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Major sporting events, such as football’s World Cup, European Championship and Confederations Cup, place high demands on the hosts, media production teams and broadcasting technology. The eyes of the world are watching, investments are huge and licensing fees are high – sending expectations soaring. Against this background, the ability to deliver high-quality coverage of the latest action is absolutely crucial. And the only way forward is to implement flawless, seamless workflows.
Cologne-based service provider MoovIT has been actively involved in every European Championship and World Cup since 2012. At each event, its responsibilities have included implementing the necessary infrastructure, developing software and optimising workflows. As part of this task, MoovIT installed as many as 60 editing desks, enabling approximately 100 specialists to cut selected match highlights in near real-time and prepare them for media use.
In addition, at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, MoovIT’s technicians installed WLAN-equipped ‘injection points’ at every tournament venue. Camera teams were able to use these injection points to transfer content to the central EVS system at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC).
At major events of this kind, host broadcasters aim to deliver highlights packages to licensees as rapidly as possible. These clips need to include all the major talking points from the entire game. Moreover, accompanying content and new broadcast channels are growing in importance. These include, for example, behind-thescenes information, match facts and statistics, social media, YouTube and VR productions. All content prepared by the responsible teams needs to be edited, administered, quality-checked, rights-managed and automatically distributed for various formats – all via a single technical platform. This represents an enormous logistical and structural challenge – and for those responsible, there is absolutely no margin for error.
For the World Cup in Russia, as in previous years, the central element of the set-up was the EVS server and storage system, while Adobe Premiere Pro CC was used for editing tasks. MoovIT’s software solutions were deployed for all workflow management and administrative tasks. All content was produced in 1080p50, providing editing teams with high-quality input material prior to conversion into target formats.
Since the 2012 European Championship, MoovIT has developed Helmut FX, a software solution for Adobe Premiere Pro that has now become an established industry standard – not just in sports broadcasting. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, MoovIT’s new Helmut IO tool was also deployed alongside Helmut FX with EditShare EFS-450 and Flow as is Tektronix Aurora integration.
Helmut IO is not tied specifically to Premiere Pro, and dovetails seamlessly with Adobe Media Encoder. It is capable of managing and optimising ingest and outgest processes, transcoding content, administering metadata and moving assets to various locations. During matches, it supported the distribution of content right across the globe. At the World Cup in Russia, 4.498 clips – representing 19.2 terabytes or 100 hours of produced content – were processed using Helmut IO.
All users, teams, projects, processes and rights can be individually defined and specifically tailored in advance in the Helmut system, in line with the corresponding workflows. All assignments can be managed flexibly and from a central location, and it is also possible to define all necessary elements for file processing, such as templates, presets, metadata and MAM integration.
MoovIT’s workflow experts had to overcome further challenges to allow execution of new technical ideas put forward by the event organiser, such as the integration of new media channels (social media) into broadcast coverage. It was also necessary to stay on top of increasingly complex rights management processes. Thanks to close collaboration between all partners, new solutions were developed that proved successful under ‘real-world’ conditions.
These included new functions for file processing in the Adobe software being deployed, such as the implementation of a ‘make still’ button for fast-paced social media workflows in Premiere Pro CC. This allowed users to open live images in Photoshop and prepare them for use in campaigns on social platforms such as Instagram.
To support the team responsible for facts and statistics, a motion graphic template was created that supported the direct exchange of data between Premiere Pro CC and After Effects. As a result, adaptable elements in animations could be defined in After Effects and immediately prepared for broadcast in Premiere. Numbers, colours, graphical elements such as flags, and statistical information on individual players – goals scored, distances covered and numbers of touches, for example – could be edited and broadcasted more quickly within animations.
In addition, an automated licensing rights check for audio tracks was created, which simplified rights management processes for audio tracks used in broadcast coverage. Here, too, MoovIT was actively involved in re-shaping the workflow.
Without optimised workflows, it would not have been possible to deliver highlights clips within the short timeframes desired by the host broadcasters at the World Cup and European Championship. The World Cups in Brazil and Russia showed that by combining Adobe Premiere Pro CC and MoovIT solutions, major sporting events can be a real success – both on and off the pitch.
What’s more, the solution streamlined workflows and reduced storage requirements. The products developed as a result of these projects – such as Helmut FX and Helmut IO – have since set new standards in other areas of broadcast production.
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Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) is the public broadcasting station for the German federal states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, and is a member of Germany’s public television network consortium ARD. MDR – which broadcasts to a regional audience of some nine million people – off era comprehensive television programming and manages eight radio stations. In addition, the broadcaster arranges concerts with its own symphony orchestra and radio choir, and is the only member of ARD to have its own children’s choir.
Additionally, MDR is responsible for a number of successful contributions to the ‘Das Erste’ television channel, and exercises overall control of the children’s TV channel run jointly by ARD and the second German public TV network, ZDF. MDR’s TV broadcasting centre is headquartered in Leipzig, while its radio broadcasting centre – located in Halle – is home to fi ve major radio channels: MDR INFO, MDR FIGARO, MDR JUMP, MDR KLASSIK and MDR SPUTNIK. Regional radio and TV news programmes MDR SACHSENSPIEL, MDR SACHSEN-ANHALT HEUTE and MDR THÜRINGEN JOURNAL are produced at broadcasting centres in each of MDR’s three federal states, in the cities of Dresden (Saxony), Erfurt (Thuringia) and Magdeburg (Saxony-Anhalt).
To ensure long-term success, regional broadcasters must quickly react to breaking news stories while embracing the fast-growing trends of online and social media. Workflows and methods are constantly evolving, placing employees under increasing pressure. To address these challenges, MDR has launched an ambitious, trailblazing project that will also have implications for the ARD network as a whole.
MDR targets the launch of a new editing system that will enable editorial teams at all of their studios to quickly and easily create high-quality content for MDR’s broadcasts and online communications in the medium term. The system is planned to create a workflow where editors can access existing video management and database systems and utilise existing office infrastructure, without compromising on HD broadcast quality.
The solution – MDR, Adobe and MoovIT
MDR piloted the solution at 15 editing workplaces – 11 in Leipzig, one in Halle and one in each of the three regional broadcasting centres. The goal was to create an efficient, fully integrated production environment for editorial journalists working on all types of program formats.
The Adobe Anywhere platform forms the foundation of the new system, on top of which Adobe Premiere Pro is used for editing. Thereby the solution complements already existing conventional post-production processes.
The editing workstations are directly connected to MDR’s existing Arvato content management/video production management system (VPMS). Editors can use MoovIT’s Adobe Premiere Pro add-on to access broadcast-ready high-resolution video files and incorporate them into their content creation.
In the future, MDR will be able to leverage Adobe Anywhere to connect editing suites at all of it’s external production sites to the system using typical office infrastructure.
This technology will lead to significant cost savings compared to conventional broadcasting infrastructures – both in terms of upfront investment and ongoing operational costs. These benefits will become even more significant as MDR eventually integrates more editing suites and more distant studios and offices into the system.
MoovIT, a Cologne-based video/ IT solutions specialist and Adobe technology partner, has assisted MDR and Adobe with hardware and software planning at every stage – from initial concept to implementation. It took just six months to put this ambitious project into action. Once the solution had successfully been installed, MoovIT’s team of experts made technical adjustments, developed and tailored software to fit MDR’s specific workflows, and put everything in place to ensure the targeted ease of use.
A particular highlight is the way the system simplifies the tasks that editorial journalists face. The user interface only reveals relevant editing functions – with all system connection details, data and workflow management processes running discreetly in the background. This is especially beneficial given that most of the 80 – 90 users have no prior video editing experience, and only receive training on the job.
The successful pilot of this new approach has paved the way for a higher productivity at MDR, but also has clear relevance for other public broadcasters. The solution is currently being tested at the Leipzig broadcasting centre, and MDR intends to roll the editing system out at its other locations, too. Moreover, the Anywhere platform opens up options for Internet-based editing workflows independent of the locations of individual production sites.
MDR’s experts believe the new editing system will deliver a host of key benefits:
- The solution will increase the speed and flexibility of the entire production process. Online content creators will particularly benefit from the increase in production capabilities.
- The solution will support decentralised workflows that remain fully integrated – and creates options for Internet-based editing workflows.
- Adobe Anywhere only requires typical office/ IT infrastructure to run, rather than expensive broadcasting/IT infrastructure. This leads to substantial cost savings – without compromising on picture quality.
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i&u TV was founded in 1990 by German television host Günther Jauch. The company produces a number of popular German television shows, such as stern TV, Günther Jauch Polittalk, Die Ultimative Chartshow, Die 2 – Gottschalk und Jauch gegen alle, Klein gegen Groß, Zeig mir die Welt, 5 gegen Jauch, and Menschen, Bilder, Emotionen.
i&u TV has been very successful – as can be seen from its record of exceptional TV ratings, its award-winning shows, and its workforce of 140 employees. These achievements owe a great deal to the company’s ongoing production processes, but also to its enormous, ever-expanding content archive.
i&u TV recognised the importance of safeguarding its wealth of archived content for future use. The archive encompassed a wide range of formats, including discs and tapes, which were to be kept in pristine condition. Moreover, as this repository continued to expand, the company was compelled to save space and cut the electricity costs associated with climate control systems. At the same time, there was a need to increase process effi ciency; producers required fast, decentralised access to archived content, within the scope of ongoing production operations.
The company wished to digitise around 15,000 cassettes and some 8,000 hours of broadcast material, without resorting to copying, as this leads to a loss of quality. The goal of this ambitious project was to make i&u TV truly fi t for the future – and MoovIT came up with the perfect answer.
i&u TV’s archiving specialists have saved content from multiple disk and tape formats to a FileMaker database – including the corresponding ID, plus metadata such as text-based information.
The MoovIT InYourPlace (IYP) solution described below addresses all aspects of the archiving team’s work – including fully automated content digitisation/archiving, and simplified search processes.
Two EditShare Geevs servers enable ingest of up to six sources (two times three) simultaneously. The system is controlled using MoovIT’s InYourPlace ingest tool. The solution assigns an ID and timecode to each item of content. The files are migrated in high resolution from the IYP server to a StrongBox, where for reasons of redundancy, two LTO tapes – each with a capacity of 2.5 terabytes (approx. 100 hours of video content) – are produced simultaneously and automatically. The main tape remains inside the system, while the second copy is ejected through a slot and retained as an external backup.
While this is taking place, MoovIT’s IYP server generates proxy files that can be previewed by users searching for content.
MoovIT has developed a workflow to fit the specific needs of i&u TV. Editors quickly find the content they require, and can use this material in a variety of ways. Moreover, the solution addresses the imperatives of archiving teams – creating a process that speeds up searches and takes licensing restrictions into account.
If an editor wishes to use the IYP tool to obtain material on a particular topic, the first step is to contact the archiving department. The archiving specialists use the FileMaker database to search for the desired content and locate the corresponding proxy files on the IYP server. They then email a link to the editor, allowing him or her to access the preview files. The editor can delete any unwanted content and add their selected file(s) to a basket. The editorial or cutting teams then receive the full, high-resolution file via Synology NAS (Network Attached Storage) for further processing.
MoovIT’s InYourPlace solution forges a powerful digital link between the editing and archiving teams. As a result, i&u TV’s workflow is far cheaper and faster – leading to significant efficiency gains.
MoovIT partnered i&u TV at every stage of the project, from initial idea to implementation. Where possible, MoovIT sought to retain the existing infrastructure, adding additional components where necessary. The entire archiving process was reengineered to incorporate the InYourPlace solution. MoovIT specialists installed the hardware and software, and also provided training and support to users at i&u TV – ensuring seamless operations both during and after the transition period.
i&u TV’s editorial team, archiving specialists and senior managers are delighted with the new solution, which safeguards valuable archive materials for future use.
The company no longer needs to maintain climate-controlled storage space for its archive of approximately 15,000 tapes. Existing storage rooms can now be repurposed.
The new archive is housed in a room measuring just nine square metres, and comprises 72 LTO 6 tapes.
Searching for content is now far less time-intensive, and InYourPlace eliminates the need to physically carry tapes from the archiving department to the editor’s desk. Remote access to content previews enables all team members to collaborate in real time, saves time and effort, cuts costs and supports the production process.