Traditional broadcasters now have to compete not just with other broadcasters for our attention, but also with new over-the-top providers and social media channels. They have to deal with many more different media formats and resolutions. And response times – once measured in hours – are now measured in minutes, sometimes even seconds, so the requirement for a fast turnaround production workflow is paramount, even when budgets are limited.
When the speed of getting content into and out of an organization is so critical, there needs to be special consideration given to the server component of the workflow, whether it is for news, sports, or any other kind of demanding live production. The server needs to be cost-effective, capable of handling many different file formats and, above all, needs to be fast. The aptly-named Avid FastServe, announced at IBC 2017, has been specifically engineered to meet all three requirements.
This next generation server combines the best of its predecessors, Airspeed, Playmaker and the Maestro Media Engine, into a single modular appliance, offering innovative new features that leverage Avid’s all-new MediaCentral platform. It can be deployed in a variety of different workflows and is compatible with all existing AirSpeed and Playmaker production tools. The new server platform introduces several new capabilities, including support for 4K/UHD resolutions, Video over IP I/O, significantly improved performance and support for an ever-growing list of codecs, all of which can be mixed on a single channel in real-time, without transcoding.
The modular approach of the new server platform even extends to a field-swappable backplane. This means that as a facility’s needs evolve SDI, Video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6 and 2110) or any mix-and-match combination of I/O options can easily be accommodated in the same server frame. A single server supports up to 4 UHD channels or up to 8 HD channels of I/O in a 3RU footprint, real-time networking between servers, a direct interface to Avid NEXIS storage and compatibility with the full Playmaker toolset.
The FastServe server is available in three configurations – FastServe | Ingest, FastServe | Live Edit and FastServe | Playout – and is tightly integrated with Avid NEXIS storage and the all-new MediaCentral platform, also announced at IBC 2017.
FastServe | Ingest
FastServe | Ingest is designed specifically to meet the challenges of live news, sports, and entertainment productions. It can encode up to 4 UHD streams or up to 8 HD streams, and supports low-latency, edit-while-capture operation through MediaCentral | Production Management. A redundant architecture allows media to be written to local storage on the server and simultaneously – in real-time – to Avid NEXIS storage. In addition, FastServe | Ingest offers 24/7 loop recording capability, guaranteeing none of the action will be missed.
FastServe | Live Edit
FastServe | Live Edit provides news and sports broadcasters with a turnkey solution for ultra-fast turnaround of incoming feeds. When a news story is breaking, FastServe | Live Edit can quickly deliver the story to air within a few seconds. Cherry-picked segments can be instantly aired, and because no rendering or flattening is required, playout can start while the edit is still in progress. In sports productions, FastServe | Live Edit can edit highlights from multiple incoming game feeds, and can be managed by a single operator. FastServe | Live Edit lets you be first on air with your story, while instantly and automatically collaborating with the entire MediaCentral production environment.
FastServe | Playout
FastServe | Playout is a file-based playback server for video clips, images and motion graphics controlled from a single user interface. FastServe | Playout can be equipped with up to six video channels: typically four out and two in. It supports all commonly used file formats and wrappers, and can sequence clips from different codecs and wrappers in the same playlist and play them seamlessly, back-to-back.
The next generation Avid FastServe family of video servers is a cost-effective, future-proofed solution for live broadcast workflows that lowers operational costs and improves overall efficiency. A new unified, modular, redundant architecture allows for flexible deployment options with the ability to deliver a myriad of configurations in a compact 3U form factor.