed by the compatibility with AVID and multicam and multigroup functions, the new auxiliary TC features that go way beyond what I initially thought we could do. I love that Forscene offers the capability to move work created in Forscene across platforms – not only in AVID but also Premiere and even FCP at a click of a button.”

Currently Forscene is being used on the Discovery Channel series “Diesel Brothers.”

Tom Baird, Director of Engineering for Dr. Phil shows

“Forscene is intuitive to learn, easy to master and provides the editorial staff an efficient way to import A-rolls from producers. It’s integrated well with our existing infrastructure and has assisted in accelerating our workflow.”

Sports and News:

Although it may seem odd to group sports and news post-production, in many instances these clients use the same workflows to provide digital video-on-demand content for OTT platforms. It’s all about taking in live feeds, editing clips or highlights packages (including the all-important closed captions) and publishing to CDN’s, or directly to social media platforms. In 2011 Forscene was hardly recognised in this market, but in the last six years we have built a reputation as a credible sports and news service provider in both the UK and the Americas. We’ve worked successfully with major sports brands through clients like deltatre, IMG and Wazee Digital, and with news broadcasters including abc, NBC and Fox affiliates through Field59. So why should news and sports clients visit Forscene at NAB this year?

  • Some of the largest sports brands in the world use Forscene to create highlights packages.
  • We’re pioneers in virtual workflows – there’s no need for ingest hardware with our Microsoft Azure / Forscene workflow – successfully used on a major sporting event by deltatre in the summer of 2015 and again in the first quarter 2016.
  • We offer both speed to market and the tools to produce ‘quality’ highlights packages including graphics, VO and all the traditional NLE functionality – why use two tools or two separate workflows when Forscene addresses both!
  • Closed Captions, ingest, editing, re-timing all in the same timeline.
  • Forscene is cost effective with SaaS (pay-as-you-use,) licensing options or all-you-can-eat models.

Susan Hardin, Director of Digital for ABC 7 WWSB TV had this to say about Forscene:

“Our favorite aspect of the system is its speed. Learning the system was simple and easy. With a quick review of the tutorials, I logged on and made a one-hour clip in 3 minutes. Then, I made 4 packages in less than 10 minutes. No other system that we’ve used compares. Our workflow has decreased by about half, allowing us to publish more video efficiently to our OTT channels, our mobile apps and our live streaming platforms.

We have a fantastic team at NAB this year on stand SL5305 and great partners showing Forscene on their booths. We can’t wait to meet new potential clients and get them involved in the editing evolution.

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Jason Cowan

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