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Jul 02, 2015
Shared Storage for Media Workflows… Part 1
Media workflows and operations are among the most demanding in the IT world, if not the most. Architecting efficient storage systems requires significant expertise and testing, along with a real understanding of media elements. In part one of this article, Dalet Director of Marketing Ben Davenport lists and explains the key concepts to master when selecting storage for media workflows.

Shared Storage for Media Workflows… Part 1

Media workflows and operations are among the most demanding in the IT world, if not the most. Architecting efficient storage systems requires significant expertise and testing, along with a real understanding of media elements. In part one of this article, Dalet Director of Marketing Ben Davenport lists and explains the key concepts to master when selecting storage for media workflows.

In part one of this article, Dalet Director of Marketing Ben Davenport lists and explains the key concepts to master when selecting storage for media workflows.
Part two, authored by Quantum Senior Product Marketing Manager Janet Lafleur, focuses on storage technologies and usages.
 
Editing on a reel‑to‑reel machine - Source: Sound On Sound (soundonsound.com)The first time I edited any media, I did it with a razor and some sticky tape. It wasn’t a complicated edit – I was stitching together audio recordings of two movements of a Mozart piano concerto. It also wasn’t that long ago and I confess that every subsequent occasion I used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I’m guessing that there aren’t many (or possibly any) readers of this blog that remember splicing video tape together (that died off with helical-scan) but there are probably a fair few who have, in the past, performed a linear edit with two or more tape machines and a switcher. Today, however, most media operations (even down to media consumption) are non-linear; this presents some interesting challenges when storing, and possibly more importantly, recalling media. To understand why this is so challenging, we first need to think about the elements of the media itself and then the way in which these elements are accessed.

Media Elements

The biggest element, both in terms of complex and data, is video. High Definition (HD) video, for example, will pass “uncompressed” down a serial digital interface (SDI) cable at 1.5Gbps. Storing and moving content at these data rates is impractical for most media facilities, so we compress the signal by removing psychovisually, spatially, and often temporally redundant elements. Most compressions schemes will ensure that decompressing or decoding the file requires less processing cycles that the compression process. However, it is inevitable that some cycles are necessary and, as video playback has a critical temporal element, it will always be necessary to “read ahead” in a video file and buffer at the playback client. Where temporally redundant components are also removed, such as in a MPEG LongGOP compression scheme like Sony XDCAM HD, the buffering requirements are significantly increased as the client will need to read all the temporal references, typically a minimum of one second of video, or 1Gb of data.

When compared to video, the data rate of audio and ancillary data (captions, etc.) is small enough that often it is stored “uncompressed” and therefore requires less in the way of CPU cycles ahead of playback – this does, however, introduce some challenges for storage in the way that audio samples and ancillary data are accessed.

Media Access

Files containing video, even when compressed, are big - 50Mbps is about as low a bit rate as most media organizations will go. On its own, that might sound well within the capabilities of even consumer devices – typically a 7200rpm hard disk would have a “disk-to-buffer” transfer rate of around 1Gbps, but this is not the whole story.

  • 50Mbps is the video bit rate – audio and ancillary data results in an additional 8-16Mbps
  • Many operations will run “as fast as possible” - although processing cycles are often the restricting factor here, but even a playback or review process will likely include “off-speed” playback up to 8 or 16 times faster than real-time – the latter requiring over 1Gbps
  • Many operations will utilize multiple streams of video
Sufficient bandwidth is therefore the first requirement for media operations, but this is not the only thing to consider. If we take a simple example of a user reviewing a piece of long-form material, a documentary for instance, in a typical manual QC of checking the beginning, middle and end of the media. As the media is loaded into the playback client, the start of the file(s) will be read from storage and, more than likely, buffered into memory. The user’s actions here are fairly predictable, and therefore developing and optimizing a storage system with deterministic behavior in this scenario is highly achievable. However, the user then jumps to a pseudo-random point in the middle of the program; at this point the playback client needs to do a number of things. First, it is likely that the player will need to read the header (or footer) of the file(s) to find the location of the video/audio/ancillary data samples that the user has chosen – a small, contained read operation where any form, if buffering, is probably undesirable. The player will then read the media elements themselves, but these too are read operations of varying sizes:
  • Video: If a “LongGOP” encoded file, potentially up to twice the duration of the “GOP” – in XDCAM HD, 1 sec ~6MB
  • Audio: A minimum of a video frames-worth of samples ~6KB
  • Ancillary data: Dependent on what is stored, but considering captions and picture descriptions ~6B
Architecting a storage system that ensures that these reads of significantly different orders happen quickly and efficiently to provide the user with a responsive and deterministic way for dozens of clients often accessing the exact same file(s) requires significant expertise and testing.

Check back tomorrow for part two of “Shared Storage for Media Workflows,” where Janet Lafleur looks at how storage can be designed and architected to respond to these demands!

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How leading media organizations grow with Dalet… A year in customer stories!
Everybody loves a good story, right? Well, it’s particularly true at Dalet. We love stories and we love storytellers. News, sports, TV shows, films, documentaries, corporate and educational content… Our mission is to enable the business of media and our mandate is to do it as effectively as possible, whatever the market or content type. Our team is passionate about media workflows, storytelling and, above all, seeing customers succeed and audiences delighted! So, what a better way to illustrate this than actually telling the stories of the work we do with our customers? Let me take you through some of our best 2019 customer stories and showcase world-class operations, amazing teams and unique content experiences. But more than that, let me tell you about these long-term, strategic partnerships and deep relationships built over time between the Dalet team and our clients’ teams… Breaking the news for today’s multiplatform audiences With changes in the media landscape accelerating, more than ever, news organizations need to be agile enough to meet evolving expectations. But what news organizations really need to focus on, is the dramatic shift in audience behavior and the fierce competition for screen time. They need the agility to experiment with different platforms, formats and tones of voice in order to reach fickle young audiences. Here are examples of Dalet customers breaking new grounds. SBS, Australia Building a cross-platform, multi-cultural media operation with Dalet With significant shifts in audience expectations for more content on more platforms, SBS took the strategic decision to revamp its underlying media management and distribution architecture with Dalet. Faced with a range of legacy products no longer able to cope with increasing demands for multi-platform and multi-lingual content production and distribution, SBS centralized all its media operations under a single, open and collaborative platform: Dalet Galaxy. <iframe width="100%" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zzuKhEzoT-I" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> NextRadioTV, France Driving Multi-Platform Expansion for Leading Media Brands with Dalet Owned by multinational telecoms and mass media company Altice Group, NextRadioTV is one of the largest media properties in Europe with 14 TV and two radio channels, including BFMTV, reaching more than 10 million viewers each day. A Dalet customer since 2005, NextRadioTV powers its content production, playout and multi-platform distribution workflows with Dalet Galaxy for all of their leading TV, radio and digital channel brands. NextRadioTV also leveraged its Dalet Galaxy platform to launch the newest regional channel, BFMLyon. <iframe width="100%" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F_PXyJtOchs" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> “More than 1,000 journalists and editors are able to work with the Dalet Galaxy system. They work collaboratively and share their content across all NextRadioTV brands. This gives us tremendous flexibility with regards to feeding channels and distribution outlets, including our new BFM Lyon channel.” Antoine Robelin, Broadcast CTO, NextRadioTV Mediaset, Italy How Mediaset Uses Dalet for News and Info-tainment. A story about growth and efficiency! Mediaset is Italy's largest commercial broadcaster. Back in 2010, they embarked on a radical business transformation with Dalet to produce more content, faster, to more devices with a future-proofed and scalable agile system in response to new business opportunities. Connecting teams, breaking production silos and creating a centralized internal news agency with content customization at the heart, Mediaset fully leverages Dalet Galaxy. Providing sports fans unique content experiences Sports have always been a ‘now’ focused-type of entertainment and the digital era has brought in a whole new world when it comes to fan engagement. Providing a unique media experience and deepening fan engagement before, during and after the games is the number one goal for teams, leagues and federations. MLSE, Canada Expanding the Fan Experience in Arena and Around the World with Dalet A world-class sports and entertainment organization, MLSE is the owner of iconic teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), and Toronto FC (MLS). MLSE relies on Dalet Galaxy to centralize, manage, produce and deliver all of its content, providing a unique media experience and deepening fan engagement before, during and after games. <iframe width="100%" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rl9yRhM0Jm8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> “Dalet allows us to focus on telling the timely stories that matter to fans right now - whether it’s creating snackable content from interviews, a look into the lives of players, or deconstructing a spectacular play moments after it happens. It also gives us the ability to reuse that content for a related story in the future; connecting the history of the organization to that ‘now’ moment, which deepens the passion our fans have for their favorite team.” Shannon Hosford, Chief Marketing Officer at MLSE Building agile content supply chains and augmenting workflows Translations.com, USA Translations.com introduces Media.Next A Dalet “Business Innovation” Award winner in 2019, Translations.com, the technology division of TransPerfect, leverages fully the Dalet Galaxy five Media Asset Management (MAM) and Workflow Orchestration platform. Building on the principle of open production and component-based workflows, the new platform, dubbed “Media.Next,” prepares for the industry-wide explosion of media translation and localization needs. “The Dalet Galaxy five platform played a key role in the successful launch of our Media.Next solution. The demand for localization of video content is growing rapidly, and we’re confident that our partnership with Dalet will help us scale up to meet demand.” Phil Shawe, President and CEO at TransPerfect 2019 was quite a ride! We hope these customer stories have given you a great deal of inspiration and ambitious ideas for 2020 and beyond. And, who knows, perhaps next year it will be your turn to be featured in the Dalet blog… Bring on 2020! Want to learn more and meet these organizations? Join us at a Dalet Pulse event near you!
New Dalet Cube NG Powers Broadcast Graphics Workflows for Teleticino and IB3
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, announced today that Teleticino and IB3 are revamping their broadcast graphics capabilities with the new Dalet CubeNG solution powered by the Brainstorm real-time graphics engine. An Italian-language television channel based in Switzerland, Teleticino provides news and entertainment programming for the Ticino canton region. IB3, public radio and television channel of the Balearic Islands in Spain, caters to local viewers’ traditional broadcast and digital platforms. A core component of the Dalet Galaxy five platform for news workflows, Dalet CubeNG enables Teleticino and IB3 to create dynamic branding that up-levels visual news narratives across traditional, digital and social channels. “With news consumption growth across digital channels and audiences craving image-rich news stories, it’s critical that broadcasters have a connected premium graphics workflow that empowers journalists with tools to add engaging visuals that drive a consistent brand whether they are covering a breaking news event for primetime television or bringing viewers on a content journey across social platforms,” comments Jérémy Krein, Dalet CubeNG Product Manager, Dalet. “With graphics creation and delivery at the heart of the story-centric news workflow, Dalet CubeNG enables a seamless multimedia production experience that is a quantum leap ahead of its predecessor in terms of quality, features and performance. And it’s available today for our Dalet Galaxy five customers.” A major upgrade to the existing Dalet Cube graphics platform, Dalet CubeNG features a redesigned, highly scalable architecture and modern web-based UI. The embedded, high-performance Brainstorm real-time 3D graphics engine expands on-air and file-based graphics capabilities with its support for 4K and user-defined options, added primitives for building 2D and 3D graphics, support for Unicode fonts and languages, and outstanding transition logic. Natively connected to Dalet Galaxy five, Dalet CubeNG propels fast-paced news workflows offering live changes on playback with advanced support for updating behaviors and conditions. Its simple-to-use toolset and templates foster rapid adoption across the newsroom, enabling broadcasters to scale the production and delivery of visually impactful, on-brand news packages across all traditional and digital channels. As the Dalet Galaxy five media asset management control layer tracks every graphic object, staff, including journalists, can search on any and every graphic element, making it easy to collaborate and repurpose material. The robust Dalet API enables extensible workflows and services that extend the graphics production and delivery capabilities. Krein elaborates on the need to have a tightly integrated graphics component, “Clients like Teleticino, who already rely on Dalet Galaxy five for editorial management and process orchestration realize the workflow advantages that seamless integration brings. Dalet CubeNG eliminates the shortcomings of a multi-vendor graphics integration, facilitating full access and control over premium graphical elements within a workflow framework they are already familiar with. Further, as an existing customer, Dalet has an understanding of Teleticino specific needs which is combined with years of experience in designing solutions and workflows for global newsmakers. The combination of fully integrated premium graphics designed by a partner who understands your needs backed by decades of experience ensures a best of breed graphics workflow.” Combined with Dalet Galaxy five, Dalet CubeNG offers a single-vendor solution that eliminates integration and deployment challenges and lowers cost of ownership. For more information on Dalet CubeNG and other Dalet solutions, please visit https://www.dalet.com/cube 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. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) 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.
NextRadioTV Accelerates its Digital Transformation and Network Expansion with Dalet
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, announced today that NextRadioTV has leveraged its existing Dalet Galaxy Media Asset Management (MAM), Workflow Orchestration and Editorial platform located in Paris, France to launch the new BFM Lyon news channel. Owned by the multinational telecoms and mass media company Altice Group, NextRadioTV is one of the largest media properties in Europe with 14 TV and two radio channels, reaching more than 10 million viewers each day. A Dalet customer since 2005, NextRadioTV powers its content production, playout and multi-platform distribution workflows with Dalet Galaxy for all of their leading TV, radio and digital channel brands including, BFM Business, BFM Paris, RMC Sport, RMC Story, RMC Découverte, and BFMTV, France’s most-watched news channel. The diverse program content contains breaking local and national news, world financial and business news, and full coverage of football, rugby, tennis, boxing and more. “NextRadioTV has an ambitious roadmap in terms of both new content production and new channels, like BFM Lyon,” comments Antoine Robelin, Broadcast CTO, NextRadioTV. “Underpinning the entire operation with an agile platform like Dalet Galaxy enables us to centralize all of our media operations and optimize productions. More than 1,000 journalists and editors are able to work with the Dalet Galaxy system. They work collaboratively and share their content across all NextRadioTV brands. This gives us tremendous flexibility with regards to feeding channels and distribution outlets, including our new BFM Lyon channel.” NextRadioTV’s digital transformation with Dalet has enabled the group to launch new initiatives like the ultra-targeted regional station BFM Lyon quickly, while keeping in line with the brand’s content strategy across multiple locations. With a reputation for always being the first to broadcast breaking news, the Dalet tools help NextRadioTV verify, editorialize and broadcast content before any other media outlet. “Launching BFM Lyon, the second regional channel after BFM Paris under Altice France, marks a major step in our network expansion strategy. Thanks to the advanced collaboration framework and powerful connectivity, Dalet Galaxy has helped broaden our reach while accelerating a digital transformation that allows us to continue to scale with ease,” adds Antoine Robelin. A single Dalet Galaxy MAM, orchestration and editorial platform powers NextRadioTV's massive multi-channel, multi-format and multi-output programming, from news and sports to long-form and radio programs, allowing individual teams to manage collaboratively everything from content ingest, editing, graphics and playout, to multi-platform distribution and archives. Johann Zemmour, General Manager EMEA-APAC, Dalet comments, “The agility of Dalet Galaxy is very important for NextRadioTV’s product-oriented production approach, in which they use a studio to produce a show and decide later where and when that program content will appear on TV, radio and digital. Dalet Galaxy allows them to use their resources independently of their channels, enabling NextRadioTV to leverage a wide range of content for new channels as well as manage distribution across their many platforms in an incredibly efficient manner.” Dalet systems have supported BFMTV programming throughout their entire history, from a small newsroom of 50 people to what is today several hundreds of simultaneous users and advanced workflows covering all production and playout operations. Serving all operations across multiple locations, the Dalet Galaxy systems facilitates immediate content sharing across all departments, supporting desktop editing for fast turnaround news and sports via Dalet OneCut, and advanced packages crafted on Adobe Premiere Pro CC brought seamlessly into the collaborative workflow via Dalet Xtend. <iframe width="660" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F_PXyJtOchs" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> About NextRadioTV NextRadioTV is an independent multimedia company. Its business focuses on five areas – general news, sports, the economy, high-tech and factual entertainment – available on television, radio and digital media. The Group has recognized know-how and expertise in managing innovative audiovisual projects. 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. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, LFP) 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.
New Dalet Cube NG Brings Advanced Broadcast Graphics to Dalet Unified News Operations
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, announced today the release of its next generation platform for news graphics and workflows, Dalet CubeNG. Fully integrated across the Dalet Unified News Operations solution powered by Dalet Galaxy five, the state-of-the-art, full-featured Dalet CubeNG graphics platform leverages the industry-leading Brainstorm real-time graphics engine to deliver superior 2D and 3D branding and visuals. Suited for both on-air and file-based graphics creation, the Dalet CubeNG unified approach enables news broadcasters to easily create dynamic branding and up-level visual storytelling across traditional, digital and social channels. “Great graphics play a key role in impactful storytelling and deepening viewer engagement. The expansive capabilities of Dalet CubeNG powered by the Brainstorm graphics engine is a significant upgrade for what our Dalet Galaxy five news customers can achieve in terms of creating riveting visual narratives across all distribution channels,” comments Kevin Savina, Director of Product Strategy, Dalet. A major upgrade to the existing Dalet Cube graphics platform, Dalet CubeNG offers a redesigned, highly scalable architecture and modern web-based UI. The embedded, high-performance Brainstorm real-time 3D graphics engine significantly expands on-air and file-based graphics capabilities with its support for 4K and user-defined options, added primitives for building 2D and 3D graphics, support for Unicode fonts and languages, and outstanding transition logic. Noted news broadcasters that rely on the Brainstorm real-time graphics engine include CNBC, NHK, RAI, RTHK, RTVE, TVN and many others. “Brainstorm’s real-time graphics engine has proven its power, flexibility and reliability in hundreds of installations all over the world,” says David Alexander, Brainstorm’s Commercial Director. “And we are now very excited with this new opportunity, forging a long-term relationship with Dalet by working together to provide news broadcasters with state-of-the-art features and a very versatile toolset with the Brainstorm engine at the core of Dalet CubeNG. The ease, speed and flexibility of content creation offered by the new Dalet CubeNG, which are well recognised hallmarks of Brainstorm’s graphics engine, empower broadcasters with greater capabilities to better engage with their audiences and enhance the viewer experience with more visually attractive graphics and improved storytelling.” Feature highlights of the new Dalet CubeNG include: Advanced Materials and Objects – Thanks to the Brainstorm graphics engine, Dalet CubeNG supports a wide range of objects including spheres, curves and arrows with extensive control over parameters. It also includes a particle generator for creating visual effects such as fire, smoke, rain and more, and other special objects that can be dynamically linked to external data parameters. Font and Text Management – Dalet CubeNG offers full control over 2D and 3D text including size, texture, shading and mapping. It also includes support for Unicode fonts and a wide range of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese, Korean and Thai. Format and Resolution Independent – Dalet CubeNG is resolution independent and supports HD, 2K, 4K, 8K, UHD and beyond, as well as digital and social graphics formats and workflows. Tweet to Graphics – No story is complete until it’s been posted on social; the moment users transform a tweet into a graphic, that graphic becomes an object within Dalet that journalists can either schedule in a production rundown or play out on-air with the news package. Ease-of-Use – Dalet CubeNG features simple-to-use tools and tight integration with Dalet Galaxy five that facilitate the adoption of graphics creation and use across the newsroom. Fully integrated with Dalet Galaxy five, Dalet CubeNG gives news broadcasters a complete solution for building impactful graphics to enhance a news story. Thanks to this native connection, changes to graphics can be made on playback, with advanced support for updating behavior and conditions. Users can add CG elements into the video project for either playout or burn-in, and graphics will trigger automatically at playout wherever the journalists placed CGs on the timeline. With total control of graphics playout with the on-air video operator, news teams can better allocate resources and improve operations all around. Dalet Galaxy five tracks every graphic object, allowing graphic designers, journalists, producers and other staff to search on any and every graphic element, making it easier than ever to repurpose graphics and objects, keeping a broadcaster’s brand consistent across all distribution outlets while maintaining efficiency. For more information on Dalet CubeNG and other Dalet solutions, please visit www.dalet.com/cube. Better Together - Join us for a Very Special Dalet Pulse Event! This IBC2019, the Dalet Pulse media innovation summit will expand its platform to include Ooyala. Celebrating the joining of two great media teams and technologies, the Dalet Pulse theme this year, Better Together, will give attendees a chance to learn about the extended product portfolio and how it helps leading media organizations develop agile content supply chains, deliver unique content experiences to multi-platform audiences, and increase revenues with Dalet solutions and partner technologies. It’s also a unique opportunity to meet the expanded team. Thursday, 12 September Pompstation, Amsterdam Keynote: 17:30 - 19:00 Party: 19:00 - 22:00 Register now via www.dalet.com/events/dalet-pulse-ibc-2019 Book a Private Briefing to Learn More About Dalet Take the opportunity to have a private demonstration or workflow consultation with a Dalet expert to learn how the latest products and solutions can help you better create, manage and distribute content. Book a meeting via https://www.dalet.com/events/ibc-show-2019 Press can contact Alex Molina at alex@zazilmediagroup.com to schedule a media briefing. About Brainstorm Brainstorm is a 25-year-old specialist company dedicated to providing industry-leading real-time 3D graphics and virtual set solutions for broadcast, feature film production and corporate presentations. Brainstorm has more than 2,500 installations worldwide since its foundation in 1993, including many of the world’s leading broadcasters plus numerous smaller and regional stations. For more information visit brainstorm3d.com. 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. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, LFP) 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.
An IBC preview that won’t leave you dizzy
When we write these blog entries each week, we normally ensure we have a draft a few days in advance to make sure we have plenty of time to review, edit and make sure that the content is worth publishing. This entry was late, very late. This pre-IBC post has been hugely challenging to write for two reasons: Drone-mounted Moccachino machines are not on the agenda – but Bruce’s post last week definitely has me avoiding marketing “spin.” There are so many things I could talk about, it’s been a struggle to determine what to leave out. Earlier this year, at the NAB Show, we announced the combination of our Workflow Engine, including the Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) 2.0-compliant workflow designer, and our Dalet AmberFin media processing platform. Now generally available in the AmberFin v11 release, we’ll be demonstrating how customers are using this system to design, automate and monitor their media transcode and QC workflows, in mission-critical multi-platform distribution operations. Talking of multi-platform distribution, our Dalet Galaxy media asset management now has the capability to publish directly to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, while the new Media Packages feature simplifies the management of complex assets, enabling users to see all of the elements associated with a specific asset, such as different episodes, promos etc., visually mapped out in a clear and simple way. Making things simple is somewhat of a theme for Dalet at IBC this year. Making ingest really easy for Adobe Premiere users, the new Adobe Panel for Dalet Brio enables users to start, stop, monitor, quality check and ingest directly from the Adobe Premiere Pro interface with new recordings brought directly into the edit bin. We’ll also be demonstrating the newly redesigned chat and messaging module in Dalet Galaxy, Dalet WebSpace and the Dalet On-the-Go mobile application. The modern, and familiar, chat interface has support for persistent chats, group chats, messaging offline users and much more. Legislation and consolidation of workflows mean that captioning and subtitling are a common challenge for many facilities. We are directly addressing that challenge with a standards-based, cross-platform strategy for the handling of captioning workflows across Dalet Galaxy, Dalet Brio and Dalet AmberFin. With the ability to read and write standards-constrained TTML, caption and subtitle data is searchable and editable inside the Dalet Galaxy MAM, while Dalet Brio is able to capture caption- and subtitle-containing ancillary data packets to disk and play them back. Dalet AmberFin natively supports the extraction and insertion of subtitle and caption data to and from .SCC and .STL formats respectively, while tight integration with other vendors extends support for other vendors. There are so many other exciting new features I could talk about, but it’s probably best to see them for yourself live in Amsterdam. Of course, if you’re not going to the show, you can always get the latest by subscribing to the blog, or get in touch with your local representative to get more information. There, and I didn’t even mention buzzwords 4K and cloud… …yet!
AmsterMAM – What’s New With Dalet at IBC (Part 1)
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may also receive our newsletters (if not, email us and we’ll sign you up) – the latest edition of which lists 10 reasons to visit Dalet at the upcoming IBC show (stand 8.B77). Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be using this blog to expand on some of those reasons, starting this week with a focus on Media Asset Management (MAM) and the Dalet Galaxy platform. Three years ago, putting together an educational seminar for SMPTE, Bruce Devlin (star of this blog and Chief Media Scientist at Dalet) interviewed a number of MAM vendors and end users about what a MAM should be and do. Pulling together the responses – starting with a large number of post-it notes and ending with a large Venn diagram – it was obvious that what “MAM” means to you is very dependent on how you want to use it. What we ended up with was a “core” of functionality that was common to all MAM-driven workflows and a number of outer circles with workflow-specific tasks. This is exactly how Dalet Galaxy is built – a unified enterprise MAM core, supporting News, Production, Sports, Archive, Program Prep and Radio, with task-specific tools unique to each business solution. At IBC we’ll be showcasing these workflows individually, but based on the same Dalet Galaxy core. For news, we have two demonstrations. Dalet News Suite is our customizable, Enterprise multimedia news production and distribution system. This IBC we’ll be showcasing new integration with social media and new tools for remote, mobile and web-based working. We’ll also be demonstrating our fully-packaged, end-to-end solution for small and mid-size newsrooms, Dalet NewsPack. In sports workflows, quick turnaround and metadata entry is essential – we’ll be showing how Dalet Sports Factory, with new advanced logging capabilities, enables fast, high-quality sports production and distribution. IBC sees the European debut of the new Dalet Galaxy-based Dalet Radio Suite, the most comprehensive, robust and flexible radio production and playout solution available, featuring Dalet OneCut editing, a rock-solid playout module featuring integration with numerous third parties and class-leading multi-site operations. Dalet Media Life provides a rich set of user tools for program prep, archive and production workflows. New for IBC this year, we’ll be previewing new “track stack” functionality for multilingual and multi-channel audio workflows, extended integration with Adobe Premiere and enhanced workflow automation. If you want to see how the Dalet Galaxy platform can support your workflow, or be central to multiple workflows click here to book at meeting at IBC or get in touch with our sales team. You can also find out more about what we’re showing at IBC here.
More Secrets of Metadata
Followers of Bruce’s Shorts may remember an early episode on the Secrets of Metadata where I talked about concentrating on your metadata for your business, because it adds the value that you need. It seems the world is catching onto the idea of business value of metadata, and I don’t even have to wrestle a snake to explain it! Over the last 10 years of professional media file-based workflows, there have been many attempts at creating standardized metadata schemes. A lot of these have been generated by technologists trying to do the right thing or trying to fix a particular technical problem. Many of the initiatives have suffered from limited deployment and limited adoption because the fundamental questions they were asking centered on technology and not the business application. If you center your metadata around a business application, then you automatically take into account the workflows required to create, clean, validate, transport, store and consume that metadata. If you center the metadata around the technology, then some or all of those aspects are forgotten – and that’s where the adoption of metadata standards falls down. Why? It’s quite simple. Accurate metadata can drive business decisions that in turn improves efficiency and covers the cost of the metadata creation. Many years ago, I was presenting with the head of a well-known post house in London. He stood on stage and said in his best Australian accent “I hate metadata." You guys want me to make accurate, human oriented metadata in my facility for no cost, so that you guys can increase your profits at my expense.” Actually he used many shorter words that I’m not able to repeat here J. The message that he gave is still completely valid today: If you’re going to create accurate metadata, then who is going to consume it? If the answer is no one, ever, then you’re doing something that costs money for no results. That approach does not lead to a good long-term business. If the metadata is consumed within your own organization, then you ask the question: “Does it automate one or many processes downstream?” The automation might be a simple error check or a codec choice or an email generation or a target for a search query. The more consuming processes there are for a metadata field, the more valuable it can become. If the metadata is consumed in a different organization, then you have added value to the content by creating metadata. The value might be expressed in financial terms or in good-will terms, but fundamentally a commercial transaction is taking place by the creation of that metadata. The UK’s Digital Production Partnership and the IRT in Germany have both made great progress towards defining just enough metadata to reduce friction in B2B (business to business) file transfer in the broadcast world. Cablelabs continues to do the same for the cable world and standards bodies such as SMPTE are working with the EBU to make a core metadata definition that accelerates B2B ecommerce type applications. I would love to say that we’ve cracked the professional metadata problem, but the reality is that we’re still half way through the journey. I honestly don’t know how many standards we need. A single standard that covers every media application will be too big and unwieldy. A different standard for each B2B transaction type will cost too much to implement and sustain. I’m thinking we’ll be somewhere between these two extremes in the “Goldilocks zone,” where there are just enough schemas and the implementation cost is justified by the returns that a small number of standards can bring. As a Media Asset Management company, we spend our daily lives wrestling with the complexities of metadata. I live in hope that at least the B2B transaction element of that metadata will one day be as easy to author and as interoperable as a web page. Until then, why not check out the power of search from Luc’s blog. Without good metadata, it would be a lot less exciting.
Why Ingest to the Cloud?
With Cloud storage becoming cheaper and the data transfer to services such as Amazon S3 storage being free of charge, there are numerous reasons why ingesting to the Cloud should be part of any media organization’s workflow. So, stop trying to calculate how much storage your organization consumes by day, month or year, or whether you need a NAS, a SAN or a Grid, and find out why Cloud could be just what your organization needs. Easy Sharing of Content Instead of production crews or field journalists spending copious amounts of time and money shipping hard drives to the home site or being limited by the bandwidth of an FTP server when uploading content, with object storage services like Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, uploading content to the Cloud has become easy and cheap. Once content is uploaded to the Cloud, anyone with secure credentials can access it from anywhere in the world. Rights Access to Content In recent news, cloud storage services such as Apple iCloud were hacked and private content was stolen, increasing the concern about security and access rights to content in the Cloud. With secure connections such as VPN and rights access management tools, you can specify, by user, group access rights and duration of how long content can be accessed on the Cloud. Both Microsoft and Amazon have setup security features to protect your data as well as to replicate content to more secure locations. Cloud Services to Process the Data By uploading content to the Cloud, in the backend you can setup services and workflows to run QC checks on the content, stream media, transcode to multiple formats, and organize the content for search and retrieval using a Media Asset Management (MAM) System hosted on the Cloud. Cloud Scalability Rather than buying an expensive tape library or continuing to purchase more hardware for a spinning disk storage, with cloud storage, one can scale down or scale up with the click of a button. No need for over-provisioning. Disaster Recovery An organization can easily set up secure data replication from one site to another or institute replication rules to copy content to multiple virtual containers, offering assurance that content will not be lost. Amazon S3 provides durable infrastructure to store important data and is designed for durability of 99.99999999% of objects. Moving Towards an OPEX Model As operations and storage move to the Cloud, you can control your investment by paying as you use services and storing content on the Cloud. Instead of investing on infrastructure maintenance and support, with operations on the Cloud, you can focus the investment on what makes a difference, the content and not the infrastructure to support it. Why Upload to the Cloud? The Cloud is no longer a technology of the future, with cloud storage adopted by Google, Facebook and Instagram, Cloud technology is the reality of today. By adopting this technology you control your investment by usage needs, backup your data and provide secure access to content to anyone with credentials anywhere in the world. The biggest limitation now is bandwidth, and the hurdle is adjusting the current infrastructure to support Cloud operations. Many organizations are turning towards a hybrid Cloud model, where content and services are hosted both locally and via Cloud solutions. Learning from the Cloud experience, Dalet has made initiatives over the past few years to evolve existing tools and services for the Cloud. Dalet now offers direct ingest from the Dalet Brio video server to Amazon S3 Storage and, at NAB this year in Las Vegas, Dalet showcased the first MAM-based Newsroom on the Cloud. To learn more about Dalet ingest solutions, please visit the ingest application page.
MXF AS02 and IMF: What's the Difference and Can They Work Together?
If you read my previous posts about IMF, you will already know what it is and how it works. But one of the questions I often get is "how is IMF different from AS02 and will it replace it? After all, don’t they both claim to provide a solution to versioning problems?". In a nutshell, the answer is yes, IMF and AS02 are different and no, IMF will not replace AS02; in fact the two complement and enhance each other. Let me explain: MXF AS02 (for broadcast versioning) and IMF (for movie versioning) grew up at the same time. And while both had very similar requirements in the early stages, we soon ended up in a situation where the level of sophistication required by the broadcasters’ versioning process never really reached critical industry mass. Efforts were continually made to merge the MXF AS02 work and the IMF work to prevent duplication of effort and to ensure that the widest number of interoperable applications could be met with the minimum number of specifications. When it came to merging the AS02 and IMF work, we looked at the question of what would be a good technical solution for all of the versioning that takes place in an increasingly complex value chain. It was clear that in the studio business there was a need for IMF, and that the technical solution should recognize the scale of the challenge. It came down to a very simple technical decision, and a simple case of math. AS02 does all of its versioning using binary MXF files, while IMF does all of its versioning using human-readable XML files. There are maybe 20 or 30 really good MXF binary programmers in the world today; XML is much more generic, and there must be hundreds of thousands of top quality XML programmers out there. Given the growing amount of localized versioning that we are now faced with, it makes sense to use a more generic technology like XML to represent the various content versions whilst maintaining the proven AS02 media wrapping to store the essence components. In a nutshell this is the main difference between AS02 and IMF. Both standards have exactly the same pedigree and aim to solve exactly the same problems, but IMF benefits from a more sophisticated versioning model and therefore requires a greater degree of customization – and XML is a better means of achieving this. IMF is not going to replace AS02. Rather the goal is to get to a place where we have a standardized IMF package as a means of exchanging versioned packages within the workflow. IMF will actually enhance the AS02 bundles that represent componentized clips that are already ingested, transcoded and interchanged today.
Shared Storage for Media Workflows… Part 2
In this guest blog post, Quantum Senior Product Marketing Manager Janet Lafleur shares in-depth insights on storage technologies as well as general usage recommendations. Read part one of this two-part series here, written by Dalet Director of Marketing Ben Davenport, which details the key challenges for storage in today’s media workflows. Storage Technologies for Media Workflows Video editing has always placed higher demands on storage than any other file-based applications, and with today’s higher resolution formats, streaming video content demands even more performance from storage systems, with 4K raw requiring 1210 MB/sec per stream—7.3 times more throughput than raw HD. In the early days of non-linear editing, this level of performance could only be achieved with direct attached storage (DAS). As technology progressed, we were able to add shared collaboration even with many HD streams. Unfortunately, with the extreme demands of 4K and beyond, many workflows are resorting to DAS again, despite its drawbacks. With DAS, sharing large media files between editors and moving the content through the workflow means copying the files across the network or on reusable media such as individual USB and Thunderbolt-attached hard drives. That’s not only expensive because it duplicates the storage capacity required; it also diminishes user productivity and can break version control protocols. NAS vs. SAN for media workflows For media workflows, the most common shared storage systems are scale-out Network Attached Storage (NAS), which delivers files over Ethernet, and shared SAN, which deliver content over Fibre Channel. Scale-out NAS aggregates I/O across a cluster of nodes, each with its own network connection, for far better performance than traditional NAS. However, even the industry-leading NAS solutions running on 10 Gb Ethernet struggle to deliver more than 400MB for a single data stream. In contrast, shared Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions can provide the 1.6 GB/sec performance required for editing streaming video files at resolutions at or greater than 2K uncompressed. In a shared SAN, access to shared volumes is carefully controlled by a server that manages file locking, space allocation and access authorization. By placing this server outside the data path – between the client and the storage – shared SAN eliminates the NAS bottleneck and improves the overall storage performance. Fortunately, there are media storage solutions that provide both NAS and SAN access from a shared storage infrastructure, giving the choice of IP or Fibre Channel protocols depending on user or application requirements. Object storage for large-scale digital libraries Regardless of whether it’s SAN or NAS, most disk storage systems are built with RAID. Using today’s multi-terabyte drives and RAID 6, it’s possible to manage a single RAID array up to 12 drives with a total usable capacity of about 38 terabytes. However, even a modestly sized online asset collection requires an array larger than 12 disks, putting it at higher risk of data loss from hardware failure. The alternative is dividing data across multiple RAID arrays, which increases the cost as well as management complexity. Also, failure of a 4TB or larger drive can result in increased risk and degraded performance for 24-48 hours or more while the RAID array rebuilds depending on the load of work being done. Object storage offers a fundamentally different, more flexible approach to disk storage. Object storage uses a flat namespace and abstracts the data addressing from the physical storage, allowing digital libraries to scale indefinitely. Unlike RAID, object storage can be dispersed geographically to protect from disk, node, rack, or even site failures without replication. When a drive fails, the object storage redistributes the erasure code data without degrading user performance. Because object storage is scalable, secure and cost-effective, and enables content to be accessible at disk access speeds from multiple locations, it’s ideal for content repositories. Object storage can be deployed with a file system layer using Fibre Channel or IP connectivity, or can be integrated directly into a media asset manager or other workflow application through HTTP REST. The best object storage implementations allow both. Choosing the right storage for every step in the workflow An ideal storage solution allows a single content repository to be shared throughout the workflow, but stored and accessed according to the performance and cost requirements for each workflow application. Shared SAN for editing, ingest and delivery. To meet the high-performance storage demands of full-resolution video content, a SAN with Fibre Channel connections should be deployed for video editing workstations, ingest and delivery servers, and any other workflow operation that requires the 700 MB/sec per user read or write performance needed to stream files at 2K resolution or above. Object storage or scale-out NAS for transcoding, rendering and delivery. Transcoding and rendering servers should be connected storage that can deliver 70-110 MB/sec over Ethernet with high IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) performance for much smaller files, often only 4-8K in size. While scale-out NAS and object storage can both fulfill this requirement, solutions that can be managed seamlessly alongside SAN-based online storage greatly simplify management and can reduce costs. Object storage or LTO/LTFS tape for archiving. For large-scale asset libraries, durability and lower costs are paramount. Both object storage and LTO/LTFS tape libraries meet these requirements. But for facilities doing content monetization, object storage offers the advantage of supporting transcode and delivery operations while also offering economical, scalable long-term data protection. Policy-based automation to migrate and manage all storage types. No workflow storage solution with multiple storage types is truly complete without automation. With intelligent automation, content can be easily migrated between and managed across different types of storage based on workflow-specific policies. At a time where the digital footprint of content is growing exponentially due to higher-resolution formats, additional distribution formats, and more cameras capturing more footage, the opportunities for content creators and owners have never been greater. The trick is keeping that content readily available and easily accessible for users and workflow applications to do their magic. By choosing the right storage solutions and carefully planning, facilities can move forward with new technologies to meet new demands, without disrupting their workflow.
5 reasons why media delivery standards might be good for your business
Like me, I am sure that you have been to a restaurant in a group and everyone orders from the set menu EXCEPT for that one person who orders the exotic, freshly prepared fugu, which requires an extra 30 minutes of preparation from a licensed fugu chef so that the customers don't die eating it. Restaurant etiquette means that our main course is served at the same time, forcing everyone to spend a long time hungry, waiting for the special case. And if you split the bill equally, the special case becomes subsidised by the people wanting the set meal. Does this model relate to the media industry? Is there a cost for being special? How can we reduce that cost? What gets done with the cost savings? How can you help? Fortunately those 5 questions lead into 5 reasons why delivery standards might be a good idea. 1. The set meal is more efficient than the a la carte I must confess that when I write this blog while hungry there will be a lot of food analogies. I'm quite simple really. In the "set meal" case - you can see how it's easier for the kitchen to make a large volume of the most common meal and to deliver it more quickly and accurately than a large number of individual cases. In the file delivery world, the same is true. By restricting the number of choices to a common subset that meet a general business need, it is a lot easier to test the implementations by multiple vendors and to ensure that interoperability is maximised for minimum cost. In a world where every customer can choose a different mix of codecs, audio layout, subtitle & caption formats, you quickly end up with an untestable mess. In that chaotic world, you will also get a lot of rejects. It always surprises me, how few companies have any way of measuring the cost of those rejects, even though they are known to cause pain in the workflow. A standardised, business-oriented delivery specification should help to reduce all of these problems. 2. Is there a cost for being special? I often hear the statement – "It's only an internal format - we don't need to use a standard". The justification is often that the company can react more quickly and cheaply. Unfortunately, every decision has a lifespan. These short-term special decisions often start with a single vendor implementing the special internal format. Time passes and then a second vendor implements it, then a third. Ultimately the custom cost engineering the special internal format is spent 3 or 4 times with different vendors. Finally the original equipment will end of life and the whole archive will have to be migrated. This is often the most costly part of the life cycle as the obsolete special internal format is carefully converted into something new and hopefully more interchangeable. Is there a cost of being special? Oh yes, and it is often over and over again. 3. How can we reduce costs? The usual way to reduce costs is to increase automation and to increase "lights out" operation. In the file delivery world, this means automation of transcode AND metadata handling AND QC AND workflow. At Dalet and AmberFin, all these skills are well understood and mastered. The cost savings come about when the number of variables in the system is reduced and the reliability increases. Limiting the choices on metadata, QC metrics, transcode options, workflow branches increases the likelihood of success. Learning from experiences of the Digital Production Partnership in the UK, it seems that tailoring a specific set of QC tests to a standardised delivery specification with standardised metadata will increase efficiency and reduce costs. The Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability is building on the UK's experience to create an American standard that will continue to deliver these savings 4. What gets done with the cost savings? The nice thing about the open standards approach is the savings are shared between the vendors who make the software (they don't have to spend as much money testing special formats) and the owners of that software (who spend less time and effort on-boarding, interoperability testing and regression testing when they upgrade software versions.) 5. How can you help? The easiest way is to add your user requirements to the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability list. These user requirements will be used to prioritise the standardisation work and help deliver a technical solution to a commercial problem. For an overview of some of the thinking behind the technology, you could check out my NAB2014 video on the subject, or the presentation given by Clyde Smith of Fox. Until next time.
Dalet @ Broadcast Asia 2015
As we look forward to another exciting show at BCA 2015, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on the media and entertainment industry in the Asia-Pacific region. There are a few things that always stand out when working in Asia. First is the wide availability and rapid adoption of the latest consumer technology. In M&E, this has driven the requirement to deliver to more and more platforms. While multi-version workflows were always core to many projects in the region, especially where content is distributed in so many languages across a wide geography, this expansion to support multiple platforms has added a further dimension and really brought home the value and return on investment that well designed and deployed MAM-driven workflows can bring to an organizations. MAM-driven workflows such as the Dalet Galaxy-based solutions that have been and are currently being deployed at big-name broadcasters, content owners and content distributors across the whole region. Of course, implementing a MAM and a MAM-driven workflow can represent a big change for the large number of media industry professionals here in Asia. Ensuring that we manage that change as we implement systems is just as important as the deployment of the technology itself. In recognition of this, Dalet has continued to expand our project management and training teams in the region, ensuring that all the support you need before, during and after installing projects is ready and available whenever you need it. Indeed, the team has grown so big, we’re moving to a new office – look out for a change of address soon. If you’ll be at BroadcastAsia next week, we’d love to see you. We’ll be exhibiting in booth 5A5-12 and invite you to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Dalet media workflow expert. And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to register for BCA today! Hope to see you there.