KLRT Does Tapeless With NewsFlow

Back in March, KLRT, a mid-market FOX affiliate in Little Rock, AR, launched news operations for the first time ever. What’s so unique about that? KLRT’s ops are completely tapeless, save for the Panasonic DV camcorders its photographers employ for field shooting.
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Back in March, KLRT, a mid-market FOX affiliate in Little Rock, AR, launched news operations for the first time ever. What’s so unique about that? KLRT’s ops are completely tapeless, save for the Panasonic DV camcorders its photographers employ for field shooting.

“The direction the industry appears to be going is more and more tapeless, so we decided to look into the feasibility of that in our case,” said Allen Finne, chief engineer, KLRT. The new facility began planning its newscast, which now runs for an hour sevens nights a week, more than two years ago. It decided to go tapeless about a year into the planning. According to Finne, there were many reasons his station chose to implement a tapeless workflow. First there was the blank-slate factor: “We didn’t already have a newscast, so we didn’t have to worry about the way things have been done around here,” he said. “We didn’t have a huge tape library. We didn’t have an investment in tape-based equipment or any news equipment.”

Second, KLRT, which only has one news-dedicated engineer on staff, just didn’t have the support needed for tape-based operations: “Tape tends to become support-intensive after a few years,” said Finne. “Also not inconsequential was saving some tape costs.”

Once they decided to go tapeless, Finne and his team set about researching the various server solutions on the market. Ultimately, they chose Video Technics’ NewsFlow, a turnkey workflow solution for ingest, editing, and play-to-air anchored by the manufacturer’s Apella Video Clip Server (VCS). In addition to the Apella VCS, KLRT’s NewsFlow system features remote proxy editors/ browsers, a MOS interface within the AP’s ENPS system, Ciprico DiMeda NAS, and Adobe Premiere editing platforms. All of the systems are linked over a Gigabit Ethernet network. “With NewsFlow, we made a scalable, turnkey solution using an open-architecture approach,” said Mark Rivers, CEO, Video Technics. “We integrated our ingest and playout server together with off-the-shelf networked storage and various NLE products. Specifically, with Adobe Premiere Pro, we created several software plug-ins to enhance the application for a fast-paced, collaborative production environment like broadcast news.”

KLRT uses a combination of microwave, satellite, and fiber to obtain feeds. All feeds are ingested into the Apella VCS server, which automatically creates low- and high-resolution proxy clips to allow journalists and editors to begin creating rundowns. User definable metadata fields are also added to the incoming clips. The metadata lives with the clip throughout the entire production process.

Using the ENPS system, which is integrated with the Apella VCS through NewsFlow’s MOS ActiveX option, journalists and editors can also make story assignments, track the progress of those assignments, as well as schedule and cue up those segments to be ready to play to air.

The entire KLRT news production process is held together with “sticky” NewsFlow metadata, which is typically inserted at the point of ingest or from a producer’s ENPS workstation when doing a NewsFlow “clip request.” This process allows clips to be described as stories are written and entered into the rundown before they even exist. Everyone in the newsroom and control room can monitor the completion status of this clip in realtime as they lead up to air time.

Collaborative file sharing is enabled by Ciprico’s DiMeda NAS, which is also part of the NewsFlow solution. “We provide [KLRT] the performance they need for video in a shared file environment,” said Mike Becker, DiMeda product manager, Ciprico. “It improves and simplifies their workflow by allowing editors to collaborate and work on the same file.” The DiMeda is capable of handling up to 25 simultaneous DV streams.

KLRT archives all of its news shows to DVD every week. Using Video Technics’ VT Archive DVD printer, which the company formally introduced at IBC this year, the station can store metadata that is searchable with thumbnail and MPEG-1 proxies in order to make it easier for editors and producers to find the content they seek. These DVDs can be browsed on any Mac or PC.