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Fierce competition for viewers along with a rapidly changing multiplatform environment has put newsrooms under immense stress. In the space of just a few weeks, news broadcasters have had to discard a lifetime’s worth of practices and hard-earned experience as anchors and reporters are dispatched to their homes where they continue to broadcast, but not always with the same technical finesse as viewers are accustomed to. And yet viewers are adaptable and readily accepting this vastly more ad-hoc content, while still appreciating high quality production where it’s possible. At the same time, as experienced broadcast practitioners deal with the fastest and most dramatic changes of their lifetimes, video is being distributed on more platforms, to more devices, in more places than ever.   Viewers rely on traditional broadcasters Despite all of this, viewers still rely on traditional broadcasters. Even though social media is encroaching, when it comes to news, the world turns to familiar faces and channels. In fact, according to the Edelman Special Trust Barometer Report on COVID-19 (March 2020), the most relied-on source of information is mainstream news organizations: the major news outlets are relied on nearly twice as much as global health organizations (like WHO) or national health organizations (like the CDC). 54% of young people rely on social media and 56% on mainstream media, while people ages 55+ rate mainstream media as nearly three times more reliable than social.   In the face of the new, socially-distanced reality, broadcasters have little choice but to rapidly pivot towards remote workflows, not just because this is an emergency, but because this could easily become the new normal.   News moves from Hub to Home Until recently, the big challenge blocking a viable in-the-field or remote editing workflow was the costly and somewhat limiting infrastructure that was needed for even the most basic working system. Dedicated hardware, additional layers of security for accessing the central storage hub, and the difficulty of navigating VPNs limited broadcasters’ ability and willingness to deploy and scale at will. Vital collaboration between users was poor or lacking completely. To address these challenges, Dalet Galaxy five supports cloud-based workflows, using “intermediate media” to reduce performance issues and leverage cloud-based infrastructure to scale. Working in the cloud this way also reduces security issues as there is no need for a VPN or any VDI-like connection or a direct connection to the main content hub. This approach, which minimises overheads and keeps costs low, is immediately attractive to broadcasters and media companies, while giving editors and journalists a much better experience in the field and when working from home.   Proxy editing enables a seamless remote editing experience, from home or the field Dalet OneCut, which is typically used in the newsroom to package stories, can be used - without limitations - in the field and at home. Its proxy editing capabilities mean working with lightweight files and lower bandwidth requirements, allowing journalists to work almost anywhere - even on a mobile phone connection. Because Dalet OneCut is a component of the Dalet Galaxy five platform, journalists can connect to the production hub and securely access assets, archives and resources. It's almost the same experience as working inside the newsroom. Journalists can pick up story assignments, retrieve assets and mix with local content, assemble packages and submit for distribution. Dalet’s smart caching protocol and secure connections to content hubs, archive systems and servers offer a friction-free exchange of resources and assets to keep the news content and stories flowing fast from anywhere. Journalists can mix the content from the central hub with their local content (media on a laptop or desktop). It’s a simple search and retrieve process - users don’t even need to know where the content lives. Reporters can share EDLs with colleagues and the production center, which is particularly important when sending a story back to the main news hub for finalization or developing a storyline for collaboration with colleagues. It’s fast, efficient and easy-to-do. And when the package is finished, Dalet Galaxy five offers a clever way of downloading and uploading only the media that is needed for the project edit-and-render, so the system is never bogged down.   <iframe width="100%" height="415" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xob4QoOKpLY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>   Mainstream news production operations have, for decades, been typically on an enterprise scale with technology and equipment that can’t easily be moved out of the building and into the field. But remote working - and even presenting - is today’s reality. The world can work efficiently anywhere. The benefits of this type of workflow are many - too many to list in our blog. If you have additional requirements, please email me directly. We are here to help in any way we can. Don't hesitate to reach out!  
  • Remote Workflows
  • Editing
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Last week, we conducted the first, fully remote Dalet Advanced Administrator Course, with attendees from TMZ, Voice of America, Spectrum, National Geographic, BYU and a number of Dalet project engineers. While this training was planned to take place in person at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C., we quickly realized we needed to find a way to keep our attendees safe considering recent developments, without missing out on their learning.   Transforming the admin course into an online training   Over the course of 5 days, and fully online, Dalet Administrators sat at their own homes, often in quarantine, while attending hands-on training about:   Advanced system architecture  Metadata-driven workflows - How to create Glossary Terms, XSL transformation, metadata filters, distribution and more Advanced media management - Custom Media Formats, Audio Mapping, Source and Target Rendering Formats, Storage Aliases, S3 Media Containers, Third Party Media Migration Policies Dalet Media Cortex - How to incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Dalet Media Workflows Dalet Workflow Engine - How to build system and user task-based workflows Dalet API Groovy scripting Advanced support tools And, very importantly, how everyone in the course likes their coffee in the morning!   Providing a seamless, inclusive digital learning experience Prior to the training, we set up a course on Dalet iLearn with all the training materials including videos, step-by-step configuration guides, presentations, assignments and multiple-choice tests. We also setup a Dalet Galaxy five instance template running on AWS as the basis for the step-by-step Guidebook. Each student was assigned their own personal Dalet Galaxy five instance. We used Teamviewer to connect to students’ computers when needed.    We emailed students a Course Guidebook and directions to log into Dalet iLearn, the video conferencing system and their AWS environment.   Hands-on teaching started from day 1, where students followed the instructor on their own training instances, to upgrade their Dalet Galaxy systems to Dalet Galaxy five. If any student ran into issues, the trainer could start a breakout private session to talk with the student, while remotely accessing their computer to resolve an issue or demonstrate an exercise.   While the trainer was on a breakout session, other students could continue working on interactive tasks following Dalet iLearn. Each class was recorded and will soon be edited into smaller modules to be shared via the Dalet Learning Management System.   What we learnt - Key takeaways Preparation is key, especially if you are teaching a hands-on course, where students need to configure complex operations such as AI-powered workflows. Test all aspects of course, be it the LMS, the AWS Instance and, of course, that all students know the course prerequisites.   We also learnt that for online training: It’s even more important to be punctual (otherwise coffee gets cold, and no one likes cold coffee!) Everything that is taught live has to be available in writing too. During the COVID-19 crisis, students were called off often to deal with their own continuity switchovers to enable remote working. Having the LMS content and a guidebook as backup, the students could easily catch up without slowing down the class. There should always be a trainer and an assistant for any remote training class, one to assist students with issues/give personal attention and the other to teach the class. Everyone learns at their own pace, so give students different options for learning, such as videos, diagrams, presentations or hands on assignments.   Most students preferred to keep their webcams off, plus it takes up bandwidth. This makes it difficult for the remote trainer to read body language and comprehension cues. Using various forms of assessment, such multiple-choice tests or practical exercises, helps the trainer understand if more explanation or review are needed. All in all, we felt that remote training can lead to better concentration and students in this course had better overall test results than those of previous in-person courses. During this first fully online remote course, we proved that even very complex subjects can be efficiently taught remotely.   Don’t let distance stop you from learning! We do not know how long this global crisis will go on for, but as remote working and secluded living takes hold across our countries and the industry, we begin to further appreciate human contact, activities to challenge the mind and tools that help us break the barriers of solitary work in a global company. Joining a Dalet remote training course is a fantastic way of achieving all that.   BOOK YOUR REMOTE TRAINING COURSE  
  • Dalet Academy
  • Remote Training
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I like to be told that I'm wrong. It usually means that I've made some broad sweeping assumption that over-simplifies the world. My most recent blunder was assuming that the whole world will obviously move 100% of its media operations to the cloud. It seems to me that in the space of a few short years, the media industry has changed its mindset from cloud is unsafe through a brief dally with cloud is good and has now ended up with everything cloud as the way to go.  Considering current global events around mobility and remote working, this is a highly topical discussion.   One-size-fits-all solutions do not exist! In the unused bit at the back of my brain, I know that there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution, but at the same time I cling to the everything cloud marketing philosophy as some kind of justification for forward motion. Very often, it's a mix of technologies that gives the best performance for a given price and it's the ability to choose the right technology at the right time for the right job at the right price that ensures that any business continues to thrive. Transcoding is a curious business. To select a service or a device, you first must be sure that it meets your needs for scaling, deinterlacing, frame rate conversion, image filtering, SDR and HDR conversion, range of codecs, compression efficiency and compression quality. In today's time-pressed environment choices are often done with a service rate card rather than by testing with real content and real people. This is a shame because very often the idea of taking a high-quality device with a Capex price tag is eliminated, even though the per-transcode costs of an alternative service can be higher for a lower quality.   Nothing is ever simple - what's the real business problem? So why all this heavy philosophy? Dalet asked me to look at a hardware accelerator for an offline transcoder. I initially thought that I had stepped into a time machine because that sort of solution is just not fashionable now. I stopped and thought about it for a while in the context of todays reduced operating margins, remote infrastructure requirements and ever-increasing platform support requirements. If you have a fixed and stable volume of content that needs to be converted every day / week / month then actually the costing of that core transcode is a key fixed cost of the business. If a hardware accelerator reduces that fixed cost with a one-off investment rather than a pay as you go continuous commitment, then it is a no-brainer providing you still have a local data center to house it and you have the ability to manage it remotely.   There is a business sweet spot for accelerators! So I found myself looking at an HEVC encoding accelerator, connected to a cloud-enabled Dalet AmberFin transcode farm and realized that it was the right solution for many customers to fulfil their core needs of doing a lot of transcoding for the minimum TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Like many things in engineering, it might not be fashionable or glamorous, but for the right application it makes good business sense.  It serves the needs of working and managing remotely, since you can build a hybrid architecture that works in the background and yet, can be accessed anytime, anywhere, assuming your data center has some solid business continuity in place (let’s face it, who doesn’t these days?)  As 2020 makes its way, with major issues at global scale, it seems that there is a sweet spot for hardware accelerators - high throughput with less energy consumption than a raw software solution. It also seems that I should avoid jumping on today's fashionable technology for everything and to keep my mind open to a wider range of practical solutions to solving real business problems!
  • Cloud
  • Cloud Storage
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NAB Show is, for many of us, a place to connect and exchange ideas about how we can move the media industry forward in an era of extremely rapid change. Since 1992, Dalet has looked forward to and enjoyed participating in the big show. NAB has given us a wonderful stage where we have unveiled some of our most innovative technology. It also has given us a passionate community where we have forged countless, long-lasting relationships. While we will miss participating in this year's event, we stand 100 percent behind NAB’s decision to cancel. The safety of our family, friends, colleagues and community must always come first. And with that notion, we must pivot our attention to the task of helping the greater community to stay connected, and keep business moving forward. As an international organization with team members across 31 countries, some of which have been severely impacted by COVID-19, we understand first-hand the challenges many are facing.     Enabling seamless, digital-first interactions We saw the need for an alternative to physically attending NAB and began planning a few weeks ago ways for our customers, colleagues and partners to connect and engage with us as we introduce new and innovative technology. Our team has planned digital experiences including videos and live streams as well as smaller locally hosted events to ensure all of us can connect as a community in a safe and inclusive environment. Communications detailing our expanded online presence and local events will be distributed in the coming week.   On the importance of business continuity Beyond NAB and other events that have been cancelled or postponed, life must go on. However big the current disruption, society will recover and flourish. The creative industries play an enhanced role at times like this. Not only because huge numbers will be self-quarantined and will rely on news to stay informed and consume entertainment to pass the time - but because storytelling is the most powerful way for society to communicate. We have a vital role to play in telling stories at a time like this. Dalet is fully committed to business continuity and is available to its customers and partners. Our global workforce ensures that we can provide a high level of service anywhere, anytime. Both 24/7 customer support and our professional services teams are equipped with the tools and technology to collaborate with customers and configure their solutions remotely across different regions and time zones. And for our customers who may face mobility restrictions due to COVID-19, Dalet offers a suite of remote workflow solutions to ensure your news, entertainment and factual content keeps flowing. We truly hope you and your families will stay safe and healthy, and - within the restrictions you have around you - use all the means you have to keep the creative and broadcast industries working. We’re here to help. Please do stay in touch with us and let us assist with any questions you may have. As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow WHO and CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone connected with Dalet. In the meantime, if you have any questions or require our assistance, please send us a note to contact@dalet.com.   David Lasry CEO, Dalet  
  • NAB Show
  • Business Continuity
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