Introducing BBC R&D's new In Session series
In BBC Research and Development, we have a strong history of taking part in industry wide conferences – be it large events like the IBC and the NAB, or smaller, more focussed events grouped around specific technologies. These complement the BBC's long tradition of open debate led by industry thinkers, which manifests itself most strongly with the Reith Lectures (but also sees our executives speaking at events such as the Edinburgh TV Festival, MIPTV and so on).
Building on this legacy, I’m delighted that we are today launching BBC R&D’s In Session series – a new, curated series of video interviews that explore the key engineering issues defining the future of broadcasting and content distribution.
Matthew Postgate on stage at the R&D In Session event
In a day-long event at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in New Broadcasting House, chaired by BBC News correspondent Nick Higham, we staged and filmed seven lectures and interviews that aimed to ask where broadcasting is heading from a technological and societal point of view. The lectures were loosely grouped around storytelling and the year 2020, were kept deliberately open to encourage debate.
Today, we are publishing these lectures and interviews online to allow them to be viewed by an audience who weren't present, and to encourage debate, spark ideas, inspire collaboration, and help us gauge what viewers and listeners think about some of the topics discussed on the day.
Our first BBC R&D In Session series had a strong speaker list made up of key thinkers from the BBC, introduced by Ralph Rivera, the BBC’s Director of Future Media. In the second talk, author and digital anthropologist, Frank Rose spoke about the medium of digital storytelling and addressed some of the arguments raised in his recent book 'The Art of Immersion'.
Frank Rose, author of The Art of Immersion and West of Eden and longtime contributing editor at Wired.
He was followed by my colleague, Graham Thomas, who asked ‘What's next? Beyond HDTV and 5.1 audio’ giving examples of BBC R&D's contributions to various initiatives, from visual effects and high resolution television, to content metadata, 3D audio and the newly established Audio Research Partnership.
Graham Thomas covered a wide range of R&D work
After a short break, Lieven Vermaele, Technical Director of the EBU, explored how the EBU and the research and development community could work toward a worldwide digital TV standard. We also mixed these live interviews with a recorded one from historian and filmmaker, Dan Snow, allowing him to share his interpretation of history as metadata while he was half way around the world. Louisa Heinrich, Director of Strategy, Fjord, then spoke about the choreography of personal devices, how services are influencing our behaviour and how interaction between users and content is evolving.
Lieven Vermaele, Technical Director of the EBU
Historian and filmmaker Dan Snow appeared on video link
Louisa Heinrich, Director of Strategy, Fjord
In the final talk, I rounded the day off with an overview of the day’s key themes and ideas expressed, and a discussion about the role of R&D in the information age and the evolution of broadcast systems.
We hope that the ideas expressed encourage dialogue within the industry, and help to set the agenda on the challenges and opportunities of digital technology. We work best when we collaborate with others, but sometimes our work at early stages takes place behind closed doors (while we work up our hypthoses before taking them to a wider audience) and so we are keen to explore opening up discussion with people around possible areas of future interest at an early stage.
We're really excited by the format and aim to make BBC R&D In Session a regular event, and would love to hear from you about what works and doesn't work.
The videos have been licensed under a Creative Commons licence to allow creative reuse, and to encourage sharing and discussion. Thanks to all speakers and everyone involved in putting the day together. I'm keen to hear your thoughts in the comments.