New Zealand's Maori Television - TvTechnology

New Zealand's Maori Television

The build-up of Maori Television was a significant undertaking
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Maori Television uses FastBreak Automation from Sundance Digital for on-air playlist management. The system drives a Grass Valley Profile server, a Quartz Q256 SD router and QMC master control switcher, a Pinnacle Systems Deko CG and a Screen Subtitling Polyscript captioning system.

Maori Television's goals are globally unique. Founded under the Maori Television Service Act 2003 (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirrangi Maori), the new station is committed to revitalizing indigenous language and culture in its native New Zealand with the first national, free-to-air channel in the Maori language.

Working in conjunction with New Zealand-based Gencom Technology — the systems integrator tasked with designing and installing the station — the build-up of Maori Television was a significant undertaking. In 2002, the systems integrator began the process of selecting equipment and technology for a high-quality, cost-effective infrastructure with an anticipated on-air date of March 2004.

The station's management gave the systems integrator a general brief defining its requirements and requested that it design and build a turnkey, “green field” television station.

An IT-centric approach was taken for this project. High operational efficiency topped the list of requirements, as well as modern technologies using the latest in IT-based video systems. It was essential that the business infrastructure had to be driven from television needs. Therefore, the systems integrator took over the role of IT systems design to ensure that those television needs would be satisfied.


Maori Television uses FastBreak Automation from Sundance Digital for on-air playlist management. The system drives a Grass Valley Profile server, a Quartz Q256 SD router and QMC master control switcher, a Pinnacle Systems Deko CG and a Screen Subtitling Polyscript captioning system.

The station consists of one large traditional studio and control room, a news area studio, four edit suites, an audio post edit suite, a graphics area, a central technical area (CTA), an equipment room (CAR), and a presentation area. Additionally, there is a large desktop operation of the newsroom computer system (Avid iNews), desktop browse and editing (NewsBrowse) and video file management from Proximity.

A video server-centric approach was undertaken. For this, the systems integrator chose to use the Grass Valley Group Profile XP video server attached to a GVG fibre channel SAN storage system. The single server has eight bi-directional channels of I/O and is enough to serve studio, news, editing and presentation.

Three Grass Valley Group NewsEdit stations are directly attached to the SAN via fibre channel. This gives the “edit on server” work process, which means that any material ingested to the server either as live video or by file transfer is instantly available for editing and then playout to air.

In the newsroom, iNews is used for production, scripting and live-to-air operations. iNews supports MOS and tightly integrates with NewsBrowse and NewsEdit to effect an end-to-end process.


Maori Television features three Grass Valley NewsEdit stations, which are directly attached to the SAN storage system via fibre channel.

In the presentation area, the Quartz QMC master control switcher with the full-size panel is connected to the station's central 96×96 Quartz Q256 SD router. The master control switcher has a Pinnacle Systems Deko CG as a graphics source and a Quartz 16×1 bypass switcher. Downstream from this is Screen Subtitling's PolyScript for subtitling and closed captions. Currently, programs are subtitled either in English or Maori according to the material's original language, but plans for total English subtitling are under way.

Sundance Digital's FastBreak Automation controls all of these devices and systems for automated playout-to-air from both the Grass Valley Group Profile SAN and IMX videotape. The automation system is a Windows-based to frame-accurately manage server ingest, media management and unassisted playout. It takes traffic logs, and returns as-runs to the MSA Focus Perspective traffic, sales and scheduling software.

The station's news service is conducted entirely in the Maori language. Access to material from mainstream services, including international, is available; however, most content is produced locally and includes news, sports, current affairs, music, lifestyle, entertainment and classics. Maori Television is received by approximately 83 percent of New Zealanders via UHF frequency and 100 percent of the country via digital satellite.


The audio post edit suite features a ProTools audio workstation.

Barry Russ is the general manager operations for Maori Television.


Equipment at work

Avid:

iNews newsroom computer system
NewsBrowse desktop browse and editing system

Grass Valley Group:

Fibre channel SAN storage system
NewsEdit stations
Profile XP video server

Quartz:

QMC master control switcher
Q256 SD router
16x1 bypass switcher

Sundance Digital:

FastBreak automation system

MSA:

Focus Perspective traffic, sales and scheduling software

Pinnacle Systems:

Deko CG

ProTools:

audio workstation

Proximity:

video file management

Screen Subtitling:

Polyscript captioning system

Design team:
Gencom Technology, systems integrator