File based workfIows
Pebble Beach Systems has reacted to today's needs to manage file based workflows with the development of its Anchor Media Manager. Offered as an optional component of Neptune, Anchor provides the necessary mechanisms to construct an end-to-end workflow to manage content through its various stages, from initial ingest to being ready for transmission.
Channel Four, Finland
Channel Four Finland (Nelonen) selected Pebble Beach Systems to provide a state of the art archive and media management system for their central headquarters in Helsinki. Channel Four is a non-commercial broadcaster and transmits two channels. They subcontract their main playout services to a third party, but manage their own ingest and production.
Pebble Beach Systems' Neptune enables Channel Four to digitise their assets and to store them in a centralised library. The material is ingested from video tape, catalogued and placed in to a data tape library system. Thereafter Channel Four have fast and easy access to their media assets should they be needed for playout or for trailer production. Once ingested, the media is checked for quality and archived locally. It is then delivered electronically across Helsinki to a remote site from where it is played to air at a later date. The media is moved well ahead of playout and it is copied automatically to a second archive library for backup purposes. This ensures that the same content exists in two places and can be accessed at either site in the event of a major failure at either one of the sites. Media is later retrieved from the remote library to the playout video servers in time for playout using information provided by the Channel Four traffic system.
As part of the ingest process, low-resolution proxies are generated using Pebble Beach Systems' automatic media transcode tools, which produce Windows Media 9 files at around 1 Mbit/sec from the high resolution video material. This media is used as a confidence check, as well as for rough cut editing and identifying key frames and segments. Pebble Beach Systems Razorfish editors are used as an aid to trailer production and integrate closely with Channel Four's Apple Final Cut Pro editors.
The Pebble Beach Systems Media logger is used for identifying important clip information, such as where commercials can be played and where end credits begin. This important information is stored in the Pebble Beach Systems SQL server database and is available to be read by Channel Four's traffic system.
A Pebble Beach system was installed by CNBC Africa to control the playout of two channels and to manage a file based workflow that supports local production covering regional affairs. As well as playout, the system performs traditional ingest from VTRs and live feeds, automatically scheduled through a record list. The system also uses Anchor Media Manager to control a StorageTek robotic archive library. A set of Media Movers automatically retrieve from the StorageTek archive any media missing from the server's internal storage that is needed for playout.
Pebble Beach Systems automates the multichannel playout systems that are managed by Jordan Media City for ART and Arabsat in Jordan. The system controls around 30 channels at ART ranging from film and general entertainment to sports channels with fast dynamic requirements. A second system controls around 32 channels for Arabsat.
At ART, the Neptune system comprises four main controllers and four backup controllers on a Local Area Network. There are six transmission clients, two ingest clients, main and backup database servers, browse servers, archive servers and network interface controllers. The equipment controlled includes three Sony Flexicarts, two VTRs, a Leitch server system, a Leitch integrator router, Screen subtitlers, Leitch logomotion logo inserters, a Sony Petasite archive library with eight S-AIT drives and IPV SpectreView browse encoders.
Using the Sony Flexicarts, material is cached automatically to the Leitch server and also to the low resolution shadow browser. After quality checking, the high resolution media is then transferred to data tapes in the Petasite archive library. Material scheduled for playout by ART's Harris traffic system is retrieved automatically from the Petasite archive and copied to the Leitch server prior to transmission time. Old material no longer required is deleted automatically. During playout the logo inserters are controlled for channel branding, together with the subtitlers.
Significant enhancements were made to the Neptune database to track media and to include textual descriptions in Arabic.
The system at Arabsat is similar to the system at ART, but uses an Omneon server for ingest and playout.