News Production & Post

BFBS tapeless production on air

31 August 2006

The fully digital production and transmission centre built by ATG Broadcast for British Forces Broadcasting Service Television is now fully live to air. A division of Services Sound & Vision Corporation, BFBS TV assembles and transmits two 24-hour channels from its studios near Amersham in Buckinghamshire.

BFBS1 and 2 can be received via satellite by personnel in 17 countries and by Royal Navy ships in various parts of the world. BFBS TV previously used tape-based acquisition, recording off-air, editing out commercial breaks, with transmission from tape via live continuity.

The network’s requirement, expressed by SSVC Director of Technology, Simon Shute, was a system that fully addressed workflow without introducing any system bottlenecks. Systems that required file-flattening following editing could not cope with the quick turnaround needed for many programmes.

The contract with ATG Broadcast included complete refurbishment of the television infrastructure at SSVC’s headquarters. BFBS TV is now able to deploy file-based acquisition and editing, playing to air straight from hard-disk server.

Alan Pimm, ATG Broadcast sales director, elaborates: “The new system enables programmes to be ingested into two Quantel sQ Servers under IBIS automation, controlled via record lists from a Provys scheduling system. 30Mbps D10 files and 1.5Mbps proxy files are created in parallel. Recorded clips are reviewed using IBIS Vistapoint and trimmed using Quantel Q-Cut. Clips ready for transmission are then transferred to mirrored Quantel sQ playout servers or, if not required in the next few days, to the near-line tape store. The system also enables BFBS to start transmitting a programme before the source has finished ingest. Quantel’s Frame Magic technology enables files to be streamed at very high speed between servers.”

To streamline the news production process, ATG Broadcast installed a DaletPlus Newsroom system. Journalists can input and review scripts and programme material and will soon be able to access the system via the web from anywhere in the world. A 120TB ADIC Scalar 2k Archive Library controlled by SGL’s Flashnet Hierarchical Storage Manager allows files to be saved either as a manual process or according to archive rules set within Flashnet. Each BFBS Television channel is controlled from its own presentation suite. The suites are identically equipped with Custom Consoles furniture.

The new installation enables content to be acquired and processed much more quickly than before, and has allowed file-based content distribution to reduce manual movement of tapes within and beyond the network’s headquarters.

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