Ireland’s public service broadcaster, Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), has invested in six Discreet Flint visual effects systems running on Linux-based workstations for its graphics department.
Carol Coffey, senior designer and graphics manager at RTÉ, explains the company’s decision to renew its complete graphics infrastructure: “We hadn’t upgraded our graphics creation systems and infrastructure since the mid ’90s, so some of our kit had become outdated. To compete in today’s competitive media market we have to produce graphics to match those of our competitors.”
After short-listing a group of graphics systems providers, RTÉ opted for the proposal from Autodesk reseller Eurotek, with Flint systems as its main creative component. Flint’s feature set was deemed to provide the greatest opportunity for RTÉ to produce the required high quality onscreen results. “We found that Flint provided the best platform for migrating from our current Quantel kit and desktop products such as Adobe Photoshop and After Effects,” explains Carol. “The ability to transfer Photoshop files complete with layers was particularly attractive to our designers. Flint also provides a more sophisticated digital compositor with a faster rendering time. The interface, while more complicated, has operational elements similar to our existing graphics creation systems, which should make it easier for our designers to migrate to.”
RTÉ’s graphics department provides production facilities for all programme genres and, as a central resource, must be able to accommodate any request. The Flint systems will be used in conjunction with its desktop and 3D operations to generate a variety of graphics from day to day packaging of content to the production of title sequences and promotional material.
Eurotek’s project team designed and installed the entire system which is currently in the final stage of installation. The fully integrated file-based system provides a Sledgehammer central network attached storage (NAS), Apple G5 desktop systems running Adobe software with decklink cards, BOXX PCs with Adobe software and decklink cards, a high-end 3D workstation and a 10-processor render farm for 3D work. The whole system is integrated with Proximity’s Artbox asset management system. As well as asset management and search facilities this also provides file conversion utilities allowing, for example, a Flint composition to be converted and delivered as a file to RTÉ’s existing graphics devices in their studios.
The video and audio infrastructure consists of a Probel video router which integrates with RTÉ’s house routing network, so that any signal can be routed to anywhere in RTÉ’s building. IP routing and networking is through Cisco Gigabit Ethernet switches, allowing all machines to transfer files between each other. Media can be ingested either centrally via the Sledgehammer or via the individual workstations video I/O, providing a high degree of flexibility and redundancy.