Proximus TV Modernizes its Infrastructure with Avid

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Located near the Belgian capital, Brussels, Proximus TV, a broadcaster of digital TV channels, has just procured through its subsidiary SiA (Skynet iMotion Activities) the media production solution Avid Interplay | Production Facility Bundle based on three chassis of shared storage ISIS 5500, each with a capacity of 64 TB.

The SiA teams at their workstations making clips, promotional programs, TV guides, mainly sport and cinema.

SiA, the Media Factory of Proximus TV

SiA has a team of 37 and almost one hundred freelancers. A veritable media factory for the operator, SiA is commissioned with making and producing programs (mostly sport and cinema) in both national languages, and with buying and utilizing audiovisual content, which is broadcast to Proximus TV subscribers via three linear television channels (Belgacom Zoom/11, Belgacom 11+, and Belgacom 5), or a million decoders installed across the country. The plan was to integrate the solution proposed by Avid into the broadcasting infrastructure already set up in the building.

One of the two SiA TV studios used to make soccer and basketball programs, etc. From left to right: Rodrigo Sternberg, Technical Director of SiA, subsidiary of Proximus TV, Thierry Fontaine, Media Manager, and Christophe Anrys, Solutions & Applications Manager.

Avid Interplay at the heart of the system

The Avid system installed integrates Interplay | Production software for production management, Interplay Transfer to exchange media as background tasks between EVS video servers, and Media Composer editing stations. It also includes Interplay MediaCentral | UX, a cloud-based digital interface connected to the MediaCentral platform. This front-end job-oriented web application (editor, journalist or producer, etc.) enables staff on a program to access the central server, wherever they are working, from a fixed or mobile computer, or from any connected device. The solution chosen by SiA also offers archive functions and media element recovery via Interplay Archive from a common interface shared by a work team.

“Avid Interplay | Production has enabled us to work more efficiently and increase the quality of our productions. This solution means we save time and no longer run the risk of losing files, which can be securely accessed in real time on the central server. Avid Interplay | Production brings us smart media management, which is what we lacked up until now.”

—Rodrigo Sternberg, SiA Technical Director at Proximus TV

SiA produces and broadcasts over 800 programs and sporting events live while at the same time welcoming journalists and commentators to programs in the studio.

Avid Media Composer stations

In terms of its editing activities, SiA has deployed 13 Avid Media Composer stations on PCs connected in real time to central storage. This enables video editors and journalists to search and share media within the same working group. Two Avid ProTools systems have been switched from Mac to PC workstations. For increased productivity, SiA called on the professional services of Avid to manage this deployment, to analyze and set up workflows, and for in-house training, etc.

“Although this project involved a lot of people, it’s still the shortest technical deployment we’ve done. We switched to the new Avid system in three months. Today our teams are comfortable with the system, which is proving to be very stable.”

—Rodrigo Sternberg, SiA Technical Director at Proximus TV

Rights management to access media has been improved and the risk of team members deleting files is no longer the nightmare of in-house program producers.

“The choice of Interplay | Production is linked to the real media management functions of the system and the fact that it can be integrated with existing production servers. The equipment communicates transparently, unhindered by transcoding, which immediately saves time.”

—Christophe Anrys, Solutions & Applications Manager at SiA Proximus TV

The SiA node with three Avid ISIS shared storage bays in real time each with a capacity of 64 TB, Avid MediaCentral | UX media tools, and the Avid Air Speed server

With the previous system, media was regularly wiped without being able to identify the source of the mistake. Storage was accessible to all editors and there was a very real risk of deletion. In addition, an automated archiving system prevented access to files as of a particular filling rate.

“One of the benefits of Interplay | Production is the fact that editors don’t directly manipulate the media. They go through a database via their software interface with metadata which then links to the source files.”

—Thierry Fontaine, Media Manager at SiA Proximus TV

One of the version 11 ProTools audio post-production cells which allows editors to finalize programs in the two national languages before they are broadcast on the various Proximus TV channels.

The global solution provided by Avid Technology has enabled its client SiA to secure the work of its in-house teams and to increase production capacity for Proximus TV.

After 15 years of journalism for Cine & Broadcast technologies magazines, I focus now on my blog, CineTVindustry.com.