Red Bee Media, working with Pixel Power, has developed and implemented an automated graphics and branding system which creates sophisticated interstitial sequences between programmes in a process it calls 'dynamic junctions' (DJ).
The system has been developed to provide creative, tailored and varied information and branding sequences for the six variants of BBC World, which is distributed by satellite from Red Bee Media's West London playout centre to broadcasters around the world. The broadcasters who have the rights to BBC World in each territory can sell advertising around the programmes to local limits, and the schedule is designed to allow for this. The new DJ system allows for any difference in advertising durations across streams to be populated with relevant media providing solid branding and varied promotion. The DJ system also puts relevant graphics and trailers between programmes.
The Pixel Promo system interrogates the system automation to know which programmes are coming next, and also to obtain the future schedule. Based on this, it selects the appropriate sequences from a library of templates, and populates it with live data to fit the required duration. As well as interrogating the station automation system, Pixel Promo DJ also has interfaces to a number of other internal and external sources of information, automatically collecting everything from the news headlines and weather forecast to stock market data.
Pixel Promo DJ runs on a Microsoft Windows Server with a SQL database. In the Red Bee Media installation there are six Pixel Power Clarity 500 graphics systems attached to it, one for each channel. Each is capable of creating and outputting sophisticated sequences in real time, including live video, DVE moves and separate voiceover tracks. Because each sequence is created specifically for each junction and assembled at the time of playout, all the station automation needs do is cue the appropriate Clarity, minimising the overhead on the automation system and eliminating the need for scheduling specific sequences.
"The dynamic junction system makes the difference between dull and repetitive promos which alienate an audience, and bright, lively and interesting graphics and branding," said Neil Caldicott, head of presentation BBC World. "Pixel Power was the one company that understood the requirement for an output that was going to engage the audience, and the technical solution they have delivered is excellent."
"The BBC World system is a great example of how we at Pixel Power can link excellent graphics capabilities with intelligent control," said James Gilbert, managing director of Pixel Power". Once the rules and templates are established, the system at Red Bee Media needs no overhead apart from editing video clips for trailers. Completely automatically - and without imposing on the scheduling or automation systems - it generates lively and varied content."