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NAB 2008: Andy Beach Writes a Book . . . And Other Amazing Tales

Andy Beach Writes a Book . . . And Other Amazing Tales from NABby Tim SiglinInlet's Andy Beach put together a book on practical encoding, while his company and Adobe show off metadata and automated encoding solutionsIn the world of encoding, there are old compressionists (me) and famous compressionists (Ben Waggoner, Jan Ozer). To that latter list add Andy Beach, who has just published a book titled Real World Video Compression, published by Peachpit Press.

More Than Just "By the Book"
If you know Andy Beach, his style and attitude aren't lost in print; his book puts encoding in plain language and demystifies much of the video compression advances that have happened over the last few years. Experts in the field, including Microsoft's Waggoner, lend their own solution sections that are helpful for streamers, bloggers, DVD authors, and video editors.

"I wanted to write a book that would educate users without sounding too technical or too, well, educational," says Beach. "So I focus on the real production-related questions and problems typically faced when trying to publish content to the web."

Beach presented at NAB as well, on the topic of the book. In his presentation titled "Encoding Video and Audio for Maximum Impact," he touched on the need for speed in encoding while maintaining quality, an issue important to everyone from the blogger to the television broadcaster. He also presented a second panel of interest to those who want to explore the changes in the broadcast world. In "Television Networks and New Media," Beach took the time to talk to traditional network broadcasters on how they can fill consumer demand for new content delivery avenues, including formats to choose, types of content, and sheer volume issues —all real-world challenges to those interested in taking advantage of new media

Encoding Workflow Solutions
The common theme across Beach's book and his presentations—workflow techniques—is also a major theme for companies like Adobe and Beach's company, Inlet Technologies.

"We're trying to build a workflow that includes an 'Andy-In-A-Box' or a 'Ben-In-A-Box' as part of an encoding workflow," joked Inlet's John Bishop during a meeting to introduce Armada.

Armada is Inlet's new automated approach to the entire encoding workflow, including pre-encdoing analysis of content and a series of automators that are intended to replace numerous manual steps with automation. Inlet is gearing the management system toward large video-on-demand libraries, with tape-based and live workflow scenarios, with the latter tied into the companies Spinnaker live Windows Media, Flash and H.264 encoders.

Adobe also showed off a metadata retention demo tied to its workflow surrounding the recently-launched Adobe Media Player. While the technologies from both Inlet and Adobe are being rolled out gradually throughout the next six months, it's good to see automation systems that are cognizant of the need to maintain metadata throughout the process beginning to hit the market.

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