File Based Workflow for Broadcast

Most presentations I’ve seen on file based workflows for news production usually begin by citing the challenges facing broadcasters.   There is a lot of competition among manufacturers producing hardware and software to accomplish file based workflows.

A true file based workflow includes many non-compatible video formats today.  Only in the last decade have cameras recording video as a file came to market.  Include need for high definition and requirement for file based video production almost blows out of proportion.

There is need to fulfill consumer demand for video when they want it where they want it.  Distribution points for video require varying formats. 

With tape each duplicate of the master loses quality but with a file the zeros and ones rarely change. 

The transition to digital broadcasting is done and the move to high definition broadcasts is in high gear.  WRAL TV in Raleigh, North Carolina takes claim as the first television news operation in the United States to go completely high definition and file based.  Pete Sockett awarded the contract for their bleeding edge project to BitCentral

Beyond manufacturers and stations involved consider WRAL’s requirements to capture HD and move a file through their system for multiple platform distribution.  I take the following points straight from the five page document Sockett wrote with BitCentral.

–Maintain full 1080i HDTV resolution without artifacts
–Maintain an open architecture that allows easy re-purposing of content
–Provide full integration with 24 hour cable news  channel
–Provide newsroom software integration module that utilizes a single point of interaction for producers, writers, directors
–Provide online archives capable of saving all WRAL news footage and be retrieved at a moment’s notice for utilization by the news staff
–All media must be located on common storage so it
is available to all users on the network at all times
from raw video to archives.
–Editing save times must be no longer than 1.5
times real time with full resolution 1080i HD
–Edit stations must be format agnostic and
accommodate HD and SD resolutions of MPEG-2,
MPEG-4, Windows Media 9, FCP and AVI all on
the same timeline without rendering
–Ability to ingest simultaneously from 4 DVC Pro HD decks at 100 Mbps to common storage

–Ability for up to 8 Edit stations to operate without slowing down at peak times with all content accessed from common storage

Ten points to keep in mind as Broadcast Newsroom Computing continues to review points in a file based video production workflow.  Next week XDCAM from Sony.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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