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FIMS initiative gathers speed

9 September 2012
FIMS initiative gathers speed

The wide adoption of FIMS will gather further momentum here at IBC today, when the collaborative group behind it collect the IBC Judges Award, and SMPTE and the EBU announce an acceleration of the standardisation process.

Also today, FIMS will top the agenda at the annual joint meeting between the EBU, SMPTE, WBU, IEEE BTS, VSF, and AMWA.

Asked what is new for the show, Jean-Pierre Evain, the EBU FIMS co-ordinator (pictured), said: “On one side, more members like Signiant and Dalet. From the specification point of view, we are working on repositories and cloud management in FIMS, and defining requirements for quality assurance.”

Future work is defined by active user groups – under the joint FIMS chairmanship shared by John Footen and Giogio Dimino of RAI R&D – and a growing number of heavyweight broadcasters (BBC, Bloomberg, CBC, HBO, ITV, MLB, MTV, NBC, NFB, RAI, Red Bee Media, Turner and Viacom).

“EBU Eurovision has required a FIMS implementation from Dalet, and the latest broadcaster adopting FIMS is CBC Canada,” said Evain. “Bloomberg is doing implementations of FIMS and CBC reference implementations.”

Yes, the EBU is discussing collaboration with SMPTE. “The field of investigation on metadata and MXF is immense,” said Evain. “There are many issues on the SMPTE and MXF sides. And there is another challenge on semantic metadata in production.

“So far we have reached a satisfactory number of key players. And we know users have issued CFPs asking for FIMS,” he added. “But we can certainly do better and reach another level. The IBC prize is a fantastic opportunity to promote FIMS to a wider market.”

AMWA gives approval
The many members of the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) here at IBC are celebrating the approval of FIMS 1.0, and the fact that AMWA and the EBU will be taking FIMS to SMPTE.

“You are seeing many implementations of FIMS already, and the second layer of the message is that we have successfully shown that we can go from business requirements to actual specifications in a short time,” said AMWA executive director Brad Gilmer.

Asked what broadcasters are looking for, he added: “Quality assurance. It is vital for broadcasters to automate facilities, and all this talk about workflow is important. But the more you automate, the more you really need to be able to validate any content being generated.

“Without proper QA, errors propagate throughout these systems in a very big way. So a high priority is to get QA as part of the overall process in workflow,” he continued. “With FIMS, part of our ability to deliver the spec quickly is being driven by user requirements. We have a FIMS business board, a bunch of large companies, who are talking about what they need.”

The users have spoken, and the high priority idea is a repository service. What is next?

“Getting different orchestration systems to work together,” said Gilmer. “When you talk about FIMS and orchestration, it is as if there is one overarching system. That might be true, but more likely you are going to have orchestration in play out, in post, and so on. There is work to be done in getting those efforts co-coordinated. That practice is called chorography.”

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