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Tapeless transition for TNV Tatarstan

Philip Stevens learns how workflow has been dramatically improved at Tatarstan Novy Vek in Kazan, as the city prepares to host World Student Games in 2013.

Philip Stevens learns how workflow has been dramatically improved at Tatarstan Novy Vek in Kazan, as the city prepares to host World Student Games in 2013.

Novy Vek is the largest media holding company in the Russian Federation’s Tatarstan Republic. Based in the republic’s capital of Kazan, Tatarstan Novy Vek (TNV) is the main television channel, with a potential audience reach of about 47 million people.

TNV operates as a two-language (Russian and Tatar) channel, each with its own programming genre. It provides news and analytics, education, social and political programmes, along with live sport transmissions and other sport-related productions. In fact, this sporting genre is becoming increasingly important to the channel as Kazan is hosting the World Student Games in 2013. The station also transmits a separate Yash TNV channel aimed at children and young people.

In June of this year, when the channel celebrated its tenth anniversary, a new worldwide satellite channel, TNV-Planet, was launched. The President of Tatarstan Republic, Rustam Minnikhanov, initiated this news channel with the aim of uniting Tatar people around the world, promoting the Tatar language, and maintaining culture and national traditions to an international audience.

“Although we operated a 300 square metre studio for our main programmes, it was felt that an additional space was needed for the news output,” explains Sergey Petrov, TNV director of operations. “As a result, a new studio with an area of 51 square metres and a height of 3.7 metres was constructed.”

DNK Corporation of Moscow carried out this building and subsequent equipping of the new facility.

Three Sony DXC-D55 cameras mounted on Cambo pedestals are used for news production, with an additional Sony BRC-300 utilised for a wide shot of the studio and newsroom. Petrov says that purchasing decision was based on the most advantageous quality/price ratio that was available. He cites the same reason for selecting a Ross Video Crosspoint 16, with 1ME and 12 inputs as the vision mixer.

“Although the cameras are SD, the mixer, routing and cabling are ready for the transition to HD. At present, we do not have a date set for the switch to high definition.”

Other equipment in the new studio includes a Midas Verona analogue audio mixing console and a Riedel Artist comms package. “Outside of the studio, we operate two outside broadcast production units and a driveaway news gathering unit,” says Petrov.

Technology choices

Although location shooting is still carried out on a mixture of XDCAM HD, DVCPRO and Betacam SP, the move to a tapeless environment should be completed by the end of this year. A vital part of that transition has been the purchase of a number of pieces of equipment from Cinegy.

In all, eight Cinegy Ingest stations for tape-based ingest and around 80 concurrent Cinegy Desktop licenses for journalists and editorial staff, are being used. In addition, five Cinegy Air playout servers are broadcasting 24 hours on air, while a further four Air Studio playout servers are used in studios for news and production. Cinegy Archive database is currently employed transferring the 10,000 hours of tape that are being stored.

“We looked at a good number of other systems,” reveals Petrov, “but decided to select a vendor who could supply all the components. We wanted to avoid an integration ‘hell’. In addition, we saw the Cinegy package in operation at DoganTV in Istanbul and were convinced of its merits. And it helped that the supplier offered support in our local language.”

As Cinegy Workflow was the first tapeless operation installed at TNV, initially only file exchange with NLEs was required. To accommodate the package, a new server room based on HP equipment together with a Gigabit Ethernet network was built.

According to Daniella Weigner, managing director, Cinegy’s Workflow package is an integrated, HD/SD, digital media production and management system based on standard PC hardware and IT infrastructure. “It is a modular, open platform comprising a suite of tools, applications and open APIs that integrates fully with traditional production and post production processes – such as nonlinear editing — found in most television stations. These processes can be implemented without requiring investment in a completely new infrastructure.”

Cinegy Desktop is a universal production system that provides realtime access to media in the Cinegy Archive, along with a suite of tools for logging and editing. “Its capacity provides users with an almost limitless ability to import and export media to third-party nonlinear editing and automation systems,” declares Weigner.

At TNV, both Cinegy’s own editing system and Avid Liquid are in use for news production. “Cinebridge provides easy integration with most of the common third-party applications into the Cinegy Workflow,” says Weigner. “With this new tool, any software that supports the AVI file format can directly access media stored on Cinegy Archive without conversion. That includes virtually all commercially-available editing, visual effects and graphics software.”

Variable speed playout is provided by the Cinegy Air Studio system. Playback can be controlled via the special Air Studio control panel or via RS-422 edit controllers.

According to Ilshat Aminov, general manager of TNV, the channel has already seen benefits from the new installation. “This has not only allowed TNV to accomplish tapeless transition, but also increase efficiency and optimise each department’s workflow. Our journalists today are able to do much more themselves.

“Instant access to archived materials is very convenient and speeds up the process of production and preparation for playout. In addition, chief news editors can review the materials on their workstations. It is also important that the system can be easily upgraded, expanded and integrated into existing company infrastructure.”