Building a Complete File-Based Infrastructure


The Customer


Südwestrundfunk is a regional public broadcasting corporation serving the southwest of Germany, specifically the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz. The corporation has main offices in three cities (Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Mainz) with the director’s office being in Stuttgart. It broadcasts 24 hours per day from the three main offices of SWR and ARD-TV-Cannels, as well as from the 8 radio channels, the online website. The SWR is responsible for a programing offer with a clear profile: timeliness and regionality. SWR is the second largest broadcasting organization in Germany, with a coverage of 55 600 km2, and an audience reaching estimated 14,7 million.

The Challenge

SWR has built a new building in Stuttgart where a completely new HD file-based workflow infrastructure was required. The new facilities were designed to accommodate and join together the departments of Video, Radio and Internet, all of them with different requirements in terms of production. The challenge consisted in implementing a new file-based workflow, more efficient and with a faster turnaround of contents for news, live-shows and magazines, in a fully monitorized environment. One of the most crucial requirement was to minimize the editing time, as well as the transfering time of the material between different areas in only a single format. It was also necessary to provide editing and highlights capability while still recording. MOG’ systems integrator Wellen+Nöthen was commissioned with the realization of this ambitious project. As general contractor, Wellen+Nöthen took over the responsibility for the creation of an infrastructure, which made it possible for around 500 editorial staff, cutters, graphic artists and other production personnel to jointly produce file-based studio, news, sports and magazine contributions in a system covering all editorial groups and locations.

The Solution

Building a Complete File-Based Infrastructure

The goal for SWR workflow implementation was to have the media files available for post-production in a shared storage (ISIS7000 from AVID), as well as for Interplay Production while the media is being recorded or transferred into the central storage from Omneon MediaGrid, managed by a S4M Media Asset Management. To maximize the number of simultaneous accesses to the media and minimize both the post-production storage and network load, a low bandwidth H264 long GOP@ 1 to 2 Mbps proxy with AAC audio was generated at the same time of the transfer and recording into the central storage in case the media arrives from the XDCAM disks or other transcoded format into MPEG long GOP 50 Mbp MXF OP1A files using Amberfin iCR transcoders. This wrapper and video codec usage allows a high video and audio quality at a low bitrate with frame accurate seek access while the proxy file is being created. Through another path and for different productions, at the same time of recording, Omneon Spectrum will record and generate simultaneously the HD and proxy version files. Using S4M Media Asset Management, journalists will make the pre-selection of the media and basic EDLs using the proxy resolution version. As soon as the story is pre-cut and/or pre-edited, the journalists can submit them to the editing rooms for finishing in Avid Media Composer editing suites. At this time, the mxfSPEEDRAIL F1000 controlled by the MAM through its SOAP API, will sub-clip and transfer the original and associated MXF OP1A high-quality media files and make them available in the post-production area as native Avid OP Atom. Both pre-cut and live media can be transferred while the source files are being generated with a minimum latency of less than 30 seconds, ready to be edited in frame-chase mode (before completion of the file transfer). Journalists can also take advantage of pre-checked in information and EDL sequence mapping from S4M pre-edition into Interplay production MAM before the actual media is requested to be available in the Avid post-production area. The pre-check-in of assets is performed through a MOG module allowing the assets to be re-linked to the media files as they start to be transferred into the Avid ISIS. Upon finish of the editing and rendering of the Avid, Boris and Sapphire video effects, editors would submit their jobs to be automatically transferred and ready to be published as MXF OP1A using mxfSPEEDRAIL O1000. The mxfSPEEDRAIL O1000 would sub-clip, stitch, join and re-wrap the OPAtom into MXF OP1A Long GOP MPEG video files. These new MXF OP1A files upon creation would be ready to be broadcasted and played out though Omneon Spectrum video servers, again with a minimum latency and while the files are being generated at the beginning of the workflow chain. At the same time, a proxy version would be generated via Amberfin iCR and feedback to the system workflow.

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