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Faster yet cheaper MAMs: today's technologies are providing broadcasters with media asset management (MAM) systems that are faster yet more cost-effective ...

A number of media asset management (MAM) solution providers have created new MAM offerings for broadcasters and production houses in recent times.

New Zealand-based content producer, South Pacific Pictures (SPP), is one such production facility which has installed EditShare's end-to-end production infrastructure to enable a "faster and more cost-effective workflow".

EditShare's production asset management solution, Flow, now offers comprehensive media management capabilities for tracking assets across the production chain. Edit-Share says advanced features such as Edit-While-Capture and Bandwidth-Controlled File-based Ingest add a level of control over productions that set Flow "apart from its peers".

Rapid production tools, such as Flow Templates, Projects and Bins enable users to begin the pre-editing process during ingest.

In addition, patent-pending Edit-Share Universal File technology gives users the space-efficiency and convenience of single-format editing without sacrificing metadata tracking across the workflow.

Other new Flow features include support for AVC-Intra (SDI and file ingest), support for ProRes in Flow Scan, full metadata support for NLEs comprising clip, sequence and marker metadata, and restoration of content offline clips directly from a sequence.

At SPP, EditShare's end-to-end production infrastructure has been implemented for the production of New Zealand's most popular soap opera, Shortland Street. The full-service production facility has a team of more than 150 actors, directors, camera operators, sound mixers, video editors, assistants, loggers and other professionals who churns out 250 episodes of Shortland Street each year.

With the new EditShare systems in place, SPP now has a completely file-based, tapeless workflow with centralised storage and content readily available to any department at any point in the production chain. Chris Bailey, managing director of SPP, sees the EditShare workflow as a major benefit to the company's operation.

"Of course, HD has improved our production values, but so has our EditShare," he declares. "Flow Browse is a great tool with all departments being able to reference shots instantly, which leads to better decisions being made. Footage and information are available to the edit suites faster. We can now finish in-house and grade more extensively, which all helps our look on-screen."


With the new workflow, Shortland Street is shot in the studio with three Sony HDC 1500 cameras that are ingested through an EditShare Geevs broadcast server. During recording, video and audio are stored directly on an EditShare XStream server in full resolution and simultaneously on an EditShare Flow server in proxy resolution. Both sets of media are immediately available to anyone who needs to view or edit it.

In the series' previous workflow, it would take up to a week for footage from a scene to be available for editing. Location footage, recorded on P2 with the DVCProHD 100 codec, is transferred to the XStream and scanned into Flow, where proxy files and database entries are generated. Bailey says the new tapeless end-to-end workflow is a major boon to the soap opera, which just made the transition from SD to HD this season.

Another MAM solutions provider, Canada-based Masstech, recently won a US patent for its dynamic Distributed Redundant Adaptive Cluster (DRAC) in-house-developed technology. This innovation enables multiple broadcast applications to operate on two or more servers to achieve robust redundancy for mission-critical systems in broadcast environments.

Masstech explains that its invention takes a unique approach to distributing heavy data loads as well as balancing out the risks of potential failure. It uses multiple servers to provide failover capability and distribute activities along communication channels for efficiently storing, managing and transferring data load in an archive. Multiple servers can operate in a redundant system failover mode, thus ensuring smooth continuous operation without human intervention.

The two communication channels consist of one low-cost communication channel, and another that is capable of higher data rate (but at a higher cost) communication. DRAC efficiently separates the high-band-width data traffic from the lower-bandwidth traffic and also introduces much desired failover redundancy into the broadcast system.

Hence, Masstech says broadcasters can optimise resources more effectively and have the flexibility of the DRAC system scaling to the size, scale and bandwidth requirements of any facility.


The DRAC technology is available in Masstech's Topaz v7.5 streamlined asset management system. The company also reveals that it has assembled and installed numerous systems incorporating the patented DRAC technology in broadcast facilities such as TVO (Canada), ESPN (USA), HBO-LA (USA), ABC-NY (USA), Entertainment Tonight (USA), Disney-LA (USA), Encompass (USA), Foxtel (Australia), WIN TV (Australia), TV3 (New Zealand), ABS-CBN and TV5 (both in the Philippines).

Aside from DRAC, Masstech also has a new project in the Asia-Pacific region. The Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) in India has awarded Masstech a contract to automate ingest for digital preservation, linear tape-open (LTO) archiving, MAM and broadcast playout of four channels to widen the reach of the consortium's educational programmes.

The New Delhi-based CEC is a government body that creates and distributes educational content for broadcasting on its 24-hour higher education channel, known as Vyas. Set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the consortium uses electronic media for the development of higher education in the country by producing recorded educational seminars or live content.

Says Brad Redwood, Masstech's vice-president of International & Marketing: "Our latest contract win with the CEC is a significant event--making this one of our largest projects in India. This is a reinforcement of our commitment to the Indian market. The CEC has chosen to partner with Masstech, acknowledging our value as the affordable MAM solution that provides true end-to-end file-based workflow."

The comprehensive broadcast solution integrates Masstech's Topaz v7.5.1 for streamlined MAM, as well as companion products XT-Ingest, XT-Edit and Sapphire v2.0 for SD/HD playout and automation using Masstech's own PUB-2000 decoder boards, integrated Pulsar MXL (File based QC), IBM Nearline cache and a Spectra T120 LTO5 library.

Topaz is tightly integrated with the Sapphire playout servers for automatic playlist control of the CEC's programming. The built-in Topaz hierarchical storage management connects to the Spectra T120 LTO5 tape archive and manages material handling with the CEC's existing video servers for seamless workflows.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. With the latest MAM systems acquiring more sophisticated features, expect more facilities to adopt these new solutions that promise faster results, at less cost.
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Publication:APB Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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