RFO Creates Global Digital Workflow With Avid Solutions

Réseau France Outre-mer (RFO), the Paris-based broadcaster owned by the France Télévisions group, has purchased a range of Avid systems to create a digital production workflow for nine stations in French-speaking territories around the globe.

The deal enables RFO to centralize its operations in a single location while improving production and workflow efficiencies for all of its stations, regardless of their local geographies. To support the full roster of programming across its network – where each station produces a mix of local news, magazine shows and commercials – and broadcasts national content created by France Télévisions and TF1, RFO will deploy multiple Avid and former Pinnacle systems for acquisition, postproduction, media management and playout. The installation is currently underway and expected to be complete by Autumn 2006.

“We needed a solution that would allow us to keep all local and national RFO programs in one central storage system located in our Paris headquarters, but also enable us to broadcast different RFO channels from one location, with schedules planned locally via a communal database. In addition, we wanted complete integration between our production and postproduction operations,” said Christian Augereau, Technical Director, RFO. “After extensive research, we found that Avid’s solutions and engineering teams were best able to meet these requirements. We’re also able to meet our infrastructure needs because Avid’s systems are HD-ready today. This allows us to evolve quickly toward HD when the time comes.”

The global workflow solution at RFO’s headquarters is based around an Avid Unity ISIS shared-storage and networking system. The Avid ISIS system will interface with eight MediaStream 8000 servers, which include 20 channels of ingest and 60 output channels, and will utilize an additional 20TB of centralized storage to handle approximately 5,000 hours of MPEG-2 IBP content at eight megabits-per-second. In addition, 16 Avid editing systems will connect to the production network, including a combination of Avid NewsCutter Adrenaline and Media Composer Adrenaline systems. Avid Unity MediaManager and TransferManager systems will facilitate media management for the workflow, including two-way transfers of files between the Avid Unity ISIS system and the MediaStream servers.

RFO will also deploy additional Avid equipment for its regional centers in New Caledonia, Polynesia, and the Reunion Islands. Each site will include an Avid Unity LANshare EX storage and networking system with 4TB capacity, MediaManager, five Media Composer Adrenaline editing systems, and an Avid AirSpeed system for broadcast playout.

“Since Avid announced its acquisition of Pinnacle, we have worked hard to ensure that the clients of both companies would benefit from the integration of our respective technologies. By leveraging the breadth of the integrated systems we can now offer as one company, RFO can accomplish its goal of operating a more efficient, profitable business,” said Francoise Semin, General Manager, Southern Europe for Avid. “RFO’s new workflow architecture will save time and money by simplifying media management, optimizing the availability of shared assets, and eliminating the need for costly satellite and tape transfers to get content to remote stations. In addition, with simultaneous, real-time access to media from every edit suite connected to the network, editors can begin working as soon as acquisition starts. As a result, RFO will operate with greater speed and precision than ever before.”

Once the installation is complete, RFO also expects to realize new revenue streams by repackaging programs created locally as compilation shows for cable, satellite and ADSL operators in neighboring countries. RFO also plans to create alternate versions of its programs for use on the Internet and mobile phones.

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ATG Broadcast Completes New Diverse Broadcast Centre For Astro

ATG Broadcast, a leading international systems integrator, has completed a new 65 channel Broadcast Centre in Cyberjaya, Malaysia for ASTRO ALL ASIA NETWORKS plc (“ASTRO”).

ATG designed, installed and commissioned the Broadcast Management system comprising, Satellite downlinking and incoming lines area, Tape ingest, compliance editing and versioning area, Multi-channel transmission area, Reactive transmission suites and voice-over booths and Master control room.

All technical furniture has been provided by ATG’s sister company, Custom Consoles.

ATG also hosted and managed a pilot project in the UK for the file-based media management system integral to the Cyberjaya Broadcast Centre project. Complex workflows originated in the broadcast management system are passed to Omnibus workflow managers. Omnibus then controls multiple Quantel ingest and production servers, Omneon transmission servers and a DIVArchive/Storagetek archive system to deliver the required automated media processing.

ASTRO will now split its broadcasting operation between Cyberjaya and its current operation at the All Asia Broadcast Centre (AABC) in Kuala Lumpur, 25 km north of Cyberjaya. The AABC will shortly be upgraded to match the Cyberjaya facilities. This will enable both sites to operate as a single integrated tapeless broadcast facility and to mirror media storage between the two sites using a high capacity inter-site data link.

ATG chose local broadcast systems integrator Digistar Corporation to deliver the project. ATG provided engineering design and project management with Digistar providing local engineering, test and installation expertise.

Graham Stephens, ASTRO CTO, comments: “ATG were chosen for their track record in delivering large-scale file based transmission systems in Europe and their understanding of the associated complex networking requirements. They have proved very valuable in assisting ASTRO to specify and design a fully-scalable, non-blocking, multi-site system architecture. We were also pleased that ATG felt confident enough in a locally-based integrator to use them to deliver significant installation, test and commissioning services in this world-class and leading-edge multichannel broadcasting facility. Both companies worked closely together to deliver the project in a very challenging timeframe.”

Alan Pimm, ATG Broadcast Sales Director comments: “We are delighted that ASTRO chose us for this key project in the Asia-Pacific region. Our clear technical understanding of ASTRO’s requirements has enabled us to propose a system that comprehensively meets ASTRO’s initial requirements and is easily scalable to meet future demands.”

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