As Seen Through the Eyes of MIG’s Director of Video Engineering, Seth Tours…
Before we launch into our interview with Multi Image Group’s Director of Video Engineering, Seth Tours – first, allow us to illuminate you on what exactly Seth does. Seth has the ability to design and assemble sophisticated production systems that include Switchers, Cameras, VTRs, Graphics Systems, Ultimatte Systems, Routers, Down and Up Converters, Computer Interfaces, and other video peripherals. Did you get all that? In other words, Seth is the talent behind what you see on the screens, which means, he’s critical. So naturally, we had to ask Seth what technology trends he’s seeing right now (literally), that are changing live events.
SETH: The industry is perpetually changing and reinventing itself. I mean, when I started in video twenty-seven-years ago, it was nothing like it is today. If you were to have told me that someone was going to composite video files over LED panels, for example, I would have laughed. But now – it’s the norm. The industry is essentially everything it was back when I started but with a heck of a lot more layers on top of it. I feel sorry for the newbies coming into the industry today because it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
MIG: What tech trend has changed the industry the most?
SETH: I would say the biggest thing is the integration of technologies. It used to be at the beginning of a show, the VOG would say: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please silence your pagers.” And then it was, “please silent your pagers and mobile devices.” And now it’s, “Please silence your mobile devices and open your iPad application to begin.”
MIG: Kind of blows the mind, doesn’t it?
SETH: The interesting thing about technology is the rate of advancement is at a sliding scale, and that rate continues to speed up. It’s a great thing for clients though, because now when their attendees get bored, they can distract them with more content.
MIG: What else is blowing your mind these days?
SETH: Ahhh. 4K of course.
MIG: What’s 4K?
SETH: 4K means more pixels.
MIG: How many more pixels are we talking about?
SETH: About 8 million, which is around four times what your current TV can display. Think of your TV like a grid, with rows and columns. A full HD 1080 image is 1080 rows high and 1920 columns wide. A 4K image almost doubles both those numbers, giving you roughly 4 times as many pixels total.
MIG: Do pixels matter?
SETH: They matter very much. More pixels means more information. More information means sharper pictures. Sharper pictures are more engaging. More engaging content is more fun. And well, that’s what keeps attendees interested in what’s happening on the stage, doesn’t it?
MIG: So essentially (excuse the pun) you see a huge difference?
SETH: MIG owns a few cameras and a Spyder that does 4K, so yes, I’ve seen it in action and the difference is monumental. Of course 5 years from now the industry will be whatever on 4K, as screen resolution is going to continue to get more intense.
MIG: Technology integration. 4K. Got one more emerging tech trend for us?
SETH: I know it’s been around for a while but I still think RFID technology is pretty cool and only just getting started in terms of everything you can do with it. It’s still in its incubation phase and just has so many applications. Take Disney for example, they’ve grabbed hold of it and have run with it like crazy.
MIG: What do they use it for?
SETH: Everything! No really. You don’t get a ticket any more, you get a wristband and you use that wristband for everything: rides, hotel rooms, food, you name it. It’s essentially like a Sun Pass – same technology. Its potential is limitless. One day it’s just going to be one guy and one button – that’s really the direction that technology is heading in this industry.
MIG: Well, at this technology rate, I guess I should interview you in 3 months and ask what’s up then.
SETH: Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be gushing about 10K resolution by then.