Unique Needs of 24x7 Running Storage & MAM for Reality TV

Pronology’s MAM System

Published on in Miscellaneous

Today’s reality TV productions are ambitious in their size and tight broadcast schedules, requiring a multitude of impressive engineering feats. When not tracking every move of a housewife, psychic medium or celebrity, other shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, America’s Got Talent or The Voice closely follow the progress of contestants and are broken up into segments: the documentary portions that tell the back stories of contestants, the behind-the- scenes shots that show the contestants preparing for the competition, and then the (sometimes live, sometimes not) actual competition portion itself. Anyone involved with producing a weekly reality TV show knows that these programs generate hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of hours of footage that need to be managed and, when it’s time to air or put the final show together, accessed at a moment’s notice.

The same can be said for varying broadcast applications, from live production to news. While the content may be different, the need for organized media remains the same. The settings are fast paced and content heavy, where teams — editors, directors and producers — work in bustling environments where they need to be able to find, preview, edit and format digital content quickly. Archiving a studio’s media assets with a media asset management (MAM) system, allows media and broadcast outlets to manage large depots of assets and quickly search and recover relevant content.

America’s Got Talent and Chopped Canada are only a few of the unscripted television programs that have employed Pronology’s MAM solution. On the live production/news side, Pronology was also u

sed for FOX Sports coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 ™ as well as for the past five Oscars ® telecasts.

Unscripted TV can be compared to news/live production in that both are unpredictable and receive enormous amounts of content. For reality production, the sheer amount of content is one of the main challenges. The environment itself, is somewhat controlled with cameras and microphones strategically placed. So while the contestants or participants may be unpredictable in their actions, the content is coming from the same pre-determined sources, especially when dealing with an in-house- style production. Reality TV’s pace is just as fast as news but production crews typically know when outside footage is coming in so they can properly plan and prepare.

News applications require script, scheduling and picture integration in a more automated fashion than reality programs. Pronology, through its unique workflow engine, allows for the automation of many routine newsroom tasks. With news, broadcasters receive content from different locations and languages on a global scale, which results in a larger variety of content.

Just as with reality production, there are often various segments, from in-studio commentary, breaking away to an on-location shot, back to studio. The unpredictability factor for news lies in the on-location shot, especially when working with a breaking news story. This is not a controlled environment and typically does not allow for much prep. Having an established media asset management system that can manage content from multiple locations is essential for a news station.

The Pronology software platform is designed to manage the enormous number of assets a 24/7 reality production generates, sometimes recording multiple angles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for several weeks straight. This demanding schedule requires a fully integrated system that could acquire, manage, approve, log, distribute, transcode and archive all media assets with 100 percent uptime.

Working on a high-profile reality show is a major undertaking. For several international- and domestic-based reality shows, Pronology’s platform has managed, organized and archived more than 12,000 hours of footage and more than one million metadata entries throughout a single season of each show. Asset management makes it possible to efficiently capture, edit, organize and archive those 12,000-plus hours of footage that accumulate throughout the course of the production. In addition to the high resolution recordings, Pronology’s unique mRes™ encode system is a main feature valued by the reality series’ production team, as it enables them to create a timecode-accurate “stream” of the most significant recordings and view them all in real-time on a standard Web browser. This secure live stream is available to all authorized personnel, enabling them to view the live recordings from the stage and create timecode-accurate notes, regardless of their location.

Location is a main factor for productions, as many times the full-team is not in one central location. Additionally, Pronology lets multiple producers perform complex searches on the material using a standard Web browser. Since all of the high- and edit-resolution recordings are created as Avid-compliant MXF OP Atom, they are immediately available to the edit systems, with no additional importing or transcoding required. In addition to managing all file creation and migration activities, the system also coordinates the movement of crucial metadata to editors embedded in Pronology-generated AAF files. When editors drag these files to an Avid ® bin, the system instantly adds a master clip to the bin along with associated “locators,” allowing the editors to navigate accurately to designated points of interest.

For the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, location was a main factor as the month-long event featured 24 teams, spanned six cities and five time zones. In order to give producers and editors instant access to the media needed to cover an event of this magnitude, Pronology’s Location Intelligence feature was deployed in order to manage the multiple locations between the events and broadcast facilities in Canada and the edit facilities located in the United States.

Ideal for editors and producers, Location Intelligence enables a user to determine at a glance whether the content required is available immediately or needs to be transferred. This ensures the most efficient use of bandwidth and storage resources. For the Women’s World Cup, Pronology managed: 300 users, 250,000 individual files, more than 500 TB of media, 75,000 workflows, 10,000 sub clips and more than 1,000 user bins.

The annual Oscar’s telecast has its own unique set of MAM needs. Pronology’s user-friendly interface gave producers the ability to monitor and approve all pre-recorded content, providing an extraordinary level of visibility and creative control over the thousands of assets that are part of such an enormous and complex show. For this type of awards show, the pre-recorded content is crucial to the production’s success. The use of Pronology’s asset management software offered a secure portal for the audio department to arrange, share and transfer content to the edit facility charged with compositing and delivering all of the final elements.

The Pronology system is right at home in any production environment. By offering a single platform that unifies the production process from acquisition to archive, Pronology’s solution is well suited to address the challenges of handling large amounts of content generated by today’s range of productions. Since each production is unique, it has its own set of MAM requirements.

Pronology’s custom media management system ensures organized content for nearly any workflow. In addition, the Pronology toolset seamlessly integrates with other NLE systems such as Apple ® Final Cut Pro and Adobe ® Premiere ® Pro CC. Its user-friendly interface and format-agnostic infrastructure offers a complete, all-in- one software platform to efficiently manage content-dense productions of every kind.

About Pronology

Pronology’s digital asset management and production tools simplify the tasks of content creation and distribution for today’s file-based workflows by unifying the production process from acquisition to archive. Its new award-winning standalone multi-resolution encoder, mRes™, provides even greater flexibility to today’s multi-resolution, multi-frame rate and multi-codec production environments, by providing access to multiple resolutions, instantaneously. Due to this native uncompressed recording architecture — various file formats can be created without any loss of quality or signal degradation since each copy was created from the original uncompressed file.

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