The Outdoor Channel provides programming that captures the excitement of outdoor adventure and the Western lifestyle. It can be viewed on multiple platforms including HDTV, cable VOD, and the web.
The Outdoor Channel engineering technical team: (L-R) Peter Chapman, senior engineer; Robert Southward, senior manager, master control; Mike Kozdrey, manager of engineering; Paul Weaver, vice president of operations; and Robert Nicholson, senior engineer
We had recently transformed from a tape-based workflow to a file-based workflow, but still faced pockets of operational inefficiency. Approximately 10 to 15 shows a week were being sent on tape to TVN for cable VOD delivery. Also, programming that arrived on tape had to be captured and encoded to digital files.
MULTIPLE EFFICIENCIES NEEDED
Our master control needed to transcode files for VOD delivery and also files from the digital archive for editing prior to re-airing. Our Web/broadband area needed files for the Website, and our production department required files for international content delivery. We also needed to archive older shows from spinning discs to Blu-ray, log show information and store files in a media library. Additionally, we needed to dub HD content to Blu-ray media for playback by our sales and marketing people.
Working with a solutions partner, we were able to create a more efficient way of operating. Part of our solution was through the use of several Telestream products.
For our high-volume transcoding needs, we upgraded from FlipFactory to a pair of Vantage server software systems. Vantage has an easy-to-use workflow graphical user interface and the capability for automatically processing multiple transcodings. It provided the processing capabilities we needed to support digital workflows across all departments. The redundant, dual-server configuration that we developed provides a failsafe system for preventing any delays in our various workflows.
For VOD delivery, Telestream’s Pipeline HD Dual and Vantage were integrated with our master control system to enable real-time encoding and delivery in the Cablelabs VOD format. By taking the encoding process in-house, we save some $4,000-5,000 per month and can now offer a greater number and variety of shows to our viewers. I know of no other all-in-one system that could provide us with Pipeline’s capability for simultaneously capturing and encoding HD and SD video. For the programming that still arrives on tape and requires a digital file for quality control and closed captioning operations, Pipeline provides faster capture, encoding and distribution within our digital workspace.
In our master control operation, Pipeline combines with Episode Pro software for creating dubs. HD video is captured through the Pipeline system, which in turn creates a DVCProHD QuickTime file, and is then transcoded by Episode Pro to Blu-ray. In addition, we’re able to copy Harris .LXF archive files to Blu-ray data discs.
REAPING THE BENEFITS
With the addition of Pipeline and Vantage, we now have a more efficient, automated digital workflow that saves us time and money, allows us to deliver any file type to any destination, and supports both domestic and international demands. In one week alone we estimate that we eliminated 20 hours of manual labor. Immediate cost savings on VTR maintenance, tape stock, man-hours, and encoding service fees have contributed to a speedy ROI.
Paul Weaver is vice president of operations at the Outdoor Channel and had been with the operation since 2004. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Telestream at 530-470-1300 or visit www.telestream.net.