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CBC-TV integrates on-air branding

Network automation

CBC-TV integrates on-air branding

As a Canadian national broadcaster, CBC-TV required an efficient, powerful and flexible graphics solution to address its on-air branding needs and to integrate with its current infrastructure. It needed to trigger branding elements on different areas of the screen for different regions of the country.

The broadcaster also wanted more sophisticated graphics that did not have to be manually loaded — a tedious and error-prone process. It needed a solution that provided the graphics capabilities, coordination and playout for template-intensive programming such as news, sports broadcasts or other live events.

CBC/Radio-Canada, Canada’s national public broadcaster, invested in 20 SD and two HD Inscriber Inca AutoCG graphic playout systems for all network and regional branding.

CBC transmits its broadcast from the network control center (NCC) in the Toronto broadcast center. To accommodate time zones and local program variation, 19 SD program channels are currently used along with two HD channels.

The Inca AutoCG system offers the broadcaster a central graphics playout system that provides the combined functionality of a still store, CG and clip player. The rich SD or HD output of the systems can operate under control of industry-standard automation systems or MOS-enabled environments.

Each of 19 channels requires its own branding elements. A single-channel CG system is assigned to each channel and controlled by the NCC automation system. To simultaneously display multiple elements, such as a logo, a rating key, a weather alert or an animated tab showing upcoming events, the CG has two control ports, each controlled as a separate device from the automation.

To achieve sophisticated branding, the broadcaster chose the Strata layering functionality option of the graphics system. This allows the creation of multiple channel effects on a single channel. By using the layering functionality, two separate instances of the graphics application are running, each receiving its control input from the automation and rendering to the same physical output channel and mixing its graphics elements to the program video.

Several types of graphics elements are used. There are static and animated logos that are rarely updated and elements that change daily. These include animated tabs with messages such as “coming up next …” Last-minute items such as crawls are also handled by this system and can be delivered to air via automation or manually.

The broadcaster’s workflow involves a department creating the daily tabs and loading them into two server PCs. One PC continually updates all of the branding machines with the latest changes, while the second machine is synchronized to the first and acts as a standby in case the first PC fails.

Because the PCs double as offline CG workstations, any NCC operator can log into Inscriber Inca Studio to make last-minute changes, create crawls or verify the material.

CBC initially installed one system into one of its channels to resolve any issues related to integrating with its busy on-air automation, before proceeding with the rollout to the remaining channels.

In expanding its services, the broadcaster also implemented two HD channels as part of the NCC network delivery. Two Inscriber AutoCG machines were integrated into the branding delivery system to display the branding elements in HD format seamlessly to those channels.

Working with the Inscriber solutions, CBC realized a greater level of sophisticated graphics for improved on-air branding and integration with its automation system.

Design TeamTechnology at Work Harris: Inscriber AutoCG SD and HD systems Alex Wackley Grass Valley automation Jeff Rehling Leitch: Wayne Weaver Digital DAs Julian Ivanov Closed-captioning equipment Manfred Weitzmann CBC integration team Sony routing switcher
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