1

Deliver Your Content at Lightning Speed — The Avid FastServe Family at NAB 2018

Effectively managing your media is becoming significantly more complex. From the ever-increasing number of incoming video feeds, to the simultaneous delivery of content on multiple platforms that demand an array of formats and standards, workflows are being stretched and segmented. The challenge is to incorporate ingest, editing and playout seamlessly into your production process.

Avid’s family of FastServe video servers was specifically developed to offer news, sports and entertainment productions lightning fast turnaround times. The unified architecture tightly integrates with the MediaCentral platform, empowering your creative teams to deliver content faster, and more efficiently. FastServe is also a cost-effective solution because it supports a higher channel count per video server for a lower overall cost per channel in a smaller footprint.

The FastServe family is available in three configurations, optimized for different production needs:

Avid FastServe | Live Edit

In breaking news and sporting events, the ability to quickly turnaround images and footage on-the-fly is essential. FastServe Live | Edit allows one control room operator to capture the drama you want, and instantly get it on the air and online. No rendering, no waiting on an editor, just instantaneous playout, right from the control room. And FastServe | Live Edit can pull highlights from multiple incoming feeds, incorporating ingest, editing and playout, all from the same box.

 

Avid FastServe | Ingest

Covering live events demands the ability to manage concurrent incoming feeds for quick turnaround and delivery to all types of distribution channels. FastServe | Ingest gives production teams dual ingest of high-res and proxy directly into Avid NEXIS, with immediate “edit-while-capture” availability without any interruption of the overall feed recording and storage.

 

Avid FastServe | Playout

The new FastServe | Playout HD/UHD video server consolidates both video and graphics playback in a single system.  It enables you to play multiple sequences made up of different wrappers and codecs back to back from the same playlist—all without transcoding. It provides a modern user interface that is tightly integrated into the MediaCentral platform and accommodates different production needs.

Some of the new features Avid will be announcing at NAB for the first time include:

 

• Proxy ingest enhancing Edit While Capture workflows:

FastServe | Ingest now offers the ability to ingest 8 channels of XDcam while at the same time generating 8 corresponding high-quality H.264 proxy streams, for a smooth editing experience.

 

• Support for streamlined multi cam workflows:

FastServe | Ingest, already a powerful solution for multi-camera HD and UHD ingest, and offering extremely efficient file based transfer from ingest to post production, now offer synchronize ingest of multiple channels over multiple servers Support for file name and metadata in Japanese and Latin-based languages.

 

• Support for Send to Playback

With support for Send-to-Playback, FastServe | Playout can be seamlessly integrated with existing Airspeed environments

 

• And much more

 

All three of the FastServe boxes easily integrate with Avid NEXIS storage, for instant availability. Because of the modular design, each FastServe box offers different, customizable solutions for a variety of workflows and production environments. The FastServe family gives you the power to future proof your technology today by being fully compatible with HD, UHD, SDI and Video Over IP.

Empower your production teams to provide the most compelling and engaging viewer experience. Fast, efficient and cost-effective, Avid FastServe is your live coverage differentiator. To see just how the Avid FastServe family can accelerate your workflow, come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Deliver the Story First

The Avid FastServe family tightly integrates with the MediaCentral platform, empowering creative teams to ingest, edit, and play out content lightning-fast for news, sports, entertainment, and other live productions.




Find the Right Media Fast with Advanced Search Capabilities in Avid MediaCentral

Your team is producing more content than ever…in some cases 1,000 times more media than you did just 10 years ago.  Your media is your lifeblood, your most valuable asset, but what good is it if you can’t find the content you need, when you need it… let alone be able to repurpose it for multiple projects to be delivered across various platforms.  Ultimately, you want to leverage your content as much as possible, perhaps even to tap into new revenue opportunities.

Many contributors and producers have faced challenges trying to locate digital content, searching multiple databases, each with their own applications, or even databases running on entirely separate physical systems.  Then when you finally find the content, transferring it to the editing or production system to use it is another huge hassle.  This is not only inefficient and time-consuming, but also limits your organization’s ability to deliver content quickly, which can impact you competitively and economically, as well.

Reducing complexity, costs, and time-consuming manual processes rampant in piecemeal media production workflows is a key focus in Avid’s media production solution development strategy.  We developed Avid MediaCentral to help you find and access the media you need quickly using powerful global search, filter, and indexing tools that make it easy to locate relevant video, audio, graphics, and/or document content across multiple local and remote systems within your entire ecosystem.

MediaCentral makes tracking down content easier than ever. You can search for and find the media you need fast, within MediaCentral. It makes all production and archived assets accessible to every in-house and remote contributor.

MediaCentral | Cloud UX with Search app and Phonetic Index service

With the optional MediaCentral | Phonetic Index service and you can find clips based on spoken dialog. Phonetic search locates every media clip that contains a specific spoken word or phrase in milliseconds—across all available storage and archives. You can also organize and maintain a list of your frequently performed searches for fast access, reducing the extra time spent searching for assets.

Not only are search results shown, but clips can be viewed right within MediaCentral | Cloud UX, the web-based user experience, on virtually any device. When you find the desired assets, the underlying technology streams it transparently in the background so you can begin working with it within MediaCentral or using other creative tools.

Editors don’t even need to leave the comfort of their editing application, as MediaCentral can be accessed directly from within Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

MediaCentral | Panel for Media Composer

MediaCentral | Panel for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

In our previous blogs in this tutorial series, Say Goodbye to Patchwork Workflows and Get Unprecedented Workflow Speed and Productivity, we showed you an overview of how users interact with MediaCentral’s groundbreaking new interface. We introduced several of the apps that improve workflow efficiency and outlined basic navigation features.

In this tutorial video, you’ll see how MediaCentral makes it easy to search for and find the media you need, regardless of where on your network the media is located, while you’re working anywhere on any device. You’ll see how the power and flexibility of phonetic search helps you find specific content and metadata, quickly and easily. We’ll also show you how MediaCentral’s unique search options can be customized to your needs to keep your team more productive and improve overall workflow efficiency.

With MediaCentral, you can gain greater accessibility, facilitating greater collaboration across your organization.  You can turn content around faster leveraging powerful search capabilities to help minimize inefficiencies while positively impacting revenue opportunities.  Accelerate your entire workflow with MediaCentral to create better content faster, deliver to more outlets and devices, and maximize the value of your media.

Stay tuned for the next blog in this tutorial series which will showcase MediaCentral’s powerful browsing capabilities.

Avid MediaCentral

Whether you’re a team of two, an organization of hundreds, or anything in between, MediaCentral accelerates your workflow, scaling from the simplest to the most sophisticated solutions for post production, news, sports, and asset management.




Get Unprecedented Workflow Speed and Productivity with Avid MediaCentral

Media producers face increasing operational and economic pressure to meet the growing consumer demand for content delivered to any device any time anywhere. This insatiable demand has created the largest disruption the industry has ever seen in terms of how content is delivered and monetized.  As eyeballs move to mobile platforms, advertisers are following, creating economic pressure for traditional broadcasters as they wrestle with how to address these challenges.  To help media organizations thrive in this media-hungry world, Avid has been working diligently to deliver solutions to help optimize production workflows, facilitate team collaboration regardless of physical location, and keep teams focused on creating and delivering more high-quality content across multiple platforms with fewer resources.  We introduced a groundbreaking media workflow platform, Avid MediaCentral, to give newsrooms, post facilities, and creative teams of all sizes the power to create and deliver more content in shorter timeframes.

MediaCentral features a revolutionary cloud-based, HTML5 user experience that works on any device, workflow modules and apps for editorial, production, news, graphics, and asset management, and a wide array of media services and partner connectors. Every team member is connected in a completely integrated workflow environment and gains a unified view into all their media—no matter where it’s located—on premise, in a private data center, or via the public cloud.

The completely redesigned MediaCentral | Cloud UX user experience is easy-to-use, task-oriented, and highly-responsive. It’s available to everyone connected to the platform including from any mobile device, no matter where they are. Team members can easily collaborate and stay productive regardless of their location.

The MediaCentral | Cloud UX interface is designed to help every team member jump right in and start working immediately. Even as you add new modules and apps to your workflow, MediaCentral | Cloud UX makes every new tool familiar, keeping you productive. No more bouncing between multiple tools to complete projects. Teams can view tasks, access projects, log and ingest clips, edit video, and publish content with graphics, from anywhere with the same unified experience across workstations, laptops, and mobile devices. Dedicated iOS and Android apps are also available, providing streamlined access to MediaCentral from anywhere.

In the blog, Say Goodbye to Patchwork Workflows, we provided an overview and video of this all-new, highly-responsive user interface and introduced several of the apps that together usher in a new level of media production efficiency.

In this video, we explore basic navigation within MediaCentral that lets you work the way you want. You’ll see how to navigate around the interface to accomplish various tasks including browsing footage, loading media clips for viewing, accessing metadata, optimizing screen real estate, opening, docking, and working with multiple task-oriented apps, using breadcrumbs, and more.

Stay tuned for the upcoming blogs in this tutorial series.  We’ll show you the basics of MediaCentral’s searching and browsing capabilities, and more—enabling you to find and work with the media you need, leveraging the availability, scalability, and accessibility of the platform.

Accelerate your entire workflow with Avid MediaCentral to create better content faster, deliver to more outlets and devices, and maximize the value of your media.

Avid MediaCentral

Whether you’re a team of two, an organization of hundreds, or anything in between, MediaCentral accelerates your workflow, scaling from the simplest to the most sophisticated solutions for post production, news, sports, and asset management.




Avid Maestro | Designer and Maestro | News — Design to Engage

Great story-telling is at the core of compelling content and the pressure to deliver in new and engaging ways increases as competition for viewers’ attention in an on-demand world intensifies. News and sports networks are rapidly adding programming and covering more events with fewer resources, just to keep up with the demand. The challenge is continuing to improve quality and content, to better serve viewers across multiple platforms.

To help meet the challenges broadcasters face and present data in new and compelling ways with a system that is tightly integrated to Avid’s end to end offerings or can seamlessly operate with any 3rd party environment,  Avid has released the newest version of Avid Maestro | Designer and Avid Maestro | News.

When used together, production teams in news, sports, or entertainment can rapidly create, manage, distribute and play-out stunning, real-time 2D and 3D graphics and videos. Now, deeper platform integration with Avid solutions yields faster turnaround of content, the result of extended user management feature enhancements that boost production efficiency.

Avid Maestro | Designer, Avid’s easy to use yet powerful modelling and design tool, gives your creative talent the necessary creative controls to design and deliver practically anything you can imagine.

Here’s how the latest improvements to Maestro | Designer help your team turn around better content faster:

• Find fonts faster with better categorization and handling

• Set specific animation start and end points for more precise playback

• Work with and edit object masks more easily with the new Show Masks function

• Apply a Scissor mask to a whole layer for more creative flexibility

• Get resolution independence with Scalable Vector Graphics, and more.

Maestro | Designer also improves overall performance

• The latest version provides numerous under-the-hood improvements—using existing hardware

• Enables designers to create higher quality graphics and boost visual identity and production value without changing any other components

The newest version of Maestro | Designer allows you to view your work in the highest resolution:

• Scales the application display to the required resolution, making it easier to prep, create, view, and refine content in up to 4K resolution.

From building on-air motion graphics, channel branding, and sports enhancements, to designing immersive video walls and interactive virtual studios, Avid Maestro | Designer makes it easy to bring your content—and brand—to life.

Avid Maestro | News takes that content, and gets it to your distribution points almost instantaneously. Integration with many 3rd party newsroom and editing systems expands your production capabilities and provides even greater efficiencies when installed in an Avid environment.

How the latest version of Maestro | News makes your team more efficient:

• New support for the Array control and exposers functions introduced in Maestro | Designer and RenderEngine

• Set the timing of exported elements directly in the Maestro | Designer animation timeline while creating content, which will then trigger data being sent to a Maestro | News property

• Maestro | News pages now retrieve data values directly from a RenderEngine-loaded scene and sends them to a completely different scene, providing a fast and easy way to reuse information or mirror data between different production systems

Simplify your workflow:

• Accelerates the page creation process with new extended timeline scripting capabilities, enabling scripts to send exports and control animation, reducing the number of tracks needed in the timeline

Maestro l News includes powerful and fast search functions

• New rundown filtering capabilities manage the content of complex stories and large rundowns

• Use different search keywords or phrases to apply a filter in the rundown to locate stories

• Search functions go beyond the item name, and apply to the content inside of any item too, making it easier to find the exact story needed

New, expanded capabilities:

• New Auto Still Cue settings option for the video playback module, enabling a clip to display relevant metadata in its first frame or In point when the video item is cued, facilitating better information sharing with production teams

• Video items can be added from the MediaCentral | Maestro News app directly to a MediaCentral | Newsroom Management rundown

 

The latest versions of Maestro l Designer and Maestro l News are tightly integrated to the new MediaCentral platform providing accessibility to graphics and graphics templates organization wide with templates that can be updated dynamically and re-used.  The latest versions also have compatibility with legacy interplay and MediaCentral UX systems.

Create and manage dynamic media cost-effectively with Avid Maestro | Designer and Avid Maestro | News, the next level solution to enrich your story-telling.

Connect and Compete with Avid Graphics

With Avid graphics solutions, you can entertain and enlighten audiences through powerful visual storytelling, stunning imagery, and enhancements, so they keep tuning in for more.




Global Social Responsibility of Media Companies — History and Structure of a German Media Market

In the course of my career, I have discussed the structure of the German media market with international broadcasters countless times. The magnitude of differences in the business models, legal regulations and media market regulations between individual countries is striking. I have never encountered a set of structures and regulations comparable to that of Germany in other countries — 10 public broadcasting corporations with various regional programs, the ARD common program and ZDF form a public broadcasting system unlike that of any other country. All privately financed media corporations automatically stand in heavy competition with this strong public broadcaster.

Based on previous experiences in discussing this topic with my international colleagues, I feel the need to give a short overview of the German media market at this point.

Before we continue, a short retrospective of German history is in order.

After end of World War II, the victorious Allies quickly rebuilt broadcasting services in the four occupation zones they controlled. Before the new stations could be handed over to German society, the Allies needed to develop a new organizational structure for the broadcasting system. This new medium was intended to function largely outside of government control. Since both a private commercial model such as the American one and a state-controlled public broadcaster model were out of the question, the broadcasters in the three Western zones were placed subject to a constitution similar to that of the BBC in Great Britain: Broadcasters were founded as public institutions in which neither the state nor private individuals could own shares, with pluralistic supervising committees retaining control. Representing as many demographics as possible, the broadcasting council was intended to guarantee impartial information-based programming portraying a variety of viewpoints and expressly including political content. Long-term financing was to be secured by charging households a fee.

However, the public broadcasting monopoly was already controversial in the 1950s. It became even more so when the state broadcasters began broadcasting a regular television program with the ARD, in addition to their radio programs in 1954. The private sector soon declared its interest in a second television program. This group included advertising agencies and newspaper publishers. The latter in particular made allegations of unfair competition between the press, which was dependent on distribution and advertisements, and the public broadcasters, who were financed by fees.

The second public broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) was founded as a television program only and began broadcasting in 1963. The third programs of the state broadcasting corporations gradually followed with a regional programming mandate beginning in 1964.

The monopoly of the public broadcasters did not last long. Changing technology led to greater broadcasting capacity, making new programming offerings possible. In the 1970s, cable and satellite made new transmission methods available, thereby solving the issue of terrestrial frequency limitations. In 1981, the constitutional court recognized the legality of private broadcasters in principle; however, the state governments retained the choice of whether or not to ratify the law.

In a spirit of cooperative federalism, the state governments were able to come to an agreement at the end of the 1970s to undertake four pilot projects to test the technological, organizational and content-related modalities of an expanded programming schedule and to gauge public acceptance of the same. Jan. 1, 1984, is considered to the be beginning of private broadcasting in Germany. On this day, the Anstalt für Kabelkommunikation (AKK), based in Ludwigshafen, first broadcast programs produced in cooperation with private programming providers.

Today, there are more than 20 public television channels and more than 60 radio channels available for free in Germany.

In the course of the privatization of the broadcasting sector, an enormous expansion of electronic media in Germany took place in the following years. This change extended to the number of operators, the range of programming and usage by listeners and viewers. There are more than 300 radio channels available in Germany today, including approximately 250 private ones. Each state has at least one private state broadcaster as well as regional and local ones.

Digitalization in the past decades has led to a significant expansion of television programming. The increase in broadcasting capability made room for numerous additional offers. Today, there are more than 400 largely free-to-air television channels in Germany (including foreign channels).

This multitude of both comprehensive and specialized programs in addition of the public channels has resulted in Germany boasting a globally-unique range of free television channels.

In addition to the deregulation of the media landscape, technological changes were in the offing as well. After digitalization of broadcasting began in the 1990s through the use of DVB-S (satellite) and DVB-C (cable), the nationwide terrestrial digital broadcaster DVB-T and the digital radio standard DAB began to be introduced in preparation for the future discontinuance of analog transmission. After a pilot phase in 2009, regular TV broadcasting in HD format began in February 2010. The ARD and ZDF began broadcasting their main programs in HD format from satellite for the Winter Olympics. Finally, on April 30, 2012, at 3:00 a.m., the analog signal transmission from the ASTRA satellite was silently retired.

IP-based digitalization of analog telecommunications networks made another technological revolution in the world of broadcasting possible. A digitalized telecommunications network makes it possible to transmit digital television signals, telephone and internet data. Transmission over internet protocol includes a feedback channel, which is what really made interactive television in the form of internet TV or IPTV possible for the first time. In addition, the limit on the number of available channels no longer applies either. As a result, new parallel media such as on-demand TV via multimedia libraries emerged through the internet. This technology enables time- and location-independent media use and is no longer limited to the television broadcasters’ programming. New service providers such as YouTube and new media corporations such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are competing for consumers’ attention. At the Internationale Funkausstellung of 2007, the ZDF debuted its multimedia library as one of the first of its kind. Today, the ZDF’s multimedia library provides access to HD media content not only to PCs, but also to all mobile devices and SmartTVs connected to the internet.

Technology is developing at lightening speed. New transmission formats (UHD, 4K, 8K), new screen sizes and “unlimited” mobile network bandwidth available everywhere and at all times require attractive and current content. Media corporations such as the ZDF must be prepared for this demand. The internal production processes must be organized in such a way as to make all videos at all workplaces available to editors for revision at all times. Rapid preparation of the current reports regarding all distribution methods is essential for surviving the competition with established and new media corporations. In order to reach these goals, it is absolutely necessary to integrate internationally leading technology partners in the projects. The ZDF is well-known and appreciated by the broadcast suppliers of the media sector for intensively maintaining decade-long partnerships, thereby getting in on the ground floor with all innovations. The innovations of digitization will continue and help us to tell stories in the future.




Say Goodbye to Patchwork Workflows — Avid MediaCentral at IBC 2017

Step back in time two decades to taped-based media production. You would quite likely find a ‘patchwork quilt’ workflow, Scotch tape’d together with equal measures of inspiration and perspiration. Within the last decade, converting to a file-based workflow harmonized the content and yielded efficiencies, but the digital tools required to stitch together the silos – asset management, news rundown, editing, storage, graphics, transcoding and playout – continue to present a challenge for anyone in the business of content creation.

This is mainly because most vendors focus on solutions to address one or two links in the digital production chain. Few manufacturers have the resources and scope to take a holistic approach to the entire workflow. While the effort is immense, the rewards are huge – streamlining the workflow yields productivity gains that give newsrooms, post facilities, and creative teams of all sizes the power to create and deliver more content in shorter timeframes.

Fast-forward to the explosion of content coming in from many different sources, all of which needs to be ingested, tagged, stored and made accessible.  On the distribution side, consumers expect to be able to receive content on any device, at any time, wherever they are. And this is all happening as broadcasters face increasing economic pressure to streamline operations.

Addressing this not insignificant challenge was the primary goal behind the development of the all-new Avid MediaCentral, the industry’s most comprehensive platform for media workflow, announced at IBC 2017.

Avid MediaCentral is the first media platform to integrate newsroom, sports, post and live production workflows into a single, scalable user experience. It delivers the same high performance and reliability whether you have a team of two, or a global media enterprise with hundreds of distributed contributors. It’s a simple premise: start with the capabilities and workflows you need now, and add components as you grow to expand and accelerate production.

There are five primary workflow modules: Asset Management, Editorial Management, Production Management, Newsroom Management and Graphics Management. Other capabilities can be added through a variety of media services, user apps, editor panels, and third-party connectors to search, edit, manage, and distribute content, as well as integrate tasks, rundowns, social media, and real-time graphics into your workflow.

The MediaCentral suite drives efficiencies in three ways: ease of use, collaboration and deployment.

MediaCentral | Cloud UX

The task-oriented, HTML5-based MediaCentral | Cloud UX interface is designed to help you jump right in and start working immediately. Even as you add new modules to your workflow, MediaCentral | Cloud UX makes every new tool familiar, and keeps you productive – no more bouncing between multiple tools to complete projects. You can even access MediaCentral through dedicated iOS and Android apps, with the same interactive experience and simplicity.

Different teams, media, and workflows can be seamlessly connected, putting an end to work silos and making real-time collaboration a reality for remote contributors. Tracking down content has never been so easy. MediaCentral provides global search and browsing capabilities, enabling team members, wherever they are located, to quickly find and access relevant video, audio, news scripts, and documents across the entire MediaCentral ecosystem.

One very cool feature – and a huge time-saver – is phonetic search. With this feature you can locate every clip that contains a specific spoken word or phrase in milliseconds—across all available storage and archives. Editors don’t even need to leave the comfort of their editing application, as MediaCentral can be accessed directly from within Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

The all-new installation and deployment app, MediaCentral | Deploy, completely automates software installation across every enterprise platform service, and handles all basic configuration automatically, making installation orders of magnitude faster than manual processes, and greatly reducing the risk of human error

What’s more, the modularity of the MediaCentral platform dramatically simplifies licensing and user management. With every element of the media workflow now part of a single, unified system, administrators have one central place to switch modules on and off, manage licensing, and designate user roles and permissions. Licensing and user management for every module, app, and tool all takes place at the platform level.

This modularity also makes it easy to migrate operations to the cloud. MediaCentral gives you complete choice and flexibility to handle media production in the way that best suits your business—on premise, in a private data center, public cloud, or with a hybrid model.

Developing the new MediaCentral eco-system has been Avid’s largest-ever engineering project. We firmly believe that it will serve your needs for the next decade and longer, helping you create better content faster, deliver to more outlets and devices, and maximize the value of your media.

Avid MediaCentral

MediaCentral accelerates your workflow, scaling from the simplest to the most sophisticated solutions for post production, news, sports, and asset management.




Built for Speed — Avid’s Next Generation Server Announced at IBC 2017

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.

Empower your production

The Avid FastServe family of video servers incorporates the best of legacy PlayMaker and AirSpeed video server technologies while integrating next-generation features and higher channel counts into a compact new design.




Building a Global News Network – Inside look at the Al Jazeera Newsroom Transformation

Al Jazeera is among the largest news organizations with over 70 bureaus around the world and around 4000 employees. Aside from gathering news in an ever-changing and often volatile world, its biggest challenge over the past few years has been to connect all those bureaus and be the first to break stories for its multi-lingual audiences.

Three years ago, Al Jazeera embarked on an ambitious transformation project to unify all their newsrooms, in partnership with Avid.

 

Watch the video to see:

• How they were able to implement a new, unique and efficient approach to broadcasting news, leveraging the power of the Avid MediaCentral platform

• The next stage of their journey, working with Avid and Microsoft to develop and test pioneering cloud-based newsroom workflows that will help lead the wider industry forward

Tell the Whole Story

Avid’s end-to-end newsroom and news production solutions deliver the ultimate in efficiency, and enable you to break stories faster. Avid has your story covered.

 

AVID.COM/NEWS




WGBH Gets a Workflow Makeover with Avid and MediaCentral Platform

Products used


 

Challenge

Integrate creative teams and leverage content across WGBH brands more efficiently while modernizing its news division and delivering fast-turnaround content.

 

Solution

Build new, integrated, fast-turnaround workflows based on a common platform to make media assets readily available to everyone.

Boston public broadcaster WGBH is the single largest producer of television, web and mobile content nationally for PBS, acclaimed for award-winning series like Frontline, Nova and American Experience, as well as locally produced content like Basic Black and Greater Boston. Over the past two years, the organization has been rolling out new workflows powered by the Avid MediaCentral Platform, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media.

To leverage content across its brands and successfully compete in today’s challenging media environment, WGBH needed a common storage environment and integrated metadata sharing.

“To distinguish ourselves in a very challenging marketplace, we needed to create an interconnected multimedia company that leveraged all of our content more effectively,” says Tim Mangini, senior director of production technology at WGBH. “Our Avid installation has helped us achieve that by creating one highly integrated ecosystem. It enables us to be much more efficient—we can share content with the click of a mouse and we’ve increased productivity by refining many of our processes.”

WGBH has connected all of its edit suites and mixing rooms—including 45 Avid Media Composer suites, Avid Symphony online/grading suites and four Avid Pro Tools 5.1 surround sound mixing rooms—with Avid shared storage. Every media creator—whether part of the post-production team, the web unit, the editorial group, or the local news team—now has access to the same material without having to put anything on a drive or FTP. As well as delivering huge productivity gains, the new workflow has also become the backbone of a more streamlined process for local news production.

 

Optimizing media assets

By integrating its creative teams across all of its programs through Avid shared storage, WGBH is able to maximize the value of its content across platforms. “While different groups have very different needs and interests, there’s a crossover in some of their needs, which makes Avid shared storage invaluable,” says Mangini. “If, for example, Frontline is airing a program on a Tuesday night, and our news group wants to air something locally, or the social media folks want a clip, they can log into the storage and access pre-permissioned clips without having to duplicate and export media, or share them via some other means.”

After completing the first phase of the project—rolling out shared storage across the organization—WGBH turned its attention to implementing Interplay | Production for production asset management, enabling creative teams to use metadata to more effectively find and leverage content.

The company is now in the third and final phase of the project, rolling out MediaCentral | UX, the cloud-based web front end to MediaCentral. “It’s gone relatively smoothly considering it’s a highly complex roll-out when you’re dealing with as many people as we are,” says Mangini.

 

Breaking news

Perhaps the most ambitious part of the project was upgrading WGBH’s news division. Faced with numerous technology challenges, older newsroom and editing systems, and a storage platform that was expensive to maintain, the division needed to be modernized. But it would take careful planning, collaboration with the right technology partner, and a comprehensive suite of tools and workflow solutions to successfully complete the complex task.

“When we first took on Avid shared storage, and realized how complex the news division’s workflow was – with tight timelines and the different interdependent technologies they were using – we knew they would be the last one to migrate from their existing storage,” says Chris Fournelle, post-production director at WGBH. “It became a bigger project. A lot of things had to be done before this could be implemented.”

“Before we did the changeover, the news team had a list of complaints,” says Mangini. “The newsroom system they were using wasn’t meeting their needs on a number of different levels. It couldn’t do the things that they expected it should be able to do. It was actually a problem for them when recruiting people from other news organizations who had worked with a high-end newsroom system like iNEWS. We spent a lot of time trying to get the old system to work to spec, and eventually we determined it just wasn’t going to happen.”

But it wasn’t just the newsroom system that needed replacing. “We were using another storage product which was costing us too much to keep up, both in terms of yearly fees and keeping up with problems with the equipment and engineering,” says Mangini. “And Final Cut Pro had been sunsetted and they really needed to be on a modern editing platform that could do things that they wanted to be able to do.”

With the risk of technology failures threatening the broadcast, the situation had become critical. “There were a number of these systems that over the years had been patched together,” says Mangini. “Any given week, we might come across problems that were sometimes just a nuisance, and sometimes they’d threaten the broadcast.”

 

A seamless switchover

WGBH needed to do a major overhaul of six different systems to solve these critical problems, migrating to iNEWS, Avid shared storage, Media Composer, MediaCentral | UX, AirSpeed and Interplay | Transfer, all powered by the MediaCentral Platform.

“The biggest challenge wasn’t each individual piece—going from their old shared storage to Avid shared storage wasn’t hard; going from Final Cut to Media Composer wasn’t hard—it was doing all of it at once with no downtime,” says Fournelle. “So we spent a long time discovering their workflows—how are they working, what things can we improve—and mapping our own expectations of how it should work on top of that. Our goal was to tie it all into one big ecosystem and attach everything to Avid shared storage—whether it’s production, broadcast, metadata, cloud—they all wanted to work in one kind of environment.”

Mangini says, “There was fear of what we might break if we brought in all new stuff, and what if we get the wrong stuff? The news division does a program every single day, and that program has to go out.”

“It’s a testament to our team and the folks at Avid who worked closely together on the implementation that we had 100 percent uptime.”

—Tim Mangini, senior director of production technology, WGBH

But Avid worked closely with WGBH to ensure a flawless implementation, and as Fournelle says, “Once we turned them on, they just worked. That’s the beauty of this—once you install it and once you plan it right, it just works. Avid starts becoming kind of boring because people can just make content. They don’t have to worry about the tech. The other system was always in danger of breaking down, so there was a lot of fear and not a lot of confidence. We don’t hear that anymore with the products we have in place.”

“It’s a testament to our team and the folks at Avid who worked closely together on the implementation that we had 100 percent uptime,” says Mangini. “There was not a day we had to stop and start again. We did a cut over and they were up and running. I don’t believe we even ran parallel systems. I think we just jumped over to it.”

 

Embracing a new user experience

Fournelle explains that MediaCentral | UX has been critical in helping the news division transition to its new workflow. “A big part of this overhaul was MediaCentral | UX,” he says. “One of the division’s big complaints before was not being able to see footage as easily as they wanted to. But with MediaCentral | UX, all of their journalists and executive producers can look at the footage in a browser, comment on it, and log it.”

Fournelle expects the success of MediaCentral | UX at WGBH’s news division to filter through to other parts of the organization. “That’s probably our biggest MediaCentral | UX deployment thus far, and it’s going to create a groundswell,” he says. “We’ve seen this before with other products—once you build it, demonstrate it, and people start using it, it then quickly gets adopted by other groups. So it’s been a great success—one of many that we’ve had with Avid in the last couple of years.”

With innovation comes new ways of working—and long-term benefits. “One of the interesting things about the news group implementation is that at first, they wanted 15 or 20 people in the newsroom to all have editing stations,” says Mangini. “We said, ‘no, let’s have your editors edit, and then give other people access to the footage in a much more easy, seamless way.” And once Chris and his team explained how they could use it, they realized that MediaCentral | UX was an easier, more ubiquitous way to approach this. So now new people coming into the organization are shown a browser means of looking at footage. And executive producers, interns,  and every talent level in between have ready, easy access to the footage. And as they learn that they can add markers that an editor could find useful, or build a mini story, those things start to filter into their workflow.”

 

A fast turnaround 

MediaCentral | UX also proved useful for the national, topical debate show Point Taken, providing remote access to media. “I was in Las Vegas last year at NAB while Point Taken was shooting, and I could actually watch it on my cell phone while they were recording a live show,” says Fournelle.

Needing to create a fast-turnaround workflow for the show, WGBH again turned to Avid. Shot with six cameras in front of a live studio audience at 6:30-7:30pm, and airing at 11pm the same evening, the 30-minute show had to be quickly edited and cleaned up, before multiple versions were created for different platforms, including Facebook and web streaming.

“The biggest challenge was the timeframe,” says Mangini. “So Chris designed a workflow where they recorded eight channels via AirSpeed—six cameras, a ‘clean’ switched feed, and a ‘dirty’ switched feed that had lower thirds and all of that—so that we had ultimate flexibility in the edit room. Then literally within seconds of rolling the cameras and recording, the editor was able to say, ‘Okay, I’m seeing it.’ And he could be making markers and notes as the program was being laid down. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, we can have multiple edit rooms working on it at the same time because it’s all on Avid shared storage. By virtue of having all of these tools at their fingertips, they’re able to edit it in time and push the finished product back to AirSpeed. And at 11pm, we would roll the program out of AirSpeed to broadcast at PBS.”

 

Coming up for air

WGBH tested AirSpeed extensively after discovering that competitive products weren’t up to the job. “At least two other products couldn’t do what AirSpeed could do when we actually tested them,” says Mangini. “The companies said they could do it, that they were tested, and that they were in other environments already. But when we actually tried to record, they wouldn’t work. Then they’d spend two or three days to get a new rev to us, and we’d try that. After a couple of weeks, we decided to forget about it because we didn’t have the time to make somebody else’s product work that wasn’t going to work.”

“The deal breaker was that they couldn’t go into our Avid environment,” adds Fournelle. “They couldn’t go into Interplay properly—even with extensive testing, support and onsite help, it wasn’t able to work. While others claimed that they could do it, Avid was the one that did it.”

“The Avid products and the way they work are no-brainers once we implement them. It’s really changing our way of working.”

—Chris Fournelle, post-production director, WGBH

Following the success of the new workflow for Point Taken, WGBH used a similar workflow for lensing the regional program High School Quiz Show in January of 2017. “In previous years, they’ve just recorded to drives and gone off to an edit suite and cut in their room,” says Mangini. “AirSpeed allows them to give multiple people access to the media from the moment we start recording it.”

According to Fournelle, Avid products are changing the workflow at WGBH. “Avid AirSpeed is becoming the de facto ingest and playout for our studio post-production units, largely driven by our local productions and news division,” he says. “People don’t like change, and that’s the biggest challenge we have, but the ease of Airspeed is changing people’s minds. The Avid products and the way they work are no-brainers once we implement them. It’s really changing our way of working.”




Why Sinclair Broadcast Group Chose Avid

With more than 65 news organizations across the US, Sinclair Broadcast Group is a media production juggernaut in the news world. But the company was facing some extremely complex challenges. It had acquired over 40 separate news organizations within the last three years, and teams were using several different production platforms to get their jobs done.

Considering that its stations produce more than 2,200 hours of unique content each and every week, it was critical for Sinclair to un-complicate these complications. That’s why the company made the strategic move to unify production across its vast network and migrate all 65 stations to a single, integrated platform.

Check out our exclusive interview with Scott Livingston, VP of News at Sinclair, as he discusses how the company streamlined production, enabled collaboration, and sped up content delivery with Avid’s news solution. Not only has the new workflow unified production across its massive media network, it enables teams to efficiently produce content in real-time from the field and increase audience engagement across multiple platforms.

If you’re looking to streamline your news production, and understand the thinking of one of the world’s largest news operations —watch the video now.

Tell the Whole Story

Avid’s end-to-end newsroom and news production solutions deliver the ultimate in efficiency, and enable you to break stories faster. Avid has your story covered.

 

AVID.COM/NEWS