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.

NewTek TriCaster Now Qualified for Live Production with ISIS | 5500 Collaborative Storage

NewTek TriCaster Now Qualified with Avid ISIS 5500 Shared Storage

I’m excited to tell you about recent testing of live production workflows with Avid ISIS | 5500 shared storage solution and NewTek TriCaster.

ISIS | 5500 is the leading collaborative storage for a wide range of post-production and broadcast workflows and is now qualified for live production with TriCaster and 3Play 4800. Using ISIS | 5500 as the recording drive for live sessions enables media to be immediately available to a variety of devices simultaneously including editors, transcoders and playout. 3Play 4800 is NewTek’s sports production solution, adding ISIS collaborative storage enables more creative workflows and deliversa compelling experience for broadcasters, pro leagues, and venues.

5500 was tested with single and mirrored TriCaster 8000s. The mirrored configuration opens up a number of new workflows providing higher scale and redundancy for multi-screen productions. ISIS | 5500 enables the mirrored TriCasters to playback the same streams simultaneously.

Simply install the ISIS client on NewTek TriCaster or 3Play and configure it to login and mount the required ISIS workspaces.

The combination of ISIS | 5500 and the NewTek portfolio allow up to 8 streams to be recorded and simultaneously play 2 streams and received 2 channels of graphics simultaneously, with the added benefit of being able to instantaneously share and monetize your content. Gigabit Ethernet provides high speed, reliable connectivity between NewTek and ISIS. Simply install the ISIS client on NewTek TriCaster or 3Play and configure it to login and mount the required ISIS workspaces.

ISIS | 5500 scales in increments of 16, 32 or 64 Terra Bytes of capacity and delivers multiple Giga-Bytes per second of throughput. The ISIS File System includes a number of patented mechanisms to provide predictable, reliable performance to multiple simultaneous connections. Predictable multi-stream performance as delivered by ISIS | 5500 is especially important in these live to air and fast turnaround workflows.

With this announcement, we are now qualified through the NewTek Developer Network. NewTek TriCaster, NewTek 3Play, and Avid ISIS | 5500 are all currently available.

Avid Sports and News Customers Take Center Stage In New York City

Recently in New York City, Avid and many of our customers were front and center at three industry events – SVG TechSummit, NewsTechForum and The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame – that took place over the course of 48 hours. The SVG Summit brought together over 1,200 sports industry professionals from around the world to discuss challenges, solutions and objections related to sports production and distribution. Hosted by SVG and TVNewscheck and co-located within the SVG Summit, NewsTECHForum saw executives from broadcast and cable news networks take a look at the rapidly changing world of news storytelling. Rounding out the two days, SVG’s Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame honored individuals from across the entire spectrum of sports broadcasting who have impacted the way sports television is produced. Together, the three events provided an incredible opportunity to gain industry insights and foster relationships.

The overall theme of the SVG Summit was the rapid pace at which technology is changing and the challenges sports teams face to keep up as well as the discussion around working in the cloud versus on-premise and how to organize/access files, archiving, and security.

Dan Keene, WWE

Doug Price, Avid

Avid hosted a presentation by Dan Keene, vice president, system architecture, WWE, discussing how asset management can be used for disaster recovery. This proved to be a hot topic as the 15-minute presentation ended up going long due to the amount of audience interest and questions. Dan explained how Avid’s engineering team worked closely with WWE to forge their new workflow, and showed skeptics who previously thought of Avid as a closed environment that we’re open, flexible and want to work with our customers. “Having a DR plan is critical for any business,” Dan mentions in his presentation. “But having some semblance of what your going to do if you lose your donut maker – if you will – is something that every technology and business person in this room should be thinking about. None of our success would have been possible without Avid’s willingness to qualify and test hardware that we really needed to make it work.”

Dan went on to say that their Disaster Recover, “is representative of our Avid storage, it’s also representative of Interplay, basically every single Avid sub-system that makes your system work, there is a copy at our main site and at DR” allowing them to be transparent to the business operations.

Chris Fournelle, The OutPost

Bob Judge, WGBH

During the Summit’s Technology Showcase, attendees were very interested in Avid’s sports solutions being shown in our booth. Everyone from perennial powerhouse conferences and top-level universities to mobile video truck companies came by to talk about topics like virtual reality and to see our latest offerings—including the Avid Playmaker advanced slow-motion replay and media highlights editing server, the Avid Spark telestration tool for drawing graphical elements directly onto live video, and the Avid Maestro Media Engine for ingesting and playing out media in multiple formats.

At the NewsTECHForum across the hall, Avid teamed up with Boston broadcaster WGBH to present a case study titled, “Order from Chaos – Moving to an Integrated Production Ecosystem.” Avid account manager Bill Reinhart moderated the discussion between panelists Chris Fournelle, director of post-production, The OutPost at WGBH and WGBH News production manager Bob Judge. They shared the daily challenges caused by siloed operations and segmented business divisions, and how WGBH Production Services has unified its workflow across all program production teams using Avid’s MediaCentral Platform. Avid iNEWS has extended WGBH’s integrated media processes to the newsroom to overcome legacy issues and enable new processes. Chris Fournelle summed it up best when he said, “We no longer worry about what we need to do; we are now thinking of what we can do next; we’re dreaming again.”

The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame has always been my favorite event of the year. The event brings together folks who are passionate about broadcasting—either behind the scenes or in front of the camera—to honor sports broadcasting legends, many of whom were my childhood heroes and inspired me to work in this industry. It’s a night to celebrate those trailblazers. And this year’s inductee list was inspiring. They included Robin Roberts from Good Morning America and Verne Lundquist from CBS, who I grew up listening to and watching. TNT basketball sideline reporter Craig Sager’s induction was met with an emotional response as he was unable to attend due to his battle with cancer, which he sadly succumbed to just days later.

One of the reasons why I love this ceremony is the fact that 100% of the proceeds go to the SVG Sports Broadcasting Fund, which helps take care of families in the industry who have experienced unexpected tragedy. This year’s event raised $195,000 for the fund.

Overall, it was a terrific two days filled with learning and inspiring moments. I believe we all left with a feeling of optimism for 2017 and what’s in store for the sports and news broadcasting industries. Be sure to visit the Avid website for more information about Avid’s sports and news production solutions.

Changing the Game

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Newsrooms: The Answer is in the Cloud

Breaking Old Habits of Breaking News: The Answer is in the Cloud

This is the final in a three-part series on Breaking the Old Habits of Breaking News. Learn how newsrooms can adapt to the changes in the delivery of breaking news while taking full advantage of the unprecedented possibilities that technology allows.

In our previous article, we discussed the new way to be “first to air” with multiplatform delivery.  Now we’re going to explore cloud-based news production tools and workflows.

It’s not hard to imagine that in the future, news production will be centered around the integration of a number of tasks, people, and processes, all operating simultaneously in different time zones and locations, with cloud-enabled technology acting as the glue that binds them together.

Cloud-enabled technology empowers broadcasters to keep journalists in the field where the stories are actually happening.

By implementing a cloud-based newsroom solution, organizations can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Secure access to digital assets—anytime, anywhere
  • A streamlined, collaborative user experience
  • Enhanced productivity through automation of non-creative tasks
  • Real-time encoding, transcoding, and streaming
  • Easy repurposing of content
  • Final story delivery to a variety of platforms and devices

Cloud-enabled technology lets news organizations manage their assets intelligently, leverage virtually unlimited interaction between every part of the operation, and accelerate the creative process. It also empowers broadcasters to keep journalists in the field where the stories are actually happening, and speeds the process of uploading content from remote locations by reducing the number of steps involved.

Here’s an example to help explain how cloud-based solutions can revolutionize the news production process.

Let’s say a news station is using Avid MediaCentral | UX, the unified experience of the Avid MediaCentral Platform. They hear about a local news-worthy event, and need to break the story first to beat their competition. Instead of dispatching a news van to cover the event, the Assignment Manager can contact a news team in the field. Through iNEWS, he can notify all team members simultaneously of their next assignment, and include links to driving directions and contact info that they can open on their mobile devices. The remote news team can even access the iNEWS rundown, create and edit scripts, and view related video using native iOS and Android apps on their mobile devices.

The self-sufficient news team is able to speed up production and get the story to air and other desired platforms in far less time than traditional workflows allow.


Breaking the Old Habits of Breaking News: The Answer is in the Cloud

Once the journalist and videographer arrive on site, they can connect to MediaCentral | UX using an Internet connection and  a web browser. They have remote access to the same news editing and production tools they are already accustomed to using, as well as the iNEWS rundowns, scripts, and Interplay video assets.

As the team captures footage, interviews, and other content, the journalist can edit the story using Media Composer | Cloud. If needed, he can utilize media from the centralized repository of shared assets back at the station.

The story comes together using locally stored video (captured at the site) and remotely accessed video—all in the same timeline. He can send the complete package back to the station from the field, and it’s ready to go to air.

Once it’s approved, the story can even be published to the station’s website, social media, and online video platforms, while the journalist is still on-location. This simple process is made possible with Media | Distribute, the option for multiplatform distribution within the MediaCentral | UX that I highlighted in part two of this series. The self-sufficient news team is able to speed up production and get the story to air and other desired platforms in far less time than traditional workflows allow.

By accelerating content creation and automating distribution, producers can deliver the high-quality, breaking news that viewers demand, across a variety of viewing platforms.

Why Implement a Cloud-Based Solution Now

Competing effectively in today’s news market demands a more agile and efficient approach to news production. Cloud-based solutions allow news organizations to meet today’s challenges while laying the groundwork for the future. As digital media consumption demand increases, cloud-based solutions allow organizations to connect their entire end-to-end workflow, enabling users around the world to access, edit, and finish media. By accelerating content creation and automating distribution, producers can deliver the high-quality, breaking news that viewers demand, across a variety of viewing platforms. All of this leads to increased operational efficiency and drives revenue growth.

The real-time production capabilities of a cloud-based solution enable news organizations to bring the full spectrum of resources together. Contributors can produce and collaborate on high-value stories that resonate with newer target audiences who want to experience and engage with continuous news on multiple screens.

NAB 2014: Manage, Protect, Distribute and Monetize in the Media Suite

To understand what Avid is doing to bring cloud-based solutions to the newsroom and beyond, watch our Avid Everywhere Broadcast Webinar.  This webinar includes a live Q&A with Avid product and solutions experts—you won’t want to miss it.