Real-Time Frame Rate Conversion in a Tapeless Workflow


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Introduction - (for the full diagramatic version of this article please click on the magazine cover above.)
When content moved within facilities and around the world on tape or via live feeds, frame rate and format conversions were easily achieved using real-time hardware converters such as Snell's Alchemist Ph.C-HD. As broadcasters and content owners moved to more convenient tapeless workflows, which enabled them to lower their costs, save time and improve logistics, the frame rate conversion step remained a baseband island within the file-based processing flow.

Initial products designed to facilitate tapeless conversion were undermined by slow processing speed, poor conversion quality and a lack of supporting tools, such as timecode conversions, needed to achieve perfect deliverables. Addressing these issues, Snell's FileFlow™ option enables users to get the benefit of Alchemist Ph.C-HD real-time standards conversion quality, even in a tapeless workflow. FileFlow™ allows users to convert media files from one frame rate to another in real time without any quality, speed or metadata issues.

Overview of FileFlow™
Snell's FileFlow™ option integrates seamlessly with Alchemist Ph.C-HD hardware via dedicated file and conversion management hardware and software supplied by Snell, as shown in Figure 1. Real-time operation is straightforward, thanks to the simple user application that controls the system’s conversion parameters and scheduling.
To convert a media file using FileFlow™, the user need only move the required file to the FileFlow™ server, select the desired conversion parameters and start the conversion process. When the file is ready, it can be transferred back to the customer's chosen location. A user-friendly queuing mechanism is provided via the FileFlow™ client, which allows users to set up multiple jobs that can be run unattended, in a user-chosen order, as illustrated in Figure 2.

This workflow could be employed, for example, by a U.S. media organization that has received some European content (at 50Hz) as an MXF OP1a file in DNxHD and needs to convert it to 59.94Hz as a QuickTime ProRes HQ file for a client. In this case, the Alchemist Ph.C-HD operator transfers the file to the server and, using the profile configuration tool supplied by Snell, sets up the required output file format and codec parameters (QuickTime ProRes HQ in this instance), as well as the desired Alchemist Ph.C-HD conversion parameters: input set to auto and output set to 1080 59.94i.

Benefits of FileFlow™
FileFlow™ is totally unique, as it is the only product in the world offering file-based, real-time, motion compensated frame rate conversion for SD and HD video. With its sophisticated queuing mechanism, users can load up to 16 hours worth of conversion jobs in fewer than 5 minutes, and the queue runs unattended. As a result, facilities enjoy lower operational costs, as conversions can be automatically carried out, and assets can be used 24/7.
A key advantage of FileFlow™ is that conversions can be precisely timecode-controlled according to the source file start and end points. No other file-based standards conversion system offers this facility, which is essential for clean frame start of conversion.
An API, based on the industry-standard control protocol SOAP, is published by Snell to allow control of the application through a user-scripted automated process, which can be called from third-party media asset management systems. This control capability has enormous benefits for large content owners whose workflows have been set up around a preferred media asset management system.
The user maintains visibility of the conversion progress through the Snell application and is informed when the conversion is complete. As the video and audio standards conversion is carried out by Alchemist Ph.C-HD, the real-time conversion quality is perfect.

Applications
File-based frame rate conversion can be a necessity in a number of workflow scenarios and use cases. Two examples follow.

Use Case 1: Incoming Content Conversion
A user accepts content from multiple sources globally, and this content may arrive in many different formats and frame rates. These pieces of content must be converted to DVCPro 100 720 59.94p, which is the “house” format used across the entire facility's editing processes. One example might be 2012 Olympics 1080 50i content requiring conversion to 720 59.94p for editing and distribution by a U.S. broadcaster. A suitable conversion chain (shown in Figure 3) first decompresses the file, converts it from 1080 50i to 720 59.94p at baseband using Alchemist Ph.C-HD and re-ingests it as a DVCPro100 file. In this way, the user gets the best possible quality of converted content with the convenience of tapeless processing, all in real time.

Use Case 2: Outbound Content Conversion
When a company sells content internationally, frame rate and format conversion may be required if the destination country's format or frame rate is different from that of the source. For example, a client might request some content from the company’s recent archive, wishing to integrate it into a new program. When the content is of high value and has a lot of fast action (e.g., sports footage from football or baseball games), a high-quality standards converter such as Alchemist Ph.C-HD is essential. The workflow is shown in Figure 4.

The use case shown in Figure 4 also could apply when an international customer places an order and, in an automated process, the content is pulled from the archive server and the correct conversion applied, all according to a script generated by the customer order process. FileFlow™'s support for SOAP ensures that integration of conversion processes into a customer media asset management system is easy.

Summary
The aforementioned workflows and use cases show that media companies can continue to benefit from the outstanding real-time conversion quality of Alchemist Ph.C-HD as they migrate from baseband to tapeless workflows.

Paola Hobson is senior product manager for conversion and restoration at Snell, provider of a comprehensive range of solutions for the creation, management, and distribution of content, as well as the tools necessary to transition seamlessly and cost-effectively to digital, HDTV, and 3Gbp/s operations.

clear="all" />

align="left" width="33%" />


Tags: iss061 | snell | fileflow | Alchemist | QuickTime ProRes HQ | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) Biometrics technology at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) Biometrics technology at IBC 2015

  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) at IBC 2015

  • SNELL KAHUNA at NAB 2015

    SNELL KAHUNA at NAB 2015

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell at IBC2011

    Snell at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF
IBC in a post Brexit world
Peter Savage 2 Cast your mind forward and we are not in 2018 but next year and, yes, it’s you and me walking to the departure lounge to catch the plane to IBC just as I, and perhaps also you, have done for the last 25 years. (By the way, where is my long service award – and perhaps a new pair of shoes as I must, surely, have walked the equivalent of five Caminos covering the 12 halls in the Rai). We are at the gate and my imagination kicks in as I hypothesize on what the trip might look like next year. I leave it to you to decide which is closest to what might be to come.
Tags: iss133 | azule | brexit | ibc | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
Live audio contribution over wireless networks
Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Wireless “live” contribution from anywhere at any time, this is the ultimate goal for most news reporters. The old favorite of using ISDN is becoming harder and much more expensive to access easily. Today most of us use wireless daily, in particular Wifi and HSPA/LTE 4G networks. These are now mature technologies and widely used for many applications in the home and whilst out and about. However there are still some professionals who prefer to persevere with the traditional, costly and limited ISDN communication technology before jumping into the wireless era.
Tags: iss133 | adrl | wireless audio | isdn | cellular audio | Pablo Rodrigues Altmann
Contributing Author Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Click to read or download PDF