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The People Behind the Tech — Delivering Compelling Sports Content for Hockey Night in Canada

Nothing drives ratings like live sports. In our 24/7 world, where we’re always plugged in and constantly moving from one viewing device to another, sport still has the power to trump video on demand and command huge audiences. The sports market is estimated to be worth $700bn and is growing more rapidly than global GDP.

In Canada, nothing drives ratings like hockey. And the competition isn’t just fierce on the ice. National and regional networks assiduously cover every shot, assist, block and deke for a nation obsessed with this fast-moving sport, which is more akin to a religion than a sporting pastime.

So when Rogers Media acquired the Hockey Night in Canada franchise, the production team knew they had to create something special for what truly is a national institution. Generations of Canadians grew up listening to Hockey Night on the radio and decades later the Saturday night tradition continues intact, on high-definition television. Rogers wanted to engage their audience in new ways, and to innovate by using augmented reality, virtual sets, and video walls to wow viewers, while at the same time giving them the flexibility to constantly change the look and feel of the broadcast to keep the content fresh.

Heading up the project was Director of Creative Technology Dwayne Brown. From live events and concerts, to stadium and arena entertainment systems, to broadcast studios and on-air graphics, Dwayne has had the opportunity to work with some iconic brands over the years, including the NHL, NBA, and Major League Soccer.

For the 2014-15 season, under Dwayne’s stewardship, Rogers Media built a state-of-the-art new Hockey Central studio in Toronto, Canada. It’s gigantic. It covers over 10,000 square feet and is one of the most sophisticated studios ever created for a television production. Towering over the studio is a massive 41 x 11 foot high-resolution LED videowall, just one of the many and varied display surfaces controlled and managed by Avid’s Maestro | TD Control solution.

At Avid Connect 2018, in his presentation Delivering Compelling Sports Content, Dwayne will be sharing with attendees how he and his team addressed the high-pressure, high-risk challenge of delivering a viewing experience that in many ways reflects the hopes and dreams of a nation.

As Dwayne puts it: “It’s not about the tech, it’s about the people using the tech” – the team had to come up with the ideas, the technology is just an enabler. For example, Hockey Night in Canada features an augmented reality interactive device call The Puck Wall. When a team’s puck is placed in the slot it triggers that team’s statistics on a large touchscreen monitor. Dwayne describes it as a 70” display with “sort of a cup holder” mounted at the bottom. The Plexiglas pucks are fitted with unique RFID tags which can be read by Maestro | TD Control to trigger content.

True to Dwayne’s mantra, Rogers’ imaginative production team came up with a whole host of ways of “using the tech,” but I’m not going give away all of Dwayne’s insights in this blog – you’ll have to check out his session at Avid Connect ????. Don’t miss the chance to learn, from and be inspired by, the community at the forefront of media innovation. Book your place at Avid Connect before the end of March for just $495 USD for the entire event.

Avid Connect 2018

Join industry leaders as they come together to experience the cutting-edge and prepare for the year ahead. Be there to strengthen your skills, network with collaborators and to try new tools and technologies.

April 6 – 8 │ Wynn Las Vegas




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.




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.




The Smartest Play in Live Sports — Introducing Maestro | Live

Covering live sports can be the ultimate production challenge. The action moves fast, and the audience moves right along with it, expecting instant analysis, replays, and historical context. The broadcasters who keep pace with dynamic story-telling tools and productions enjoy enormous viewer loyalty and brand recognition.

Now that viewers expect to have their knowledge of the play enriched within seconds of the live action taking place, the pressure is on the broadcaster to deliver. While investment is being made in the picture, with upgrades to 4K/UHD and HDR, and in audio, with immersive sound systems, graphical analysis and real-time updates of statistical data should not be neglected.

Avid Maestro | Live, unveiled for the very first time at IBC 2017, addresses the very real need to present captivating, dynamic content and boosts efficiency like never before. Maestro | Live is a completely new, all-in-one broadcast graphics and video control system for live sports production. It combines action-based, data-driven graphics, tracked-to-field graphics, augmented reality and video playout capabilities in a single, simple-to-operate hardware/software solution—in either HD or UHD resolution.

Whether you’re in the studio or in the field, Maestro | Live provides everything you need to produce and control a live event from a single interface, using a single operator. It is supplied with a selection of major sports templates to get you up and running quickly, and these templates can be modified, or used to create new templates for other sports, without the need for any programming or scripting.

Plug-and-play integration with real-time sports databases and scoreboard protocols – including STATS, OPTA and Sportradar – dynamically updates content. Because graphics are action-based and data-driven, you can be confident of presenting content that relates to every action on the field—every second of the game. A single operator can integrate tracked-to-field graphics and augmented reality to highlight and analyze plays, as well as visually tie sponsors into the game. All from the same UI you can create virtual formations and starting lineups, 9-meter circles, distance to goal indicators, and even virtual elements such as team logos, 3D objects, and advertising.

The system includes a high performance video server, for graphics and video rendering, and playout. You can play video clips and playlists from its internal storage in the field, or connect it to external storage such as Avid NEXIS in the studio. This eliminates the need for a VTR operator and additional video player, and it frees up the replay operator to focus on their primary job.

Avid’s engineering team set out to deliver a real game-changer for live sports broadcasting. The result is Maestro | Live – the most comprehensive real-time graphics and video playout solution for live events on the market. This easy to use, single operator solution will not only dramatically increase your production value, it will also reduce costs. Now that’s a slam-dunk.

Maestro | Live

Maestro | Live makes live sports production easy with an all-in-one, data-driven UHD graphics, augmented reality, and video playout solution that boosts efficiency like never before.




A Day in the Life of Post Production on a Live Reality TV Show

A day in the life of an online editor on a live show is a day of balancing. Do I take the time to do this “the right way,” or is “good enough” going to have to suffice in order to make air? It’s a day of calculating; a typical two- to four-minute package takes a certain amount of time to color, polish and prep. It’s a day of assessing: What’s the likelihood of things happening within the timeframes needed, and what do I do when those timeframes are compromised? I must have backup plans in place.

I use a variety of technology with Media Composer as the hub, including Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Mocha Pro, Baselight, Resolve, Sapphire, Boris, Neat and Magic Bullet. These are all important tools that I cannot live without. But the center of my universe has to be Media Composer. The timeframes of the projects I typically work on require the speed, collaboration and reliability that, at this point, only Media Composer delivers.

A typical day might go something like this for me:

7 a.m.: I turn on my computer. My show airs live on ABC at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. my time. I’ve got 12 packages airing in tonight’s show, and I only finished four last night because that was all that was prepared for online, due to the ever-changing demands of the producers.  All but one should be ready for me now to online (color, title, create visual effects where necessary, remove cameramen, boom microphones, etc. — online is where shows get cleaned up, polished and refined for air; it’s the last step to make things right or at least as good as they can be in the time allotted). After the executive producer signs off, I’ll send the finished files (what used to be video tape) to the truck for air.

I check my emails. Damn — two of the packages won’t be finished in offline for “a couple more hours.” One won’t be finished shooting until sometime in the “early afternoon.” Or so they say. And the truck wants all of them by 2:30 p.m. for rehearsals. That ain’t gonna happen! Let me “Reply All.”

And so it begins. Package No. 1. Pretty straightforward, nothing too fancy. Wait — the email from the sales department says I have to blur/paint out how many logos? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why don’t Sales and Legal ever talk to the field producers before they shoot? My 45-minute online just ballooned to three hours if I paint them (potentially a frame-by-frame process). Maybe I can get away with cropping or blurring instead. Yes, I’ll do that first. It won’t look quite as good, but that’ll add only 45 minutes. I’ll upgrade them if I have time later.

9:15 a.m.: Packages two, three and four are simple. Yes! The day is looking better.

11:00 a.m.: Now I get the Super Tease. Wow, that’s impressive. This offline editor is so damned creative. Hmm … I’m still missing the final graphics. Let me fire off another email. What’s up with these green screen keys? Perfectly acceptable for offline, sure, where crafting the story is more important, but now it’s time to clean them up and really sell them. Why don’t they shoot with a back light? And would it kill them to use a better codec? Anyway, this is going to take a little time (tick, tick, tick …).

2 p.m.: I’ve got all my packages “good enough for air” except for the Super Tease graphics and the still-to-be-shot interview clips for the final package. Let me get that package uprezzed even though it’s not complete so I can at least color it.  (“Uprezzing” is the term for digitizing media onto fast, expensive storage at full resolution, as opposed to the very-compressed, low-resolution files used to save space while in the creative offline editing process. The sheer volume of footage often makes it impractical to digitize or import every single piece of media in its highest-quality form, when the vast majority of it will ultimately not be used.)  But first: I have to get everything to the truck. It’s almost rehearsal time. Even if it’s temporary, they can still rehearse with it.

3:15 p.m.: Super Tease graphics just came in. Beautiful, except for one. Weird render issue. Is there time for them to fix it? What’s my solution if they don’t?

3:45 p.m.: Got it! I was able to fix the graphic. Almost perfect. No one will ever know. Sending that package now to the truck, with a whole hour to spare. I think I have time now to upgrade those blurs — wait, never mind, we need to revise a bunch of graphic loops playing in screens on the set. Those blurs will have to wait …

5 p.m.: The show is on the air. All the Avid bays are recording the live East Coast feed except mine and the offline editor who is working on that last package. Still. Thank God it’s not airing until Act 5.

5:15 p.m.: Finally, they’ve locked and uprezzed. I start doing my work on it. I’ve got maybe 30 minutes until it airs. Curve ball: Continuity is a bit off on this. No time to go back to offline. What’s my fix? I come up with three options. I like option No. 2. Not ideal, but it’ll work — or am I just cajoling myself into that mindset because the clock is ticking? No, I think it’s fine. I show the executive producer and yes, we have consensus. Option No. 2 it is.

5:42 p.m.: I send the last package, six minutes before it airs live. I can finally relax.  For now …

6:05 p.m.: There was a hiccup in the live feed to the East Coast. A graphic didn’t play properly on set. I’ve got to digitize in some of the ISOs to cut around it for the West Coast feed.

7:10 p.m.: The director comes in to see my fix for the graphic issue in Act 6. We play around with several options before settling on what I had done before he walked in. Validation is awesome.

7:30 p.m.: I feed Act 6 back to the truck so they can play it out to the West Coast when it’s time. My day, at last, is done. Can’t wait to do it again next week.

Discover Media Composer

Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.




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.




Avid NEXIS Drives Flexible, Scalable Storage for Manor Production Services

Based in London and Birmingham, Manor Production Services was born from the 2014 merger of leading production companies North One TV and Maverick Television’s post production departments. Led by Head of Post Production Piera Cuttica, its 10-strong team provides full post services to both production giants, while continuing to grow an external client base. As an existing member of Avid’s preeminent customer community and users of Avid’s industry-standard Media Composer editing software, Manor Production Services knew to turn to Avid when its storage no longer met their expanding requirements.

When storage architecture began to impact editing performance, Manor turned to Avid elite reseller, Altered Images, for a new solution. The world’s first software-defined storage platform, Avid NEXIS, was the perfect fit for their growing needs. Investing in four NEXIS | E2 storage engines, the team at Manor now benefit from a scalable, collaborative and easy-to-use platform that integrated seamlessly within its network and archive systems.

“Avid NEXIS supplies us with flexible storage that can be tailored for any given project. It provides us with a base for our workflows that we can rely upon, easily maintain and even expand if and when necessary.”

—Piera Cuttica, Head of Post Production

Virtualized storage

Manor is among numerous post production facilities enabling true storage virtualization for any real-time media application with Avid NEXIS. Its scale-out architecture enables Manor to mix and match engines in a single system, upgrade capacity and bandwidth as needed, and add redundancy when high availability is required. This flexibility is supported by bulletproof security and fail-safe disk protection that’s so crucial in today’s media landscape.

As expected, Manor has already seen benefits from combining two key products from the open, tightly integrated Avid MediaCentral. By connecting Avid NEXIS to Media Composer, Manor enjoys more speed, efficiency and collaboration throughout its workflow. Cuttica is also impressed by Avid’s integration with partners, commenting: “the ability to integrate with third-party systems developed by Avid partners allows us to move data from traditional offline storage to less costly and more expandable LTO tape – without having to compromise on production requirements.”

Channel 4/Vance Jacobs

When broadcaster Channel 4 commissioned Maverick Television’s new factual entertainment series, Escape, everyone involved knew that the project would be ambitious, and this was nothing new for Manor. The series, which follows a team of elite engineers working together to escape from crash sites, put Manor’s workflow to the test with large shoot ratios and mixed media types. But NEXIS rose to the occasion with the features needed to handle the challenges.

“Playback of multiple grouped videos and many constant audio tracks had caused performance issues on our previously owned third-party hardware, but Avid NEXIS has dealt with the requirements without showing any sign of the performance limitations,” said Cuttica.

Channel 4/Vance Jacobs

Having the choice to mix multiple media types on the timeline rather being constrained by one resolution greatly simplifies the offline/online process – giving the team the option to edit some content offline and other media at its native resolution. On top of this, integrating the Avid-partnered archive system gives Manor peace of mind. If it was to run out of near line storage, it could offload data onto LTO tape and still be able to restore its data quickly when required.

“Using Avid for Channel 4’s Escape has provided us with a user friendly, reliable and efficient core system throughout the project,” added Cuttica. The media management features of Media Composer and Avid NEXIS made it possible to organise large amounts of data created by multiple clients simply, without ever feeling like the workload was overloaded or unmanageable.”

Avid NEXIS

Invest in your future with the reliability you need today, the scalability for tomorrow, and the technology to take you beyond. Take your storage to the next level with Avid NEXIS.




Where Ideas Become Reality — Avid Maestro | Virtual Set

Virtual sets are a staple of broadcast presentation for all manner of programming, from news and sports, to children’s and magazine shows. As the technology has grown more sophisticated, however, so has the complexity and cost required to install, maintain and control it.

Most virtual sets require camera tracking which can be challenging to set up and maintain. In recent years, the trend has been toward integrating and synchronizing more and more cameras, with more points of potential failure. Tracking can also lag behind real-time camera movements, causing graphics perspectives to be out of line, potentially exposing your green-screen trickery.

At the same time, budgets remain tight and broadcasters can feel constrained having to work with existing designs while the competition shows off the bells and whistles of their flashy new studio.

But there is a way to create outstanding photo-realistic environments and interactive 3D virtual objects, and reduce the complexity and cost of virtual set operation.

Avid Maestro | Virtual Set is an all-in-one solution that tightly integrates hardware, software and camera tracking  to produce unique virtual environments that might not be physically or financially possible with a conventional set.

Captivate viewers with a single solution

Maestro | Virtual Set lets you present your stories in the most captivating ways imaginable. It provides all the tools you need to create and control fully immersive 3D virtual studio environments to enhance your storytelling. With its limitless creative possibilities, it offers an effective way to capture audience attention, present content in compelling new ways, and add visual excitement to news, sports, and entertainment productions.

 

Present content in creative ways

With tight integration between its dedicated hardware, software, and camera tracking technologies, Maestro | Virtual Set makes it easy to design unique virtual environments that might not be physically or financially possible with a conventional set. From standalone virtual studios, to interactive data-driven 3D virtual objects when paired with Maestro | AR, Maestro | Virtual Set delivers unmatched flexibility and power for any type of production environment that can all be easily controlled by a single operator.

You can also combine Maestro | Virtual Set with Maestro | TD Control to add even more visual excitement to your set. This pairing enables you to add 3D real-time graphics, video, augmented reality content, images, visual effects, and live data feeds across multiple high-resolution video displays in your virtual studio.

Get highly accurate camera tracking

In addition to working with Pattern Recognition and Opto-Mechanical tracking, Maestro | Virtual Set now comes with Avid’s new Xync 2.0 advanced infrared camera tracking system. Comprised of all-new high-resolution surveillance camera hardware and software, this new system offers a larger multi-camera tracking area, so it requires fewer surveillance cameras. With a full 360-degree range of movement, you gain free mobility within any virtual or conventional studio, enabling you to produce the most realistic virtual studio and augmented reality productions.

 

Controlled by a single operator

Controlling the system is equally simple and requires just a single operator to manage the virtual background and the on-air graphics. This is facilitated using an enhanced web browser interface, which is installed on the same HDVG real-time graphics rendering platform that renders all virtual studio content, eliminating the need for a main processing computer.

Track every move with precision

Avid’s new advanced Xync 2.0 infrared camera tracking system offers a larger multi-camera tracking area, so it requires fewer surveillance cameras. With a full 360-degree range of movement, you gain free mobility within any virtual or conventional studio, enabling you to produce the most realistic virtual studio.

If you already have a camera tracking system in place and don’t want to replace it, that’s not a problem. Maestro | Virtual Set is an open system that works with all leading  third-party tracking systems, including those from Vinten Radamec, Shotoku, Egripment, Mo-Sys, NCam, Telemetrics, BlackCam and more, enabling you to continue to leverage your existing investment using your own encoded cranes, manual/robotic pedestals, and other equipment.

Get a fully integrated workflow

This open integration also extends to support for all popular newsroom systems, including MediaCentral | Newsroom Management (formerly iNEWS), while also supporting a broad range of editing systems. Last but not least, Maestro | Virtual Set works natively with a wide range of studio automation and playout systems.

Maestro | Virtual Set naturally supports most 3D modeling tools, so you can design sets in 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, and others and bring them into Maestro | Virtual Set to create onscreen virtual studios and virtual objects.

 

Your platform to engage, and protect your ROI

With Maestro | Virtual Set, you can change the look and feel of your entire studio environment as quickly as you can imagine it, with rich textures, depth and perspective.

Less becomes more. Fewer cameras are required and the enhanced tracking system provides more flexibility of camera movement, and more accuracy, with a negligible two frames of delay for the entire system. Not only is the infrared tracking system highly accurate, its fully redundant architecture makes it incredibly reliable too.

OPEX costs are reduced too. Maestro | Virtual set can be managed and controlled by a single operator.

Maestro | Virtual Set enable studios operating even on modest budget to create eye-popping, hyper-realistic viewing experiences to keep audiences coming back for more.

Where Ideas Become Reality

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

 

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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.




The House of a Hundred Stories—Editor Gabriel Almeida Cuts Brazilian Reality Show “A Casa”

Imagine a beautiful house made for a family of four with two bathrooms, four beds, four shower towels, and four meals per day. Sounds good? Now imagine putting in this house 100 unknown people at the same time, to share this tiny space during one month without ever leaving the house? To manage the house they rely on R$ 1,000,000 (USD 320,000) and what is not spent is the final prize for the winner. That’s the TV formula that Fremantle Media produces and TV Record broadcasts during the next months for their audience in Brazil.

Gabriel Almeida and Cesar Marzolla

Since my graduation I have worked in post production and I have to admit that this part of television is the area that I love the most. I have worked on several jobs in television but reality shows are the most challenging. The deadlines and the huge amount of material needed to build the story are some of the main reasons. This project uses 11 video streams, recorded by robotic cameras in the house, plus all the mics recorded separately—resulting in 8.5TB of footage per day. Screenwriters keep an eye on the participants, and start selecting the best moments during the day. Then they share that information with assistant editors, who start to sync every clip.

Before we started this project, post production supervisor Cesar Marzolla and I agreed that we would need two basic things: an editorial environment capable of sharing the work simultaneously between multiple editing bays, and stability. Based on that, the choice was no other than Avid Media Composer.

The possibility to work in the same project at the same time from multiple workstations made the whole process easier and faster to manage. The amount of raw footage that we received from “the house” was huge and the organization of this was essential to catch all the details.

The timelines of this project was divided by periods with separate sync maps. The reason was that sometimes we needed to show only two people in a conversation but there were fifty people in the same scene, so the ability to disable the clips inside the timeline was very useful to choose the best angle.

Avid offers the tools that enable us to handle the story without glitches or other problems that can interrupt the creative process.

Discover Media Composer

Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.