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Better Together! Dalet Acquires Ooyala Flex Media Platform business.

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Mar 05, 2018
IMF, the Age of Reason – Key Takeaways from HPA Tech Retreat
The annual gathering of media technology leaders and innovators in Hollywood is always a unique occasion to feel the pulse of the industry. This year was no different and a perfect opportunity to witness how mature and ready IMF workflows have become. Game on!

IMF, the Age of Reason – Key Takeaways from HPA Te

The annual gathering of media technology leaders and innovators in Hollywood is always a unique occasion to feel the pulse of the industry. This year was no different and a perfect opportunity to witness how mature and ready IMF workflows have become. Game on!

Some say the annual HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, CA shapes the agenda for the rest of the year in the media industry, and as it relates to program distribution, 2018 is no exception.

We’ll likely look back at 2018 as the year that IMF (the Interoperable Mastering Format) went from an emerging capability to full-blown industry reality. IMF is a file-based framework for the exchange and processing of multiple content versions of the same high-quality finished work. One of the primary benefits of this innovation being that version files reference media from the original master, limiting storage overhead and delivery time.


This year’s HPA Tech Retreat hosted an Innovation Zone with a focus on IMF, where multiple vendors showed how interoperable IMF has become, with mastering, management, QC and playout all working together, a reality. IMF moved beyond talk at HPA 2018…it became a working set of production-ready capabilities.


Taking a step back…


The transition to file-based media brought a massive transformation in the production and post-production business, removing the restrictions of real-time processing from workflows and introducing a real boost in efficiency. In the 10 years since, however, collaboration, the workflows themselves, and media operations have remained relatively similar, even while the demands have started to change dramatically…


We live in a multi-multi world!


In listening to our customers and talking with many others in the market, we’ve been hearing that media businesses are getting squeezed with the increase in multi-platform distribution. While the creation of new outlets is a boon for the business as a whole, the reality of the acceleration of release windows, coupled with the increasing number of outlets, is really leading to some interesting considerations:

  • How do I create more versions for less money per version?
  • Is it possible to increase version creation and distribution outlet deliveries automatically?
  • Can my single-purpose work tracking system and silos of media processing equipment work together?
  • How do I bring my creative, production and marketing teams together to share information and media to avoid duplication and increase our offerings?
  • What do I do with IMF?
     

Seriously, what can be done about creating more versions?


At Dalet, we’re big believers in automated processing, driven by recipes designed by people that know the business best. If you start with operators and administrators looking at the overall customer work that has been coming in, it is possible to build media recipes that can be automatically fulfilled as the media supply chain operates, including:

  • Video
  • Audio languages
  • Subtitle languages
  • Metadata transformations
  • Packaging instructions

 

Once recipes are defined, it really becomes as simple as connecting media processes and work operations to fulfill the recipe and create versions that go beyond simple transcodes and include everything necessary, including the proper metadata, images and folder/ZIP structures to make a delivery to Netflix, Comcast, Hulu or others.


Of course, a modern system that can handle the creation and implementation of these recipes and integrate with the equipment already onsite is key to making this work well. Dalet Galaxy has both the back-end and the user tools that enable your operators to define the best workflows and recipes for your business.

 

Moving toward automated version creation


To start, it really takes a firm evaluation of what is happening ‘down on the farm’ so to speak. In a lot of our discussions, we’re hearing about processes and systems that worked really well when they were implemented 10 years ago, and just aren’t designed to keep up today, particularly single-purpose work order tracking systems that don’t have any integration with media processing systems. So, while it can look like there is a bunch of automation available to the operation, there is really just a bunch of manual interaction required by operators to kick off the automated processes, and when order volume increases, it is difficult to get the supply chain ramped up, since it is dependent on human interaction.


These types of scenarios are best solved by starting to utilize media orchestration & management solutions (also known as business process management, BPM and workflow orchestration), which allow a single platform to ride on top of the existing media processes, interacting with the post operations’ existing equipment, so that, for example, media files are automatically categorized for work, assigned to the proper tasks, sent into a craft edit environment for final processing, transcoded and sent to the proper distribution channel. Of course, these orchestrators can’t run completely automatically, as the post business relies on a high degree of review and approval processes for human operators to inspect media as it progresses through the supply chain, and the best systems provide user task panes with customized user interfaces to not only fulfill the manual review, but also utilize the operators’ input to continue down the proper automated path.


For example, if a review reveals that the subtitles received for the content are actually Cantonese instead of Mandarin, the workflow engine should allow the operator to send a request back to the subtitle provider to redeliver and wait till the updated content arrives. And in the same token, content that is deemed as ready to proceed should be automatically transcoded to the proper formats, packaged with the metadata, and sent to the required distribution outlets, based on the original work order, all without any further operator interaction.


The two keys to being more efficient here are:

  1. Implementing a system that can drive your media supply chain, automatically, end-to-end, utilizing your existing equipment
  2. Ensuring that this system can also interact with your users and utilize their input to drive automated media processes


It is certainly possible to house a central catalog or small Media Asset Management (MAM) system to pull this off, and then join that with your existing work order system to try and get these teams together. What we’ve seen, though, is that since operators have to utilize different systems to move between receiving work, and actually doing work, and then marking work complete, they really stick with a disjointed setup like this. Even worse, rarely are the systems purchased capable of handling user access control lists so that each team is able to find what they need without disrupting the other’s work.


The solution here is to make sure that you have a central system that can handle user permissions, assign access to media when and where it is necessary and allow teams to receive and perform work all from one interface.

 

Enter IMF


The IMF standard allows the creation of a single original version with a full set of media essence, where each additional distribution receives a supplemental package that just contains the differences of that version from the original.
In the case where we need to deliver a French subtitled version of the original movie, it is only necessary to send the French subtitles and a composition that references the original version’s media assets.
Similarly, if we need to create a full-on French language version, we only need to deliver the titles, credit and dub video sequences, the French language audio track and again, a composition that references the original media.
Consequently, storage needs are massively reduced, sometimes by as much as 90% over legacy version creation! Also, IMF saves on QC cost and improves workflow automation.


However, and to make the most of IMF, media organizations need a powerful, IMF-aware asset management & orchestration platform. Indeed, as each of those supplemental versions gets delivered as a new folder in the mastering structure, organizations can end up with multiple sub-folders for each additional version in a nested structure that becomes very difficult to manage, instead of one nice flat file structure.


IMF seems to be the train that isn’t stopping. The support from Netflix has really ensured that the entire industry pays attention and considers its use in their operations. With NABA & DPP also on-board with IMF for broadcast and online, the world is continuing to move toward component media workflows in a big way.
 


Component media workflows are great in theory; you get to retain your media essence files in the original component format, mixing and matching them, as necessary, to create the versions for production, without the need of wasting time or storage space in conforming interleaved files. In practice, managing component media, including IMF, has become a serious challenge. At Dalet, we’ve seen everything from complex folder structures to multi-tab spreadsheets to track which packages belong with which titles from multiple providers. We believe managing IMF should be easier than that, and so, at Dalet, we’ve been building native IMF management into our MAM and Orchestration platform, Dalet Galaxy, to make sure that facilities can easily match up IMF packages and create the deliverables they need (IMF or otherwise).
 

 

This is why Dalet has developed dedicated features to make IMF management as simple as possible, with two platforms available for two different use cases:

  • Dalet AmberFin – for customers that need IMF processing: IMP generation, validation, CPL transcoding and delivery.
  • Dalet Galaxy – for customers that need enterprise-scale IMF management and orchestration.


Of course, Dalet Galaxy and Dalet AmberFin work perfectly together, with Dalet offering a single unified solution that allows you to create IMF, ingest IMF titles, manage the relationships between original and supplemental versions, and deliver IMF packages for your distribution needs.


For our customers that need to submit IMF to Netflix, Dalet AmberFin’s IMF workflow allows you to create a simple IMP with all required files in the IMP from any input.
Dalet AmberFin will take care of the JPEG 2000 transcoding, the audio track labeling, the Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) creation and the IMF metadata, as well as submission of the package to Netflix Photon, and coming soon, delivery directly to Netflix Backlot, all in one, orchestrated workflow. For those that are wondering, AmberFin can be used for ProRes IMF also!


Dalet AmberFin can create complex CPL packages as well, and since it works as a distributed transcoder, it can scale both on-premises or in a cloud environment.
Customers with large quantities of existing IMF content can utilize the Dalet Galaxy platform to tie original versions and supplemental packages together, giving a simple browse and search capability for titles with multiple versions.


Dalet Galaxy harnesses the power of Dalet AmberFin to parse the IMF packages, and retains all essential packaging information, including the Composition Playlist – known as CPL -, in the title versions.
The Dalet Context Map, allows a visualization of the relationships between the different tracks, different CPLs and an IMF title.
Never before has there been a tool specifically built for versions like this in an asset management system. And Dalet built this specifically for versioning customers like studios and post-production houses.  


Delivering an IMP from Dalet Galaxy is as simple as selecting the version desired. The IMP package will be created by resolving all media references in the CPL for the selected version, and these packages can be distributed over any of the existing connectors built into Galaxy, including Aspera, Signiant, File Catalyst, Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, FTP and network file systems.
Users can also utilize the workflow engine to drive a rendering of a composition for iTunes delivery as ProRes or any other format deliverable that you might need in your operation.

 

 

 

 

What about the investment?


That really depends on the vendor a facility works with. At Dalet, we work with two kinds of operations:

  1. The ones that love to get the cost out of the way up front and then amortize that cost over time on their projects, and;
  2. The ones that need systems that can be priced out per project, on a lease or SaaS basis

 

For example, we know that in the post-production world, there are only a handful of facilities that fit in that first category, so we’ve implemented methods to bring our media systems into their environments as OpEx, either inside their facility, in the public cloud like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure, or as a hybrid of the two.


With Dalet IMF solutions, media organizations have the ability to fulfill the entire promise of IMF. Not only can they save storage space by moving to supplemental versions rather than storing the entire package, they also have the ability to target distribution outlets with IMF requirements (such as Netflix) while retaining the capability to deliver the same content to any other vendors.

 

Want to go further?

 

 

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A Dalet customer since 2006, Galatz undertook the upgrade to enhance production and delivery of its music and news-related content through social media networks, enhance its reporters’ abilities to file stories from the field using Dalet On-the-Go, and use AI-powered speech-to-text algorithms to enable wider accessibility to its rich historical archives, which date back to its founding in 1950. “The upgrade to Dalet Galaxy five is enabling us to build a new content value chain, better integrating our social media channels across our operations, and leveraging AI services to make our entire inventory more discoverable and better monetized,” states Izak Pasternak, head of the technical department, Galatz. “We are able to make this quantum leap forward with the confidence of a decade-long partnership that is embedded in collaboration and success.” Amplifying audience engagement With Dalet Galaxy five, Galatz will be able to make all content that is produced in the production system available to social media publishing with a click of a button. Social media content performance (views, likes, shares) will be analyzed by the broadcaster; that data will be used to make better-informed decisions as to what to provide audiences next, helping to deliver a more enjoyable experience to listeners. Because the system is fully integrated with social channels, Galatz will be able to easily tap into the newly indexed archives and distribute topical collections of historical content across social networks - something that they have not been able to do before. Izak explains, “In terms of social media, today there is no connection between the system that is broadcasting content and the social media channels we want to publish to. With more and more people consuming news and content through social networks, it’s imperative for us to move to an integrated platform that can help us engage with audiences on a whole new level. Dalet Galaxy five enables us to do just that.” Reporting from the field Connecting in-the-field reporters directly to the newsroom, Dalet On-the-Go lets journalists organize and submit comprehensive news packages from their mobile device. Users can record interviews, write stories, and assemble and upload packages to the Dalet Galaxy five content catalog for sharing across the station or sending direct to air. AI opens the archives With a vast amount of valuable historic information under its care, Galatz wanted to make its archives open to the public for the first time online. Leveraging Dalet Media Cortex, the new AI cloud service of Dalet Galaxy five, the network applied AI-driven, speech-to-text algorithms to all archived content, turning it into text that is both searchable and accessible via an online portal. "Until now our content producers had to manually add metadata into the media asset management system, then an archivist would review it to make sure it was filled in properly,” explains Izak. “If our archives team wanted to find something, they had to remember how it might be catalogued and in which categories. Going back into the archive to transcribe it all manually would have been cost-prohibitive.” Izak continues, “Now, with Dalet Media Cortex everything is searchable since it’s processed through the speech-to-text engine. This saves us significant resource time and effort. And what’s more important, Israeli citizens can sit at home and enjoy the archive, simply by searching online. Dalet Media Cortex has made it extremely easy to search and find content from any point in time since 1950, which to a large degree, is the history of Israel itself.” Dalet’s Johann Zemmour, general manager of Dalet EMEA and APAC concludes, “Dalet is proven time and time again as a trusted technical partner to help customers achieve successful business transformations. In this case for Galatz, Dalet’s forward-thinking development of AI tools within Dalet Media Cortex enables the network to expand the use of its archives by making an extremely large amount of content available and searchable to its citizens. That could not have been realistically achieved by any other means.” Zemmour concludes, “Galatz recognizes the importance of providing its audience with experiences on the platforms of their choice and worked closely with Dalet to deliver on that demand.” About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
TV Centre Upgrades to the new Dalet Galaxy five Platform
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for media organizations and content professionals, today announced that Moscow-based station ТВ Центр (TV Centre) will upgrade its media operation to the new Dalet Galaxy five Media Asset Management (MAM) and Orchestration platform, propelling an HD and beyond production and multiplatform distribution workflow that better connects content with their audience on the device of their choice. A Dalet customer since 2006, TV Centre is a state-run Russia TV station with the fourth largest coverage in Russia after Dalet-powered broadcasters Channel One, Russia-1 and NTV. Dedicated to programming that highlights various aspects of the Capital life, the channel airs nationally and is also broadcasted outside of Russian territory. Facilitating TV Centre newsroom and program media needs from ingest to delivery, the initial Dalet installation featured the Dalet MAM with end-to-end News production, NCRS and playout for the newsroom and embedded production tools for unified search, assembly and distribution of program content. Under the new progressive Dalet Galaxy five powered workflow, TV Centre will move into HD production and delivery with the ability to support higher resolutions in the future. The broadcaster will also leverage the new Dalet Galaxy five Social Media Framework capabilities to further streamline its news content supply chain and expand its audience reach, outputting news content to all major social channels including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In addition to advancing its social media initiatives, the broadcaster will also be able to integrate its digital platform to its CMS for rapid publishing of news online. Completing the upgrade will be full integration of TV Centre Archives. "The operational goal driving the upgrade to Dalet Galaxy five was our transition to the HD and AVC Intra as our mezzanine format,” explains Alexey Brusnitsky, technical director TV Centre. “However, this move is much more than a technical uplift and there is a bigger strategic picture at play for us at TV Centre. We also wanted to take advantage of the migration to evolve our operation and meet the changing demands of our audience as well as enable future technologies. We felt the Dalet Galaxy five platform offered the agility required to deliver on this ambition with Dalet as our trusted technology partner to help us get to that next level.” Leveraging the Dalet Galaxy five Workflow Engine, TV Centre can now build and orchestrate ingest, transcoding and news automation workflows as well as employ specific archive file migration policies across the entire operation. “The Dalet Galaxy five API integrations are also very appealing for TV Centre specifically for their archives,” explains Johann Zemmour, general manager Dalet EMEA and APAC. “Connecting the archives into the workflow will give them a fluid, connected movement of content from ingest to playout to archive. Further, Dalet Galaxy five will give them the ability to employ IMF workflows in the future utilizing the Dalet AmberFin media processing platform and the Dalet Workflow Engine. The ease with which TV Centre has been able to advance its production and distribution capabilities while integrating a range of in-house systems, underlines just how robust and flexible Dalet Galaxy five is as a platform in which you can evolve the operation and maximize your ROI." About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
Telefe Upgrades to Dalet Galaxy five
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for media organizations and content professionals, today announced that leading free-to-air Argentine network Telefe is to drive an expansive multiplatform workflow with the Dalet Galaxy five Media Asset Management (MAM) and Orchestration platform. The massive upgrade encompasses program preparation, production, output, and archive and will principally improve Telefe’s automation and social media workflow. Owned and operated by Viacom International Media Networks since 2016, Televisión Federal (known as Telefe) reaches 95% of all households in Argentina, a country of 43 million. Headquartered in Buenos Aires, it produces more than 3,000 hours of Spanish language video content each year distributed across eight regional channels, as well as a significant and growing multi-platform presence and, distributed globally over pay TV channel Telefe Internacional. Telefe also manages a library of over 33,000 hours of content. Dalet has facilitated Telefe’s broadcast, post, and archive workflows since 2014. The comprehensive installation gives Telefe producers, editors, assistant editors, and operators direct access to archives and workflow tools. “We need to serve our audience by reaching them wherever they are and that means a huge expansion in our social media distribution,” explained Santiago Matias Guimerans Soto, vice president of technology and operations at Telefe. “Having successfully based our media operations on Dalet for many years it was natural for us to upgrade to Dalet Galaxy five to take advantage in particular of the workflow engine. This will give us greater agility and speed in developing new workflows to accommodate the creation and publication of content to social media and future platforms. Dalet is a solution that Telefe can continue to grow with over time. It helps us create new forms of revenue and reduces our time to market.” Telefe plans to design and build an integrated media supply chain that encompasses ingest, transcoding and distribution using the Dalet Galaxy five workflow designer tool. The Dalet AmberFin media processing platform seamlessly integrates with Dalet Galaxy Five and drives Telefe’s QC workflows. Production and publishing of all program content to applications such as Mi Telefe (My Telefe) and Telefe Noticias (Telefe News) as well as YouTube, Facebook and other classic social media platforms will be much more efficient in Dalet Galaxy five. “Telefe already represents one of Dalet’s largest installations in South America and our partnership is further strengthening with this next technology leap,” explains Julien Decaix, general manager Dalet Americas. “It is Dalet’s proven ability to connect production, post-production, and archives combined with the ease of content publishing to outlets like YouTube and emerging consumer platforms that first attracted Telefe. The flexibility of Dalet Galaxy five further allows them to smoothly integrate and manage the different video formats used by Viacom together with those of Telefe. The initial Dalet investment continues to give them complete interoperability five years later while enabling them to orchestrate new workflows introduced by outside operations with ease. This is a tremendous return on investment.” About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.