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Sun News Network’s production control room one

TORONTO— Sun News Network provides approximately 96 hours of original content per week, ranging from breaking news to talk. The launch of Sun News last year presented some very demanding live production requirements. Exemplary operation with earlier Avid systems here—including Unity, NewsCutter, Media Manger, ControlAir and AirSpace—gave us the confidence to choose Avid to achieve our additional goals.

Our facility has undergone multiple transformations during the past 10 years, with different business units dictating different technical and production needs. A common factor in meeting these requirements has been Avid. The company has remained a constant partner.

In this latest change, we needed a sophisticated end-to-end system that could take us seamlessly from ingest to playout, as well as a system that provided robust automation.

From the earliest technical planning stages onward, continuing our relationship with Avid was the clear path for us. A large factor was that existing Avid experience and skill sets could be leveraged and built upon.

As a result, we implemented a number of Avid solutions, including iNEWS, which serves as the core workflow tool for news operations. We’re also using Avid ISIS to handle shared storage and Avid Interplay for advanced asset management. Avid’s iNEWS Command manages live production automation, and we rely on NewsCutter and Media Composer to for editing.

We were under tight timelines to implement new equipment installations and upgrade existing facilities, and we leaned heavily on Avid Professional Services to help us meet deadlines.

Our sister company, the TVA Group in Montreal, was already running a centralized WAN-enabled iNEWS infrastructure with satellite bureaus, and we found that the demand Sun News would be placing on this system to be significant.

With the creation of a second production control room in a new location across the street from our existing facility, and the addition of the iNEWS servers located in a different province, we needed assurance from Avid that our centralized workflow design was viable. By drawing on both internal expertise and that supplied by Avid, we were able to make the necessary upgrades and configuration paths, ultimately achieving a cost-effective solution.

Now redundant centralized Command servers located in Toronto communicate with iNEWS across the WAN and serve Command Workstations for playback of video and graphic assets across the two control rooms. In addition to using AirSpeed MS for production playback we’re also leaning on this product for baseband ingest into ISIS/ Interplay.

This was not an easy project, but after some initial challenges we’ve been able to achieve a seamless and stable integration.

Avid has not only helped us incorporate non-Avid systems, it also continually updates its technology, keeping everything industrycurrent, and providing a level of service and support that is just as much of an essential component as the products themselves. We now have a core technological solution, from ingest to on-air playout, that gives us the ability to build end-to-end workflows with unparalleled stability.

Mike Heninger is manager of engineering and IT at the Sun News Network. He may be contacted atmike.heninger@sunmedia.

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