News Production & Post

RTL Netherlands moves to nonlinear workflow

27 July 2006

Avid Technology has inked a major deal with RTL Netherlands Broadcast Operations to convert its entire three channel television operation from a linear system to a nonlinear workflow environment. The new system is based around Avid Interplay, the company’s nonlinear workflow engine, and Avid Unity ISIS next-generation storage and media network systems, writes Fergal Ringrose.

The installation, which begins immediately at RTL’s Hilversum premises, will service four key areas: the promo department, the dedicated business news channel RTL Z, the news operation which provides the main bulletins for all channels, and the post production department. The Hilversum site is also fully integrated with RTL’s headquarters in Luxembourg, allowing material to be compressed and transferred easily between sites ready for broadcast from Luxembourg.

The decision to replace the existing system was made two years ago but RTL decided to wait for a totally integrated solution to become available before it made the change to nonlinear technology. Bert Klaver, director of RTL Netherlands Broadcast Operations BV, RTL Netherlands, explained: “We learned a lot from the issues we faced with the old system and this helped us to know what questions to ask. We wanted a scalable solution, delivered by one company, that could deliver everything from acquisition to transmission and that would be easy to manage. We spoke to Avid about our requirements and they told us about the development of Avid Interplay, which would provide an excellent production management system under which all the individual elements could be integrated seamlessly and easily. With the combination of this technology and Avid’s proven expertise in the broadcast field, we know we have made the right choice.”

Avid stated that a major benefit of its system was its central storage and content management capabilities, which RTL believes will lead to the development of new business opportunities. “RTL’s strategy for the future includes the development of content delivery for mobile devices such as mobile telephones and PDAs, as well as further enhancing our website which is already popular with our audience. The new system makes it much easier to manage our content and repurpose it in many ways,” said Klaver.

The new workflow is based around three 16TB Avid Unity ISIS next-generation storage and media network systems, with the Avid Interplay nonlinear workflow engine providing complete media production management. The system also comprises multiple Avid broadcast production tools including Avid Unity TransferManager systems for intelligent background media transfers, Avid AirSpeed ingest and playout servers and Avid CaptureManager systems to coordinate video feeds. Editing capabilities will be provided by a combination of Avid Symphony Nitris systems, Avid Media Composer Adrenaline systems and Avid Media Composer software. Four of the PCs running Media Composer software will be accelerated by the recently released Avid Mojo SDI. RTL also has an existing 150 seat Avid iNEWS newsroom management system which will be integrated into the new workflow. Avid’s Professional Services group worked with the RTL team to design the workflow, and will offer training and installation support during the transition to the new system.

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