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Avid Solutions Help the Carolina Panthers Make Their “Game Plan”

The world of sports is a highly competitive, highly entertaining American pastime. But I am not talking about the action on the field; I am referring to the action on the big screens and on your smartphone. Today’s sports teams are doing more to entertain the fans then simply putting great athletes on the field; they are also putting highly skilled, highly trained specialists in the control rooms.

Take the Carolina Panthers as an example. The Panthers Television Network (PTVN) produces more than 250 hours of content a year. They start their production schedules every year when the team starts training camp, generally at the end of July. They continue through the second week of February after the final game is played. During that time they create nine shows a week, working six days a week. Members of the team work six to seven days a week, and their production studio is only dark on Saturday.

There are two very distinct departments within the production departments: Panthers TV Network and PanthersVision. PanthersVision handles all of the big screen game day entertainment. PanthersTV does all the TV shows and the vast majority of the video content posted on the web/social. PanthersTV is more like a news station devoted to the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers use an in-house studio located on the first floor, under the stadium, next to the visitors’ locker room, which houses three studio cameras, four 50” LED TVs, one 70” Christie Touch Screen TV, three different setups and a large work bench. All of this is fed directly to the control room, which is located on the 400 level of the stadium, that is also used on game day for the stadium big-screens, PanthersVision.

Seven of these shows are produced exclusively for their broadcast partner Time Warner Cable and are done live from the studio, with TWC inserting all commercial elements from their master control room in Rochester, N.Y. All of the packages and B-roll for the show are created by PTVN staff using seven Media Composers on an ISIS shared storage and Interplay system.

Game Plan is one of the many shows created and produced by the Panthers. Hosted by Eugene Robinson, who played 16 seasons in NFL, and Jim Szoke of Panthers Radio Network, the two break down the previous week’s game as well as get the audience ready for the upcoming opponent. Utilizing the Christie touch screen, Eugene uses his vast player’s knowledge to highlight certain plays or tendencies the opponent might use against the Panthers.

All of this is done with a full-time staff of nine people and a part-time staff of six production assistants, who help with logging of footage using Avid Interplay’s Access application. The PAs then will string together rough cuts for the senior editors, like Stephen Herbster, to fine tune, color correct and finish before sending to the control room the final piece that will air in one or more shows.

“Our Avid setup allows multiple people to be using the same clip simultaneously — a clip of a press conference or game can be used by all seven edit suites at the same time. Avid software just simply works all the time. We do not have crashes of the edit suites or the Shared Storage/Interplay. It always works. Avid is the only editing system that has been in the stadium,” Herbster told me.

In 2015 the Panthers Football team finished with a 15-2 record and played in the 50th Super Bowl game in San Francisco, Calif. The extended 2015 season allowed the Panthers to produce nearly 310 hours of content. While many teams would send out their cameraman and a producer, the Panthers took their shows on the road. The PTVN team brought three Media Composer systems and rented an additional Media Composer system and Avid Shared Storage solution from MPE in Orlando, Fla. This allowed Stephen and his team to continue producing the high-quality shows from the road and fulfilled their requirements with Time Warner Cable.

It is not just the Super Bowl; they continued this same production this year from training camp. The Panthers TV Network team will set up their camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where the team holds training camp. From there, they begin the process of creating shows that will air throughout the season. All of the video captured is centrally ingested into the Avid Shared Storage system, logged and tagged using Interplay, and then used throughout the season through the final week of production.

After the season is over, Stephen and his team will review all of their media assets and determine what gets archived via NLTEK solution through Interplay Archive Services, and the rest of the media is then deleted to free up space for the upcoming season. Much of this is dependent on what the front office does with free agents or player departures.

In the National Football League, there is no off-season — not for the players or for those who support the fans. This part of the team is working tirelessly all year to bring the fans an informative and entertaining look at the Carolina Panthers.

Changing the Game

Captivate your viewers with a fully immersive sports experience. From rich Ultra HD/4K content and augmented reality to powerful sports enhancements—Avid end-to-end sports solutions give you the platform to create captivating content from any location and deliver a game-changing viewer experience.

 

AVID.COM/SPORTS




Bringing in the Professionals at Rio 2016

Avid Professional Services, a team of highly skilled consultants, project managers and engineers, played an invaluable role in helping our customers get the most out of their Avid solutions for their coverage of the Rio games. Working 12-hour shifts to provide 24/7 coverage during the games, they worked both onsite in Rio as well as at key customer sites around the world.

We had about 30 people dedicated to supporting the games, but when you add the extra support and engineering staff that were pulled in when needed, the team numbered 70 to 80 people. It all started back in June and July, with Professional Services providing training for editors and loggers both before and after they arrived in Rio. And their work will continue well into September, supporting the Paralympic Games.

We had two primary teams supporting an array of Avid products that we used by major broadcasters, including Interplay | Production, Avid shared storage, MediaCentral Platform and Interplay | MAM. They did everything from answering day-to-day questions, finding files and providing general support, to monitoring storage usage and troubleshooting issues.

On the ground in Rio, in addition to having staff at the International Broadcast Center — the heart of all broadcast operations — we also had teams covering the five “super venues” (for gymnastics, track and field, swimming, golf and tennis), which each had dedicated Avid shared storage, Media Composer and AirSpeed systems.

Every day was different, and everyone had their own role in the team. But it was a collaborative effort involving the workflow team, the tech team, customer support and engineering. The workflow team focused on resolving issues, while the tech team ensured users were guided through everything as smoothly as possible.

Working on the games required the passion, commitment and dedication of everyone involved. Like the athletes, our team had to be the best at their game. Our customers were very appreciative of their support and willingness to jump in and help with any issues, regardless of whether they involved Avid systems.

To find out how Avid Professional Services can help your business to succeed, contact professional.services@avid.com.

Changing the Game

Captivate your viewers with a fully immersive sports experience. From rich Ultra HD/4K content and augmented reality to powerful sports enhancements—Avid end-to-end sports solutions give you the platform to create captivating content from any location and deliver a game-changing viewer experience.

 

AVID.COM/SPORTS




Avid Partner VIDELIO – Cap’Ciné Provides Competitive Post Production Tools for France Télévision in Rio

To cover the thirty-first summer games, France Télévisions has turned to VIDELIO – Cap’Ciné to provide the post production platform installed in Rio.

The overall system is actually split between Rio and Paris. In Paris, the magazines and daily round-ups will be edited, with the main sources being competition images fed over fiber optics and stored on France Télévision’s in-house system.

In Rio, meanwhile, the VIDELIO – Cap’Ciné teams have set up a configuration that allows the journalists on the spot to prepare items blending archives, locally filmed sequences and competition feeds.

The configuration they have deployed consists of seven Avid Media Composer 8 systems on HP Z840 editing workstations, an Avid Media Composer assistant workstation, two 32TB Avid shared storage racks, a 4-channel Avid Airspeed | 5500, an Avid Interplay | Production system and a Telestream Lightspeed K80 transcoding server.

The Telestream Lightspeed K80 transcoding server lets us manage JRI acquisitions from cards, the 60i transcoding of archives retrieved from the FTV main site and 50i transcoding of ready to broadcast files sent to Paris.

We’re using the Avid Airpseed | 5500’s first channel to digitize the broadcast content, while the other three carry the “on-call” rushes.

The editors can then put together sequences that pull in ENG rushes and official competition images to broadcast, and prepare items for the news bulletins on France2, France3 and FranceO.

All of the rushes are pooled on the Avid Interplay, which acts like an image bank. VIDELIO – Cap’Ciné provides technical support and post production assistance during the sports events in Rio de Janeiro.

Changing the Game

Captivate your viewers with a fully immersive sports experience. From rich Ultra HD/4K content and augmented reality to powerful sports enhancements—Avid end-to-end sports solutions give you the platform to create captivating content from any location and deliver a game-changing viewer experience.

 

AVID.COM/SPORTS




Empower your Journalists to Break News as it Unfolds Online and On-air

Do you need a more efficient way to get breaking news to multiple screens to keep viewers informed and stay ahead of the competition?  If so, you need cutting-edge solutions that increase productivity while uniting your entire news team.

Check out our exclusive new presentation to see how to be first to deliver breaking news across multiple platforms.  Avid specialists take you through a day in the life of a news team covering a major weather event. They will show you some new, innovative ways to gather content and deliver breaking news as it unfolds, so that you can capture audiences across web and social media sites, as well as during your on-air broadcasts.

You’ll discover how the Avid MediaCentral Platform will enable your organization to create stories, access media, and work on projects from any location, build stronger stories with powerful on-air graphics, turn breaking news around fast, keep viewers tuned in with audience interaction tools, and easily publish stories to your website and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Learn first-hand how you can be first with breaking news across multiple platforms with Avid.

 

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW

After you’ve watched this overview presentation, you can get a more in-depth look at our multiplatform news production solutions by watching a series of intuitive video tutorials presented in our ongoing blog series, Next-Generation NewsroomsYou’ll see how Avid is enabling global and local news teams to produce higher quality content and deliver it to audiences faster and more efficiently than ever. Stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this!

 

Be First with Breaking News

Avid is transforming the multiplatform news production process by giving newsrooms the tools they need in this new era of journalism.

LEARN MORE




Is there a DR in the House? Disaster Recovery Explained

It seems that everyone I know has a story to tell about the time they lost work when their computer died. The more dramatic versions of these stories typically involve tight deadlines for projects with big bucks on the line. And the usual epilogue to these stories is how they will never ever let this happen again. Backing up data for these folks is now a fanatical obsession.

Fortunately, we live in an age where storage is relatively cheap and plentiful, and systems are available to automate backups. So it’s easy to set things up so that you never have to worry about losing data.

 

Disaster Recovery

In business-speak, disaster recovery is defined as the set of policies, procedures, and systems to enable the continuation of critical business functions. Any outage of the production systems may result in disruption of a business and cause financial loss. To mitigate the risk of such outages, companies can design and deploy disaster recovery systems to minimize data loss and downtime.

In general, operational risk is defined as the risk of losing value when bad things happen – earthquakes, hurricanes, attacks by killer bees, etc.

Operational risk is managed by keeping losses within some level of risk tolerance which is determined by balancing the costs of improvement against the expected benefits. Having redundant components or full system replication is a means to mitigate risks of failures.

This table shows common operational risks, with examples and possible solutions to mitigate risks.

Operational risks

Example

Solution

Hardware/software failure

Server crash

Redundant system components

Localized outage

Loss of power to a server room

Local system replication

Site outage

Hurricane

Regional system replication

DR Modes

A system is always in one of two modes: primary or backup. Only one of the systems can be in the primary mode at any time. Under normal operation, the initial active system is running in primary mode and updates are sent to another system (or systems) operating in backup mode. This allows the backup system to be ready to assume the primary mode in case of an emergency.

When a disaster is declared, a system that was previously operating in backup mode starts operating in primary mode. This event is called failover. When the failed system is restored, it then acts as the backup to the newly designated primary system. This event is called failback. Note that the primary and backup roles are interchangeable between the systems.

 

DR System Configurations

There are multiple server configurations that can be used in Disaster Recovery systems. The diagrams below show typical configurations. Common to all configurations, system A is continually backed up to system A’. If system A fails, clients can immediately connect to system A’ while system A is restored.

 

Active / Passive

In the Active / Passive configuration is the most vanilla of DR configurations. Server System A is continually backed up to System A’. System A’ is only brought online when System A fails, in which case the clients would connect to System A’.

Active / Passive configuration is the most basic configuration for DR. The A’ system is effectively a “warm standby” system that will only be used in the case of a disaster.

 

Active / Active

In the Active / Active configuration both Systems A and A’ are used by clients and are continuously synchronized with each other. If either System A or A’ fails, then the clients of the failed system switch over to connect to the working server.

Active / Active configuration has an added advantage in that both systems can be used simultaneously. However, it may have complications such as conflicts if the same data is changed by different people in both the A and A’ systems. Systems that allow for Active / Active configurations typically allow setting policies for conflict resolution.

 

Shared Active / Active

In the Shared Active / Active configuration two separate systems are over-provisioned to act as a mutual backup. If system A/B’ fails, then the A clients would connect to system A’/B, and vice versa.

The Shared Active / Active configuration has advantages over the two previous configurations in that both systems can be continuously used, without the complications of data conflicts.

You can see more DR configurations in this technical brief.

 

Local Replication

An Interplay Production system is commonly deployed with Avid shared storage systems, either ISIS or Avid NEXIS. These systems can be configured to have local replication using the configurations listed above. For example, here is an Active / Passive configuration.

A second complete system can be configured at another location within the site. This system is considered the Backup Workgroup. An instance of the Interplay Copy service is configured to continuously back up the data in the Primary Workgroup to the Backup Workgroup. This process copies the clips and sequences (asset metadata) as well as the video and audio files (asset essence) to the Backup Workgroup.

 

Regional Replication

For regional replication, where the connection between the two systems has high latency, i.e. over a WAN, the mirroring to the backup system can be performed using the backup and restore functionality in Interplay. A synchronization application can be configured to make a copy of the Interplay backup data to the backup system in an Active / Passive configuration.

The following commands are scheduled to run at a given interval (daily, every 8 hours, every hour, etc.):

  1. A backup of the Primary Workgroup runs
  2. The synchronization application copies the backup data from the Primary Workgroup to the Backup Workgroup
  3. The database is restored to the Backup Workgroup

The media files can be copied using the same synchronization application. A File Gateway system is configured to allow access to the remote backup system using the CIFS client.

 

Applications for Synchronizing Files

There are several applications available for synchronizing file systems. Mirroring is used for Active / Passive systems, where the primary file system is copied to the backup system. Synchronization is used for Active / Active systems, where changes made on either file system are made on the other system.

This table shows free utilities that can be used to actively mirror or synchronize file systems:

Application

OS Availability

Mirror

Sync

robocopy

Win

Yes

No

rsync

Win, Linux, Mac

Yes

No

Unison

Win, Linux, Mac

Yes

Yes

These applications all have the option to use file dates to optimize scanning and file transfers. When files are copied, the new file’s modification date is updated to match the original file. This allows the application to cut down on file “scanning” to determine if a file has been changed, making the process faster.

The applications also have the ability to skip over specified folders. This can be used to prevent the copying of files that are actively being created.

Using Scripts for Continuous Backups

Note that all three sync apps mentioned above work as a “one shot”.  The commands will not run in a continuous mode without some further scripting. However, this can be easily achieved in most scripting languages, using power of “goto technology”:

 

echo mirroring system-a to system-a-prime %date% %time%

:start

robocopy system-afolder system-a-primefolder /e /purge /xd creating

timeout /T 60 > NUL

goto start

 

The script above will repeatedly copy new or changed files from System A to A’. It starts in the directory named “folder”. The “/e” flag specifies a recursive copy, which scans all subdirectories looking for files to copy. The “/purge” flag causes the deletion of files and directories that no longer exist on System A. The “/xd” flag will cause the application to skip over files in any folder named “creating”.

Also note the number 60 in the timeout command. This specifies a one minute delay between file system scans to reduce the CPU and IO load. This number can be tuned to balance the I/O load and frequency of backups to the DR system.

DR Tag Team at the ACA

At the ACA in Vegas last week, I gave a presentation on DR with Dan Keene from World Wrestling Entertainment.  WWE is a global sports entertainment company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. The company is one of the largest producers of original content distributed to 180 countries across the globe. They produce more than 40 hours of original programming every week. Dan discussed WWE’s plan to build a regional Active / Passive DR system to duplicate their production media on Avid shared storage and Interplay to a virtualized environment at a remote location using the techniques mentioned above.

We got some good questions after the talk. Here are a couple of them with answers:

 

Q: What software are you using for switching clients from the primary to the backup system?

A: WWE uses a utility called Production Selector from Jelly Bean Media to automate the connection to their systems.

 

Q: How do you keep the users and workspaces between the primary and backup shared storage systems in sync?

A: Currently it’s a manual process. Changes to users and workspaces on the primary system must be made to backup system. Avid is looking into using the Data Migration Utility to help automate making these changes.

 

By the way, if you happen to be in the Washington DC area on May 25, you can catch my talk on DR at the SMPTE Bits by the Bay Conference.

 

Conclusion

Utilizing system redundancy, locally and/or regionally, is the best way to ensure that media production systems keep running smoothly. Various DR configurations can be deployed to meet the needs of your business. There are free tools available to automate the backing up and restoring of data to local or remote systems.

Using these techniques will ensure that your big budget project won’t go bust if bad things happen. Knock on wood.




Spanish Broadcasters Converge at the BIT Experience Conference in Madrid

During this year’s BIT Experience Conference in Madrid, Avid’s Product and Sales Managers presented the next phase of the Avid Everywhere vision and the latest product solutions, announced at NAB 2015 in Las Vegas. Broadcast professionals from different parts of Spain gathered at the IFEMA Congress Centre for this exclusive presentation, followed by a case study from Spanish public broadcaster RTVE.

In his introduction, Gonzalo del Val, Iberia & Greece Sales Manager for Sales South Avid EMEA, explained how the Avid Everywhere vision guided the development of the most fluid end-to-end, distributed media production environment in the industry. “What began as a vision is now a reality: allowing freelancers, artists, and large media companies to collaborate efficiently within the Avid MediaCentral Platform.”

Tom Cordiner, Vice President International Sales Avid —photo by panoramaaudiovisual.com

Tom Cordiner, Vice President International Sales, emphasized that Avid Everywhere is a very open platform: “Every professional, as a registered user, can now access the platform with its shared services and enjoy creative freedom. We want everybody to be connected while contributing their talent and working on our integrated media ecosystem.”

New Products

While presenting Avid’s new products, Tom pointed out that the upcoming free editing software, Media Composer | First, responds perfectly to the need of aspiring storytellers, who can now use the same tools the pros rely on daily. Media Composer | First will be the easiest entry to the movie and television industry editing standard.

Another new product highlighted was the Avid Artist | DNxIO, a powerful I/O hardware device to simplify and speed up workflows in HD, high resolution and Ultra HD. It will be available as a standalone product or bundled with Media Composer.

With mid-size and small post-production houses and independent professionals in mind, Tom presented the new ISIS | 1000. “Providing Avid’s industry proven shared storage at a reduced price, ISIS | 1000 will offer real-time editorial collaboration solutions and the bandwidth professionals need to accelerate their media workflow.”

Mike Milligan, Director of Product Management, Broadcast and Media Solutions Avid —photo by panoramaaudiovisual.com

“The world’s largest and most prestigious media enterprises rely on Avid asset management solutions”

—Mike Milligan, Director of Product Management, Broadcast and Media Solutions

Mike Milligan, Director of Product Management, Broadcast and Media Solutions, stated that these days, Avid Interplay is present in more than 2,000 facilities worldwide, providing asset management to users on the Avid MediaCentral Platform. Interplay | MAM makes it easy for them to search for the assets they need, fast. “Avid Interplay | MAM is now also fully integrated on the Avid MediaCentral Platform, so you can use MediaCentral | UX in conjunction with Media | Index and make all production and archived assets accessible to every in-house and remote contributor through a single, common, web-based interface.”

“Avid’s MediaCentral | UX allows users to access the platform from their browser, with messaging services, player and editing functions and real-time access to production assets and all this, also available for Android and iOS.”

Richard Gratton, Director of Product Management Platform Avid —photo by panoramaaudiovisual.com

“At Avid, we see a platform approach as providing the means to break down the brick walls without necessarily compromising security.”

—Richard Gratton, Director of Product Management, Platform

“The ability to work in the cloud within the Avid MediaCentral Platform, has led Avid to take extra security measures to protect content and assets” said Richard Gratton the Director of Product Management, Platform. “The solution that Avid offers, allows professionals to work on the same projects, with the same media but in different locations. So there is definitely a need for uncompromised security. Therefore, we have re-evaluated all our security strategies.”

José Luis Romero, Project Director for RTVE Strategic Projects —photo by panoramaaudiovisual.com

At the end of the Avid Everywhere Live event, José Luis Romero, Project Director for RTVE Strategic Projects, gave a detailed inside look on how the Avid MediaCentral Platform is interconnecting all Spanish regional centers with the news headquarters in Torrespaña (Madrid).

RTVE has created a unique system of nationwide news production, based on centralized files in Torrespaña, Madrid, allowing journalists and editors to remotely edit from anywhere in Spain.

“Up until now, all our news production systems were managed locally. They were not connected, difficult to support and involved major costs. Minimizing the impact on support, reducing administration and management tasks, and controlling the impact on the infrastructure of our facilities, were decisive to choose the Avid MediaCentral Platform” said Romero.

“Once completed in 2016, all 14 regional RTVE centers will have their integrated newsrooms connected to the Avid MediaCentral Platform. They will all have simultaneous access to the centralized media at our headquarters in Madrid, with unified metadata and databases.”

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Proximus TV Modernizes its Infrastructure with Avid

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.




How NBC Olympics Distributes 5,000 Video Clips in One Day of Sochi Games Coverage

How NBC Olympics Distributes 5,000 Video Clips in One Day of Sochi Games Coverage

We’re into week one of 18 consecutive days of Olympic coverage and for NBC Olympics, an event like Sochi really tests us to the limits. To enable the efficient and quick management and distribution of content on demand is a huge and complex task.

At the heart of its operations is Avid’s Interplay MAM, which is helping the broadcaster to improve efficiencies and streamline collaboration across multiple locations worldwide. At the 2012 Olympics in London, they had two Interplay MAM systems: one in London and one in Stamford.

But for Sochi there’s just one Interplay MAM system serving all locations. It’s pretty impressive given the huge scale and complexity of this production how, through efficient metadata tagging, its global sites are able to access, manage and distribute the thousands of hours of content that’s being captured in Sochi. This is truly a content everywhere games for NBC Olympics and its viewers.

Here are some statistics to give you a flavor of the enormity of the challenges involved:

  • More than 400 users are using Interplay MAM across four cities worldwide, as well as across remote venues in Sochi
  • Yesterday, more than 1000 clips passed through Interplay’s MPI (MAM-Production Interoperation) services. Today, that figure leapt to a mind-boggling 5,000
  • There was 4.6 Petabytes (4710.4 TB) of digitized content that NBC users are accessing from remote venues 3000 miles away. This week the broadcaster set a new record when a user in New York successfully sent a 126-clip long edit decision list to an Avid Symphony from sources including Sochi, Stamford and an LT05 archive

Over at its Montreal site, the ICPS (Interplay Common Playback Services) team is working closely with the four PS members at their headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, and Russia. The 12 CS team members are across the PAM system and they have 12 NBC staffers who fix, train, develop workflows and maintain the system. The system is used for 75 simultaneous live recordings in Russia and Stamford, and the single database is shared remotely with the large remote contingent of users.

Despite the daunting scale and complexity of the operations, Avid Interplay MAM allows NBC Olympics to streamline its workflows by enabling a worldwide media flow.

There’s a team of more than 300 in Stamford, including 25 loggers who play a critical role in helping users across the globe find the content they need. They log the Russian live record trains within the Interplay MAM system, and these live logs are then made available to global users. While host broadcaster OBS provides objective metadata, like when a race started, who’s racing and who won, our loggers log subjective notes – like if an athlete hugged their mum or fist-bumped a teammate. Both sets of metadata are married together to give users a complete picture of the content and what makes it worth using.

Meanwhile, here in Sochi, production teams at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) are using Avid Media Composer and Symphony editing systems connected to an Avid ISIS 7000 system with 384 TB of shared storage to assemble their content for air. Each Olympic venue has a 64 TB ISIS 5000, AirSpeed 5000 and Interplay Production systems that connect them to the IBC.

Despite the daunting scale and complexity of the operations, Avid Interplay MAM allows NBC Olympics to streamline its workflows by enabling a worldwide media flow. This increases efficiency and enables seamless collaboration between the teams spread over 5000 miles apart so they can all get access to the media they need, everywhere, on demand.

https://twitter.com/tischersascha/status/634011601478266884




Media | Distribute: A Single Solution for a Multi-Platform Problem

The following is the fifth in a series of 10 blog posts in “Interplay Innovations”, part two of Avid’s Interplay blog series. In this series, we’ll discuss how the recent developments in Interplay Production 3.0 give modern workgroups the tools to overcome challenges in an era where media is created and consumed everywhere.

I’m not an international corporation. I’m not a national or local network. I’m not a trusted source for breaking news. I’m not a brand. I’m just a guy with a Facebook and Twitter account, who occasionally posts about the highs and lows of our sports teams in Boston and good places to find chicken parm in the city.

Still, even with just my friends and family following me, I would never give my social media account passwords out to just anyone. Heavens knows what my less-than-tactful and sometimes overly creative friends would post on my behalf. For better, or, too often, worse, you are responsible for whatever appears beside your name on Facebook or Twitter. And if an individual is this protective of his online presence, shouldn’t media organizations, where reputation is their most valuable asset, do the same?

It was with this in mind that we at Avid announced, alongside Interplay Production 3.0, the release of a new product called Media | Distribute. It runs as an option for Interplay Production and iNEWS workgroups, providing the ability to create and distribute stories to multiple platforms from a single creation space within our Interplay Central web-based client. With Interplay Central, staff members can leverage existing Interplay Production and iNEWS content, create and modify stories for various distribution endpoints and then automatically send those stories to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Web properties, or other online video platforms.

Over 1,000 broadcasters in over 100 countries were asked to rank these 16 challenges from most important to least important. Multi-platform content delivery came out on top. Courtesy Devoncroft Partners, LLC

Over the past three years, Devoncroft Partners, a broadcast market analysis firm, has confirmed that improving distribution to multiple platforms is the No. 1 issue for worldwide broadcasters. With Media | Distribute, Avid now has a product that can address these needs. More importantly, we have developed a platform that is highly scalable, extensible, and can be customized to meet the needs of most any broadcast organization. Media | Distribute has given Avid the opportunity to work in a whole new area—digital distribution. It is a real example of our Avid Everywhere vision and innovation.

Media | Distribute is designed to bridge the gap between an organization’s digital/interactive department and broadcast department. Instead of having a divided newsroom with two separated silos working on the same stories, Media | Distribute allows the work of the two departments to be unified, resulting in seamless, faster collaboration. This story centric approach will eliminate redundancy and inefficient operations, while increasing quality and productivity.

In today’s media, even local broadcasters who might only have a morning, afternoon and evening newscast are still expected to be a 24-hour news network on their digital platforms. When news breaks, journalists today only have a finite amount of time deliver content via these digital endpoints or else risk seeming out of touch and irrelevant. Media | Distribute is designed to speed this process up, keeping your newsroom connected to your viewers.

Media | Distribute provides news workgroups with the tools necessary to achieve a one multi-media workflow.

In many newsrooms today, the simple act of sending a post to Facebook can be a trial. For example, let’s say a journalist returns to the studio with a SOT (sound on tape) and needs to post a teaser about it on Facebook to attract viewers to a feature story in the late local newscast. In order to do this, the journalist has to seek out a craft editor who can edit, and then transcode the clip in a format ready for Facebook. This transcoded file is then sent to the digital department. Now the journalist must find a producer in the digital department who has access to the company’s social media accounts to receive the file from the craft editor, write the post and then upload the file to Facebook. This content then lands beside your network logo before any senior producer has the opportunity to review and approve it. It’s the corporate equivalent of giving your friends free reign of your Facebook timeline. With this tedious process, the time of the journalist, editor and digital producer is wasted or the SOT teaser is simply never posted.

A look at the Media | Distribute panes within the Interplay Central web-based client.

By comparison, Media | Distribute allows a journalist to create social media messages with video content, seamlessly, without any assistance from a craft editor or producer. Using the Media | Distribute pane in Interplay Central (I get a bonus for every time I use the word “Interplay” in this post) journalists can:

  • Upload their story from the iNEWS rundown,
  • Pull all the content into a message creation page,
  • Tweak the story to fit the social media endpoint (add hashtags and adjust for character counts), and then
  • Attach any video from Interplay Production.

In addition, the journalist can send the message to multiple house accounts (@WXYZnews, @WXYZsports, @WXYZbreakingnews) and personal accounts (@AvidSeanThorp). Finally, to avoid embarrassing, brand harming, factually inaccurate, damaging posts, everything goes though a review and approval process before it gets sent to any social media endpoint. A station would never run a story on the broadcast channel without a review and approval process, why allow mistakes in the online brand?

This is a list of current endpoints that Media | Distribute supports. The list is constantly growing, so even if your company’s CMS or transcoder isn’t listed here, it doesn’t mean it won’t be tomorrow. We can also work with you to build custom endpoints.

Social media was once just the most prominent source for documenting every action of newborns and felines, but when embraced by broadcasters, it is proving to be a powerful driver of ratings, brand and revenue. To execute on this goal, it is important to have a toolset as dynamic both as the media itself and as audience preferences for different platforms. Media | Distribute is that toolset. And its reach is beyond the newsroom. All branches of the media and entertainment are facing similar challenges in deploying multi-platform workflows. Media | Distribute will meet all of these challenges and more.

Stay tuned for our next entry where we will discuss improvements to Media Composer | Cloud and its migration to the Mac operating system.