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Intelligence for the media & entertainment industry




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’m going to say it… I can’t believe it’s December already. 2017 has flown by in a whirlwind of new acronyms, new standards and new looks (for both our print and digital platforms). Now, as I look back over the year, there are definitely key phrases and topics that have dominated the broadcast year. Who would have thought Fake News would still be so highly debated 12 months after the US took leave of its senses? Actually, I suppose we could have predicted it wouldn’t go away. It just proves how important impartial broadcast news is, both in the US and across Europe. Oh, and I can assure you the Russians haven’t been meddling in TVBEurope’s news this year. For me, 2017 has been a huge learning curve. Since my arrival at TVBE towers in February, I feel like I’ve absorbed so much information: interoperability, internet of things, CDN, MSO. I’ve even caught myself discussing packet loss – something I never would have been able to do ten months ago! Thank you to everyone who’s patiently given me their time as I’ve tried to find my feet.

So, what have been the key issues of 2017? Well definitely IP – and now SMPTE has approved the first 2110 standards, expect it to dominate the next 12 months as well. Piracy and security have also dominated the news; eSports is an ever-growing area of content within TV and then there’s FANGA – the rise of Facebook and Apple in the broadcast space in the last few months of the year in particular has been astonishing. And I suspect they will continue to dominate the news agenda in 2018. Keep an eye out for our upcoming digital supplement, 2017: The Year in Review, which will be available mid-December. This month, our main focus is asset management and we hear from a number of companies working with the space. George Jarrett’s article on the Rory Peck Awards is a must-read in this era of Fake News, and for a little light relief we talk to some of the team who brought the quite delightful Paddington 2 to the big screen. All that remains is for me to wish you all a very happy festive season!


EDITORIAL Editor: Jenny Priestley

Digital Director: Diane Oliver

US Sales: Eric Trabb +1 (212) 378 0400

Senior Staff Writer: James Groves

Human Resources Director: Lianne Davey

Japan and Korea Sales: Sho Harihara +81 6 4790 2222

Content Director: James McKeown

Production Executive: Warren Kelly

Contributors: George Jarrett, Neal Romanek

Managing Director: Mark Burton

Sales Manager: Peter McCarthy +44 207 354 6025

Designer: Sam Richwood

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© Copyright NewBay Media Europe Ltd 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of TVBE are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Allow eight weeks for new subscriptions and change of address delivery. Send subscription inquiries to: Subscription Dept, NewBay, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 7BR, England. ISSN 1461-4197 Printing by Pensord Press, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2YA


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Imagine Communications’ Glodina Lostanlen looks at re-thinking automation and seizing the wider benefits attained through integration

15 Feature

George Jarrett heads to the 22nd Rory Peck Awards night to celebrate heroic journalism

21 Feature Paddington is back! Jenny Priestley catches up with the film’s VFX supervisor, Glenn Pratt, to discuss creating magic on the big screen

30 Feature


Media Asset Capital, Cinegy, EditShare, Viacom and Avid analyse the changing face of media asset management

42 Production and Post

Jenny Priestley visits Trickbox TV’s Tower Bridge studios

46 Technology

TMD’s Tony Taylor talks with Neal Romanek about new ways of managing content

Supplement Tedial’s latest supplement looks at revolutioning the media landscape


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20/11/2017 12:18

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Re-thinking automation By Glodina Lostanlen, chief marketing officer, Imagine Communications


arket research company Technavio recently projected that the playout automation market will grow by 16 per cent CAGR in the years to 2020. The London-based research house sees the growth coming from mostly traditional drivers, including more channels, a reduction in operational costs, localisation and multilingual delivery. But there are more than just traditional drivers at play in shaping the next generation of automation technology. In a remarkably short space of time, the industry has accepted the concept of the software-defined infrastructure. The severing of dependencies on purposebuilt hardware is likely to be a major factor in shaping the way media operations are orchestrated in the future. Continued momentum in the transition from hardware-dependency to software running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment presents an excellent opportunity to take a completely fresh look at the underlying requirements for playout automation. Broadcasters and media delivery companies need to take advantage of new technologies to develop a holistic approach to content and its monetisation. For the past 30 years, playout automation has essentially been a point product, tied together with other point products in the traditional media chain. On one side, the automation controls content devices like servers, switchers and graphics. On the other, it collects information from scheduling, asset management and traffic. Yet each of these interfaces is a discrete exchange of information, conforming to a procedural rigidness that severly limits the agility to seize last-minute monetisation opportunities. It is still common, for example, for the day’s schedule to be transferred to the automation at a fixed time in advance, making late changes and advertising sales difficult or impossible. Content

delivery now means much more than linear channels. Consumers expect to be able to access their favourite programmes at any time on any device. Yet for many broadcasters the process is to transfer and reprocess content from the broadcast chain once it has aired. We should now demand that the content delivery window be determined by business decisions, not by limitations in the technology. Where advertising is providing the revenue, the sales house wants to be able to offer flexible, innovative campaign planning which maximises the use of the linear inventory. At the same time, it must ensure the nonlinear advertising is reflecting the interests of consumers and the time they choose to watch. With the latest in dynamically targeted advertising, it is now practical to offer commercials tailored to very tight demographics, right down to the individual. The revolution comes when all of this is considered as a single entity. At the enterprise level, this is what the business is all about: delivering content and collecting the maximised revenues for it. The way that different teams relate to the system should be determined by commercial effectiveness, not by the technology. At the same time, the asset management and playout systems are collaborating to maintain seamless output which is flexible enough to be changed right up to the moment the source is taken. Integrated business analytics provide solid management information on everything from revenues to encoder utilisation and promo placement to audience numbers. This completely fresh approach is what a softwaredefined infrastructure can deliver. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to move to a microservices-based design approach that will enable you to build a single solution which can be implemented in house, virtualised in the data centre, hosted in the cloud or your mix of all three. n


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Harnessing the public internet for live content contribution and primary distribution By Dr Marco Lohse, director, R&D IP gateways, Rohde and Schwartz subsidiary GMIT


udiences strive for the best live content available wherever, whenever and however they want it – but is this a realistic ambition or a fantasist’s dream? In today’s multi-platform OTTcentric world, the question of how to support live content contribution and primary distribution has become a massive issue. One solution is a commercial Content Distribution Network (CDN). However, the new multi-platform distribution business model has created significant growth in operating costs. Just a few years ago, broadcasters only had the costs of a single transmission to cover. Today, CDNs represent a large and growing cost centre as the number and diversity of viewing devices grows and grows. The term CDN is an umbrella term spanning different types of content delivery services: video streaming, software downloads, web and mobile content acceleration, licensed/managed CDN, transparent caching, and services to measure CDN performance, load balancing, multi-CDN switching and analytics and cloud intelligence. Content owners such as media companies and e-commerce vendors pay CDN operators to deliver their content to their end-users. In turn, a CDN pays ISPs, carriers, and network operators for hosting its servers in their data centres. For broadcasters, the whole issue of CDNs has become a major cost generator and can have a significant impact on their operating costs and therefore their profitability. The ideal solution for most broadcasters would be the ability to operate live content contribution

and primary distribution over the public internet. For many years this has been nothing more than a pipe dream, but now pioneers are developing new and radically different approaches to commercial CDNs. These concepts enable internet-based contribution to become a new way to augment – and sometimes entirely replace – existing contribution and distribution networks such as satellite and fibre. So, how does it work? The internet is an unmanaged network and suffers from packet loss. But packet loss is a problem when streaming live content. This is particularly a problem when distributing live streams across long distances – from one country to another country, or continent. When using UDP (User Datagram Protocol) for content distribution, packet loss immediately results in visual artefacts, drop-outs or even interruptions of several seconds – simply because UDP is unreliable. In contrast, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a reliable protocol. Therefore, it is used as basis for HTTP and all protocols for OTT streaming. But when using TCP, packet loss immediately results in reduced bandwidths and thereby reduced saturation of your link – simply due to the inherent design of TCP. And this becomes worse when using TCP on longdistance links. When streaming to end users’ client devices, adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) helps to overcome this problem by switching to a stream with lower bitrate. But this does not help, if you want to distribute or contribute your content using the original bitrate providing the highest quality. n


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Do additional software layers enhance or hinder security? By Ian Hamilton, CTO, Signiant


edia professionals have many options for storing, organising and accessing digital media assets. Options range from unadorned use of raw file systems to use of extensively featured media asset management systems that sit between users and storage. While there are many factors that influence the suitability of each approach for any given situation, security implications are a constant consideration. So is security enhanced or hindered by additional software layers? The “defence in depth” secure design principle advocates implementing multiple layers of protection around assets. The appropriate type and number of layers depends on the assets being protected and their associated value. The word “layer” is important because it conveys that an attacker must break through each “layer” in succession in order to successfully compromise an asset. In contrast, when there are multiple paths for accessing an asset, an attacker must only overcome the security mechanisms on one of the available paths to gain access to the asset – going through the open back door instead of the heavily fortified front door, so to speak. So does accessing media through value-add software on top of storage, rather than interfacing with storage directly, represent an additional layer of security or does it leave an open back door exposed? Accessing media through application software almost always improves the security posture assuming underlying storage access controls are appropriately configured. Least privilege security principles advocate that only the people and systems that need access to a resource should have access to a resource, so it’s key that storage access controls are configured such that directly accessing the underlying assets isn’t an exploitable attack vector for an adversary.

Because higher-level software often incorporates metadata that lower-level storage isn’t aware of, least privilege and appropriate classification of underlying assets can typically be managed more effectively. With well-designed software, this translates into a framework for controlling access that a non-technical administrator can more easily understand, eliminating the need to master obscure file or object storage access control mechanisms, and the potential for misconfiguration. Of course, file level access controls must be configured properly, but this can be managed as a somewhat independent concern by IT at system setup time and on a less frequent basis. The higher-level awareness afforded by metadata also allows administrators to audit who accessed what using a model they are familiar with. It is extremely difficult to forensically determine why an asset was accessed from raw storage logs. Also, if the system enables operations on assets without removing them from the system - like viewing a proxy or partial download of an asset in the correct format - copies of assets outside of the system can be minimised. That said, care has to be taken to deliver the right set of features to users for the task at hand. Overly featured systems can become cumbersome and confusing to use, leading to mistakes or causing people to work around the system. Providing users a fit for purpose software layer on top of raw storage almost always delivers significant security benefits. Key to achieving security benefits is that underlying storage access controls are configured properly and that the features of the software being deployed are matched with the task at hand. n


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A guide to archiving By David Schleifer, chief operating officer, Primestream


rchiving is defined as the act of placing or storing something in an archive. While this definition has not changed substantially over time, how we do it and what we store has changed dramatically as production formats and workflows have evolved. With 4K, either in the planning stages or already being implemented at many sites, we see even more change. It used to be that archiving happened at the end of the workflow, almost as an afterthought. Now we hear requests to archive 4K source material up front. This is a resolution that may not even be used in the current workflow but will be archived to preserve the ability to recreate the project in a higher resolution in the future, when 4K delivery is ubiquitous. Now, instead of being an afterthought, archiving becomes the first step in an effort to future-proof the value of content. There are a number of reasons for archiving content, whether it is to preserve a higher resolution that we are not yet using, or to make sure that we can reuse content in the future. The physical process has also changed. In the early days of archiving, we started with storing the physical media in a stable environment, this has now become the need to find a home for data that we don’t want to lose track of. In many ways, broadcasters are facing the same issues that people everywhere are facing with their increasingly digital lives. Where do we keep the bits and bytes, how do we retrieve them, how do we leverage the fact that we are storing them? All archiving projects have struggled with the location of content. Close by is convenient, but not always safe or cost-effective. Where many broadcasters chose high-rent areas for studios and production, archives were banished to locations where the cost per square foot was cheaper. Archiving to the cloud satisfies those requirements and because of the price, performance and functionality, this

has become a more popular option. We are also seeing the convergence of workflows that leverage the use of archived materials; a trend to work collaboratively using teams of international creative staff; and the availability of reliable bandwidth. As a result, the archived material is more and more a part of the day-to-day workflow. We see immediate archiving of high resolutions as the first step in many transfer processes. We are also seeing customers who are leveraging their archives as central repositories where the media is not only safeguarded for long-term preservation, but also used as a central exchange for multiple locations to collaborate around. Archiving is also being used as part of customer disaster recovery planning, where they are concerned with preserving media off-site for recovery if needed. All of these workflows are becoming a reality because of the availability of two core technologies: bandwidth which can be provisioned to almost any location worldwide; and the availability of reliable, redundant storage reachable using common interfaces like cloudbased S3 compatible object storage solutions. With the systematic move towards cloud-based solutions for production, we are seeing a blurring of the lines, and a requirement for immediacy that redefines what archiving means. Users around the world will need to work together with minimal to no delay, and make it work around a central repository of data which is sometimes archive, sometimes production, and sometimes in the process of being ingested. As the technology underneath continues to advance, the rules and actions can be modified to optimise workflows or to quickly deliver new ones. In the end, we see archives that are physically further away from production, but which can be integrated into the creative process much more quickly than ever before. n


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29/09/2017 17:16


RECOGNISING HEROISM George Jarrett reports from the 2017 Rory Peck Awards


The Fight, Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala’s news story from La Paz

The 22nd Rory Peck Awards night, with nine finalists drawn from 103 entries that came from 65 nations, was an exposé of the many types of human conflict that dog society so threateningly 24/7. A set of seven astonishingly good and bravely pursued war stories from Syria and Iraq served to amplify the significance of stories about the war of words between Donald ‘Tweet Tweet’ Trump and the American press that is threatening to undermine the First Amendment, and another story about quite dreadful treatment of handicapped people in Bolivia. With Google joining the group of principal donors, and sponsoring the news category, Facebook streaming the event live, and dozens of new faces attending, there was the feeling abroad that the Rory Peck Trust has arrived at a jump forward stage. The quality of the content added to that feeling, but director Tina Carr was as starkly candid as usual. “In 2017 we have received 375 requests for support and have only been able to provide 120 assistance grants. That tells you we do not have enough money to help all the people that need it,” she says.

The Trust cannot help people it cannot reach, nor those who are missing or being held prisoner. “We are helping more people in different areas compared to when we started. We help quite a lot of freelancers who have been forced into exile,” she says. “Living out of their countries is a big thing, and the other big one is trauma. Freelancers are subjected to a constant barrage of grief and cruelty. “They do not have the support that big organisations give. If someone from the BBC goes away and witnesses something horrible, they come back and there is a real psychological safety net for them,” she adds. “We try to teach freelancers to identify the signs of trauma before it happens, and we help them to get the counselling they require. Very often they need a short burst of very intensive therapy to help them.” The trust has launched a patrons scheme to boost its budgets, and it has 65 partners dedicated to aspects of journalism, media freedom, or human rights. The established format for the film awards involves the three categories of News, News Features, and Impact, which is sponsored by Sony. The event hosts were Lyse Doucet, chief international correspondent and presenter, BBC Worldwide News, and Katy Tur, correspondent and anchor, NBC News. Tur is one of Donald Trump’s frequent targets, and it was she who made the key point. She says: “Freelancers working alone, without the back up of a major news body, can be especially vulnerable. This was shockingly proved to us yet again only last week when the courageous investigative Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was silenced by a car bomb.” THERE ARE SO MANY WARS IN THE WORLD The first News finalist – Syria: Gasping for life in Khan Sheikhoun – was about the notorious chemical attack on 4th April that killed 92 people.


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PICTURED ABOVE: Goodbye Aleppo picked up the Sony Impact Award

Not thinking of their own safety when they saw the tell-tale smoke blanket pattern from the bombing, Fadi Al Halabi and Adham Al Hussen ran to the scene over freshly dead bodies, and produced a vital proving narrative document of what was a horrible war crime. CNN broadcast their harrowing story a month later, and it had a huge political impact including US air strikes against the forces of Bashar al Assad. The judging verdict was that Fadi and Adham let the moment breathe while both young and old were gasping for air. The third finalist was Mstyslav Chernov’s Mosul. This is brilliant storytelling and cleverly lit using burning oil wells, and was broadcast by Associated Press. Chernov was embedded with the first division of the Iraqi Special Forces, and made shooting trips in November and March, which combined slow crawl urban warfare and the horror this imposes on civilians. He says: ”I worked on almost every major story in the last couple of years and I have perhaps witnessed a small part of what is really going on in the world. When I am home my family and friends ask me to show them what I do. But they can’t really look for more than a minute. “The job of the freelancer is incredibly important because they are the ones who are going further, especially those freelancers who live in their own countries,” he adds. “There are so many wars in the world. Our job is to convince people it is not very far from what is going on.” The deserving winner of the News prize was Waad al Kateab for Inside Aleppo: The Last Hospital,

broadcast by Channel 4. Benedicte Autret, head of strategic relationships, news and publishers at Google, presented the award. The Al Quds hospital was there for thousands of civilians trapped in a diminishing enclave. The most telling judging comment was: “There was not a single shot fired. You do not hear a single bomb falling, but Waad managed to convey such raw emotion, such horror, and the sadness and claustrophobia of it all. It all takes place pretty much in a single corridor, yet conveys the vast tragedy.” In her film, the children, caked in blood and dust, do not cry. They stare while the adults sob. Waad herself says: “Our only concern was to make sure our story got told, that our death would not be a quiet one. The fact that we made it here (to London) perhaps sheds light on the untold suffering of civilians in this bad situation.” As she spoke, she warned that the Assad regime was attacking part of the Damascus countryside, and children were dying from hunger and the lack of medical care. She adds: “Shelling, air strikes, everything we had in Aleppo is happening all over again.” SNIPERS, SUICIDE BOMBERS, DRONE ATTACKS The News Feature category pitched Ali Arkady with The Torture Tapes against Olly Lambert with The President v The Press and Olivier Sarbil with Battle For Mosul. Sarbil won and was praised for his “intimate and unvarnished portrait of the slow and grinding battle for Mosul”.


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FEATURE This was brilliant TV journalism, following young soldiers taking the fight to IS, and then hunting out IS fighters hiding in the local population. “I have been covering a lot of conflict for the last decade, and have probably covered most of the wars and the human issues, but Mosul was the first time that I spent so long at the very front line of the battle,” says Sarbil. “It was not only challenging physically: you have to deal with daily combat 24/7. There were snipers, suicide bombers, and drone attacks, so it was also very difficult mentally because I did not have a fixer or translator with me.” Not speaking Arabic, Sarbil felt isolated. “To fight that isolation, being a one-man crew, was extremely challenging,” he says. It helped that he had previously been a marine paratrooper in the French army. “I know the basics, how a squad works and what the role of a sniper is, and I met the guys from that unit two weeks before the offensive. I needed to build a trust using body language, and needed to know them. “I did not over shoot. I shot for the edit, so when I thought I had enough I stopped recording. There were obvious logistic matters around needing to be

careful and saving batteries, cards and hard drives. Also, when you don’t speak the language and you are following guys like that you have to be even more aware of the space. You have to work with your other senses, and to do that you have to be disciplined and you cannot spend the entire day holding the camera and recording.” Olly Lambert’s fly-on-the-wall look at Trump versus the media is a potent story about power and accountability, an attritional battle between the truth and Trump’s version of the truth. Ali Arkady joined Iraq’s Interior Ministry Emergency Response Division in good spirits, planning to focus on the Shia and Sunni Muslims fighting together to defeat IS. Then he discovered that soldiers he regarded as heroes were torturing detainees. The judging verdict was: “It must have been very lonely trying to make that film knowing that the people you befriended are actually doing something reprehensible, and you have to somehow stay friends with them so you can keep filming.” Eventually Arcady had to vanish in the middle of the night with his wife, Apple Mac and hard drives, and for most of the project he was in deep hiding. His treasure



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PICTURED: Goodbye Aleppo was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Arabic


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FEATURE trove of stills and videos document some of the darkest moments of mankind. WE WILL DEFEAT ALL DICTATORSHIPS The Sony Impact Award brought another Aleppo story and another Iraqi IS confrontation story up against the Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala news story from La Paz, The Fight. The winner was Goodbye Aleppo, commissioned and broadcast by BBC Arabic, and shot by four Syrian journalists in their early 20s – Siraj al Deen al Omar, Mojahed Abo al Jood, Basim Ayyoubi, and Ahmad Hashisho. They produced a tribute to the homeland and streets they would be leaving, as east Aleppo fell to the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Iran-backed militias. BBC Arabic was in daily contact with the quartet while filming, but spent weeks waiting to get what proved to be “intensely emotional footage”. The Fight follows a group of wheelchair-bound handicapped people as they cross the Andes to lobby for better rights and benefits. When they got to La Paz they were welcomed by riot police, tear gas and water canons. “The most vulnerable people gave us a lesson in Bolivia and all over the world, that united we can defeat power and fight what is happening,” says Ayala. “We will defeat all dictatorships but need loyalty and support from all journalists. We need not to be in a place of competition, but in a place of unity.” ISIS and the Battle for Iraq from Patrick Wells was seen on Channel 4’s Dispatches. It is about the abuse, executions and sectarian cleansing of Sunni Muslim civilians by Shia militias. Wells was praised for “securing access to a side of war rarely seen.” Ominously one of the judges observed: “The fight against IS will not be the

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REPORTING IN FEAR WAAD AL KATEAB has very good reasons for keeping her identity hidden. When she received the Rory Peck Award for winning the news category with her stunning film Aleppo: The Last Hospital, all lighting was shut down, and the risk of anyone snapping her and her husband Hamsa with a smart phone was a petrifying fear. Bashar al Assad, the Soviet supported president of Syria, leads a parade of grim haters who would have loved to stop her flow of embarrassing content to Channel 4, and to 40 million pairs of eyes around the world. Even as she stood to acknowledge her prize, Waad was worried about the siege of Al Ghoutta city. She says: “Everything we experienced in Al Quds and Aleppo is happening again.” After the awards, she explained: “My piece was about the very last hospital in Aleppo. Al Quds and its amazing doctors and staff are still working to provide medical care for civilians. “It was the place that I lived in for four years. I just focused on what was happening there, what was happening inside the most dangerous city in the world, especially in the siege period when there was a very dire situation,

a lack of medical care, and huge numbers of civilian injuries and deaths,” she adds. “It was very hard for me because first I’m a woman, second I’m a mother and third, I was filming my own people.” Looking back to the awards, and praising the Rory Peck charity for its far reaching work, she adds: “I’m very proud of that (recognition) but on the other side I’m very sad because I get this award and I’m out of my city. As with a lot of Syrians we lost the hope, we lost the future. “Life under siege had a different meaning. In sad situations we found a strength we never knew that we had. At one point this was so certain that I felt liberated from all fear,” she adds. Shedding light on the untold suffering of civilians in situations like Aleppo is Waad’s driving spirit, but typically her thoughts were with, “the many media workers who risk their lives every day just to show the world what is happening”. Perhaps the most apt tribute to her film was this: “If I wanted to convince anyone of the horrors of war, and I had to drag them off the street, I would show them that piece.” n


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PICTURED ABOVE: ISIS and the Battle for Iraq from Patrick Wells was seen on Channel 4’s Dispatches

end of the fight in Iraq. The internal conflicts are just beginning.” Wells says: “I am always astonished at how the work of my comrade freelancers becomes better and better each year, against the worst odds. “The film was an opportunity to take a deep dive into a corner of Iraq that we felt nobody was looking at, and over the course of a year that became an obsession,” he adds. “What we found in the areas that had been retaken from ISIS over the previous year was much worse than we were expecting, but to uncover that we needed a lot of time and resources. We found evidence of sectarian cleansing, refugee camps full of Sunni civilians whose male family members had been murdered, and a network of secret prisons where thousands of innocent people had been tortured and murdered.” THE INTEGRITY OF THE STORY The Martin Adler prize went to news photographer Minzayar Oo from Myanmar, whose focus has been on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims facing ethnic cleansing in the northwest of his country. Armed with a photo commission he was on the Bangladesh side of this story when he was put behind bars. Thanks to adroit legal work by his agency clients, Oo just made it to the awards. Richard Scott, head of media solutions with Sony PS Europe, represented the event sponsor Sony. Scott, then with Panasonic, had been on the management group for the very first Rory Peck Awards at BAFTA.

“The event has become global. It has critical mass. It has a fantastically well-organised feel to it, and the Trust reaches out to freelancers all over the world,” he says. “It has blossomed beyond all our imaginations way back when it started.” Mindful of what Tina Carr had said about servicing a third of all help appeals, Scott says: “Tina was announcing the patron scheme and encouraging people to do more work for the charity beyond the charity itself. I think that will give it even more legs and more scale. What you are talking about is scale, and the ability to deliver on a much broader front. “I certainly cannot imagine what it’s like putting your life at risk to the extent that freelancers do,” he adds. “We have seen people who have been working on the front line in Syria and Iraq and have made it out again.” On the issue of news being quality content at a time when quantity and quality must be matched, Scott says: “I was talking to the producer of Goodbye Aleppo and she talked about how much diligence she has to apply to ensure that the content has been shot as real and is not ‘fake’. “So every piece of content is checked for its metadata and sometimes it will be checked for its GPS coordinates if it was shot on a smart phone,” he adds. “Most cameras now provide that data. “The integrity of the story is something that is still linked to high quality journalism. This freelance community will ensure that what we are seeing when we watch a reputable news outlet is genuine.” n


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ORCHESTRATION By Esther Mesas, chief sales officer/chief marketing officer, Tedial

PICTURED ABOVE: Tedial’s Evolution software


dvances in technology have always defined our lifestyles, both personally and professionally. Remember when trains revolutionised mass transportation, and the advent of automobiles and subsequently airplanes totally transformed travel? Or when telephones connected one place to another over actual copper wires? Well, probably not. But perhaps this will be familiar to you: Today, the internet can transport digital packets anywhere at a fraction of the previous cost, and voice communication is nearly free to consumers. The media and entertainment industry, built on radio frequency broadcasting and film for 100 years, now faces the information age, and a consistently changing landscape of content distribution and consumption. Digital and IP technology is lowering the cost of entry for companies attempting media product innovation. Social media platforms have adopted video as their core medium and have become news and entertainment outlets, displacing traditional broadcasters in our

millennials’ demographic. This is also cheapening the value of news and entertainment to the core audience, while only sport seems to command a growing audience and attracts ever-increasing revenues to our industry. Yet, in times of turmoil there is great opportunity. The digital transition brought an explosion of digital media formats as each vendor and distributor defined their specifications in an attempt to “lock in” customers. By 2005 there were over 3,700 video and camera formats in use globally. SMPTE attempted to standardise this plethora of formats and support interoperability with their Master Exchange Format, MXF – an industry adopted specification that ultimately permitted far too much variation in the media packages. Digital cinema was addressed by a team of forward-thinking leaders, who proposed and adopted the DPX specification. After years of battling interoperability difficulties, the DPP committee in Europe and a new SMPTE committee have further constrained the MXF specification and adapted to the requirements of DPX to provide our industry with


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SUPPLEMENT new, tighter and more interoperable specifications: DPP and IMF. MAXIMISING BENEFITS OF IMF IMF is the SMPTE Interoperable Master Format (IMF) methodology that has been adopted by Netflix and Sony Pictures Entertainment for their media distribution. It’s now seriously being considered by Hollywood production facilities and content distribution companies around the globe because it ensures media will work in every location. In October 2017, Tedial’s director of solutions delivered a groundbreaking SMPTE conference paper based on Tedial’s industry-leading technology that addresses the future of MAM’s in relation to IMF. It described an end-to-end IMF solution that not only ensures the interoperability of media, but maximises the benefits of IMF plants, including a reduction in storage and labour requirements. The proposed innovation in MAM technology would supply an IMF solution that ingests both IMF and non-IMF packages, support the creation of new IMF package combinations, build new IMF packages based on supplemental content and edited content, and seamlessly automate localisation and versioning distribution. Of course, to provide a truly effective and complete application, the system would need to include in-demand tools like an assembly editing device for 4K media, and support for HDR management. This design would supply a complete IMF solution with measurable benefits derived from the standard. MULTI-SITE STORAGE Today, broadcasters and content owners require an archive system that provides vertical Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) tiers. HSM is tiered storage management for local, spinning disks, LTO tape drives and off-premises systems including cloud infrastructure, and horizontal, multi-node tiers. It enables multi-site storage solutions to transform into a hybrid solution, combining the benefits of the cloud storage with the efficiency of a local storage in those sites where highresolution content production is needed. HSM software – with enhanced security and business logic to support multi-site media operations – allows global management services across multiple sites for multi-arm LTO libraries, object storage tools and cloud storage. Multi-site enterprise operations provide further insight into the innovations required to enable true enterprise MAM media logistics orchestration, as capture solutions must be adapted to standardise content reception across multiple locations. Drawing on reliable IP software systems, modern MAM systems must automatically

deploy/upgrade to seamlessly manage software updates for both the on-premises and cloud infrastructure, and implement tested, trusted disaster recovery toolsets to protect media and metadata against any contingency. However, in some cases the current IP technology is not enough to support the true demands of today’s media executive operations. A perfect example of this is state-of-the-art Business Process Management workflow engines. Currently available IT solutions are dedicated single server applications that manage thousands of transactions per day, yet are limited in expansion and dedicate too many processing cycles to manage typical media chores. Business Process Manager aimed to efficiently manage specific media industry processes for unlimited flexibility and scalability is truly what today’s media distribution companies need. As the distribution and version creation demands increase, today’s content distributor must have a workflow engine maximised for media activity and built with an integral library of workflow building blocks for fast deployment and field adjustments. Such a system should stand on the shoulders of trusted IT standards like BPMN2.0 compliance, as implementing to international standards is the most reliable option to future-proof investment.


SPORTS FAN ENGAGEMENT Sports and live event productions have become the last profitable bastion for broadcasters. MAM technology needs a unique innovation, harnessing 100 per cent compatibility with live production PAM tools, to enable live capture of multi-camera feeds with embedded PAM markers into the back-office archive. During live events, directors can browse to quickly find relevant historical media and re-ingest it into live PAM tools with the original markers. Such a design must display synchronised multiple camera feeds and support additional live metadata annotation at the studio, enhancing remote event production with trained internal staff. Tedial products and innovations have never been more relevant than today. While our platform continues to garner industry accolades, the real proof of our growing relevancy is customer acceptance and worldwide deployments that leverage Tedial technologies for greater efficiencies and increased monetisation. Modern MAM technology and media logistics orchestration are key to the media and entertainment industry’s continued profitability, and Tedial is leading the industry with technological advances and customer deployments that exceed our product claims of real benefits and measurable results. Enterprises all around the globe are working smarter, more efficiently and finding a faster path to profitability with Tedial solutions. n


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n May 2017, ITV Sport awarded Timeline Television the five-year contract to manage their sport archive. We needed a MAM solution with close integration to EVS that could manage a large archive and give access to lots of people. We selected Tedial as we think it’s a fantastic fit,” says Dan McDonnell, managing director, Timeline Television. Faced with a massive archive and a need for consolidation in a centralised MAM, ITV Sport realised that its planned move from its current premises needn’t require the upheaval involved in migrating an archive and storage. Rapidly growing and seeking a modern, flexible solution, ITV Sport sought a partner and technology for an offsite solution with easy access for its users whether they’re at their offices, on OB vehicles, or abroad. The MAM solution also needed to feature world class search tools, proven methods to find media quickly, view it and then forward it to multiple locations or users. Timeline and Tedial offered a perfect solution, with Tedial’s browser based Evolution MAM managing an archive housed in Timeline’s head office, and dedicated fibre connections to ITV Sport with secondary broadband internet connections to serve the media securely to a large number of remote ITV personnel. The Tedial solution features the company’s new Sports and Live Event module, a deep integration with EVS production asset management systems. ITV Sport retained the EVS system as the PAM to maintain existing operations that log live media clips and provide fast programme assembly workflows, and linked the EVS tools to Tedial, to provide a historical archive. Timeline determined that the new Tedial integration supported 100


per cent of the EVS media formats, markers and metadata. This novel implementation permits the IPDirector PAM to contain and manage current live media, for example, a football match is captured in the IPDirector live with EVS logging, and highlights are logged and quickly clipped with on-air tools, designed for immediate transmission on-air. Once the match ends, all the media, clips and their logging markers are transferred from the EVS to Tedial where the Evolution MAM secures and archives everything on spinning disk and LTO drives, allowing the EVS system to delete the files and manage its capacity for new event production. As Dan McDonnell explains, “Months later, if the same person scores a goal you can search the Tedial archive. It’s very quick, you can still search all the logs and other information but it’s designed to be a bigger scale and a more robust system.” The ability of the Tedial product to capture all the EVS media and markers, including multi-camera feeds, and return historical media to the EVS IPDirector for use during a live event gives ITV Sport an exciting new capability in the competitive world of live sport event productions. n


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DEMANDING THE BEST TVBEurope hears from Jerome Wauthoz, vice president, products, Tedial, as he talks live event production and product visions

Live sporting events are hugely popular and are still the most profitable programming for global broadcasters. Why is that? There are two fundamental drivers. First, there is a deep and continuing attraction of spectators to sports and live events. People are willing to pay large amounts of money for their favourite sport, which is not the case for other media segments like news, where the audience expects it for “free”, and entertainment, which they want as cheaply as possible. The second driver is technology. Our transition to digital systems now offers the possibility to directly reach fans, and add revenues on top of traditional linear TV ad revenues. How has live event production changed over the past three years? To be honest, top tier professional sport production hasn’t changed much. There are still production trucks at venues producing a main feed, and this will not change soon because there can’t be any compromise

on production quality related to the amount of money invested in rights. What has really changed is how the audience is consuming content and how rights holders have adapted their offering accordingly, via digital platforms or social networks, and through the delivery of live streaming and VoD content. Today, production teams still produce for linear TV and put even more effort into digital platforms, increasing the need for more personalised content. A powerful influence on the market has been the increased cost of sport rights, which has put pressure on rights holders to reduce costs, particularly in production. These market forces require management solutions and delivery platforms with state-of-the-art BPM engines. To bring more efficiency into content production methods, effective broadcasters have moved towards more workflow orchestration and automation to bring greater efficiency into their operations so they can reduce staff. There’s no doubt that today, these teams are producing more compelling content with less people.


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SUPPLEMENT Where do you see sports and live event production in the next three years? I see the biggest revolution coming from new digital technology. I believe big new players like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon will buy sports rights putting the pressure on traditional broadcasters. Live sport through OTT platforms and social networks will steadily increase, and could become the norm. It has started already with NFL on Twitter and Amazon Prime. ESPN has announced plans to launch a branded multi-sport video platform in 2018, and CBS plans an increase in its digital offering. Additionally, the NHL, MLB, and others are providing an OTT offering through the BamTech platform, etcetera. This will definitely change the landscape as it shifts the value chain to a “direct-to-consumer” approach. The result will be more content personalisation to increase fan engagement, and this will help the rights holders better monetise their digital offerings, shifting their traditional linear revenues from ads into revenues from digital platforms. We’ll see more productions emerging from tier two sports, regional and local events, because the technology enables such productions at a fraction of the previous cost thanks to technological improvements and remote productions. I also see more business coming from eSports. A recent YouGov report highlighted that four million people in the UK have watched eSports and this figure is likely to continue to rise, not just in the UK but worldwide. Like traditional broadcasters, these new players will have to manage content over multiple-sites and manage their archive. Tedial can provide solutions to workflow challenges with its AST and Version Factory modules. What is the key innovation that will change the landscape of live production? AI is the biggest revolution as it can be used in many different ways to benefit different stakeholders in the value chain. It helps improve the efficiency of production teams, create and distribute personalised content to fans and fosters accurate insights on content consumption to better target audiences and optimise revenues. Metadata management will also be key in sports: sport production is all about live content and metadata, which is the key to richer fan engagement and essential to support new revenues for rights holders. How will Tedial address this coming change? Tedial Evolution can and is already deployed in the cloud, has the most powerful workflow engine and the best solution to address multi-delivery processes

with Version Factory. While these elements are key to address the challenges described, we intend to complement them with tools that bring more creativity, additional automation to address content personalisation, and deeply connect our solution to social platforms. This provides user insight inside the production workflow to better inform decisions on which content triggers the highest interest for viewers. What is your product vision for this MAMWorkflow software development company? World-class MAM tools have now become common sense in the industry as they orchestrate different entities and teams, but we must extend our solution so it comes closer to the live production operations and closer to digital distribution. If we want to keep our reputation as a leader in the industry, we must go further than just a “best of breed” MAM. How important are partners for your product strategy success? Partners are definitely the key to success. Customers all have different needs and specificities in their workflows – their business requirements are always expressed differently. A MAM can only be considered if it is totally open to third-party tools and can quickly integrate new modules. We can really be proud that Tedial is very strong in that respect. The company offers powerful APIs, and the team is impressively reactive to integrate new modules. The industry still demands the best, and to provide a best-of-breed solution, you can’t develop every function yourself, otherwise your resources can only supply basic features across every tool. It’s better to focus on key modules and activities, build these focused modules well and complement your offering with key strategic partners who are specialised in other areas of the solution. You recently joined Tedial as vice president of products — what drew you to the company? After 22 years at EVS, I wanted a new challenge. Having been in contact with Tedial’s team on different projects over the years, I appreciated their professionalism, the quality of their products and solutions, and enjoyed collaborating with a dynamic, constantly innovating team who placed customer satisfaction as a high priority. I was impressed by the fact Tedial received the IABM innovation awards three years in a row. This combination of commitment and product leadership made Tedial a perfect fit for me. n


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w w w. t e d i a l . c o m


E U R O P E 路 U S A 路 M E A 路 L ATA M 路 A PA C

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Paddington is back in cinemas in one of the year’s best films. Jenny Priestley caught up with Framestore’s Glenn Pratt, the film’s VFX supervisor, to discuss creating magic on the big screen


n 2014, director Paul King took on the unenviable task of bringing one of the UK’s most beloved fictional characters to the big screen in the shape of the BAFTA-nominated Paddington. The film enjoyed both critical and box office success and unsurprisingly Studiocanal soon announced a sequel. Paddington 2 arrived in UK cinemas last month and was quickly lauded by the critics as one of the best films of year, backed up by the paying public when the film took a record breaking £8.26 million during its first weekend. Key to the film’s success was the work done by creative studio Framestore who delivered upwards of 1200 shots for the final film. Glenn Pratt, VFX supervisor on Paddington 2, spent some 18 months

working on the project and says the company was involved in the film right from the very beginning. “I was finishing one job at Framestore and then I was asked to have a meeting with the director Paul King. Before I knew it, I was out at Leavesden Studios in pre-production,” he says. “There was a bigger scope of ambition with this film compared to the first in terms of some of the set pieces and what we wanted to pull off. So there was quite a lot of planning that went into how we were going to achieve that. I started in pre-production and then went on to shoot the film and then completed it in post as well with everyone at Framestore including Andy Kind who’s the other supervisor on the job. He and I both covered various parts of the shoot as well as Pablo Grillo who was the


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PICTURED ABOVE: Paddington meets Hugh Grant’s dasterdly Phoenix Buchanan

animation director. We were all part of the job right up until the end, which was just a couple of weeks before release.” IMPORTANCE OF PREVISUALISATION The starting point for Framestore was going through the film’s script in order to identify which parts they would need to develop in previsualisation (or previs). “Initially we would get a storyboard of that sequence and then we’d develop previs in terms of helping to visualise how a complex camera move might be achieved,” explains Pratt. “There was a lot of working with the production designer Gary Williamson in making sure we were in a place where we could achieve what Paul King wanted to see. “There was a lot of planning for certain big sequences or talking through with the other heads of departments on the film as to how we were going to achieve the end result. Whilst we were doing that, previs was essentially ongoing and that would also help us get a starting point on how to achieve visual effects. One of the sequences we started quite early was the ‘popping book’ scene.” The ‘popping book’ scene, where Paddington and Aunt Lucy go inside the pages of a pop-up book of London, is one of the standout sequences of the whole

film. “That sequence was a long time in the making,” Pratt explains. “It was something that we started developing a year ago. Really it was a labour of love for everybody involved. There were many iterations, answering design questions on how we would achieve the look of certain things. We also worked very closely with a paper engineer throughout the whole process who was working with Gary Williamson.” “Myself and everyone at Framestore were all going backwards and forwards asking ‘what do we want the layout to be’ and Paul would always be involved in that process in terms of the size of Tower Bridge for example, just making sure that everything that was there belonged in that beautiful pop up world.” The sequence bares (excuse the pun) a remarkable resemblance to the BBC’s 1970s cartoon version of Paddington. Pratt says that wasn’t necessarily Framestore’s intention. “It was just by nature of it being a pop-up book, it lended itself to feeling a little like the original. So I think it maybe subconsciously arrived at the right point. I didn’t think it was ever anything specifically ‘this is what we must do’. But it definitely doffs its hat to that.” “It was wholly computer generated, but there was a practical pop up book built which was a physical reference for us to launch off from,” he continues. “We


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FEATURE had an illustrator, Joanna Pratt, working with us who designed a lot of the textures and paintings and we took those directly into the pop-up book world and used them as our basis for the hand of the artist if you like. But we wanted it to come out looking as photo real as possible. “The team would take Joanna’s illustrations and then our texture artists would work on them within our texturing software. As you would a normal CGI model, it would get textured and lit and rendered in the same way. It’s just the properties we were defining it with were that it would be looking like paper or card. Then at the end we would render that with real world lighting and then bring that to the compositing team who would put together all the various aspects or elements.” CREATING THE BEAR One of Framestore’ other primary roles on the project was to create Paddington himself. Surprisingly, as motion capture becomes more prevalent within the industry, they chose not to use the technology. “We had various avenues of performance reference,”

says Pratt. “It would always start in the case of Paddington with a performance artist called Javier Marzan who had worked on the first film. He would often be on set. And when we were rehearsing on set Paul would sometimes run the rehearsals with Javier and he’d be reading Paddington’s lines. “Certainly through the rehearsals sometimes Javier would be there so that before we did a take the actors would have an understanding of what would be happening with Paddington, because if there’s a character who’s not there it can be quite challenging for the actors,” continues Pratt. “He also worked with us on the visual effects, we would often do a recorded session with Javier and quite often Paul King himself would get involved to give us performance reference. We would also take Ben Whishaw’s voice recording, as that gave us another layer of nuance to add to the performance of the bear. The animators would also create little performance videos of themselves to further help the work. So it was more traditional animation as opposed to mo-cap. We did film Ben’s performance to help with lip-syncing and that kind of detail.”




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FEATURE HUGH BONNEVILLE DOES THE SPLITS Framestore was also involved in another key sequence, when Paddington and the Browns give chase to Hugh Grant’s character Phoenix Buchanan on a steam train. The crew employed a Typhon 6 Camera Array combining six ARRI Alexa minis from Helicopter Film Services. Pratt says the rig was incredibly helpful as they filmed footage on location, “It was six cameras that allowed us to get a 180-degree field of vision and we used that for the train sequence.” “We were able to capture a lot of the background as you see it in that sequence because a lot of the foreground elements were either a wholly CG Paddington and then something we shot earlier in March when we were in the Lake District. We shot a lot of the foreground with Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville in January when we were in principal photography at the backlot at Leavesden against green screen. The Array came in really

useful as it gave us a lot of information when we were choosing backgrounds.” The sequence also involves Hugh Bonneville’s Mr Brown completing a death (and hip) defying splits. “For the Hugh Bonneville splits scene it was quite an elaborate set up, we had to get a very flexible guy who was 20 and a stunt performer and he remained in that splits pose for about 20 minutes. So it was a split of Hugh’s body on top of the stunt performers legs,” laughs Pratt. “That was quite a fiddly shoot in terms of what we had to do. The train carriage was rigged so it could move but the other train, which was a Tornado locomotive, couldn’t move, it was in a fixed place. But the idea in the film is that both tracks are separating so we had to make it feel like both trains were moving and at the same time have Hugh Bonneville’s character doing the splits. So there was a lot of moving parts that we had to get right on the day. But it’s been great to experience the reaction of the audience. It got a really big laugh at the world premiere which was great because I’ve been looking at that shot for such a long time!” So despite all the amazing shots and sequences created by the team at Framestore, was there ever a time when they had to tell director Paul King ‘no’? “There were some things that went by the wayside, not because they were impossible to create but purely more length of edit,” says Pratt. “Generally we managed to realise a lot of what Paul wanted and in some cases I think we made suggestions that really excited him. The first time he saw the previs of when Paddington’s transforming the prison and he comes in through the kitchen and goes through the canteen on the trolley - I’d talked to him a lot about what we could do and then we showed him an initial idea of what we were thinking and he was really blown away by it. It was a very complex thing to realise. He first saw it in a very early version and I think he was a little bit ‘oh it’s not what I expected’ but I think that was purely because it was a very early work in progress. But by the time we finished that little sequence, he thought it was fantastic.” Finally, of all the shots the team created and Pratt supervised, which ones stand out? “There are so many shots we created that I love,’ he smiles. “I think one of the really sweet ones is one of the last that we delivered. It’s at the beginning of the film, when Aunt Lucy lifts Paddington’s hat up and he eats the sandwich and then burps.” Would Pratt return for the inevitable Paddington 3? “Definitely. If they ask me I’d be charmed to work on it. I still love the little bear. n


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THE SOUND OF PADDINGTON Having worked on the first Paddington film, Danny Hambrook was delighted to be asked back as production sound mixer on its sequel, as he tells Jenny Priestley


anny Hambrook has worked on some of the best-loved British films of recent years, including Pride & Prejudice, The Iron Lady and the first Paddington film. When he was asked to return as production sound mixer on Paddington 2, he jumped at the chance. The majority of his role entails recording the sounds of set, with the main focus on “getting clean dialogue.” “It is our job to make sure that unnecessary sounds (especially off camera) are kept to a minimum,” explains Hambrook. “But there are occasions when noises result from things that are essential to the shot, or that help the performance of an actor. In these instances we have to find the best solution in order to still obtain useable if not perfect sound.” With Paddington 2, there’s a scene with Hugh Grant’s character speaking to a crowd where the actor wanted an interaction with his audience. “It’s normal practice to get the crowd to mime, so their responses don’t overlap the actors. But sometimes (as on this occasion) there are ways to record the crowd and an actor giving a speech with enough separation to make both useable in post production.” Another important and often overlooked side of being a location sound mixer, is capturing sounds around

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the set from props, vehicles and the natural sound atmospheres that could be used in the final film. “On Paddington 2 we spent some time going around the steam fair that plays a major part in the film collecting the sounds of the various mechanisms and rides that made interesting noises.” Obviously a key part of any sound mixer’s role is the microphones he uses. “I own a great variety of microphones as there are so many subtle differences in use and application, whether on a boom, placed on set near an actor or worn by the actor,” says Hambrook. “Generally the mics I use are made by Scheops, Sanken, Sennheiser and DPA. In total I probably used more than 15 different types of mic. At the moment most of the mics I use seem to be from the Danish manufacturer DPA. They make by far the best sounding personal body mics and good sounding small microphones that can be hidden or planted next to props on set.” “Outside when on usually noisy exterior sets, the job of the microphone is often to exclude as much noise as possible, while still sounding good and not being buffeted by the wind (thus the furry wind covers!),” he continues. “Generally these microphones will be the shotgun microphones on a boom, such as the Scheops CMIT or the DPA4017. The directionality of these mics is what you

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PICTURED ABOVE: Danny Hambrook on set

are looking for in this situation, but in the case of the two mentioned this is achieved without loss in quality.” There are times when a boom mic won’t work on a scene due to the size of the shot or lighting and shadows. That’s when Hambrook has to get creative with his microphone placement. “With Paddington 2, we had one very funny scene where we had 15 characters all crowded around a small booth and we couldn’t get a boom in close (even though the shot wasn’t particularly wide). So we had a small bar made and hidden to enable us to hide three small DPA4018 mics. We also miced up all 15 actors with DPA personal radio mics. Then I chose between the hidden mics and the radio mics while we were shooting to deliver the best mix to the editors although all the microphones and radio mics are put down onto individual tracks alongside my mix, which can then be finessed in post production.” There were other challenges on Paddington 2, including the placement of a camera used by one of the main characters. “With Madeleine Harris who played the Judy Brown, we had to deal with the fact that she often carried a camera round her neck,” explains Hambrook. “This camera would bounce around on exactly the spot where we would normally put her body worn radio mic.

We could have asked if she would wear the camera differently, but you have to try and achieve good sound without compromising the performance, which often involves interaction with noisy props! So instead we put the microphone in her hair. I have a few specially adapted DPA microphones for this purpose.” So, how involved is Hambrook with post production? “On Paddington 2 I didn’t have any direct involvement with post production. I have done in the past with such films as Rush (and sound design on a few Nick Park animation films), but this is generally unusual with British and US production sound mixers. “It’s important to have a good understanding in what is needed in post. With Paddington 2, having contact with Glen Freemantle, the post production sound supervisor, during the shooting process, was so important.” Finally, what does Hambrook think of the finished film? “It is superb!” he enthuses. “Glen Freemantle and his team have done an excellent job in polishing up my location tracks, delivering a mix that is full of wonderful sound fx that enhance the film, the drama and the comedy. But above all it’s a great piece of beautifully crafted entertainment. This is what’s important, because whatever department we are in, it’s about being involved in making good films. n

“Outside on noisy exterior sets, the job of the microphone is often to exclude as much noise as possible, while still sounding good” DANNY HAMBROOK


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HOW ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST MEDIA DISTRIBUTORS MANAGES OVER 250,000 TITLES When one of the world’s biggest independent television and multimedia distributors moved its content catalogue in-house, they chose Blue Lucy’s Asset Manager (BLAM) for archive and operations management. By Tracie Mitchell, Blue Lucy director of product and architecture


anijay Group is the world’s largest independent content creation group for television and multimedia platforms. Banijay Rights is the group’s international distribution division and is responsible for storing, managing and distributing more than 250,000 assets in the group’s content catalogue. After recently moving storage and management of their content library in-house, Banijay Rights needed to bring the archive under secure management and streamline operations with automation and task management. “Banijay Rights sits in a different space in the market to a traditional broadcaster because, although they have a large inventory to manage, their delivery timelines are generally measured in days or weeks as opposed to newsrooms that are expected to deliver content in seconds,” explains consultant Mark Glennon, who was contracted by Banijay Rights to manage the project. “Enterprise MAMs that offer broadcast fail-safes as standard generally cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and can’t shrink below a certain size, while products like the BLAM fill a void by providing core functionality in a cost-effective solution that can scale up if they need it to.” The BLAM implementation was completed in late summer 2017 and provides a complete process workflow – from the creation of media products (placeholders) from the rights management system, to the ingest and QC of media through editing, archive management, publication of screeners and delivery. BLAM’S INTEGRATION WITH THE CONTENT RIGHTS MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE The key business system integration is the with the content rights management software, EasyTrack (ET). A BLAM workflow polls ET at a given interval to check for any new content titles added resulting from new

content deals or commissions. From these, a media structure, based on the number of series and episodes for a given title, is created in BLAM, and any metadata fields common between the systems are automatically populated. In BLAM, metadata is inherited within the hierarchy derived from ET. The BLAM tracks both physical and file based assets with the import of the latter being automated through watch-folders. When assets are imported, the media handling workflow – which includes both process automation and user task management – is triggered. The Banijay Rights team manually match media to the titles using the BLAM browser-based video players. As part of this workflow, the team also enriches the content metadata, using controlled vocabularies to drive accuracy and on-screen feedback to ensure the data is complete. This workflow includes mandatory fields which operators must complete before the workflow moves on. “The integration of the rights management system with media and operations management is one of the biggest benefits we’ve seen,” explains Glennon. “Banijay is an amalgamation of many different companies and being able to put all content into one library will make it much easier to market and sell inventory.” INTEGRATION WITH QUALITY CONTROL SOFTWARE For quality assurance, the BLAM connector for Telestream VidCheck is used to automate the QC process. A suite of QC tests is executed on all material ingested into the system and the results passed back to BLAM as time-code delineated data as well as a .pdf report. Any errors or warnings raised by VidCheck are highlighted in the BLAM Baseband player timeline. This allows operators to quickly seek within the material to identified issues and provide an ‘eyes on’ check using a baseband grading monitor.


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CLOUD STORAGE MANAGEMENT AND INTEGRATION WITH AMAZON WEB SERVICES (AWS) In terms of media management, operations are automated where possible and workflow driven. All material that enters the system is copied by the BLAM to the nearline (spinning disk) storage, and a safety copy is uploaded to one of two AWS S3 buckets. BLAM manages the spinning disk and - when a given threshold is reached - material that has not been accessed for the longest period is deleted. Naturally, as part of that automated workflow, BLAM re-checks that the safety copy is secure in AWS S3 before deletion. For all archived material, the browser-ready proxy material (created by the BLAM at the point of ingest) is always kept on-line. This allows operators to search for and view content before triggering fulfilment workflows such as full format content delivery or publishing to the Banijay media sales portal as a screener. “As a rule, the Banijay Rights team does a lot of work in the first six to nine months after material arrives and then seldom touch it again,” says Glennon.

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THE DATA MIGRATION HEADACHE In order to overcome the perennial challenge of data migration, Banijay Rights invested in an AWS Snowball transport solution. The content catalogue is vast and a straightforward upload of material, even with file acceleration, would have taken some time - too long to support the business continuity strategy. The archive was simply copied to the Snowball and transferred by AWS to an additional, temporary S3 Bucket. When the BLAM workflow runs to make the S3 safety copy of incoming media, the Bucket is queried first. If the media is matched, BLAM manages the transfer to the long-term storage Bucket rather than uploading from the onpremise disk storage. BLAM natively supports bringing disparate content stores under management in this way. “One of the reasons we chose the Blue Lucy Asset Manager was because the team were so flexible and amenable,” concludes Glennon. “They’re really open to suggestions and easy to work with to solve problems. Our experience has been very good and I’m confident we made the right choice.” n

PICTURED ABOVE: Versailles, co-produced by Banijay Studios France

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THE CHANGING FACE OF MEDIA ASSET MANAGEMENT By Jeremy Bancroft, director, Media Asset Capital


ver the 20+ years that I have been involved in MAM for broadcasters, I have witnessed many changes - changes in the technology, changes in the solutions, and changes in the customers’ requirements and expectations. This is hardly surprising. During this time, we have seen the widespread digitisation of the TV industry, with programmes being made in SD, then HD, and now UHD. File-based workflows, in their infancy 20 years ago, are now the norm. We have witnessed the birth of the smartphone and the tablet, the cloud, and even Google (the company is only 19 years old – who can imagine a life without Google now?). We have seen storage capacities balloon, with the option of on or offpremise solutions. MAM has evolved with the industry and has adapted to the changes. The early MAM systems were large and monolithic (‘death star MAM’ as my colleague Steve Sharman calls them). Indeed, some vendors still sell MAM systems of this ilk. However, we have also seen the rise of cloud hosted MAM and development platforms that allow integrators and broadcasters to tailor the solution to better meet their ‘unique’ needs. It is perhaps in the area of customisation that we have seen the greatest change. For the majority of my life in the broadcast industry,

‘It is perhaps in the area of customisation that we have seen the greatest change’

I spent much of my time trying to convince broadcasters and service providers not to develop their own software. My reasoning was that vendors were better suited to maintenance, scaling, and amortising ongoing development costs across a large customer base. Broadcasters risked losing the code or the person that wrote the code retiring or taking another job. I now find myself in the position of recommending to broadcasters that in-house software development skills are becoming vital to their dayto-day operations. Not a maintenance engineer tasked with the creation of ‘Merv-ware’ (Merv, you know who you are!), but a professional, full time and well managed development team. It is this development capability, on top of a flexible and powerful commercial platform, that is best suited to delivering MAM capabilities that meet the commercial and operational needs of today’s broadcast organisations. n


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STEP BACK TO STEP FORWARD By Lewis Kirkaldie, head of product management, Cinegy


e put MAM into software 12-13 years ago and have supported customers from DV tape workflows all the way through to the latest card-based HD and UHD/4K iterations, and will carry on that journey to HDR and beyond… with essentially the same software. The difference between software-based MAM and more traditional approaches is that, in the past, a broadcaster might drop in hardware that would meet their requirement for five years or so, then yank it out five years later. With software, all that’s required is a little bit of periodic, manageable change as software and standards progress rather than a massive upheaval every few years. However, the software approach does change the way customers, and the industry as a whole needs to engage with vendors like us. In a rip-and-replace scenario, customers become used to cyclically budgeting for and spending a stack of money every few years, which can be difficult to predict with the current rate of change. In software, you’re usually only a few months away from an update with some new features, which means there is never that massive lurch forward. Yes, it costs money to upgrade standard IT hardware, but it’s nothing like retooling a facility with proprietary MAM hardware. We don’t really mind what you choose to run our MAM software on because as long as you have the horsepower appropriate for your operation underneath, it’ll hum along for

‘With software, all that’s required is a little bit of periodic, manageable change’

as long as you need it. It’s more efficient to simply take a step back, review new and evolving requirements, and ensure that you have – or ask for – the software required to do what you want with MAM. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive. In proprietary hardware MAM systems and associated workflows, not so much. n


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REPLICATION IS THE KEY By Howard Twine, director of software strategy, Editshare


t is now pretty much common place for there to be little human intervention with the transcode, quality control and delivery of content to distribution channels. One of the key catalysts has been the definition of the delivery specification by broadcasters and content distributors. Many would say it was easy ten years ago with tape delivery, but things went wrong. The difference now is that errors can be found faster and in some cases fixed automatically as part of an automated workflow. Media Asset Management systems have had a vital part to play in the orchestration and tracking of these kinds of workflows. Not least providing the valuable metadata and provenance of a file. Knowing who did

‘There are some interesting challenges ahead with formats like IMF for content distribution’

what and when to a file can be invaluable when something goes wrong. Replication of something good for any business is the key to success. There are some interesting challenges ahead with formats like IMF for content distribution. Surely, it’s just another format like any other, right? Wrong. The multitrack, multi part nature of IMF is going to be demanding for any organisation that gets too ambitious. The key is going to be start small and simple. The level of complexity that formats like IMF create is only going to further increase the need for greater intelligence within MAM systems and more importantly those who use them. n

CALCULATING COSTS By Rod Fairweather, director of broadcast and production technology, Viacom


imply putting metadata and browse in to the cloud is not particularly hard, but is it time to put everything up there? If you consider asset management to be both management of metadata and material as well as file workflow and highresolution assets, then the transition to the cloud is a significant undertaking. Calculating costs of processing in the cloud is ferociously complex. Suppliers use different cost models, so working out total costs vary by supplier. The price of storage in the cloud will continue to change in the next few years. Not many people as yet have the dynamic storage management layer needed to optimise these changing storage economics.

For several years we have estimated growth requirements in asset management, storage and transform by looking at year on year changes. We extrapolated the demand increase and used that to justify budgeting for tin based applications. We all understand the benefits of working in the IP world, so we have a common purpose. For suppliers, rewriting large scale applications into containerised micro-services is a huge undertaking and expense. Many large operations are dependent on hundreds of workflows that have been developed and accepted into production, so broadcasters face a similar issue of rebuilding workflows. n


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STREAMLINING ASSET MANAGEMENT By Craig Dwyer, senior director, global presales and strategic solutions, Avid


s the media and entertainment landscape continues to evolve, broadcasters are working hard to make their content connect with audiences wherever and whenever they want to consume it. There’s now a wide range of broadcast and digital services that need to be targeted, as well as considerable legacy assets to manage. Asset management methodologies need to streamline operations today, whilst being flexible and adaptable for the future. Broadcasters are looking for asset management systems that empower the production teams across the media lifecycle. Asset management tools can achieve this objective at scale, giving production teams consistency, ease of discovery and flexibility to easily re-edit and reuse content. In addition to utilising asset management technologies, many broadcasters have been reorganising their editorial workflows. This improves consistency across platforms and ensures they plan, develop, deploy and measure content across the entire viewing and listening spectrum. At Avid we have responded in a couple of key areas: firstly with tools that permit ‘one asset’ views of all the content no matter where it is located; and secondly with a story ‘container’ model that creates logical connections between all the various editorial elements. One example of these tools is MediaCentral | Asset Management, which is specifically designed for demanding broadcast, news, and postproduction environments. The powerful, highly scalable, and fully customisable

‘The growth of social media has created a powerful shift to create significantly better targeted content’

asset management manages the entire lifecycle of a broadcaster, streamlining their media operations whilst enabling new revenue opportunities. The growth of social media and digital channels has created a powerful shift to create significantly more and better targeted content. Asset management systems and procedures provide a media operation function that is highly automated and efficient. When these asset management operations are combined with the emerging technologies coming from cloud tiered storage, scalable transcoding and AI metadata systems, broadcasters will be well placed to quickly mine assets and build highly differentiated offerings. n


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EURONEWS’ STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION When Euronews decided to replace its legacy broadcast infrastructure, it chose Dalet to streamline its TV and digital operations. Jenny Priestley speaks to both companies to find out more about the nine-month project


ultilingual news media service Euronews has been broadcasting since 1993, available to 428 million households in 156 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Lyon, France, the channel has bureaux in Athens, Brussels, Budapest, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Paris and Washington DC. When the company decided to replace its legacy broadcast infrastructure it turned to Dalet’s Unified News Operation solution, allowing its teams across Europe to stay connected and collaborate on a single environment. “Euronews has traditionally used a one-size-fits-all structure that allowed us to produce video at scale but made no allowances for the different demands of our audiences stretching across Europe, through the Middle East and into Asia and the US,” explains Duncan Hooper, digital editor in chief, Euronews. “We decided that it was time to give more flexibility to our journalists to adapt not only the words they were using to tell the stories but also to choose the stories that resonated best with their audiences. 
At the same time, we needed to be able to retain the ability to run the most important stories across all our channels, without having to recreate the content 12 times.” “Dalet allowed us to manage our TV and digital operations in a very streamlined fashion,” continues Hooper. “We could introduce the flexibility to run each channel separately without having to bring in a full broadcast control room for each or a production team for the digital versions. The ability to be able to operate with all of our different languages and to integrate with tools such as our in-house CMS were also inevitably crucial.”

As Arnaud Elnecave, vice president of marketing at Dalet, explains, the Dalet Unified News Operation afforded Euronews a number of core capabilities: “In short, the platform brings the best of agility, flexibility, scalability and simplicity. These core capabilities enable and drive the following typical benefits in the space of news content: n Enhanced collaboration n More visibility into operations and content performance n Better efficiency that frees up time of high value contribution resources n Better content effectiveness with a framework that puts audiences first n Last but not least, continuous adaptation with minimal friction “All our bureaux can access the same content and work in the same way and we are also starting to roll out the system to allow journalists to be able to work on TV stories from their home,” adds Hooper. “For a channel reliant on journalists from so many different countries, this can be a game-changer for us.” Obviously moving a team the size of Euronews from one solution to another took both a lot of time and plenty of planning with the switch over taking nine months from the first iteration to full roll-out. “Moving to an entire new system is always a challenge, but thanks to the work of our technical teams I think that the impact as seen by our audiences was entirely positive,” says Hooper. “Obviously there were some approaches that we needed to adapt as


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we implemented the tools in our newsroom in a record time and it was tough for our journalists to switch from something they had used for a long time to a completely new set of products. The gains we have had in terms of opening up possibilities for more creativity and flexibility in our storytelling have far outweighed the challenges we encountered in making the changes.” Another key aspect of the project was the multitude of languages spoken at Euronews’ various bureaux. “Multilanguage was a key topic indeed for this project and a large part of the differentiator of Dalet Galaxy versus other platforms,” says Elnecave. “The combination of a MAM, a BPM, an NRCS and all the content production tools in a single platform allow for very powerful models to be deployed. These models are extremely complex in the back end (processes, data models and services) in order to remove complexity and serve the most simple, efficient and collaborative UX at the front end to the editorial teams.” “The data model supports a number of business and media objects specific to news production needs, workflows are componentised and every component and its related metadata fields are leveraged to trigger automated processes, notifications, sharing and collaboration,” continues Elnecave. “Language specific components of a story package (scripts, audio tracks, caption tracks and graphic tracks) are mapped at a deep granular data model and then made available both as media and business objects for advanced processing.” Elnecave says that this allows several people to collaborate on a topic, each of them enriching a specific component and sharing these components at all times.

“Beyond the languages, the real goal was to efficiently curate and deliver a different version of a story to fit each target audience.” “We’ve had very few issues with the different languages,” adds Hooper. “Broadly we are able to produce video content in whatever languages we wish and easily share the content and adapt it to other languages. We have had challenges with some of the on-screen graphics, particularly in right to left languages and with a small number characters in non-Latin alphabets, but these have mainly been simple to fix.” 
”The most important element is the chance to react quickly in order to produce video content that is relevant to our different audiences,” he continues. “Speed is crucial and previously when we had to wait for every language version to be ready in order to publish something, we did often get left behind.” Another key aspect for Euronews is the ability for one journalist to follow through a story from creation through to publication, putting him or her in a better position to share the story on social media. “It’s about having ownership and an understanding of the story which you cannot have so easily when it has been passed through various production teams before going live,” says Hooper. “The most important aspect I have seen is that the change in tools has enabled a change in culture,” says Hooper. “Our journalists have been liberated to be able to execute their own ideas, rather than having to rely on other people to do it for them. Four months in, we’re at a very early stage, but already we can see much more originality in our output and we have many avenues to develop, particularly around live broadcasting formats.” n


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THE EVER-EVOLVING WORLD OF DIGITAL MEDIA Jeff Greenwald, formerly senior director, market development and sales, HGST, a Western Digital company, talks dramatic file growth, migrating to the cloud and modernising MAM metadata usage

rendered movies storage is measured in multipetabytes. With each video format change and new resolution jump, files sizes continue to increase dramatically. The move from SD to HD, to 4K, and now 8K video formats is causing file sizes to grow at an incredible rate. If we look at storage requirements for a movie with a typical runtime of 130 minutes, the numbers are staggering. An 8K-format version could use up to 46.5TB of storage capacity. Then, when adding the multiple transcoded formats for each movie with different screen sizes and distribution methods, the amount of content storage for a single movie can easily exceed 100TB.


edia asset managers and content professionals are under unprecedented pressure to manage growth and budgets while enhancing key asset infrastructure, data durability, and resiliency. How do motion picture, digital TV and video production studios deliver more data capacity against a slowdown in technology density improvements and sluggish IT budget growth? Twenty years ago a major animation film would require a mere 10GB of storage, for today’s digitally

USING MAM IN THE CLOUD TO MANAGE CONTENT GROWTH In addition to the growing amount of content that media and entertainment studios have to deal with, the complexity of the digital workflows handling that content is becoming impossible to manage. From ingest to playout, media content goes through multiples stages, creating various intermediate versions of the digital media that must be stored and managed. This workflow can quickly overrun the capabilities of typical local storage and cloud content storage solutions that production teams are using to try and solve the problem. To help manage this data for the television and movie industry, media asset manager software is being migrated to the cloud to organise, centralise and manage multimedia content and the correlating metadata. The advantage of making current MAM software cloud-compatible is that it allows studios to keep precious assets and raw content, close and available on a high-speed internal network while taking advantage of the cloud provider’s connection to


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PRODUCTION AND POST the internet for distributing final content. A cloudcompatible MAM can manage all of the data, metadata, workflows, and distribution in a single application, greatly simplifying ingest and post-production activities as shown in the example above. In addition to centralising multimedia content, increased metadata creation for that content puts pressure on the storage infrastructure as much as – or even more than – the actual content itself. This metadata can be automatically or manually created. For instance, today’s cameras automatically create a tremendous amount of data about the video or images they capture, such as aperture, frame rate, shutter speed, and more. Non-linear editing (NLE) software also provides a tremendous amount of automated metadata that is captured by MAM systems. Creating manual descriptive metadata also provides the opportunity to gather detailed information about what is occurring onscreen, as opposed to technical or operational metadata. This detail can include information about characters, onscreen actions, and scene breaks. For example, if you want to know which actors take part in a fast-paced car chase or who utters a poignant phrase of dialogue in a dramatic

scene, you would need to manually create the descriptive metadata. A robust MAM can capture all of this metadata, automatic and manual, and provide tools for searching and research, product development, and analytics that distributors, movie houses, cable companies, and viewers can use to enhance their viewing experience. And as a result, many top major and indie studios are now opting for scalable object storage, which is able to adapt easily as content continues to grow and ensure that the content isn’t lost in a ramshackle mess of file or storage silos. Innovative data storage and management is becoming the unlikely saviour of the media and entertainment industry, thanks to the ever-growing explosion of data putting stress on existing storage and production technology. Media professionals now need scalable object storage combined with a powerful, cloud-based MAM to meet the needs of demanding, modern digital content creation. Media organisations that are already choosing intelligent storage put themselves in the best position to adapt to the ever-innovating and datahungry media landscape. n


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AS-11: NEWFOUND PRACTICALITIES Three years ago, ITV, along with various other UK broadcasters, switched its delivery method from tapes to files. James Groves investigates to what extent the process has changed


ack in October 2014, the UK’s major public service broadcasters signed up to the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) initiative, which aimed to help producers and broadcasters maximise the potential benefits of digital production. These days, the DPP needs no introduction, but that wasn’t always the case. Back then, it was still owned by broadcasters, funded and led by ITV, BBC and Channel 4 with active participation from the likes of Sky and Channel 5. As part of that collaboration, UK broadcasters switched their default delivery method from tapes to files (i.e. AS-11). From this date, the requirement was for files to be delivered, ready for transmission, 48 hours ahead of time. Anything failing to make that deadline must be supplied on tape or, in special circumstances, via a line feed.

THE ELEVENTH HOUR A working example of this is ITV’s Tonight series, which airs every Thursday evening, and is the UK’s most popular current affairs show, attracting over three million viewers. “We’re not a news programme as such, but we are news reactive, and it’s essential that we have the ability to make changes to the programme very close to transmission,” explains Dave Woodyer, film editor, Tonight. “An evolving story like the situation in North Korea, or producing a quick turnaround programme after a major event, such as the Manchester Arena attack, are examples of this.” In both of these instances, Woodyer says, the programme was delivered just moments before it was due on the air, and, as a result, Tonight is edited in-house at ITV’s Northern headquarters on the MediaCityUK campus in Salford, taking advantage of

Avid’s Media Composer in conjunction with ITV’s ISIS storage system. “We typically do our online edit on the day before or day of transmission, and it’s then line-fed to the network from the transmission suite in the same facility,” Woodyer explains. Piers Edwards, post production technical manager at ITV North, chimes in: “Along with the technical challenges of ingesting, editing and delivering the content under very tight time constraints, the creative team need to make very quick decisions on how to structure the programme and tell the story.” While all programmes will naturally encounter challenges throughout the production process, time pressures are at the forefront of a show like Tonight, particularly if ITV is working within an hour or so of transmission. This, says Edwards, makes teamwork essential. “Luckily we have a fantastic team in Manchester who work together to ensure the creative and technical aspects of the programme are held to the highest of standards and the show always makes it to air,” he says. INCREASING FLEXIBILITY So, with those complications in mind, is there anything to miss about the old ways? “Though ITV has been delivering AS-11 file-based content since 2014, delivering Tonight in the same way has proved a challenge due to some of the inherent limitations of working with files,” explains Edwards. “More specifically, the ability to ‘drop in’ changes to a file have not always been as straight forward as in the days of tape delivery, so making last minute adjustments was not practical until fairly recently.” He continues: “We now have some in-house tools that allow us to ‘insert edit’ into AS-11 files, meaning


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PRODUCTION AND POST we can make changes to audio, video and metadata in mere seconds, giving us a huge amount of flexibility, whilst still adhering to the default delivery standard.” ROAD-TESTING NEW PROCESSES Three years on, ITV is now revising its file delivery processes, and it is now able to deliver the final AS-11 file up to six hours prior to the transmission time – with what Woodyer calls “special dispensation”. He says: “This gives us much more flexibility, allowing us to respond to any last-minute amendments and ensure the content is as up to date as possible when it airs. For situations when the delivery falls within six hours of transmission, we can either line

feed the content to transmission or transmit live from the ITV facility at MediaCity.” On Thursday 26th October, Tonight’s new workflow was road-tested for the first time. “I completed the online edit on Wednesday evening and submitted the programme for file creation and AQC overnight,” says Woodyer. “Final checks and tweaks were performed by the media management team on Thursday morning and the file was successfully delivered for transmission before the new six-hour deadline. “There’ll be times when we will still need to line-feed the show, but editing at our in-house facility allows us to use the most efficient method without compromising the editorial integrity of the programme.” n

PICTURED: Tonight attracts over three million viewers to its weekly show

PICTURED LEFT: Editor Danny Ward working on Tonight


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ON THE MONEY By Catherine Danel


ediaGo, the digital publisher, and CNN International Commercial, a division of Time Warner, announced earlier this year their plans to launch together CNNMoney Switzerland. The newly created Swiss channel decided to partner with France-based digital media systems integrator VIDELIO to guarantee the swift set-up and implementation of its newsroom and studio operations. CNNMoney Switzerland is an integral part of the international development strategy of the CNNMoney brand but is being fully developped and run by Swiss media players. With studios in Zürich and Geneva, CNNMoney Switzerland is a cross-platform content producer for linear broadcast and digital media. The new Swiss-based nationwide financial news and information web and TV station will broadcast in English and air content focusing on finance, economy, culture and lifestyle, catering to a niche market, which it says, was previously under served. It will disseminate domestic programming content, supplemented by relevant international business news, supplied by CNNMoney and CNN International. LAUNCHING A NEWS CHANNEL FROM SCRATCH IN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS For VIDELIO, the challenge of this project was two-fold: the company needed to meet the station’s launch, which allowed just six months for the entire undertaking, from concept to operation. It also had to ensure the implementation of the most suitable solutions while keeping costs within the budget. “Launching a news channel from zero is above all, a human experience,” explains Jean-Yves Carabot, CTO of CNNMoney Switzerland. He says they wanted to build a news team capable of bringing the best in news to their viewers. “Technology, building infrastructure and IT are very complex, but they are all a means to achieve our goal,” he explains. “We wanted to

construct a studio in a conventional building where the newsroom is all around; something simple and amazingly beautiful with all automated workflows so the team can focus only on editorial, and where digital and social media can be addressed with the same level of priority as live shows.” In order to successfully deliver the right technologies and meet CNNMoney in-house engineering and journalistic requirements, as well as guarantee the proper workflow to allow the station to convey its vision and image to its audience, VIDELIO worked in close collaboration with station staff. “As a systems integrator, our role is very much similar to that of an architect — we need to first understand our client’s vision and then turn it into a reality,” explains Pascal Zerates, CEO of VIDELIO. Zerates sees VIDELIO’s role as offering its clients a variety of in-house and vendor-sourced resources, and says it’s frequently necessary to “bridge the gap between the features of certain products and our clients’ requirements and expectations.” In the case of a news channel environment, it was key to swiftly integrate the different aspects of the premises to cater for the specific requirements. “The very nature of live news requires the newsroom, the gallery and the studio to be so integrated that they merge into a single platform, supporting continuous updates and interactions” says Frédéric Pitard, CTO of VIDELIO Media. “That’s challenging because each puzzle piece involves different manufacturers and technologies.” In general, the editorial vision of a newsroom dramatically influences the workflow. Journalists, editors, producers and technical teams are required to continuously interact and to this end, the technology platform must quickly facilitate the process. What’s more, adds Pitard, workflows are now open to outside contributors with interaction through social media. So, today journalists must guarantee immediacy of


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content, while rapidly double-checking that the facts are correct. “This leads to a new set of challenges regarding security and control,” Pitard says. While integration with existing CNN news operations was essential in order for CNNMoney Switzerland to be able to transmit global programming from its international sister channels, it was also mandatory to set up excellent integration between its nationwide on-air channel and its social media platforms. “The technology is sophisticated,” adds Carabot. “It supports our team and allows editorial staff to concentrate on their job.” INTEGRATED NEWSROOM, GALLERY AND STUDIO FOR ON-AIR AND SOCIAL MEDIA OPERATIONS VIDELIO took on the task of building CNNMoney Switzerland from scratch. There was no existing legacy technology or platform. After in-depth consultation with VIDELIO, the station selected a unified news operation platform based on Dalet Galaxy where the newsroom computer system, video production tools, CG creation and on-air playout operations are all integrated into a single platform. “As a systems integrator, VIDELIO acts as a partner to broadcasters. In their name, we serve as catalysts between their editorial and engineering teams on the one hand, and the vendors’ experts on the other,” says Pitard. “In a green field environment such as CNNMoney Switzerland, this collaboration is the key to ensuring the successful implementation of the editorial vision. Beyond the launch, it’s really about establishing a long-term relationship that’s based on mutual trust and expertise.”

Pitard explains that the complexity of a news channel still requires the use of multiple third-party systems such as prompters, camera automation, intercom and studio lighting and a flexible infrastructure to be able to do so. “Our tight timeline to launch a new station required that we find a partner with a strong track-record of setting up newsrooms and studios from a blank slate,” says Carabot. “Furthermore, we decided to deploy Dalet as a unified newsroom, production, playout, automation and MAM platform. VIDELIO had the expertise to help us do both.” The Dalet Galaxy platform at CNNMoney Switzerland manages newswires, story creation and rundowns, from any desktop workstation. In addition, Dalet Xtend provides a gateway into the Adobe Premiere Pro CC editors. Studio playout is ensured by Dalet Brio servers and graphics by Dalet Cube. The 200-square-metre studio is equipped with four cameras and Autoscript teleprompters, multiple NEC touch screens, a Microsoft Surface Hub interactive touch screen and a presentation desk that can host up to five people. The studio will be controlled from a production gallery leveraging a NewTek TriCaster, Grass Valley Imagestore and Ross Video Ultrix routing. “This newsroom and studio deployment is typical of modern systems integration,” says Pitard. “Beyond traditional hardware installation and configuration, workflow design and implementation along with training and coaching have become an essential part of the services that we provide. That’s where the experience that we’ve acquired working with Dalet for broadcasters such as France Télévision, Africa News or Medi1TV is essential.” n

PICTURED ABOVE: Greg Beitchmann, CNN International, and Christophe Rasche, founder and CEO, CNNMoney Switzerland


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VIEW Jenny Priestley visits Trickbox TV’s Tower Bridge studios


rickbox TV has arguably the best backdrop of any studio in London. Based at More London Riverside, right beside Tower Bridge, it’s a magnet for international broadcasters who want that iconic shot of London town. The company was founded in 2010 by Liam Laminman, who up until then, had spent seven years working at Princess Production as their studio technical manager. Trickbox moved to their current location in 2013. Now Trickbox employs a core team of five with freelancers joining as and when needed. As well as studio hire, the company also covers outside

broadcasting, equipment hire and system integration. “We have a warehouse in south Bermondsey where the hire and OB division lives, which works really well as it means that we can concentrate on the studio side of the business at the Tower Bridge TV Studio,” explains Laminman. So, how did they find such an amazing location? “The studio was originally built for Ken Livingstone when he was the mayor because he wanted a 24hour London channel. Following that, it was used by another company and we’re very happy to be third in residence. When they first took over, the studio was SD and


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PRODUCTION AND POST Trickbox upgraded it to HD and have set about continually improving the facility since. Will they continue to upgrade to 4K? “For the majority of clients 4K is not yet a priority but we are flexible and will continue to expand with them.� So, who are Trickbox’s clients? Laminman says: “They vary from traditional UK broadcasters like the BBC, particularly for special London events such as the Mayoral election. Plus, lots of foreign broadcasters. The international broadcasts that we’re involved in can be related to anything because the backdrop here simply says London. We also service a lot of corporate clients who sometimes like to use a London base.� One of Trickbox’s biggest clients is the NFL. “Every year they do their draft pick where they choose the best players at colleges. We’ve provided the studio for them every year for the last three years running. It’s all hosted in the US and they’ve got studios all around the US feeding in but we’re the only UK one. “For the NFL project we have around 66 million viewers, which is both daunting and exciting. We’ve also worked on the fan rallies in London, on Regent Street and Trafalgar Square, producing the screen coverage for those events. We provide full outside broadcast facilities and use LiveU to stream to YouTube.� In the next few months, Trickbox could be the last studio standing south of the river as ITV’s South Bank headquarters prepares for a major overhaul. “We can’t quite compete with that kind of size, but we can certainly compete with the same kind of service.� Tower Bridge TV Studios has three Sony cameras sitting on Vinten tripods with prompters from Autoscript. “We have Sony 2/3� cameras and we use them because they’re industry standard,� explains Laminman. “They’re fully rackable and create beautiful pictures. We also use them on our OBs as well.�

“We use Sennheiser radio mics in the studio and we have line mics if needed. The audio mixer is a Yamaha. Everything’s broadcast standard.� As well as the studio space, Trickbox has an event space that can be used whenever needed. “It can be easily converted into another studio and it can all be controlled from the gallery. If we have a show with an audience we can fit 40 seats in there, so we can host small game shows and small panel shows. The space also suits large corporate productions, such as pharmaceutical or financial webcasts.� Laminman points out Trickbox’s studio isn’t just about the view. “We can also provide sets in the studio,� he explains. “We can build a full set when people don’t want the view. We worked with Sky Bet on their live Cheltenham horse racing coverage, helping to build a fully branded set. When we are using the floor to ceiling view, we have removable neutral density acrylic sheets on the windows, which just takes off the edge of the daylight. And of course, the lighting in the studio is also fully dimmable.� “The gallery has connectivity to BT Tower, so we can bring feeds in and broadcast to anywhere� explains Laminman. “We have full recording and playback facilities, plus graphics playback. As soon as we finish a shoot all the media appears on our network attached storage, so we can start editing straight away, if that’s what the client requires.� So with the demise of ITV’s studio, what does the future hold for Trickbox? Does Laminman envisage branching out into another location? “A second studio is always on the cards, it’s something we are actively looking at,� he says. “The other focus is increasing the other parts of our business, the OB and Hire divisions. I don’t think we’d actively look to have another studio with quite such an amazing view. To be honest it would be difficult to find another view like this.� n

PICTURED ABOVE: Liam Laminman, managing director, Trickbox TV


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CREATING THE BARE BONES Jellyfish Pictures recently aided the BBC in the development of The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed. James Groves speaks to Abbie Tucker-Williams, head of VFX production for the VFX and animation company, to find out more


he Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed, a three-part series running throughout October, saw Chris and Xand van Tulleken uncover the latest secrets of the human body, utilising cutting-edge research, graphics and experiments on their own bodies. To complete the project, the BBC needed a VFX studio that understood how to represent the internal workings of the human body. Enter Jellyfish Pictures. “The human body wasn’t a new topic for us to tackle,” explains Abbie Tucker-Williams, head of VFX production for Jellyfish Pictures. “We’ve taken a scientific and meticulously accurate look inside the human body on similar projects including Fight for Life and Inside the Human Body, for which we’ve won awards. We won an RTS award for Fight for Life back in 2007 and in 2011 Inside The Human Body was a great critical success, leading Jellyfish’s sequences to win a Visual Effects Society award, a New York Festivals gold medal and a Royal Television Society award. Jellyfish’s work was also nominated for both a BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy.” Jellyfish began the process of making the show by studying the video footage and notes from real scientists. One of the first challenges addressed was whether to adopt a 2D or 3D approach for each shot. “Sometimes we decided that a combination of both 2D and 3D visuals was what was needed to truly tell the story,” explains Tucker-Williams. “This careful appraisal of the live action element of the show enabled us to spend nine months innovating and crafting something we believe is visually stunning but also very educational.” She continues: “We consulted with experts to ensure we delivered the most interesting and impactful visuals, which also told a compelling story. There’s a constant biological narrative taking place inside all of us, and it’s awe-inspiring to be able to look under the hood of the human body in the way that this new documentary does.”

Most of us take for granted how much work our internal organs, muscles, bones and brains are doing when we’re going about our day-to-day tasks. The documentary aimed to educate viewers on this complex secret world. “We had to illustrate processes deep within cells and tissues, many of which are still speculative science,” says Tucker-Williams. “Each of the three episodes explores how different activities affect the inside of the human body and the topics covered are: learning, growing and surviving.” The biggest challenge, she explains, was staying true to the science, even when the science was still speculative. “When you’re as creative as we are, there’s always a temptation to make something look more fancy than it necessarily should be,” Tucker-Williams says. “We were telling an educational story, so the right solution might be something simple, clean, quick and 2D rather than something complex and 3D. “By assessing every shot, we made sure that our creative work matched the educational message, or scientific underpinning, while it still looked amazing.” Jellyfish uses various VFX and animation industry software packages, such as Autodesks’ Maya, the Foundry’s Nuke and Side FX’s Houdini software, but Tucker-Williams believes talent is the “secret ingredient”. “We have some of the most talented people in the industry working at Jellyfish Pictures and we’d argue that the artist is always the factor which makes the work incredible,” she says. “Having said that, we do invest quite heavily in the technology that enables our creatives to do their outstanding work. For example, we made substantial investments into cloud rendering. This means when Jellyfish’s on premises render farm is at full capacity, we can burst on to the cloud. This ability to scale up on demand has dramatically changed how we have work, and opened up the number of projects we can accept.” n


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Each of the three episodes explores how different activities affect the inside of the human body


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CONCEPT TO CONSUMPTION Asset management is a thing of the past. The new model is the Digital Supply Chain. TMD’s Tony Taylor talks with Neal Romanek about new ways of managing content


he broadcast industry is losing its uniqueness – and that’s a good thing. Television’s past has been a long evolution of carefully crafted technologies, dedicated to delivering media over highly specialised devices. Multiple standards bodies have arisen to deal with the complex and specialised tech required to deliver that media, from the time it’s captured onset or on location to where it’s delivered to the consumer. But the digital revolution has turned broadcast content into just another stream of data packets to be sent through IP lines. Not only does this bring a tremendous amount of flexibility into broadcast workflows, it reduces the traditional broadcast workflow – and the assets inside it – into an IT management problem, not a specialised process dependent upon specialised technologies. This new “digital supply chain” allows for a new orchestration of business process to enable new and more efficient types of management throughout the entire workflow. Tony Taylor, CEO of TransMedia Dynamics (TMD), thinks supply chain management in the TV industry needs to up its game. “Digital supply chain management is a relatively new term in the broadcast and media sector, but it’s really just what most other manufacturing and logistics operations utilise,” Taylor explains. “It’s taking raw ideas and designs, turning those into a product and distributing that to a consumer. “What has accelerated the model of supply chain in our industry are the new distribution platforms – Netflix, YouTube, SVoD and other on demand services. It used to be, back when we had standard linear television, you created an hour’s worth of content and you distributed it once. You could hit ten million people with a single distribution.”

But now, Taylor points out, every one of those ten million people could theoretically be watching a different hour of content. The economies of scale required in the on demand world have increased the need for a new solution that is able to expand to meet the needs of those consumers. But how is this different from the standard workflows the industry has used for years? Haven’t broadcasters been trying to scale up and innovate to meet customer needs all along? Taylor says that the new media supply chain is a quantum leap above the previous paradigm. “We’re thinking of things in a holistic manner now that goes all the way from concept to consumption.” FROM PHYSICAL TO DIGITAL But even in the most sophisticated digital supply chain, companies still may have many important analogue elements available, and those analogue assets can be valuable resources, which the digital supply chain can unlock. “There are still many millions of hours of content out there sitting on shelves that need to be managed,” says Taylor. “A lot of the content consumers are looking for now is niche content. There are libraries of films and physical assets, which need to be put into the digital supply chain. “Some of our customers are audio and visual archives – the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia, for example. A significant portion of their content is still sitting on shelves. So although we call it the digital supply chain, it still can have an up front analogue element.” The expression “digitising assets” evokes the vision of endless worker hours spent uncrating tapes and swapping them in and out of machines until 2am - on weekends. But that’s not the worst part.

“The amount of content that some of our customers are needing to ingest and put out there would be impossible to manage in the way they used to do it” TONY TAYLOR, TMD 46 | TVBE DECEMBER 2017

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Ingest itself is a fairly mechanical process. The challenge is to log and assign metadata to all those assets once they are digitised. Fully in the digital realm, the utility and value of those assets can expand almost infinitely, but getting them there is a challenge. But Taylor notes that new technologies can simplify and accelerate the ingest process in ways that weren’t even possible a few years ago. “If you take just a piece of HD content, it will already have within the essence file itself a significant amount of metadata that will allow you to make intelligent decisions in the orchestration and the workflow without having to have human input.” REMOVING THE HUMAN ELEMENT “One of our clients, RTÉ in Ireland, had a lot of content coming in from various studios. They originally didn’t know if it was SD or HD, so someone had to sit with it and put it through some processes. But our system now can just read the metadata in the file and we know from the pixel count and the frame count whether it’s SD or HD. We can then automatically put that through a workflow process and put it through a transcoder or archive process without a human ever having to do anything with it.” The tools in automated workflows are becoming increasingly sophisticated. At IBC2017 we began to see the first glimmerings of AI driven solutions which could recognise and assign metadata based on the content appearing onscreen. “The amount of content that some of our customers are needing to ingest and put out there would be impossible to manage in the way they used to do it, which was on an Excel spreadsheet. They need some orchestration engine that automatically recognises what needs

to be done with each piece of content, based on the metadata, and where it needs to go in the digital supply chain.” STILL A UNIQUE INDUSTRY Cloud technologies are also allowing media companies to take their traditional supply chains apart and put them back together in different combinations. “For us, the flexibility and opportunities that cloud provides can be more challenging on our end, but for our clients it’s a much more agile approach to delivering their product to market. They don’t have to concern themselves purchasing a specific transcoder, for example. “Our system allows us to distribute our services anywhere in the cloud. A service could be located in Australia with the main database located in the UK. These cloud architectures now allow us much more flexibility in the services we can provide.” But has the industry become a completely IT industry, with nothing to distinguish itself from any other data intensive sector? Not quite yet, says Taylor. “There are some unique things within the broadcast and media industry. A file for a three hour movie in UHD is gigabytes of data. Moving that around has its own unique challenges - it doesn’t just automatically appear. Some of the platforms you’re using need to be specifically designed to handle those very large files. “There are other things too. No other industries have things like timecode, for example, or the different formats like NTSC versus PAL. Our workflow engine could work with lots of other industries and lots of other platforms, but there are still specifics you need to address that are unique to our industry.” n


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ALL NETWORK STORAGE IS NOT THE SAME By Jim McKenna, vice president, marketing and pre-sales engineering, Facilis Technology


ou want a good storage system that can be seen and used by all the workstations in your facility. Requirements and workflows vary, but the primary reason for this is obvious – so all your incoming file-based content lives in one place. Attach your laptop or workstation to the plug in the wall, and there it is. I’m here to tell you that it’s rarely that easy for most workflows. Before exploring the “gotchas” involved in deploying such a system, let’s first break down what exactly it is that you want.

n Good storage system – Reliable, high performance n Can be seen and used – Multi-platform compatible, application interoperable n By all the workstations – Scalable, accessible STORAGE GOODNESS Reliability is critical in storage systems, but don’t mistake reliability with availability. A server that has a few hours of downtime each year is better than a system with routine failures to access data or play a video stream. Chasing daily issues that keep people from being productive is hard on the facility. High-performance storage is easy when it’s a single workstation, but when it’s ten or 20, that performance doesn’t hold up. With network storage (NAS), administrators trying to increase performance often move the bottleneck downstream. But now your server or “NAS head” is not up to the task. But let’s assume it’s been configured well – now, the bottleneck has moved to the backbone. Building a bigger “backbone” may include going from a 1Gb to 10Gb or even 40Gb uplink. Assuming the NAS head is compatible and data is flowing properly through the 40Gb connection, you hit the next bottleneck – the switch. Or maybe it’s the protocol, the buffers, the frame size, version of TCP-IP, network file system? When you start considering the process of getting data to the desktop and how you could make that faster, the tweak points are endless. Many a NAS system has been “repurposed” to backup duty soon after being built because the latencies and inefficiencies just couldn’t be tweaked away.

COMPATIBILITY AND INTEROPERABILITY Let’s assume that you’ve made the proper tweaks and the system is producing great benchmark results on a few client workstations. Now, let’s get into the workflow. Rarely are all systems in a facility the same or even similar in construction. Graphic artists like their 10.10 OS Mac Pros, but the new colour grading system is an HP Z840 on Windows 10. The archive server is CentOS Linux, and the new iMacs are all running 10.12. Don’t forget about the Avid department on Windows 7. That’s not cross-platform, that’s multi-platform, and multi-revision. Herein lies the next problem – client-side support of your network file system. How did you build your NAS head? It’s probably not a Mac, maybe Windows, or likely Linux. Don’t know Linux? You had better learn it because it’s the best way to build an effective NAS based on standard protocols. NFS (network file system) is common in enterprise Windows and Linux organisations. Apple has some support, but many integrators prefer using a separate application to access NFS on OSX. Windows has support for NFS but ACLs and POSIX must be configured properly for the user account to get anywhere. If you decide to build the network that will be everything to everyone, and share multiple protocols to multiple workstations, good luck with that. Authentication, ownership, and permissions range from “a little different” to “wildly variable” across these protocols. Application compatibility can’t be measured by benchmarks. It’s not a matter of upload/download speeds. The content creation application was likely designed generations ago to work best on a local hard drive, and the artists you hire will want the application to work as designed. This means the target, or the source of the files the application uses must behave more like a local hard drive than a network share. In the file system protocols listed previously, TCP is the method by which data is transmitted across an IP (Ethernet) link. TCP was developed in the 1970s – the design was focused on reliability, because network wiring can be very unreliable, and data integrity is important. TCP provides a way to send data packets that can be re-tried repeatedly in the case of a network failure, to continue the stream without loss once the network connection returns. Networking speed 30 years ago was abysmal, about 1/100th the speed of the standard 1Gb/sec link.


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TECHNOLOGY Presently, we enjoy relatively screaming-fast network link speeds, but still TCP is the dominant method for transmitting data to your desktop. This is because backward compatibility is critically important. The world network is already built, and can’t be overhauled even if it means a quantum leap forward. So, any advancement in TCP rules for IP networks will be very slight and incremental. Therefore, a TCP network mounted drive will never behave like a local hard drive. The technology is available, but you must go outside TCP to get it. Optimised, non-TCP network storage can act like a local hard drive, both in performance and in appearance to the OS. Regarding application interoperability, even if a TCP network drive is compatible, it may not be interoperable. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) uses libraries to hold project metadata and files that have been imported into the project. FCPX can’t save libraries to network drives. So, you can work in FCPX on a local hard drive with some of your source files on a network drive, but that’s not interoperable. Avid Media Composer requires that storage appears as a local drive, or Avid storage. Network storage is not allowed in collaborative (shared) environments. Optimised, non-TCP network storage can hold FCPX libraries and emulate Avid storage for full interoperability. SCALABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY You don’t know how big you’ll get, but when should you prepare to take on the bigger jobs – when the big job is about to start? Over-engineering is a slippery slope as well, especially if the big job takes a while to come around. Start with a logical investment, but be sure that the system has the capability to handle your best-case growth pattern. Successful scaling of capacity and client count relies upon the architecture. Your

encoding and backup automations are set to use a certain path. Ensure that when you add capacity, it can be used immediately on current jobs without adding a second path. Adding capacity should always increase bandwidth, and you should have the ability to utilise old and new drives in the same volume to increase speed. Avoid systems that force you to buy per-seat licenses and have limits on the number of users. Look for systems that offer multiple methods of connectivity. A flexible storage network can accommodate high-end finishing and low-bitrate editorial on the same storage. Many NAS systems require directory services (Active Directory, LDAP), which must be configured, often on a separate server, for the NAS to provide access. This is a service that you may choose to deploy for your own management purposes, but you should not be forced to deploy these just to provide user access and permissions. Corporate LAN policies and practices can sometimes be at odds with dedicated video networks. Look for a system that provides its own user database and can be fully functional without attaching to the corporate network. The resiliency of the network connections has a direct effect on the reliability of the system. Switches, adapters and transceivers are all failure points in the network. Look for solutions that have connectivity failover, to provide another path to the storage in case of an issue with the primary. Traditional SAN requires multiple network paths, adding complexity and points of failure. Look for systems that only require one primary connection per workstation. When you decide on a turnkey shared storage network, demand that the architecture is supportable for at least five years. Planned obsolescence and quickly-moving product architecture will leave your workstations frozen in time. n

PICTURED ABOVE: JIm McKenna, Facilis Technology


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A consumer focus Ampere Analysis’ UK Consumer Focus report investigates subscription service take-up, subscriber trends and market penetration

“Fears of cord-cutting have been largely exaggerated: pay-TV services takeup appears stable overall, but subscription OTT services convert former ‘non subscribers’ or complement existing pay-TV packages”


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Discover the latest products and solutions at ISE 2018 Connecting markets and people

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TVBE December 2017  
TVBE December 2017