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Field Report: TVA Runs Smoothly With Help From Kaydara's mediastore

TVA is a French-language television network in North America, broadcasting from its headquarters in Montreal to five regional stations, in addition to two international broadcasts for both the eastern and western parts of Canada. TVA produces programming for three major channels: TVA, the main channel; LCN, a 24-hour news channel; and TV Achat, a 24-hour infomercial channel.

With programming demanding an increasing amount of graphics and animation, we needed to replace our aging still stores with more modern and capable equipment. Our equipment did not support animation and forced us to import images through a video grabbing process. We could buy a Kaydara mediastore unit for the same price as other still stores without clip capability. The still store would enhance the quality of our production, ensuring our ability to develop strong content for the future, while simultaneously saving us time and money.

The media-server system provided support for stills, audio/video clips, animation and CG. Its modular nature and use of standardized components meant that we avoided compatibility issues and easily integrated the equipment into our existing production network. The fact that it supported both analog and digital I/O and Ethernet networking was a plus, as the industry is moving toward digital.

The system is based on the Windows NT file system, so there is no need to import and catalog the media before use or deal with proprietary file types. This allowed us to reorganize our workflow to use a more distributed networked approach. Being able to directly read multiple native file formats helped us to speed up the process of creating content and bringing it to air. We created content in packages such as Photoshop, Lightwave, Illustrator, Speed Razor and Premiere. We then transferred the material to the media servers feeding to the live program.

These tools and functionality can be accessed through a drag-and-drop GUI. The speed with which you can manipulate media using the drag-and-drop interface and keyboard shortcuts becomes a key factor in crunch times when a mistake on-air needs to be fixed. This is an easy process using the system; as soon as your corrected content is ready, you can instantly reload the media directly from the paint system via the network.

We use 10 Kaydara mediastores at TVA. Three are integrated into the broadcasting center, used as servers and automated with a Florical system. One is used for content creation and as a backup in case one of the other units fails. The other six units are being used to develop content and serve programming for live news reports, various TV shows and quiz shows as well as for creating CG and animation for all these programs.

The Kaydara mediastore has been a reliable solution for us. It has met the strenuous demands of the broadcast studio environment head-on.

Guy Beaudoin is the director of engineering at TVA.