“We passionately believe that channel branding is more important than ever. This ethos flows through Pixel Power – if you don’t have onscreen graphics, then it’s simply just a slightly random A/V stream as far as the viewer is concerned. Or a user-generated YouTube clip!”
Nick Wright – CTO and Founder Pixel Power Ltd. Responsible for all software and hardware technology at Pixel Power. Studied Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at University College, London and then developing computer graphics hardware in the early 1980s which was adopted for use in broadcast TV. Since 1987 at Pixel Power initially responsible for all hardware engineering and manufacture and subsequently all development activities and product technical architectures.
James Gilbert co-founded Pixel Power nearly 30 years ago and today is the CEO. Since launching the company James has served in many roles from principal architect of the original graphics equipment through to technology engineering and business development. His engineering background provides an excellent basis for him to act as the key interface between customers and product development, ensuring that he remains closely involved in the technical specification process. This unique experience makes him an industry authority on automated graphics solutions and how they integrate with the evolving technologies.
James: I set up Pixel Power in 1987 – August the 8th to be precise. In some ways it was an evolution of previous work, in other ways a fresh beginning. Nick Wright joined me six months later, though we’d known each other for many years.
Nick: We’d already worked together, with James helping me on the software engineering side for a company while he was at university in Cambridge. This time, James insisted that I come to Cambridge.
James: He’s since said how great that decision was!
James: It would be lying to say that we had a crystal clear vision with Pixel Power but there were three things that stood out. We wanted to create graphics in PCs. It was something we had advanced knowledge of and we knew we could make it happen.
Nick: I was very interested in the creative side. My previous business had exposed me to broadcast graphics and it was something that had really captured my attention.
James: Thirdly, we knew we wanted to be bespoke. That meant producing all our own code and hardware. That has stood us in very good stead. At the time, the broadcast industry was only at the tip of the graphics iceberg and we knew that there was opportunity there.
Nick: We were definitely ahead of our time when we set out to create broadcast graphics with PCs. We could see the fear in broadcast engineers’ eyes! But multichannel was really taking off in the early ‘90s, so the need for channel branding and onscreen information was very strong.
The dawn of graphics creation and channel branding
James: While Collage was our breakthrough product, our first system packaged as a proper broadcast piece of kit, it’s probably Clarity that Pixel Power is best known for. Its development and launch dovetailed with graphics creation moving into the broadcasters’ domain and away from post production.
Nick: That’s true. Through the 2000s we’ve seen continued growth in the importance of channel branding. This has also seen us become far more involved in the playout chain with graphics creation and playout technologies long since being required at all kinds of price points and capabilities.
James: LogoVision is a great example of that. It is still very popular because it makes complex graphics playout very cost-effectively. And more recently, we’ve collapsed wide swathes of the signal chain—areas that used to require five, six, even a dozen separate systems—into streamlined integrated systems like ChannelMaster channel-in-a-box and the combined branding and master control switcher, BrandMaster.
Trusted and used by broadcasters around the world
James: Today we work with broadcasters of all shapes and sizes around the world, sometimes on more than one project at a time. For example, at playout provider SBS Broadcasting we worked with them to simultaneously deploy both integrated playout and dynamic branding projects.
Nick: We were particularly proud to help drive the recent complete rebrand of ITV in the UK. Along the way we have and have worked extensively with some remarkable brands--Discovery Networks Europe. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and in the U.S., ESPN, Weigel Group and Encompass Digital Media among many others.
James: We passionately believe that channel branding is more important than ever. If you don’t have onscreen graphics, then you're left with just a slightly random, detached A/V stream as far the viewer is concerned. It may as well be a user-generated YouTube clip! This is what drives Pixel Power
Nick: We allow the skill and flair of remarkably creative people to be realised via the precision of our technology.