When surveyed, a frequent call from broadcasters is for standards and for freedom from vendor lock-in. One area that can be a minefield is the storage of edited projects for possible future reuse or repurposing. Although MXF is a standard, some vendors follow the OP Atom route, and others OP1A. Then there is the QuickTime wrapper, GXF and various flavors of DV, plus the essence codecs. It all makes for problems when a job is restored to a different platform.
Marquis Broadcast is addressing this issue with Medway Parking, which will be shown for the first time at NAB2009. The add-on to the Medway media transfer and format conversion software allows projects from Avid or Apple Final Cut Pro to be “parked” on a storage system for subsequent restore to either editing platform to seamlessly resume editing.
The primary benefit of this new feature is that sequences are archived in an open standard file format that can be read by many different editing applications.
Granby Patrick, partner and director of technology at Marquis, said the advantage is that “you can take a job off either editor to generic storage, and then pull it off to continue working weeks or months later. It converts the media files into MXF OP1A, stores the sequence data in the native format AAF or FCP XML and relinks the data to the newly wrapped media files.”
This method ensures that the essence files are not in a proprietary format and can be read at a future point. “We also built in an XML helper file, which describes the tracks, so if you import back into the other editor, you will get the correct track structure,” Patrick said.
The file is wrapped as a POSIX tar archive and can be stored on any mass storage device for later recall. In addition to archive, it can be used for file exchange with remote sites. “Everything is in there, and is open, and you can very easily unwrap them to get generic OP1As,” he said. For example, clips and timelines created in an Avid editing system may be restored to an Apple FCP, or vice versa. Furthermore, the parked file may be moved around the world by any file-moving application and restored into an edit system elsewhere.
Also at NAB2009, Marquis will feature Medway’s ability to move edited sequences back and forth between Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro NLEs. Editors will be able to move an entire sequence timeline from one editing system to another in a single drag-and-drop operation. Medway translates the EDL structure, but, more critically, also moves all the required content from one system to the other, carrying out file conversions during the move so the edit can be continued once the content arrives at its new destination. This powerful new feature will enable facilities to adopt a more flexible approach to the way in which they use their resources by giving them the freedom to move edit jobs quickly and efficiently between editing systems as they wish.