Avid and Rohde & Schwarz

Ciaran Doran

Author: Ciaran Doran

Published 15th October 2021

Avid and Rohde & Schwarz

As the pioneer of non-linear editing for broadcast, Avid retains its position as a popular choice. For many production companies, post houses and individual editors, its familiarity and functionality also make it a natural choice.

Challenges begin, however, when leaving such a homogeneous ecosystem and scaling to serve a variety of different production applications, multiple formats and when work has to be done under a high time pressure. These bring fresh considerations.

The editor needs to be able to access the content needed for the project in hand, but without seeing everything else on the server network. This is a security issue, of course, but it is also a practical one. Editors do not want to spend time scrolling through vast numbers of files to find the content they need at that moment.

If a facility uses multiple edit workstations, they tend to be attached to shared storage, capable of quickly delivering content to the editor as required. The shared storage must incorporate some form of production asset management (PAM), although it may be as simple as an agreed file naming format.

Shared storage requirements for feature film productions are different from the fast-moving environments in news or sports broadcast – what is an effective solution in one may not work in the other.

Post houses can have work patterns that involve setting an individual edit suite to a task that will run for hours (or days). Fast turnaround is critical for news and sports applications where, under time pressures, an editor needs to start working on the content as soon as possible and then needs to work as quickly as possible.

Incoming content may be from multiple sources, each in a different combination of file format, wrapper, and signal standard (SDI, SMPTE ST2110 or non-real time file transfer).

Rohde & Schwarz provides the answer with its R&S®VENICE and R&S®SpycerNode storage and processing platforms. Indeed, it is not a stretch to say that VENICE makes the perfect ingest partner for Avid.

SpycerNode brings high performance computing (HPC) technologies to the media industry. It provides access to storage networks that can be scaled from the smallest networking needs of the requirements of the largest production facility and more. Its 100 gigabit ethernet capability eliminates bottlenecks between the storage and the user.

SpycerNode includes a production asset management system to provide a window on the content under its control, both the essence and the metadata. It is designed for a very high degree of resilience, with RAID on the disk sub-systems and redundant processing and switching for uninterruptible performance.

VENICE provides a front end for the system. It supports both SDI (up to 12G for Ultra HD applications) and SMPTE ST2110 real time IP streams. In addition to providing ingest functionality it can also be used as an on-air server.

One vital benefit of VENICE is that it is codec agnostic. It supports all the widely recognized professional video formats, so is ideal to act as the translator between incoming feeds and the Avid

editor. In a single pass it can ingest and convert the feed to Op Atom, the native format of Avid systems. If the delivery is to a broadcast playout server, VENICE can create Op 1a files. Doing this within VENICE saves a layer of processing, which would otherwise add complexity to the routing as well as drawing more power and demand more air conditioning. VENICE therefore saves time and expensive extra infrastructure.

While content is being ingested, VENICE makes it immediately available to editors, even as the file is growing – this is known as a “Work-While” feature. Within moments of an ingest starting, the editor can be sorting the content and cutting the story. This is invaluable in fast turnaround applications like news and sport, where the story is only of any value if it is on air quickly.

In short, VENICE, SpycerNode and Avid Media Composer are perfect partners. Shared environments and collaborative workflows can be built without the need for unique integration software, which would slow the project down and add another layer of latency, expense and risk to the architecture.

Content is immediately available; the production asset management layer in SpycerNode is visible in the Media Composer user interface, allowing the editor to pick the content needed intuitively. The ability to “edit while ingesting” also makes VENICE a particularly compelling addition for live news and sports production.

In today’s dynamic media sector, flexibility and agility are vital to the fast turnaround environments of live production in sports and news. When deployed with Avid editing, VENICE and SpycerNode create a next-level shared, collaborative environment that delivers all the performance needed for demanding broadcast applications. Together they give production teams the flexibility and agility needed to deliver engaging, high-quality content. The combination of Avid and Rohde & Schwarz allows customers to meld the best of non-linear editing with agile storage and ingest capability – a winning formula.

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