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Auditing Your Broadcast Video Archiving Methods

Some of Netflix’s most-watched programming right now is the documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door. As director Jenny Popplewell told Men’s Health, the story is told solely through archival footage that includes home videos, news footage, and social media.

American Murder is a compelling example of how archival footage can be mined for stellar new programming. Most broadcasters have a treasure trove of material—footage, completed programming, text, graphics—slumbering in their archives, ready for new life. The question is, can you find what you’re looking for?

Your video archiving methods need to be top-notch for you to readily repurpose (or resell) your archival content, whether that’s to create brand new programming or to add context and color to current stories. With these best practices in tow, your team can make the most of your newsroom’s assets.

1. Tune Up Tagging

When creating tags and defining metadata is left up to personal preference, you end up with a mess of redundant or useless tags. Even a single-letter typo in a tag can make a file nearly impossible to find via search. Consider automating all or some of how you tag and index: systems that provide templates or prepopulate tags as you type let your team work faster and keep everything aligned.

2. Sync Up Storage

You’ve probably got some storage silos, and ransacking your servers to find a crucial item when you’re on deadline is enough to make an editor cry. A shared storage solution makes it easier to find and repurpose those hidden gems, virtually grouping flash, online, finishing, nearline, and archive storage systems into one searchable repository.

3. Refine Your Search Skills

Google has made everyone a little lazy. But the more specific you can be in a massive archive with millions of entries, the faster you’ll get the results you need. Every archivist should know how to use filters to search for audio, video, and metadata, but leveraging AI can make it even easier to navigate a media asset management system. AI helps archivists search by facial recognition, speech-to-text, phonetic search, and more. (Making sure your video and any text transcripts are stored together can help get the most out of an AI solution.)

4. Lean on Proxies

If your archiving system relies on just text, you may feel like you’re flying blind. If all you have is a description of some footage, and the only way to guarantee what’s in the shot is to fully restore the media back from the archive, that’s time wasted. Weaving in the ability to view a proxy of that footage speeds up how quickly you can find the exact footage you need—after all, you can pull back just the clips that you want rather than the whole archived feed. Keep a proxy view available in your nearline footage as well. That way, you can browse a proxy, make a selection in a timeline, and trigger the system to bring back just the parts you need. It’s the choice between restoring a whole game or just the game-winning play.

5. Triage with Thought and Care

Ideally, you could keep absolutely everything. You never know, right? In reality, there’s a limit to how much you can spend on storage, so choices need to be made. Many news organizations keep to the bare minimum: they store edited packages and transmitted shows.

The challenge of live production during the pandemic has demonstrated that this bare-minimum approach, though cost-effective on paper, does introduce certain risks. While live productions are creeping back slowly and cautiously, it’s worth considering a more expansive approach to archiving. This is the perfect opportunity for editorial and archive teams to collectively review how they triage archival assets to ensure that they meet the needs of the editorial team when new footage isn’t readily available.

Broadcasting + Cable says broadcast archives are a way out of the pandemic-induced content void. And great content always deserves a second look. Whether you’re about to come across a hit documentary in the making or just enough material to put together some best-of moments for an upcoming town festival, the footage could be lurking in your archives. Sharpen your video archiving methods and root out some of those exceptional files gathering dust in storage.

Media Storage for News Production: A Buyer’s Guide

Without the right storage, news teams face disruption and downtime—but determining the right storage system can be daunting and complicated. Cut through the confusion with this buyer’s guide.




The Evolving Role of the Broadcast Journalist

The average broadcast journalist’s to-do list has grown longer as they face more complex workflows. On any given day, they’re juggling multiple technologies, platforms, and deadlines to deliver content faster and farther afield than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has added the challenge of working remotely with little to no physical access to the newsroom.

Keeping up in this environment means embracing a broadcast workflow that’s starkly different from even 10 years ago, let alone the pioneering days of TV news.

Moving to Mobile and Always “On”

Once upon a time, most broadcast journalists worked on a single delivery platform—TV—and with a single deadline—the upcoming newscast. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle brought more opportunities to cover news live, but more pressure came with that. Reporting speed was often measured by how quickly a TV crew could drive a satellite or microwave truck to the location and set up.

Fast-forward to today’s digital-first environment, where a broadcast journalist is always “on.” News breaks online, almost instantaneously, across Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Being first with breaking news means monitoring social media feeds for potential stories, interview subjects, and user-generated photos and videos. And that’s on top of traditional newsgathering methods.

One thing hasn’t changed for broadcasters: the importance of delivering content as quickly as possible. The need for speed, combined with advances in digital technology, is fueling the rise of mobile journalism. A field reporter armed with a smartphone or tablet can capture photos or video, perform simple edits, and—with quick newsroom approval—publish directly to social media with just a few taps. They can go live using a mobile device within minutes, as long as they have access to a network.

Camera operators are trading SNG trucks for portable transmitters that can fit in a backpack and offer greater speed and mobility, whether journalists need to livestream or upload footage from the field. With modern asset management systems, every member of the editorial team can view and access raw video as it’s ingesting and transcoding, making for faster turnarounds.

Streamlining the Digital-First Workflow

A digital-first broadcast should engage audiences where they are—and increasingly, that’s mobile and social. In addition to creating content for legacy linear TV newscasts, broadcast journalists are now feeding multiple online platforms. To do it right, they’ll need to stay versatile and be willing to learn new tools.

While some news organizations have teams dedicated to digital, others expect every employee to contribute. Either way, anyone working on the content will have to keep distinctions straight between various social media channels. Twitter limits posts to 280 characters, while Instagram limits video clips to 60 seconds and prefers a 1:1 (or square) aspect ratio. TikTok’s audience skews younger—it primarily attracts millennials and Gen Z. Creating a newsroom social media manual will help establish standards and keep everyone consistent and up-to-date on best practices for each platform.

Ease this digital-first workflow with tools that simplify delivering video content to multiple social media channels simultaneously. Ideally, editors can build templates ahead of time with the appropriate technical specs for each destination. Then, it’s just a matter of dragging and dropping video clips, graphics, station branding, and ads into each one and clicking a button to publish. All the transcoding happens automatically.

Establishing Remote Collaboration

Even before COVID-19 hit, mobile and digital-first newsgathering was already pushing broadcasters toward a remote, cloud-based workflow. The pandemic has accelerated that process, and now many more broadcast employees are working from home.

Editorial teams hold daily story meetings virtually on software platforms such as Google Meet, Skype, or Zoom. Journalists use instant messaging platforms like Google Chat, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to communicate and collaborate in real time.

A robust cloud-based media platform is essential to keep remote broadcast workflows running smoothly. After signing in over a virtual private network (VPN), team members can access the same user interface and tools they’d use in the newsroom. Writers can create scripts directly in the lineup, and editors can access media libraries and graphics. Reporters can upload video and even edit entire packages from the field—all they need is a laptop or other device and a solid internet connection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced broadcast journalists to innovate on a dime. From set-decorating the living room for a live hit to building blanket forts to record voice-overs, journalists have shown a remarkable ability to improvise and adapt to working from home. The fruits of this hard work and creativity have proven that remote, cloud-based collaboration works. The question now is: what part of this broadcast workflow is temporary, and what will stick around in the form of a “hybrid” newsroom when lockdown restrictions are lifted?

Your High-Performance Newsroom Starts Here

The modern newsroom thrives on end-to-end workflow efficiency, from the field to the studio to the viewer’s screen. Get ahead of the competition with insights, education, and inspiration for future-focused broadcasters.




The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead for Hybrid Broadcast Newsrooms

The phrase on everyone’s lips these days is “the new normal.” But what that looks like in the broadcast newsroom is up in the air. No one knows how, when, or even if reporters and editors will be able to return to work as they once knew it.

Traditionally, the newsroom has been a crowded environment, where those who create the news gather in large bullpens to get stories on the air. Now, with the need for social distancing, the status quo is evolving as producers figure out how their teams can do their jobs safely.

Moving to a Hybrid Newsroom Model

The industry has embraced more tools to meet its changing needs, but many were already in play before COVID-19. Take virtual and augmented reality technology: newsrooms have been using this tech in their news graphics for flexibility and efficiency, making it now far easier for those working remotely to appear “together” and practice social distancing even when sharing an on-screen appearance.

As CNN Business points out, even the most popular and influential shows are bringing increased efficiency—and intimacy—to news production to meet the times. In some cases, this has meant reducing the number of staff in the studio. Anderson Cooper, for one, is broadcasting his show Anderson Cooper 360 from a remote studio with robotic cameras, while much of his crew works from home.

This also means viewers are getting used to the idea of seeing their news providers’ familiar faces on Zoom and Skype. Hosts of morning news shows including Today and Good Morning America have begun interviewing guests from their homes. Viewers may feel a sense of “we’re all in this together” when their favorite talent is also stuck at home, and producers can count on viewers being more patient with the sometimes necessary drop in production quality these tools deliver.

Even as reporters and producers reenter the bullpen, some things may never be quite the same. As long as social distancing measures are in place, employees may only be allowed back in smaller numbers. Meanwhile, some newsrooms may cling to some of the more effective remote working techniques even after the pandemic fades. Producers may find themselves managing “hybrid newsrooms” that have a mix of both on-site and remote employees and combine on-premise and cloud-based media access.

The ground hasn’t settled yet. What challenges will producers face in this changing environment?

Handling Hybrid Media Storage

One of the biggest challenges for those who work remotely is staying connected to the large volumes of media that news organizations need to deliver their content. “We absolutely need to invest in the cloud as a matter of urgency for our media storage and our craft editors to continue to work remotely successfully,” said Helen Killeen, head of production for daytime TV at ITV Studios.

Most newsrooms will have to take a hybrid storage approach. For instance, cloud storage comes in handy for immediate or live event coverage. If a reporter or editor has to wait for large amounts of data to be ingested into on-premise servers before remote access is possible, they won’t have what they need in time to release up-to-the-minute coverage. However, in many cases it simply isn’t cost-effective to make large volumes of deep archive material available in the cloud. Carefully weigh what needs to be immediately accessible compared to what can exist on a delay. Add to this equation the fact that newsrooms may be relying more heavily on archived footage while some restrictions exist around shooting new material.

Embracing New Approaches to Security

Many newsrooms sit inside the infrastructure of a corporate media environment—and they’re notorious for having incredibly strict system security. The sudden need for so many people to access those systems remotely (and the potential need for cloud-based media access) can create new security challenges. Protecting company resources will require that every employee who logs in remotely uses features like VPN and multifactor authentication. In many broadcast environments, edit stations are prohibited from having internet access, which creates additional obstacles to accessing cloud storage.

The growing number of hybrid newsrooms will need new tools and workflows to run successfully, and corporate IT departments will need to be consulted around new approaches to security so the solutions work for everyone involved.

Keeping the Team Spirit Alive

Amid all these tech considerations, don’t overlook the human element. News production thrives on the connection and collaboration between people. Though everyone is trying to adjust as best they can to all of these changes, being unable to turn in your chair and discuss a story with a coworker can create huge roadblocks in the process.

Killeen agrees: “It’s much harder to react to breaking news with teams working remotely and Wi-Fi issues delaying response times.” Tools that facilitate real-time collaboration are absolutely vital. For producers, the advantages of integrating that tech into the same tools used to create and edit news stories provides the most streamlined experience possible.

Adapting to the pandemic with innovative workflows and technology keeps the team safe—and, although the most important bottom line right now is employee safety, it doesn’t hurt that these changes can also benefit the financial bottom line.

As Robert Lydick of Tegna told TVNewsCheck, “Some of the workflows and some of the innovation that’s happened has put us in a much better place than we were, even pre-COVID.” As producers make important changes that let broadcast newsroom teams safely and effectively return to work in the short term, there’s real potential for beneficial long-term improvements.

Your High-Performance Newsroom Starts Here

The modern newsroom thrives on end-to-end workflow efficiency, from the field to the studio to the viewer’s screen. Get ahead of the competition with insights, education, and inspiration for future-focused broadcasters.




Addressing Post-Production Security Concerns in Remote Workflows

Imagine a building with a security guard who checks your pass against a vetted list before allowing you access to your edit suite. It sits air-gapped (offline) from the internet. It’s only connected to a local RAID, on which every piece of media is watermarked, both visibly and invisibly. You need your own credentials to log in, and you can’t take any other hardware with you into the room. CCTV keeps tabs on your movements and media access software tracks files as they’re created or transferred.

Now imagine trying to maintain that level of security across multiple editors across the globe, who are all accessing critical media via the internet and dialing in from home Wi-Fi.

Traditional approaches to production security isolate a production’s critical assets physically, technologically, and with regard to personnel. This reduces the potential “threat surface” a bad actor might be able to penetrate. But in the radical shift to remote post-production workflows, many traditional processes and procedures have fallen by the wayside, creating the need to implement new security technologies and procedures.

It’s crucial to not leave the door open for hackers to steal the production’s valuable media assets. But how should post-production teams approach security now that the new normal involves remotely accessing critical hardware and sensitive media from home? And how can editors and post supervisors operate remote video editing workflows securely to prevent embarrassing (or even career-threatening) errors?

To break down this problem, remote post-production teams should work to refresh their security measures in three critical areas: securing media, connections, and hardware.

Securing Media in a Remote Workflow

Delivering files outside of the post-house team requires some method of theft prevention. Securing those files within the team’s remote video editing workflow makes two steps essential: using file watermarking (both visible and invisible) and directly encrypting media files on local storage or when using a file transfer service. Invisible watermarking or file fingerprinting can also aid in forensics and copyright theft situations.

Another practical benefit of visibly watermarking media files is that it helps prevent footage being leaked via screen capture at home or while on video conference calls.

While encrypting and watermarking your files is an important step, it’s just as important to track the movement of media and record a chain of custody.

Without protocols for controlling the movement of media and a correct chain of custody, it’s easy for sensitive prerelease content to get misplaced or inadvertently accessed by those without authorization. The chain of custody also ensures there’s a log of any changes made to files as they pass through post-production departments.

Securing Remote Connection Points

A system isn’t secure unless all points of access are secure at the same time. There’s no point triple-locking all your doors if you leave the window open. To improve production security for a remote video editing workflow, this means:

  • Securing each collaborator’s home Wi-Fi network.
  • Protecting on-premises systems through VPNs, isolating them from outside access.
  • Using secure remote applications with encrypted protocols such as HTTPS or Teradici PCoIP encrypted desktop sharing.

Another potential point of access is group conversations over collaboration systems like Slack, Trello, or Zoom, particularly when screen-sharing private information. Teams need to stay sensitive to what they share and when—while these kinds of conversations may have been secure in a private physical environment, remote conversations don’t always offer the same level of privacy.

On a practical level, it’s well worth considering the use of cloud and on-premises virtualization as a way to spin up new productions that are inherently secure. Virtualized machines look and act like desktop computers running creative software locally, but they’re actually virtual machines running in the cloud. This setup creates opportunities for centralized and automated management, automated security updates, centralized trusted storage for all media, and controlled access to applications and media.

Securing the Hardware

As post-production teams get better at working from home, they’re embracing the growing number of devices that are able to host post-production tasks. More phones, tablets, and laptops are up to the task—but this means that the range of hardware that needs to be evaluated for security has exploded.

For example, phishing scams targeted at team members can deploy malware to steal a user’s credentials from their home computer. In this situation, no amount of security software will be able to stop someone from getting past the facility’s perimeter security and potentially stealing sensitive media.

Since so much of security rests with the team, educating team members to be wary of potential fake emails, links, and websites (especially ones that have been spoofed to appear from genuine connections) is an important piece of the puzzle. Protect their home hardware as well by installing antimalware and antivirus tools, and consider investing in a complete endpoint protection software solution to facilitate intrusion detection and prevention.

A patch management assessment of both operating systems and creative applications, across all devices, would also help to establish a secure and consistent baseline, from which updates could be more easily maintained.

Given the immediacy of all these new areas of concern, is the same level of security even possible within a new remote workflow? The encouraging news is that it’s more than realistic with the right prep. While the number of potential hazards has increased significantly with remote workflows, technical solutions and best practices are emerging to solve each one of them.

Powering Greater Creators—From Anywhere

Yesterday, remote work was a nice-to-have; today, it’s essential. Get the resources your team needs to work successfully in any environment.




My IBC Experience

I’m back from another IBC, my 12th, and it was an exciting IBC as the show was full of new developments that continue to push the industry forward at a significant pace.  IBC for many years was often a repeat of what was shown and discussed at NAB for a lot of companies and was an opportunity to reinforce key messaging, as well as show incremental enhancements to product announcements made back at NAB the prior April.

The Avid booth at IBC 2019

Due to the accelerated pace of an ever changing media and entertainment landscape driven by consumers demand for content delivered on their devices on their time, IBC has become a launchpad for new innovations and major new partnership announcements, many of which have happened in the relatively short timeframe between NAB and IBC.

One of the major key announcements at IBC was centered around social media and digital distribution and the MediaCentral platform.  Avid unveiled a new and improved MediaCentral | Publisher app, a first-of-its-kind SaaS offering for the MediaCentral platform, powered by Wildmoka. Not only does this significantly improve the software’s ability to get content out fast across more social and digital platforms, but also it enables media companies to insert ads and calls to action that drive revenue on those platforms while engaging with and building their audience.

Data shows that there are over 5 billion unique mobile phone users in the world who are increasingly accessing content on mobile devices that are getting more powerful, with the bulk of their time spent browsing video content.  Of course, the ramifications here are significant both operationally and economically. As more eyes move to mobile platforms, so have advertisers, with digital ad spending eclipsing television ad spending for the first time recently.

MediaCentral | Publisher app

Data also shows that getting the story out first across social and digital platforms significantly increases a media company’s ability to realize more revenue and build their audience and the difference can be a matter of minutes or even seconds.  For news, sports, and media companies, establishing that one-to-one relationship with consumers on social and digital platforms is critical to the present and future of the business.

This is why Avid delivered a more robust way to deliver fast, and deliver first, across all platforms.  MediaCentral l Publisher auto-provisions everything you need, provides tools to enhance content (aspect ratio resizing, closed captioning, titling, 3D motion graphics overlays, and more), enables audience engagement through interactive calls to action (think sponsorship and branding), and allows for ad insertion using server side pre, mid, and post roll ads.

Always forward-thinking, Avid showcased a tech preview of its IP contribution and distribution solution called FastServe l Stream. As part of a partnership with Microsoft® and Haivision® it was a showcase of IP contribution and distribution that leverages Avid’s FastServe | Stream technology and its ability to accept incoming SRT streams from any SRT enabled device or hublet. SRT is the open source protocol from Haivision that enables secure reliable transport of content across standard internet connections, but also it was a launch partner of SRT Hub. SRT Hub is an initiative between Microsoft® and Haivision® that leverages the SRT protocol and delivers a SaaS offering that enables the routing of video across the Azure network (live and file based), for delivering content securely from anywhere to anywhere using any SRT enabled device or any SRT hublet.

This combined solution enables news and sports organizations to expand their coverage at a lower cost (think a single reporter with an SRT enabled mobile device covering a story vs. sending a truck or video crew with a journalist) while not compromising on quality for both on premise and cloud-based news and sports productions.  Avid showed the ability to accept incoming SRT streams either from an SRT enabled device or from SRT Hub, unwrap and rewrap that content in an Avid friendly format, and check that streamed media into an Avid Production environment for fast access via MediaCentral or Media Composer.

In the future, companies will be able to plug Avid tools into any IP based workflow including news, sports, and remote live production scenarios where companies are increasingly adopting IP based solutions to deliver content over standard internet connections.  This not only lowers costs (satellite or fiber) but also reduces the resources required to deliver an event allowing the bulk of the production crew and talent to remain in place in the studio while still delivering a compelling broadcast.

SRT Hub at IBC

It also enables broader coverage by news and sports crews so that they can send fewer resources to cover any story with just a reporter and an SRT enabled device.  Last but not least, it allows users to route content easily across the Azure network to deliver content faster to more digital and social destinations leveraging the SRT hub running in the Azure cloud for occasional and 24×7 linear channel delivery use cases.

Here’s a rundown of other exciting solutions shared at this year’s IBC in Amsterdam:

 

  • Media Composer will deliver native support for Apple’s ProRes RAW camera codec and support for ProRes playback and encoding on Windows. In addition, Apple® will provide 64-bit decoders for DNxHR and DNxHD codecs within the Pro Video Formats package that is available from Apple as a free download for all users.

 

  • IBC was the European Debut of Media Composer which created a massive buzz when it launched at NAB in April. The user interface was redesigned for better, more efficient use as well as enabling custom user profiles that expose only the capabilities needed by different roles within any broadcast, film, or post facility. Though, it’s perhaps the work that was done under the hood which enables distributed processing that is just as noteworthy; it allows available CPU cycles on the network to be leveraged for rendering purposes significantly diminishing the time it takes to render even UHD effects and content.

 

  • Avid Edit On Demand is Avid’s cloud-based editing solution, and it’s not just Media Composer running in the cloud. Rather, is a full infrastructure that includes compute, NEXIS Cloud storage, and bandwidth all auto provisioned and running in the cloud allowing users to spin up the resources they need to take on any job paying only for what they use. This runs in Azure and includes Teradici clients for secure access and File Catalyst for quickly moving content into and out of the cloud.  There is an early access program and you can sign up here.

 

  • Avid’s Audio group continues to make waves in the industry, having announced the Avid S1 and S4 consoles at Summer NAMM in Nashville. Those consoles were on display on the show floor and in a meeting room where users could see it in action. Perhaps the most important thing to note about the Avid S4 and the Avid S1 is that now anyone can take advantage of what was once only reserved for larger budget productions. Both consoles offer high end capabilities with attractive economics and a variety of I/O possibilities that meet the demands of any sized production.

 

  • Avid’s graphics team also announced its next generation of graphics server hardware, Maestro l Engine 4K, which has higher channel counts, supports HDR, UHD, IP, and SDI I/O. Maestro l Engine drives Avid graphics solutions and leverages the Epic Unreal engine for rendering photo realistic images in real time for use with virtual sets, data-driven augmented reality, and video wall solutions for news and sports. This enables broadcasters to economically change the look and feel of their news and sports programs while also engaging audiences on traditional and digital platforms.

IBC was exhausting (in the best way) and Avid had no shortage of new innovations and new partnerships to highlight.  It is an amazing time to be a part of this industry as the disruption that is happening is like no other time in the history of broadcast and media and entertainment from a technology and economic perspective.

I’m looking forward now to NAB and what I know will be more new innovations that continue to move the industry further!

 

WATCH ALL IBC HIGHLIGHTS




Connect 2019 — A Personal Reflection

Last year I had the opportunity to attend Avid Connect, and boy was I glad I did! It is something not to miss. This year Avid Connect and NAB occur during a very busy time in my broadcast schedule, preventing my attendance. So in my stead, if you can go – Go! Here’s why.

There is nothing quite like meeting and talking to new people who share a common passion, like the Avid Connect Community. Sure, the unstoppable Marianna Montague hovers like an angel in our social media universe, Wim Van den Broeck is always there with a supportive contact, and the active Avid online community is always ready with wisdom and solutions – but it’s not the same as attending Avid Connect in person.

Steve Audette with Marianna Montague

For years I chatted up Media Composer users and Avid folks online. Our relationships grew, and I thought they were strong, but social media cannot compete with the in-person experiences that Avid Connect offers. Avid Connect is rewarding, both personally and professionally.

My dear friends Chris Bové and others from the Avid Editors of Facebook group, as well as the Avid Technology folks themselves like Dave Colantuoni and even my relationship with Jeff Rosica are all closer and more connected by having that personal – and in-person – opportunity. We are now deeply connected as friends in the old sense of the word, and it’s refreshing.

Steve Audette and Chris Bové

Think about it: Reading a block of text from Steve Hullfish or following instructions online cannot show the reader the author’s true personality. It takes a person-to-person conversation. The shared experience builds stronger bonds of professional and personal relationships.

Do you have a complicated problem that is unique to your workflow? There’s no better way to work out the kinks – and truly understand the dilemma – than with a one-on-one session with a fellow Avid Community member, not necessarily even an Avid Technology person.

Then there are the vendors at Avid Connect. Several times last year I walked up to the Boris or HP booth with a question. One-on-one answers and personal attention is so rewarding, and in a wonderful synergy, further discussion follows as other Avid Connect participants chime in with their experiences. The sum becomes greater than the whole. All working and living in the Avid Media world.

One of my favorite moments from Avid Connect was sitting next to people I didn’t know in the general sessions and hearing about their experiences with Avid technology. If you go, I highly recommend this technique. It expands your network of friends and professional opportunities. I got two freelance gigs from last year’s Avid Connect. There are even more of these kinds of opportunities to be had. Furthermore, the general sessions are well-organized and informative, focused on a range of issues I found interesting.

The breakout sessions were also informative and educational, expanding my experience beyond the documentary world I tend to live in. I liked the focus on the latest technology trends and showing me other areas of work that I had never considered. Sure, some were duds to me, but they were all well-attended and I believe most of the audience was glad they went.

Finally, Avid Connect isn’t all about what is provided by Avid; it is really all about what you go and get from it. If you haven’t been, I recommend it; I am sure it will expand your professional network. If you’ve attended and not found it as rewarding as I describe here, then I suggest please go again and bring what you found wanting– share that – and discover how quickly you will connect with a group of people who share your concerns. Go and find out what it is like to be part of our Avid Connect community.

Join Us in Creating the Future




The Graphics Solution Designed Specifically for News and Sports: Maestro | News at NAB 2018

The pace of news coverage is rapidly accelerating. Consumers are demanding more from their news providers: more coverage with more accuracy, on more platforms. And they don’t want to wait. News organizations live in the “now,” instantly turning-around breaking news in a constant 24-7 churn.

Clearly articulating and evolving the big story through multiple deadlines requires a support workflow that is quick and fluid. Graphic enhancements need to be created and available for producers and reporters, on-the-fly. With no time to wait for rendering, or asset transfers, the fastest way to get graphics on the air and online is with Avid Maestro | News.

Create, manage, distribute and play-out stunning, real-time 3D graphics with the industry’s only complete on-air graphics suite. Maestro | News can be customized for a variety of environments and seamlessly integrates with the Avid MediaCentral Platform, as well as third-party news and editing applications. Now, with the latest release, you get even more capabilities and workflows to boost your production efficiency.

 

The all-in-one graphics workflow solution

With Maestro | News you can:

• Take control of your entire production – From on air and interactive graphics, to virtual studio display and high res video wall content, Maestro | News provides everything you need for a full end to end graphics production.

• Gain ultimate workflow efficiency – Maestro | News integrates with MediaCentral and other newsroom and editing systems to simplify and speed up production workflows.

• Bring your content to air faster – As a robust content playout device, Maestro | News lets you significantly speed up video turnaround so you can be first to air

• Get the rendering power you need, with support for multiple live feeds and automation while maintaining reliability and security

The newest release of Maestro | News introduces improved integration with Avid and 3rd party production tools, as well as range of new features:

 

Build your stories from your web browser without additional installations

Avid’s Maestro | News now delivers new HTML5 based newsroom plugins that allow your journalists and editorial staff to build stories, preview content and add graphics elements to stories directly from a web browser – without any additional installation on their workstation. The HTML5 plugin supports all newsroom systems that use the HTML5 MOS plugin specification – including MediaCentral | Newsroom.

 

Find your stories faster

In the race to get breaking news on-air and online, Maestro | News helps you search through large rundowns quickly and efficiently. The new Simple Search feature locates stories using different keywords or phrases as you type to filter in your rundown. The search isn’t just limited to story slugs, but also applies to content inside of any story item.

 

Control your clip playback

Controlling clip playback in conjunction with graphics is an essential part of the production workflow, as it requires perfect synchronization between graphics and clip content. This next version of Maestro | News enables you to easily get access to Avid’s new clip playback engine from the new template controls available for each Maestro | News page. Supporting broadcast industry standards including DNxHD, XAVC, H264 and XDCAM, the clip engine easily combines graphics and clip content on the graphics platform to offer simple control over clip playback during production

As news viewers grow more sophisticated, the need to create news content with more value is becoming an editorial priority. Eye-catching, easy-to-understand graphics are no longer just complimentary embellishments to your coverage, they are now an important differentiator for your storytellers, helping to define your brand. Maestro | News brings end-to-end real-time graphic management unlike any other, to your production workflow.

To see how Avid Maestro | News can accelerate and simplify your news productions, please come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Maestro | News

Maestro | News is a universal controller for video and graphics that enables you to create, manage, distribute, and play out stunning, high-resolution 3D graphics and videos easily.




Introducing Avid Maestro | PowerWall at NAB 2018

Technology and creativity are intertwined. Vibrant, scintillating productions are often dependent upon the tools used to illuminate storytelling. Stand-out productions are essential to separate yourself from the competition, and further entrench your brand. Avid’s studio solutions are developed specifically to meet these goals, and empower your production teams to unleash their creativity, leaving imaginations unbound by the usual studio constraints.

Now, at NAB 2018, Avid is proud to unveil Maestro | PowerWall, its next gen video wall solution enabling you to assign, control and manage content displayed across multiple high-resolution studio displays.  Rich media, including real-time 3D graphics, video, augmented reality content, images, visual effects, and live data feeds, all controlled by a single touchscreen user interface. And with a new pre-production tool that allows you to get to air and adapt to changes faster.

 

Engage viewers with dynamic, compelling imagery

Maestro | PowerWall boosts your productions’ “WOW” factor, by introducing dynamic, high-resolution content to enhance your storytelling capabilities. By combining video and graphics processing into one solution, Maestro | PowerWall enables you to control and display up to Ultra HD resolution on an unlimited amount of display surfaces – even if some have unconventional dimensions.

 

Manage multiple displays with ease

With more studios using multiple video walls, monitors and projectors to enrich their storytelling, executing technically seamless productions requires a workflow that cleanly choreographs these multiple display assets. Maestro | PowerWall puts complete command of each of these devices at your fingertips, with a single touch-screen interface. Easily manage multiple display surfaces, regardless of aspect ratio, size, shape or resolution. Dynamic Preview lets you produce with confidence by providing an actual replica of your studio displays, including their positions, orientations and aspect ratios, on a single monitor.

Streamline your control room

Maestro | PowerWall is the all-in-one, end-to-end workflow solution that eliminates the need for separate video processors or real-time graphics systems. It even provides up to eight internal HD clip players.  Because it integrates seamlessly with existing workflows, (Grass Valley, Ross, Sony, Snell & Wilcox, Blackmagic Design, Evertz and NVision) you minimize costs, complexity and studio footprint requirements.

 

Get to air faster and easier

New pre-production tools empower your team to respond immediately to breaking news or last-minute changes. Your team can quickly create and customize graphic templates on-the-fly, accelerating turn-around time for graphics content and playout. The touch-screen interface is sleek and intuitive for easy training and operation. A single operator can assign and play content, while independently or simultaneously controlling different production areas.

 

Go big – really BIG

Sometimes bigger is better, and Maestro | PowerWall gives you the scalability for blockbuster production values. Display content up to 16x the size of your HD-SDI video outputs, and up to 8x the size of your 1080p outputs, all without the need for an expensive video scaler. Fill the biggest video wall displays with SD, HD, 3G, UHD, 4K and other high-resolution formats simultaneously across inputs and outputs. 4K clips can even display in full resolution using four HD-SDI outputs to your video wall.

 

Bring editorial content to studio displays

Maestro | PowerWall is tightly integrated with MediaCentral | Newsroom Management, and can be integrated with commonly used newsroom computer systems. Generate editorial content directly from your newsroom software, insert it into your Maestro | PowerWall rundown, and then trigger it manually or automatically to keep up with fast-paced, and rapidly changing newscasts.

 

Avid Maestro | PowerWall in action

Avid Maestro | PowerWall’s flexibility and scalability makes it adaptable to solving even the most unique production challenges. CBS’s The Late Show design team decided they wanted to display imagery on different sized and shaped surfaces, including The Ed Sullivan Theater’s iconic domed ceiling. The challenge: how to execute complex video projection, on-the-fly, with content that must be unique every night, in a high-stress live-to-tape production environment. To see how they worked with Avid to develop a truly unique solution, watch the video.

“Technology alone is not enough.”

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Giving your team the latest technology will keep you competitive. Empowering your team to create without limits will allow your productions to rise above competitors, and develop a singularly unique brand pillar. As demand spirals for compelling video and audio content, establishing key differentiators becomes more difficult. To see how Avid Maestro | PowerWall can take your productions to new horizons, please come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Maestro | PowerWall

Captivate viewers and bring excitement to your studio, news, or sports production with Avid’s innovative display control and management solution.




Introducing Avid Maestro | Virtual Set Powered by Unreal Engine at NAB 2018

Vivid, vibrant productions capture the attention of viewers. In today’s market, the flexibility and utility of news and sports’ production environments are essential for engaging storytelling. More and more broadcasters are seeing the advantages of dynamic, tractable virtual studio designs and augmented reality graphics, that can be customized for story enrichment.

In the world of graphic creation, Epic’s Unreal Engine is considered the standard in high-end rendering platforms for games. Avid has chosen to pair-up with Unreal so virtual studio and augmented reality based productions can benefit from the photo realistic renders for AR experiences. Recognizing Unreal is not geared towards the real-time updates also required during a live production, Avid is combining its existing graphics engine workflow with Unreal’s to provide customized graphics over the virtual set layer. Both are packaged together on a single platform, controlled from the same user interface, and maintain the broadcaster’s existing Avid workflow.

 

Maestro | Virtual Set — anything but virtual

By incorporating Unreal Engine into your studio workflow, you can enrich your graphics with dynamic shadow options, reflections, lighting and more to the already powerful graphic capabilities of Maestro | Virtual Set. The result is stunning realism, establishing a true differentiator for news and sports productions.

Real-time data-driven graphics to tell your story

Maestro | Virtual Set allows your production teams to incorporate up-to-the-second accurate data-driven graphics, videos and additional content in your news and studio productions. These productions can be enriched even further by adding captivating augmented reality elements.

 

User-friendly design easily integrates into your workflow

Maestro | Virtual Set works seamlessly within the proven Avid MediaCentral environment. As a complete, end-to-end studio solution, it allows you to continue using your current design tools, like 3DSMax, Maya, Blender, etc. to create virtual studio backgrounds. Additionally, you can compile scenes from Unreal Engine’s extensive library and deploy them on your Avid platform.

 

Easy-to-use single interface

Maestro | Virtual Set’s single interface combines Avid’s existing graphics engine workflow with Unreal Engine, to provide updateable graphics over the virtual set layer. Users can control both virtual backgrounds and on-air graphics from the same screen. They can also be triggered to air by studio automation or switchers.

Stunning, reliable realism

Paired with Avid Xync 2.0, Maestro | Virtual Set embellishes your productions with virtual environments that are visually authentic. From unmatched camera tracking, to sophisticated crane and dolly sequences with unlimited 360-degree tracking, multi-camera productions are executed in perfect sync.

Give your team the freedom to create everything they imagine. Maestro | Virtual Set enhances your productions with stunning Unreal Engine imagery that stands-out from your competition. To see just how Avid Maestro | Virtual Set is forging new horizons for unique studio creation, come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Maestro | Virtual Set

With Maestro | Virtual Set, you can easily create photo-realistic environments and enhance any production to better engage viewers and enhance storytelling.




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.