WTTW Breaks Down Siloes With Avid Everywhere

WTTW utilizes Avid Media Central Platform.
CHICAGO—WTTW-TV is a public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD; and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as “Chicago Tonight,” “Check, Please!,” and “Mexico – One Plate at a Time,” WTTW presents the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs and children’s programming to almost two million weekly viewers across a four-state area.

But like other public broadcasters, we face some tough challenges: budgets are tight and increased competition from network, cable and web outlets make it more difficult to stand out and attract audiences. To thrive in the current media marketplace, it’s critical that we produce high-quality programming that engages today’s sophisticated viewers.

This is why one of our strategic goals is to expand our content production capabilities. To meet this goal, we needed to upgrade our linear, tape-based production workflow—which included multiple “siloed” systems—and adopt a fully integrated tapeless environment. To accomplish this, we decided to upgrade our entire facility with an integrated, end-to-end workflow based upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform.

To accelerate our creation and production processes, editors, producers, and journalists need to connect across long distances. Within the public broadcasting community, stations frequently work together on both local and national productions, often producing different segments of the same show in parallel. With 354 stations in the nationwide PBS network, there are ample opportunities to share valuable video, audio, and photo assets.

Before implementing the new workflow, we were using a rudimentary file-sharing workflow to collaborate with those outside the facility. For example, when working with local production companies in Chicago, we had to copy projects to drives, transport them downtown and then bring the drives back and import updated sequences—a time-consuming process that greatly hampered productivity.

Now, thanks to cloud-based video production solutions centered on Media Composer | Cloud, Interplay | Production and ISIS shared storage, WTTW staff can collaborate remotely, uploading, accessing, editing, sharing, logging, tracking and syncing media and projects in real time from any location. This makes it easy to share media assets—from video and audio to graphics—both within the organization and with external contributors like production companies and other PBS stations.

Using Media Composer|Cloud, external production companies and other PBS affiliates will be able to access media remotely using a proxy resolution, perform rough cuts and check the projects back in for approval. This will allow us to continue production without stopping periodically to reconform the media.

With our new workflow, we’ve been able to reduce costs, accelerate production workflows, enhance collaboration, and ultimately, produce and deliver the high-quality programming today’s viewers demand.

Avid Everywhere falls perfectly in line with our goals for WTTW: sharing media everywhere, working more efficiently and breaking down barriers so we can get where we need to be.

Mark Jahnke is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of WTTW, Chicago’s premier PBS station. He brings more than 12 years experience in broadcast engineering at stations including WFLD Fox Chicago, WYCC PBS Chicago, and AnswersMedia, LLC Chicago post production studios. He can be reached atmjahnke@wttw.com.

For more information, contact Avid at 978-640-6789 or visitwww.avid.com.