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CIRIS’ MXF-based digital production environment

Post & network production facilities

CIRIS’ MXF-based digital production environment

With post-production facilities in Amsterdam and Hilversum, CIRIS provides audio and video facilities in the Netherlands. The company decided to transition to digital workflows to speed production, offer media asset management services and support the MXF format. Many of the public and commercial broadcasters CIRIS works with are in the process of migrating to MXF-based production and transmission processes. The facility required an integrated storage and server solution to enable internal and external customers to store, search, browse and access video data and other content.

The facility also wanted digital workflows that would easily integrate with several different editing and transmission interfaces. Storage scalability was equally important. The services of the CIRIS Dynamic Platform, as the project is named, are offered to a heterogeneous group of customers, each having specific workflow requirements. These customers include public broadcasters, commercial broadcasters and nonbroadcasters with large product video libraries. As a result, the solution needed to be flexible and generic while also being capable of addressing specific customer demands. Silicon Graphics (SGI) Broadcast Europe designed, installed and integrated a complete digital storage and post-production environment for CIRIS.

The first phase of the project implemented the server and storage infrastructure and an asset management system. CIRIS purchased a 30TB SGI InfiniteStorage TP9300S storage array with a 6GB SGI Altix 350 server running Linux. The system includes four Intel Itanium 2 processors and a six-channel SGI media server with an InfiniteStorage array. A Sony PetaSite system is connected to the TP9300S array, allowing CIRIS to scale to 1.5PB of storage capacity.

Ardendo provided its ARDOME media asset management solution and helped the team with custom integration and development. ARDOME uses standard IT technology to enable television program and news producers to pre-edit on the Internet using Ardendo’s EasyCut proxy editing system. The company also provided its ingest solutions ARDCAP and DART.

Transmission of the three Dutch public channels is done centrally. The platform uses MXF as a file format for exchanging content between applications and devices from different vendors. When customers are connected to the platform, specific MXF-based workflows are designed and implemented to support specific requirements.

Content produced outside CIRIS can be tape or can be sent directly from the customer as an MXF file using a network connection; all Dutch broadcasters are connected via high bandwidth network.

Content is stored on various devices, from high-speed disks to low-cost data tape, in high-resolution format and transcoded to low-resolution browse format. The low-resolution format, in combination with the asset management system, is used for searching and browsing at the facility or the customer location. The finished program can be transferred in the MXF format from CIRIS to the transmission location.

Design TeamTechnology at Work CIRIS: Apple: Phillip Maher, tech. mgr. Final Cut Pro NLEs Piet Sjoukes, Dynamic Platform sales mgr. XSAN Hans Blom, sales mgr. Ardendo: Silicon Graphics: ARDOME MAM Kees Vos, architect, proj. mgr. ARDCAP Winfred van Kuijk, broadcast consultant DART and ArdUpload ingest Robert Pronk, account mgr. PreCut and EasyCut proxy editing solutions Avid Unity Front Porch Digital DIVArchive InfiniteStorage TP9300S Pinnacle Liquid Edition NLEs SGI Altix 350 server Sony PetaSite tape archive
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