Integrated, end-to-end workflows
In today’s broadcasting environments, disparate technologies such as cameras, production servers, controllers, switchers, and editing and automation systems must offer a higher level of integration for smooth and efficient workflow processes. Standard communication protocols have been developed progressively, so that these technologies can form a whole. Seen as the central aspect for many production workflows, servers have evolved from stand-alone ingest and replay to fully integrated platforms, acting as a backbone for the media ingest, editing, browsing and playout of production workflows.
Best-of-breed servers now deliver a fully integrated workflow, from content capture through post production, with tools and capabilities to support all production processes. They also feature an open architecture, allowing access to a host of marketplace production controllers for access and control of all content. Integration with third-party editing tools and enabling third-party systems to control server ingest and playout channels gives broadcasters valuable, extended production capabilities.
Most advanced live production servers can also accept wide-ranging remote control protocols, making it simple to integrate with most standard automation systems, controllers and switchers. Switchers, controllers, automation systems, linear editors as well as other systems using one of these protocols can easily and transparently interact with servers to control their content. Natively supporting different types of codecs is also critical to a fully integrated workflow, reducing the transfer time between production and post production as both parts of the process can use the same codec. In a fast-turnaround production workflow, content that is being recorded and encoded on the server is simultaneously accessible to post production. (See Figure 1.)
The end results are major gains in speed, efficiency and productivity throughout the entire production chain. Integrated workflows streamline processes and speed workflow tasks and collaboration.
Let’s look at the goals of a newsroom. Broadcasters seek to improve workflow efficiency so they can gather, prepare and broadcast news as it breaks. Live production server technology can facilitate end-to-end news production systems with integration with third-party systems such as camcorders, craft editors, as well as archive and newsroom control systems (NRCS). Most importantly, these systems speed overall time to broadcast, enabling live feeds to air immediately as they are being received from the local reporter or news source, without any interruption or processing time. Further, systems that enable a modular and scalable approach to production, integration with existing newsroom infrastructures and workflow streamlining are particularly valuable in news environments.