(SWR) Südwestrundfunk

Südwestrundfunk (SWR), or Southwestern Broadcasting, is one of the first German public broadcasting stations. SWR serves more than 14 million viewers from three broadcast sites in the cities of Mainz, Baden-Baden and Stuttgart. Their current studio is approximately 15 years old, so SWR recently built a completely new studio and implemented a tapeless digital newsroom. This newsroom will allow the 50-person news team in Mainz to streamline its operations for distributed news production and play to air.

For Mainz, the station chose a solution designed by SGI Professional Services, which also served as systems integrator. The solution, based around SGI's data-centric broadcast technology, relies on the Media Server for broadcast systems (configured for DVCPRO25), as well as the Origin 300 server and the TP9400 storage system. Pinnacle Systems Liquid Blue nonlinear editors (NLEs), Dalet newsroom computer system, SGT Media Manager, SGT DBOS newsroom automation system, and MPEG-1 video browser/editor also were valuable pieces of equipment in carrying out the solution. Rather than serving strictly as a means of transporting a video signal, the new digital infrastructure enables the company to enhance its workflow and create efficiencies by allowing users to edit and browse material while it is being ingested, as well as by allowing easy reuse of the news story texts and video clips on the station's Internet Web site.

The new tapeless digital newsroom is based on IT technologies and centered on networking for computers and storage. It uses a switched Gigabit Ethernet backbone linked to a central content store, to provide users and systems with the ability to automatically access content through efficient distribution systems. The network also provides the link from the newsroom to the balance of the facility's legacy production, planning and archive systems.

For feed and tape ingests, an SGI Media Server for broadcast systems is configured with eight ports (four for ingest, two for backup playout, one for low-resolution encoding and one for content review). Coupled with 44 hours of protected RAID-3 storage, the SGI Media Server uses a protected file system for high reliability. Operators schedule ingest from their workstations, and two versions of clips are created.

Low-resolution clips can be browsed and pre-edited using SGT Media Manager software on any of the 50 PC-based Dalet OpenMedia station clients. All files ingested are referenced in SGT's media asset management database and are updated via a MOS protocol gateway to the Dalet OpenMedia newsroom computer system.

High-resolution files are simultaneously transferred from the SGI ingest server to the Origin 300-based central content server, where all content is stored during the news process. It's equipped with 100 hours of the high-performance TP9400 RAID storage system, which also allows it to act as the network-attached-storage server for five high-resolution Pinnacle Liquid Blue NLEs. The NLEs have direct access to the complete central content store via the high-speed network.

SGT DBOS news automation is designed with a modular distributed architecture that allows for flexibility and future expansion, handles the news automation duties. The Media Server systems support Multi-unit Video Control Protocol, a telnet-based protocol that uses the Ethernet network. The DBOS system communicates with the OpenMedia system using MOS protocol.

SWR went on air in February 2003 and reports the facility is experiencing greater flexibility, faster time to air and smoother news operations.

Design Team

Gerhard Gaa, proj. mgr.
Holger Kortüm, journalist
Rupert König, prod. eng.

Service and Projects
Rolf Allard, Udo Fettig, Hans-Jürgen
Grumbach, eng.

Stephan Kappel, mgr.
Pierre Montagne, Dirk Müller,
Helmut Scherer and Cenk Seven, solution architects

Sebastian Brings, systems eng.

Equipment List

Media Server with RAID-3
Origin 300 server with SGI TP9400

Dalet OpenMedia newsroom system

Media Manager/ DBOS news automation

Pinnacle Systems Liquid Blue NLEs