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WWBT-TV archives news footage with NewsCat

Newsroom technology

WWBT-TV archives news footage with NewsCat

As WWBT’s facility moved to a tapeless workflow with nonlinear editors and video servers, it was important to have an archive system in place to store news stories without the time consuming process of dubbing to videotape. The facility began researching news archive solutions in early 2005. It was looking for a scalable product that met its workflow requirements and budget. In October, the facility became a beta site for Crispin’s NewsCat application — an affordable, integrated news cataloging and archive solution.

WWBT had a number of reasons for choosing the Crispin news archive solution. The facility wanted to complete the tapeless workflow and eliminate the need for VTRs in its edit rooms, especially with its conversion to Panasonic P2 looming. It was also running out of real estate for its tape library. All of the facility’s hallways are lined with shelves containing 35 years’ worth of news tapes. NewsCat gave the station a return on investment almost immediately. It was able to save money by eliminating tapes from the equation.

The entire NewsCat archive system occupies nine rack units. This includes the database and Web server, low-resolution encoder and RAID storage.

NewsCat makes an archive copy of each clip on the Profile after airing, based on the rundown. Most important, it provides a method to easily locate material at a later date. Archived video clips are linked to a database containing all script information from the facility’s QNews newsroom computer system. The database functionality includes an extensive search function. Producers and editors can search for a story using traditional parameters, such as date, slug, script information, CG text or keywords. Low-resolution proxies are created for each archived clip, enabling journalists to preview material on their desktops before restoring to the edit room.

The facility can also create a library of generic file video by annotating news footage with keywords and descriptions. And since it’s a browser-enabled system, all of the facility’s producers can simultaneously access archived video clips using a standard Web browser from anywhere on the network. This browser-based system eliminates the need for dedicated archive terminals or software that not only enhances the workflow, but makes it easier to maintain the system.

WWBT designed its video storage solution to enable retrieval of up to 24 months of the most recent news video almost instantly using near-line storage. Older material is permanently stored in digital file format on removable Sony PDD disks, which are tracked by the NewsCat database. These disks can hold up to 23.3GB of data, which is more than three days’ worth of news stories, allowing the facility to significantly reduce the amount of shelf space it dedicates to tape libraries. Storage space requirements for these disks will be approximately 70 percent less compared with archiving on DVCPRO tapes.

The Crispin NewsCat system has made it easier for WWBT to enhance quality by keeping everything in digital file format, as well as making it easier for the news department to manage and find archived stories. The cost savings over tape archives was just a side benefit.

Design TeamTechnology at Work Crispin: Autocue QNews newsroom Rodney Mood, CTO Crispin NewsCat system Jim Zagrobelny, VP software dev. Grass Valley: Dan Lah, sr. software eng. 7 NewsEdit systems Tom Kingsley, chief sales eng. Profile server for news playback Bob Valinski, dir. of business dev. WWBT: Bruce Tinoco, dir. eng. Henry Boze, VP eng. TV R. Keith King, IT admin.
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