#01 – January.2017
Fernando Moura, Campinas (SP)
Brazilian broadcasters have been digitizing their production and distribution workflows for a long time, nevertheless, there are still those who keep their files on original image capture media, such as old cassette tapes. It is at this moment of technological evolution that companies like EPTV develop processes for complete digitizing of their collections, aiming at increasing the durability of materials and facilitating access to information that is fundamental to the routine of journalistic work.
The “digital asset management” project at EPTV is jointly developed by engineers from the interior of São Paulo broadcaster and Media Portal. The focus of the work is to digitize the assets of station, which began broadcasting in 1979 with one-inch videotapes, U-matic videocassettes, Betacam, DVCPro and XDCam – all the recording media formats used by Rede Globo’s São Paulo affiliate in these thirty-seven years.
The estimated time it will take to complete the EPTV migration project is six years, during which about 18 thousand tapes will be digitized and cataloged. The hope is that the tangible asset be changed into a database so that the broadcaster’s content can be totally virtual.
“At EPTV we have been linear for a long time, our workflow has been digital for a long time, but now we are taking another step. In the new MAM, as well as the one we are using now, we only keep edited ‘clean feed’ content. Today, we no longer keep complete newscasts, as it was done at first, we only digitize the news stories,” explained Claudio Roberto Ghiorzi, the TV station’s manager of technological and operational development, in an interview with Revista da SET.
“The most important of the process is the paradigm shift in content archiving”
The process included several stages, explained Fábio Tsuzuki, CEO of Media Portal, and ended with the establishment of a common procedure for all the broadcaster’s branches, by “standardizing names, and then creating a controlled dictionary that we included in the system. The main impact of implementing this dictionary was the creation of a standard for including people’s names, especially foreign names, to avoid mistakes and thus standardizing names, thus providing a significant gain .”
“The most important part of the entire process is cataloging the database. We are creating a file based on a set of practices. The cataloging has been relatively simple, the work at our Documentation and Information Center was very good and kept an organized foundation and a methodology shared by all our branches,” said Giulio Junqueira Breviglieri, operations and maintenance manager at EPTV. “We had to migrate the databases of each of the broadcaster’s branches. It was a difficult process, but it progressed well.”
Fábio Tsuzuki, CEO of Media Portal, said that such a project “does not work with innovation. It works with ideas that lead to innovation”
The broadcaster and the integrator are deploying a collection of three (3) IBM x3650M3 model servers and three (3) Storwize v7000 storage chassis with a nominal capacity of 60TB.
The capacity, Tsuzuki explained, was sized to accommodate two years of HD quality (35Mbps) journalistic material and content backup on at least two chassis. “This backup exists to guarantee continuing operations if one of the chassis crashes, in the event of a crash of one of the storage disks, there are several protection mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is that if one of the servers crashes the other two servers continue operating the system and thus operations can carry on.”
The engineers explained to Revista SET that through VMWare virtualization technology virtual machines were created for each Media Portal service: a VM for database, two VMs for robotics management, a VM for low resolution distribution, a VM for web application, and a VM for handling (file-flow manager).
The project has two robotic systems , a Qualstar RLS-8500 model with four (4) LTO-5 drives and 54 slots, with the possibility of expanding up to 114 slots, and also enabling the stacking of up to four robots, reaching 474 slots and 22 drives. Each LTO-5 cartridge has a storage capacity of 1.5TB, considering the video collection.
The other robot is from Sony, model ODS-L30M with two (2) drives and 30 slots with the possibility of stacking up to five (5) modules to reach up to 535 slots. Each ODA cartridge has a storage capacity of 1.5TB, equivalent to LO-5. “These robotic systems have been sized to accommodate all of EPTV’s legacy assets, 37-years’ worth, as well as the new assets that will be created with another five (5) years of operation,” said Tsuzuki.
“We wanted to perpetuate the collection, but at the beginning of the project we had no way of knowing what that implied in terms of content, investment and time for the complete digitizing,” said Giulio Junqueira Breviglieri, operations and maintenance manager at EPTV
Rosalvo Carvalho, director of Videodata, a member of the implementation process, said that this project is very important because “it continues the integration and technological innovation processes such that, with the support of Sony Brazil, the company had access to the executives responsible for Optical Disc Archive (ODA) at Sony’s Atsugi Technology Center in Japan, which allowed Sony to certify Media Portal for operating Drives and Robotics.
Media Portal became the first company in Latin America to be certified by Sony to integrate and manage ODA Drives and Robotics, as well as being able to simultaneously operate with LTO Drives and Robotics. The case of EPTV shows that the system works – the ODA tests have been carried out successfully.”
The engineers responsible for the digitization project at EPTV say that one of the challenges for the project has been explaining to the finance department the value and importance of the assets being preserved with the new storage system.
Claudio Ghiorzi states that one of the main objectives of the process is to have a MAM that allows easy and unified access. “No matter what stage the process is in, we need to know exactly where we are. Today, we work on two fronts. All the new material is included in the MAM and we gradually include the old assets in this process, all because we have been able to design a system that can adapt to the former workflow.”
Description of the digitization flow for legacy assets
EPTV developed a work method for collecting the assets. The materials are saved on videotapes sequentially and an application, called IAT, was developed to describe the archived content in detail. Additionally, the original tape and the timecode of the material on that tape are reported. Throughout the implementation of the Media Portal system, this data was migrated to the Media Portal business solution, so that all the collections are managed by a single application. Thus, searches conducted on the old and new assets are consolidated within Media Portal. New material goes straight into Media Portal and is cataloged and indexed in the new system.
Based on these points, a digitization flow was designed for the legacy material:
1. Tape preparation: rewinding and cleaning;
2. Digitizing the entire tape (usually there are 10 to 20 news stories on each tape);
3. Activation of the application developed by Media Portal, which processes the digitized file and clips it, creating one file per news story. Each file is given its own tag and enters a validation flow. Validation is done through the low-resolution file created from the high-resolution file.
4. If the material is validated, then the file is permanently saved on LTO;
5. If the material has a problem, a new digitization is carried out or an adjustment can be made to the timecode to get the cut right.
Com este procedimento a digitalização de uma fita é feita uma única vez e os recortes são feitos em uma aplicação, sem a necessidade de operar exaustivamente os VTRs, permitindo o uso otimizado dos mesmos e possibilitando uma maior agilidade no tratamento do vídeo digitalizado.
With this procedure, digitizing a tape is carried out just once and the clips are made on an application, without the need to operate VTRs exhaustively, thus optimizing their use and enabling greater agility for treating digitized video.
SET Magazine- edition 162 – August 2016 – by Fernando Moura