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This article was co-authored by Dalet’s Solutions Architect, Brett Chambers, and Bitmovin’s Solution Director APAC, Adrian Britton   In this blog post, we discuss some of the typical failure modes that we see in mezzanine content, and how the combination of Dalet’s Ooyala Flex Media Platform and Bitmovin's Encoding joint solution can help mitigate them with technical metadata, black bar removal, deinterlacing, color correction, and more! We cover some of the top issues that affect a viewer’s quality of experience and how our solutions can help your organization resolve them.    Quality Matters - Factors that affect viewer experience There are countless factors that can negatively affect your subscribers' experience - luckily most of them can be resolved with a simple combination of accurate meta-data and specific dashboard inputs. For your convenience we’ve organized the top six factors that will make the most positive impact on your workflow:   Black Bar removal Perhaps one of the most noticeable factors that may affect a viewer’s Quality of Experience is the addition of those pesky Black Bars that appear on both sides of a video player during playback. Bars or letter-box artifacts occur when an asset of a non-conforming aspect ratio is introduced somewhere in the workflow. A mezzanine asset typically would not see this, but where content has moved through upstream systems - the likelihood increases. Typically Bitmovin’s tools initiate a black bar removal if either an asset’s technical metadata requires it or the Ooyala Flex ingest path determines it necessary.   For correction, Bitmovin encode contains a cropping filter, which can be controlled through the Ooyala Flex Media Platform to remove the required pixels or frame percentage, thus correcting the image. You can see this process here.   Show API Reference   Some of the aspect ratio issues that may come up within the Pixel Aspect Ratio (PAR), Storage Aspect Ratio (SAR), and/or Display Aspect Ratio (DAR). The ideal AR should be as follows: PAR: the aspect ratio of the video pixels themselves. For 576i, it’s 59:54 or 1.093. SAR: the dimensions of the video frame, expressed as a ratio. For a 576i video, this is 5:4 (720x576). DAR: the aspect ratio the video should be played back at. For SD video, this is 16:9. Technical metadata detection within Ooyala Flex will, in most cases, correctly determine the aspect ratio characteristics, allowing the encoding profile in Bitmovin’s dashboard to be adjusted automatically. These are all characteristics of a video asset. Getting it wrong either in detection, encoding, or playback results in squashed video playback.    Color-Correction Bitmovin’s encoder contains a powerful set of color space, color range, and color primary manipulation logic. While not a full color-grading solution, the encoding workflow can easily be modified to correct for color issues commonly found in mezzanine formats.   Show API Reference   Deinterlacing Interlacing or deinterlacing can be used to drastically improve the visual performance of your fast-moving content. When manipulating these aspects of the encode it's important to have a full view of the input asset making the decision to trigger these ‘filters’ for either content of a particular source, a particular technical metadata characteristic, or as part of a human-driven QA process.   Show API Reference     Conformance (FPS) Source content is unlikely to always be captured at the same frame-rate. US-sourced content can range from 29.97 FPS to capture rate of 25/50 FPS - or even faster! Although the normal role of the encoder is to conform all inputs to a given frame-per-second, especially when ad-insertion is used, there are also some use cases where certain content coming through certain workflows need to maintain different (and higher) values.   Show API Reference   Post/Precuts Rarely will content start exactly where you want it to, be it color-bars or lead-in titles, or simply a longer form recording that runs too long. Being able to clip out a beginning by X seconds and clip out an end at Y seconds can avoid the costly exercise of offlining content for craft editing. The Ooyala Flex-powered workflow can control clip-in and clip-out parameters, automating ingest where required.   Ooyala Flex-powered clip-in and clip-pout parameter automated workflow (visualized)   Audio-Leveling Some content is loud, some content is quiet. The audio-filter allows all or selected content to have it’s volume adjusted making for a uniform viewer experience.   Show API Reference   How will you overcome QoE issues? To summarize there are six key factors that often affect a user’s QoE: black bars, poor coloring, incorrect lacing for visual quality, non-optimized FPS, content length, and inappropriate audio volume. So, how do you overcome the most glaring QoE issue: aspect ratio-related issues?   How to detect Aspect Ratio-related QoE issues When it comes to content preparation, everything really starts with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, extracting Technical Metadata from incoming media. This critical step extracts information such as format, framerate, frame size, colour space, D.A.R., P.A.R., codecs, bitrates, and specific details for codecs in use (e.g. GOP structures, profiles, audio sample rates and bit-depths), audio track counts, timecode start time and duration.   OoyalaMAM displaying technical metadata for a media asset   This wealth of technical information stored as metadata against the media asset can be easily utilized throughout any workflow orchestration process, enabling the construction of bespoke validation criteria, ensuring the media is compliant. If validation happens to fail, workflow orchestration can take steps to rectify any issue automatically. The evaluation of the technical side of our media is a great start, but what about validation of the media essence? The Ooyala Flex Media Platform incorporates a number of tools that allow clients to effortlessly integrate with external products; a perfect example of this integration is for automated quality control, such as Dalet AmberFin. Automated QC reports from external products can be analyzed by Ooyala Flex, workflow orchestration can take remedial action to correct any QC issues, and submit corrected media to automated QC again to ensure compliance.   OoyalaMAM transcode action manual selection   OoyalaMAM auto-QC report stored as asset metadata   In addition to automated QC, we also have the ability to create tasks for users to perform manual QC. Manual QC tasks can even be augmented from a previous automated QC run by highlighting ‘soft errors’ as temporal metadata annotations in a timeline ‘Review’. This orchestrated usage of human intervention helps ensure that our workflow does not stall, deadlines are met, and most importantly, quality does not suffer.  For more information on the combined Dalet + Bitmovin capabilities, you can watch the recording of our most recent joint webinar here, and if you’d like to further discuss how to best address your QoE issues, do reach out:   Brett Chambers Solutions Architect, Dalet APAC Contact Dalet   Adrian Britton Solutions Director, Bitmovin Contact Bitmovin  
  • Ooyala Flex Media platform
  • Bitmovin
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BLOG
Welcome to the #DaletTeam blog series! Every project starts with a vision and before that vision can be realized, it must be mapped into a plan. Today we talk with Jeremy Schoen, head of solution architecture for the Dalet West Coast office in Los Angeles, about his role and helping Dalet customers turn their visions into reality.   Solution Architects have a global vision of media workflow projects, from the deep technical details, to the business workflows of the customers and financial implications they have. They need to be savvy in system sizing and complex IT architectures as well as be articulate and explain workflows in a clear and simple way for non-technical users. They need to engage with on the ground engineers as well as C-Level executives and be fluent in many aspects of the project lifecycle. From a global project vision to the smallest details, their involvement is key to a successful project implementation! A key responsibility of Dalet Solution Architects is to present to Dalet customers how we will manage the implementation of their upcoming project. I am a visual person and enjoy playing with analogies. So I often compare implementing a Dalet system to building a new house as there are many similarities.     Creating the Blueprint After the Sales and Pre-sales teams have gathered requirements on the number and type of rooms, shown a few model houses, and determined the overall budget, it is time for the Solution Architect to step in. The great thing about this comparison is that almost everybody knows what a residential architect does. They design the plans, complete calculations and specifications of the house, while staying within their client’s budget. That is, in a nutshell, what a Dalet Solution Architect does. When I first walk into a meeting with a customer, I try to understand what they really care about. I capture who they are, what content they produce, for which audience and what pain points they are trying to resolve with Dalet solutions. A key assignment of the Solution Architect is to conduct the Solution Design Workshop, which is usually composed of three stages. These stages are generally an iterative process, and typically require a couple of revisions before sign-off.   Stage 1: Listening to the customer’s requirements, understanding their experiences, and reconfirming the assumptions made at the sales level. Some customers will tell you they want green walls, but by listening to the actual need and using our knowledge of existing workflows, sometimes we realize there is no need for a wall in the first place. In my opinion, this stage is the most critical as this becomes the foundation on which the whole house will be built upon or in this case, the customer's media ecosystem. Stage 2: Building a small Proof of Concept (POC) system with mini concepts or shells to demonstrate key components. At this stage, the customer is engaging actively and begins projecting and customizing. The product starts to take form and the workshops, happening in small groups of five to eight people, help passing key concepts to the rest of the organization. Stage 3: Writing a detailed specification document that will be a guide for both the customer and the Dalet project engineers to build the system. This is where it all comes together, the plans are finalized and everything is put on paper. This document will be continuously updated to reflect the status of the project.   While the vast majority of our customers’ needs are covered “out-of-the-box" by our solutions, sometimes a new feature is needed. In such cases, the Solution Architect is instrumental in specifying the requirement and helping define the feature for our product team.   The Building Begins At this stage, the house is ready to be built and the engineers come on site and start implementing the solution. However, the Solution Architect’s job does not stop there. A Dalet project is often dynamic and customers’ minds evolve and ideas are born. Dalet has to stay agile and adapt to the situation. To stay connected, the Solution Architect works closely with the engineers on the ground to discuss any questions or document any changes necessary for the design. They also work closely with the sales and pre sales department in case a change requires new budgeting options and financial adjustments.  If you think you possess or want to develop some of these skills and are looking for a new challenge, feel free to drop me a note!   Jeremy Schoen Head of Solution Design, Dalet West Coast USA  
  • Dalet Team
  • Solution Architecture
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PRODUCT NEWS
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, today announced major mobility enhancements for the management, performance and user experience of remote newsroom operations. Meeting the needs of the growing number of journalists and news producers working remotely, Dalet has made major usability improvements to its Dalet On-the-Go mobile app for smartphones and tablets, boosting the collaborative experience between remote journalists and the newsroom with advanced content contribution and remote planning capabilities through a brand new, modern UI.  Advancements to the underlying Dalet Galaxy five news production and distribution platform bring powerful remote editing features like cloud-based “edit while record” and support for modern open-source communications frameworks to accelerate secure content exchange across multisite and distributed newsrooms operations. Dalet Galaxy xCloud, the dedicated, cloud-hosted system managed by Dalet as a full SaaS service, also benefits from these enhancements and connects securely with your existing on-premises system, supporting advanced workflows for remote editing and news production teams. “Every improvement Dalet has made has the end-user in mind to help with agility and efficiency with remote production. This is critical when a journalist is working against the clock, where every keystroke counts while working from their home office or any remote location,” states Bea Alonso, director of product marketing, Dalet. “Our digital-first product strategy focuses on mobility and flexibility. Dalet On-the-Go and remote news production solutions, like Dalet Galaxy xCloud, empower journalists, reporters and chief editors with the technology they need to pivot, remain productive and keep telling vital stories.”  Dalet On-the-Go Available from Apple's App Store and Google Play, the latest release of Dalet On-the-Go connects journalists, reporters and chief editors to the newsroom enabling them to manage assignments, story development, review and approval, rundowns, planning, status and contact search, all remotely. Users can easily access their Dalet Galaxy five catalog of video, audio, scripts and wires. Advanced content contribution capabilities and templates let users record media and craft stories quickly mixing local media together with remote content stored within the Dalet Galaxy five system. Dalet’s smart upload features guard against connectivity issues, reconnecting to the upload exactly where it left off when necessary. A feature-rich teleprompter supports on-the-fly reporting while tickers, wires and chat messages keep staff connected to information and late-breaking news.  “Dalet On-the-Go, combined with other mobility offerings such as Dalet WebSpace, provides optimal flexibility and mobility. With a standard internet connection, you can manage the entire newsroom flow from your laptop, tablet or phone. It's extremely powerful,” notes Bea. Dalet Galaxy five and Dalet Galaxy xCloud Recently launched as a packaged solution to help with current mobility challenges, the SaaS-based Dalet Galaxy xCloud offering is a full-featured version of the latest Dalet Galaxy five platform that, hosted by Dalet, leverages the cloud to facilitate end-to-end, remote news production workflows. The core remote editing framework supports advanced proxy editing workflows, mixing of central and local content, with proxy content cached locally to eliminate disruptions due to limited bandwidth. Rendering is offloaded to the Dalet Galaxy xCloud system, optimizing performance to break news faster. Bea comments on the ability of Dalet to dial in on the user experience and quickly deliver features and solutions that address mobility needs: “Dalet’s business model, which flows from perpetual CAPEX investment to subscription with SaaS, affords us the opportunity to transform the way we imagine our products and quickly innovate in critical areas such as mobility and flexibility. Our DevOps approach accelerates sequencing of Dalet releases, allowing us to introduce critical adjustments and enhancements as required by our customers in this challenging period.” In addition to the rapid release of customer-centric features, Dalet Galaxy five’s new public API empowers news organizations to customize workflow capabilities and integrations, further optimizing specific operations and business opportunities.    About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organizations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximizing 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, cataloging, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics.   The integration of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business has opened vast opportunities for Dalet customers to deploy successful strategies that better address their audiences with agile multi-platform content distribution in a wider range of markets, such as sports for teams and leagues, brands and corporate organizations, as well as Media and Entertainment companies looking to scale up their digital offerings.   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 organizations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) and government organizations (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.  
  • Dalet On-the-Go
  • Dalet Galaxy five
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WHITE PAPER
Media logistics concerns the digital asset management and distribution of media, by providing control of end-to-end asset and metadata management, automated workflow orchestration and operational insights, in order to optimize costs and reduce complexity of operations.
  • Media Logistics
  • Multimedia production
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