Taking time with customers 

FOR-A Europe Open House Event

At FOR-A Europe, we are in the middle of a programme of Open House events, working with our distributors in various countries. In recent months we have held on in Tirana, Albania, with TBS 96, and with Studiotech in Warszawa, Poland. Coming up, we will host one in our offices in Milano, Italy. 

I see these as really valuable events, because they give us time, in an informal setting, to really talk through the challenges that our customers are facing, and how we can work together to solve them. Because we have equipment set up and ready to go, we can talk through practical solutions and show how we can tailor systems for them. 

In Tirana, for example, we had a lot of interest in augmented reality applications. We had our long-time partner ClassX, the graphics specialist, with us, and we were demonstrating our new Koala camera tracking system in association with AR. 

Koala is a simple way of tracking the position of a camera in live production. We showed it clipped to a Canon camera, then feeding the ClassX graphics generator. It meant that visitors could see for themselves the creative power of AR, and try a complete production system working together. Getting their hands on a system is so much more powerful than just talking about it, or even watching a demo video. 

TBS 96 in Albania hold their Open House events every year, and the recent session with Studiotech in Poland is another annual meet-up. They see the value in bringing potential customers among the leading broadcasters and media enterprises into their facility, and we are very happy to support them. 

Again, the augmented reality demonstration was very popular. We also showcased some of our new products, like the HVS-190S/190I production switcher which has new exciting features such as NDI® and NDI HX I/O and Remote Camera Control, FA-1616, our latest Software Defined Hybrid processor for SDI as well as IP and the SOAR-A family of products, our remote production software suite. That gave us a chance to talk about NDI workflows, as the switcher has that capability built in. 

NDI is becoming a very attractive option for many production companies, as it brings plug-and-play IP connectivity, and as well as handling signals, it can also centralise control. The same NDI stream carries bi-directional data, which means cameras can be controlled from the production switcher – really useful in remote productions when it is impossible to rack cameras accurately without being able to see them together. 

You can extend this central control of remote cameras even further by managing the positioning of PTZ cameras over NDI. That really puts all the creative control of programme making under the hands of the director and vision mixer. 

This is the real benefit of the open house: visitors can come and talk through the ways in which new technology can transform the way they work. The big exhibitions like IBC are great, but the pressures on everyone’s time are huge. Having a day dedicated to talking technology, in your own language with your local distributors, is definitely the way to spark new ideas. 

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