Assets in the air


Paul Wilkins TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

People everywhere are talking about "the cloud", as if it is somehow something (1) new and (2) intrinsically exciting. It really is neither of those things. In the IT world, software as a service (SaaS) has been around since the 1960's when organisations bought the use of mainframe software on a time-sharing basis.

The important part of SaaS is the word "service". The cloud is only valuable to us if it provides something we actually need to do, and provides that service in a way which is operationally convenient and cost effective.

That is not to say that the cloud does not have huge attractions. What you are doing, essentially, is bringing in subject experts to do things that otherwise we would have to worry about. Building, extending and maintaining large IT installations requires not just a hefty capital budget, it needs specialist skills. Scarcely a week goes by without some high profile organisation suffering a security issue: there is a lot of sense in passing that problem on to the experts.

In our industry, the core business is in making and delivering great content. Producers and editors want to spend their time shooting and polishing programmes, not worrying about how to keep the footage securely stored, for the duration of the project and beyond.

But there are well-known objections to using the cloud in the media industry. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that, while most IP applications have large numbers of relatively small files, we have relatively small numbers of extremely large files. The charging structures of the major cloud providers are set up to reflect their core business and may not be flexible enough for our needs.

The ideal solution, then, is to build applications on media-aware cloud storage. At TMD we have been working with our UK partner, ERA, to provide an off-the-shelf, cloud-based archive solution called Coeus.

Before we go any further, we should explain the name. Coeus - pronounced kee-yos - was one of the Titans of Greek mythology. To be precise, Coeus was the god of intellect, representing the inquisitive mind.

What Coeus does is present an intuitive, cloud-based service for short and long term storage, management and protection of media. To do this, we essentially run TMD's Mediaflex-UMS platform running the Paragon media service application for archive management, in a cloud which has been set up and managed by ERA specifically for media applications.

The ERA data centre is in the UK, and its infrastructure and connectivity is designed around media storage. It provides the flexibility and agility that media enterprises need. Most important, the cost structure is designed for media users.

Running TMD software in the cloud ensures that the familiar and expected functionality is available. Central to this is something that we now take for granted in an archive application: partial restoration of files.

Imagine you are an editor charged with making a suite of trailers for a new drama series. You really do not want to copy multiple high-resolution, hour-long programmes into your edit computer when all you need is a few seconds from each.

That is a doubly important consideration when the master content is not on a server network in your facility but in the cloud. Even ignoring download charges, the time taken to transfer tens or possibly hundreds of gigabytes of data would be a complete block on productivity.

So the desired cloud archive storage application must include a proxy viewer so the user can browse at frame-accurate low resolution, to choose clips, then recover and download only those clips at full resolution. That is one of the key feature of Coeus.

The system has a simple, web-based interface, designed to be used by real people not IT experts. The fact that it is web-based means it can be used anywhere, provided the operator has the right credentials. So if you are shooting on location, your camera operator or DIT can upload the selected takes each day, making them instantly available to the editor, producer and anyone else who wants to work on them or check progress.

What we set out to do with Coeus is to create a cloud storage and archive solution which is readily accessible and instantly available. Set-up is simple, archive maintenance is intuitive for real-world users, and costs are clear and manageable. Because the underlying cloud data centre is designed for media files, security structures are appropriate to keep the content from prying eyes.

Already we are seeing the industry welcoming this fresh approach to cloud provision, combining the best available software with a media-aware data centre. Because Coeus is self-provisioning in an intuitive way, users are finding that it delivers on the promise of software as a service, providing the key requirements of secure transfers, simple viewing, partial restore for fast and efficient recovery, and practical storage for working materials and long-term archiving.


Tags: iss121 | tmd | cloud | mam | era | coeus | Paul Wilkins
Submitted by Paul Wilkins Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
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Submitted by Chuck Edwards Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Benefits of LED Lighting in Broadcast
Rod Aaron Gammons The humble LED studio light has come a long way since its introduction. In the early days adoption was low, while scepticism that the quality and functionality of LEDs could rival traditional tungsten lighting was high. There has been a period of adjustment, challenges (particularly around light quality and manufacturing) overcome and the broadcast, media and entertainment industry has gradually grown more accepting of the technology and its benefits.
Tags: iss122 | rotolight | led lighting | celbro studio | bbc | mtv | trt | anova pro | Rod Aaron Gammons
Submitted by Rod Aaron Gammons Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The now and how of LED Lighting
Tama Berkeljon LED lighting has come a long way from the days when companies like Outsight were ridiculed by major manufacturers at trade shows because, the manufacturers asserted, technology couldn't be entrusted with the requirements of our industry.
Tags: iss122 | led lighting | outsite | cri | tlci | dmx control | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Transistion in Audio Monitoring
Shane Toven As signal chains have become increasingly complex, the challenges involved in managing and monitoring these paths have multiplied exponentially. Over the past few decades, we've migrated from handling a single channel of content using composite video and analog audio pairs, to elaborate multi-channel facilities routing HD video with embedded audio over SDI or in many cases discrete AES pairs. These audio signals are often a mix of 5.1 and stereo programs and in many cases encoded to or decoded from Dolby at some point in the chain.
Tags: iss122 | aes | ebu r128 | atsc a85 | aes67 | Shane Toven
Submitted by Shane Toven Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Consumer of the shelf technology is coming
Bruce Devlin I had the privilege last week of sitting in a strategy session of the Digital Production Partnership where we were concerned with predicting the future. As Niels Bohr once famously said, "Predictions are really hard - especially when predicting the future". One of the attendees made a comment about camera technology and I instantly thought about the latest greatest and most expensive High Dynamic Range, Wide Colour Gamut, Low Noise, High Sensitivity wonder-device that are being talked about at the technological bleeding edge of the industry.
Tags: iss122 | gopro | cots | class | mrmtf | dpp | Bruce Devlin
Submitted by Bruce Devlin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Sully - Grading a miracle
Maxine Gervais We all know the story. On 15 January 2009 an Airbus A320 took off from LaGuardia airport in New York, heading for Charlotte. Just a couple of minutes later the plane flew through a flock of Canada geese and blew out both engines. Knowing the risk of crashing into heavily populated areas, Captain Chesley Sullenberger - Sully - aimed for the only long flat surface he could see: the Hudson River.
Tags: iss121 | sully | grading | filmlight | Maxine Gervais
Submitted by Maxine Gervais Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mr MXF thinks the future is made of components
Bruce Devlin The recent SMPTE IMF plugfest that was kindly hosted by Fox in Burbank gave the vendors, users and content owners a chance to discuss the fine details of the IMF standard and to get excited about where it will take the Post Production community.
Tags: iss121 | imf | smpte | plugfest | st 2067 | class | Bruce Devlin
Submitted by Bruce Devlin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
MAM needs to adapt or die
Tim Child The media landscape has shifted dramatically over recent years. Content providers are under increasing pressure to deliver compelling content to multiple platforms. Also, the production and distribution of video is no longer limited to traditional broadcasters, which face rising competition from a range of media providers. We are also seeing a massive increase in video being produced to broadcast quality by companies using it for other purposes, such as marketing, site surveys, internal communications, and a whole host of other applications.
Tags: iss121 | mam | cantemo | hybrid cloud | virtual reality | Tim Child
Submitted by Tim Child Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The secret to global Gogglebox success
Chris Cooper People all over the world love watching other people watch TV. What many of us thought was a ridiculous notion when Gogglebox first aired in the UK in 2013, has since become a worldwide phenomenon. 'Gogglebox is held up by the global industry and broadcast community as an example of excellence in audience engagement and production innovation, and is being produced in local versions around the world.
Tags: iss121 | forscene | gogglebox | ch4 | kite entertainment | marjan tv | studio lambert | Chris Cooper
Submitted by Chris Cooper Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Dick finds the truth out there
Dick Hobbs. The Oxford English Dictionary has determined that its word of the year for 2016 was "post-truth". We'll skip over the fact that it is, clearly, two words.
Tags: iss121 | dick hobbs | michael gove | smpte | fake news | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mixing console displays - central to usability
Paul Hooper Since the introduction of assignable controls on mixing consoles, it has been essential to provide sound engineers with a clear picture of what the function and status is of each fader and other associated controls. Consoles can have over 100 faders. To allow the sound operator to keep track of the function of each panel and its current settings, clear, compact displays are needed.
Tags: iss121 | calrec | consoles | Paul Hooper
Submitted by Paul Hooper Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine