News Production & Post

RTE selects Avid for tapeless roll-out

22 March 2007

Irish broadcaster RTE has decided on Avid systems for its main production infrastructure as it transitions to a next-generation tapeless environment. But, while in the ascendancy at the major enterprise contract level, Avid is under pressure in post, writes Adrian Pennington.

An ISIS storage array managed by the Interplay asset management platform, for which RTE was a beta site, is at the heart of the enterprise providing over 100 seats for all studio, news and sports operations. Desktop tools include Adrenaline and iNews Instinct.

The contract was signed last autumn with system installation, also by Avid, currently ongoing for completion in the summer. The award of new ENG cameras (thought to be a choice between Sony XDCAM and Panasonic P2) has yet to be decided.

The deployment is the latest in a series of major project wins for Avid following on from BBC Pacific Quay in Glasgow and ITN where it replaced Quantel’s newsroom systems.

“Interplay has become the fastest growing asset management technology the industry has ever seen,” claims Avid general manager EMEA, Paul Glasgow. “ISIS continues to grow as the IP network platform of choice. It can increase with the scale of an enterprise and the performance of product.”

Avid will take this announcement to NAB where it will also highlight developments to its open storage initiative announced last April. The OSI is intended to run third-party Mac OS X or Windows XP applications on Unity, Avid VideoRAID disk arrays or Med_a storage systems. It now has a number of third party applications linked with ISIS and Interplay, among them Adobe Premiere, Digital Vision Film Master and Apple Final Cut Pro. “It’s very important for those who do have Final Cut Pro on Macs to run them with a common infrastructure,” says Glasgow.

Avid will also announce a further 15 partners whose solutions work with its HD codec DNxHD. These include Harris, Ikegami, Ardendo and Digital Vision.

The firm may be winning major enterprise level contracts but in post production it continues to face stiff competition from Apple which is expected to announce a significant set of upgrades to its Final Cut Pro suite at NAB. These include integration of Final Touch, the high-end grading package capable of direct support for 2k 10-bit Cineon and DPX files it acquired from Silicon Color and its own asset management system evolved from Artbox, the technology it acquired from Proximity late last year. Apple is also writing a Mac-friendly compositor modestly dubbed Phenomenon to replace Shake which it has stopped developing, although this may be released later in the year.

Glasgow however says Apple is just playing catch-up. “Everything it does is in response to what we’ve already done,” he says. “In order to scale up operations you need very comprehensive asset management technology and enterprise resource management which Interplay offers and this is missing in Apple’s offering. It is playing catch-up in a lot of areas especially in large-scale operations.

“We’ve validated Apple as an operating system that you can attach to Interplay and ISIS. Final Cut really is really the only competing piece that we have in common.”

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