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					Automation & Asset Management

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Multi-domain
asset management
By HROAR PETTERSEN, head of technology at NRK.                                                              believe it has given us one of the most advanced
                                                                                                            asset management systems in the world.
                                                                                                                The ability to share, find and deploy our
                                                                                                            assets across our 13 production centres is key to
                                                                                                            our ability to develop as a broadcaster, targeting
                                                                                                            new audience sectors and fulfiling our vision of
                                                                                                            NRK’s place in the national culture.
                                                                                                                In December 2007 the Programme Bank
                                                                                                            system successfully went live, with an OmniBus
                                                                                                            OPUS media asset management system providing
                                                                                                            powerful facilities to our 13 regional broadcasting
                                                                                                            centres and the Oslo-based archive. We have
                                                                                                            initially deployed Programme Bank in the
                                                                                                            children’s entertainment department, and will
                                                                                                            bring other departments online throughout 2008.
                                                                                                            The system provides access to and direct control
                                                                                                            over programmes in production, raw assets, and
                                                                                                            archive material for up to 3000 users across
                                                                                                            NRK’s production centres.
                                                                                                                The essential parts of the system comprise a
                                                                                                            5000-hour Omneon production server system,
                                                                                                            allowing direct editing of media on the server
                                                                                                            using Final Cut Pro editing clients, and a 60,000-
                                                                                                            hour StorageTek production tape library governed
           RK (Norsk Rikskringkasting) is            Desktop editing using OPUS on one screen               by the OPUS system. The OPUS suite of
           Norway’s national broadcaster, based      and Final Cut Pro on the other.                        applications includes Workflow Control, which
 N         in Oslo, but with 12 regional             contributor to the success of the radio channels.      provides the tools needed for an individual task,
           production centres that offer a lot of    NRK is a small broadcaster compared with the           and the web-based SmartClient that enables
local material on TV, the radio and the Internet.    major broadcasters in Europe, but it has always        intranet-based searches, browse and keyframe
As a state-funded broadcaster, NRK has an            managed to hold a leading position in technology       viewing across the NRK platforms. It is integrated
important cultural position in the life of the       and methods for providing the audience with the        with NRK's enterprise-wide legacy OmniBus
nation, and a strong public service tradition. The   best content. As just one example of NRK’s             device control and automation system, bridging
geography of the country tends to emphasise the      forward-looking approach, our roster of radio          the gap between new and legacy systems.
regional aspect of our operations: the population    stations includes NRK 5.1, the world’s first station       This is a complex and powerful
of 4.5 million is spread through a narrow strip of   providing 5.1 sound.                                   implementation of OmniBus OPUS and it
land that’s 3500km long. At the same time,               In 2005 NRK decided to take the next step          provides streamlined integration of the many
there’s a concentration of one million in the Oslo   forward in order to support this regional              new and existing technologies forming part of
region, and this is naturally enough where our       approach and to make it possible to strengthen         NRK’s system, including the MediaGenix
main broadcasting resources are.                     the organisation’s capacity for developing new         planning facility, a radio system by D.A.V.I.D, an
    Given the topology and the population spread,    services and channels in emerging arenas such as       ENPS system from ApENPS, the Omneon
broadcasting in Norway serves a central role in      Internet broadcasting and mobile TV. At the heart      production servers, digital archive management
the nation’s life: Norwegians watch more news        of our thinking was an infrastructure for efficient    from Front Porch Digital, and existing production
on television than most nations do, and the local    management of our assets in a way that would           environments from Avid and Quantel.
morning broadcasts from 06:00-09:00 have an          give all the regional production centres access to         It was our intention when designing the
average of 1.3 million listeners. The regional       a commonly-shared resource. This became                Programme Bank system that it should provide
nature of these broadcasts is an important           known as the Programme Bank project, and we            transparent access to the content library for




34 IBE MARCH/APRIL 2008
                                                                                   Automation & Asset Management

                                                                                                      Sponsored by




production staff in any of our production centres,        So this careful approach to metadata ensures          editing. This considerably streamlines the craft-
and for this to happen, several important             that the content library is transparently accessible      editing stage, which can either be done in
conditions had to be met in terms of metadata,        to all of our staff. But this would count for little if   OmniBus HeadLine, or one of our other editing
and in browsing and editing.                          we were not also able to solve the bottlenecks            environments. SmartClient shot lists can also be
     When up to 3000 staff have access to content,    around the edit suites which occur particularly at        transferred direct into Final Cut Pro for editing
it’s vital that the metadata is consistently          busy times. This is where the OmniBus                     and eventual transfer to the playout servers or
managed so that people can get to the material        SmartClient technology helps out, by giving               archive system. The OPUS system allows our staff
they want quickly, and make sure they enable          researchers a platform-independent, browse and            to search any published content on the Quantel
others to do so too, when they are responsible for    picture-research environment within a web-                news system, and publish shot lists to it for
ingest. To this end, the OPUS system                  browser window. There are several major                   immediate playout under OmniBus automation
automatically captures metadata when material is      advantages for NRK in this technology: firstly, it        control. It also allows us to move content into
viewed, edited, aired, and reused. A lot of vital     allows unlimited access to the content (we think          and out of any of the other devices in our system,
information such as clip names, duration, and the     in terms of 3000 users); it’s platform independent,       including the servers, archive and generic IT
physical location of material, is recorded at each    and independent of location too, so if we wanted          storage.
stage of the process. We could rely on staff to do    a journalist in an internet cafe to be able to                The OPUS system implements a number of
this manually, but it’s very easy to overlook in a    browse and create shot lists, that’s possible; and,       other automated workflows in the Programme
busy production environment, and the result           since SmartClient doesn’t require any special             Bank system, including automatic transfer of
would be that those important facts and figures       software residing on the client computers,                material to NRK’s subtitling department, and the
would be lost forever. In addition to this data, we   maintenance is very easy - an upgrade to the              subsequent viewing of low-res browse versions
use OPUS PinPoint to allow our staff to add           server software is instantly reflected in the             with subtitles.
custom indexed metadata and the technology            client’s. OmniBus developed SmartClient as one                NRK set out to create a world-beating
allows them to search using synonym, phonetic,        of the first applications to use Microsoft                production and asset management system in
and proximity search criteria.                        Silverlight technology for a graphically-rich and         Programme Bank, by integrating best-of-breed
     Another part of the technology streamlines       interactive experience without relying on                 technologies from suppliers, removing isolated
the transfer of material between domains,             additional software. What it gives us is a less           production islands and making better use of
ensuring that this is easily and securely achieved,   technical interface than the OPUS G3 desktop -            NRK’s combined assets. The result is increased
with all metadata remaining intact and linked to      suited to creative staff who are not craft editors.       programme output and efficiency for distribution
the material. We have what we think is a                  NRK’s journalists and editors use SmartClient         platforms, including a third channel on the new
uniquely streamlined way of handling transfers,       to browse available material in the OPUS system,          DVB terrestrial network. The OPUS technology
with OPUS Transfer Manager automating the             making shot selections of key events, marking             provides a crucial element in our architecture, and
transfer of the hi-res material and the low-res       edit points, combining pieces of content and              with the OmniBus SmartClient we have the
browse versions, together with all keyframes and      creating shot lists, before sending the project back      potential for almost limitless flexibility in access
metadata, in a single, one-button operation.          to the content management system for further              to our assets.




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