VGTRK Russian migration
 
June 2012
 
The move to a digital environment is progressing around the world, helped by increasing microprocessor speeds, falling digital storage prices, and continual network capacity growth. The combination of these forces is creating a fertile environment for networked digital media where content owners are discovering new value in their video and audio assets, and allowing the provision of new products, services and cross media experiences. Nowhere is this truer than in the modern newsroom.

Under the visionary leadership of Mr. Aleksey Zemsky (Technical Director), the national broadcaster of Russia, VGTRK, is possibly the first example in the world of a news organization that is in the process of taking advantage of these latest technology advances to implement a “massive” deployment of digital newsroom solutions. Together with Mr. Alexander Balaluev, head of regional studios, he designed the requirements and the implementation plan to migrate all nine VGTRK regional studios to an advanced IT architecture over a period of 4 or 5 years.

In 2010 VGTRK launched an international tender to begin the upgrade, initially for the first and most important 9 sites. The tender specified a solution that would provide VGTRK with content repurposing workflows for multi-platform delivery, newsroom workflows to bring AV media rich news to a wider audience more efficiently, and media asset management integration to provide efficient production facilities with faster processing of tasks. The solution needed tools such as “edit while ingesting and complete story creation with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) features on each journalist’s desktop.

After detailed reviews of proposals from leading international suppliers and systems integrators, the tender was awarded to the ISPA Group, with a solution design based on Media Alliance technology. This combination was selected due to the proven capability of both organizations.

ISPA Group, led by Mr. Andrey Kochukov (President) and Mr. Gennady Sverdlov (General Manager), has over 600 employees distributed across several offices in Russia with extensive broadcast market experience. Media-Alliance, led by Giovanni Soldi (CEO), had already deployed one regional newsroom for VGTRK and deployed other projects together with ISPA, including the first ever High Definition digital newsroom in Russia.

NEWSROOM OPERATION


ISPA and VGTRK appointed highly professional and experienced teams for the project, including Mr. Sergey Efimov (VGTRK Project leader), Mr. Vladimir Sazonov (ISPA project leader), Mr. Oleg Trushkin (ISPA Engineering), Mr. Pavel Shein (ISPA staff deployment) and Mrs. Svetlana Kachalova and Mrs. Svetlana Kuznezova (engineers with extensive experience in MAM and Newsroom). During 2011 and part of 2012 these teams worked closely with the Media Alliance team to successfully complete the deployment of the nine systems on schedule and to VGTRK satisfaction.


At each of these sites SDI media is now ingested to file format using Media Alliance VIVA Ingest Systems onto Media Alliance AVIO video servers, with simultaneous creation of low resolution proxies. From their desktops operators manually crash record or schedule recordings from lines feeds with router control, and frame accurately ingest from VTRs with full transport control. For file import Media Alliance’s FileXplorer is used, enabling preview, trimming and metadata entry before files are moved into the wider newsroom operation.

Central to each operation is the Media Alliance MediaXplorer media asset management system and MatMan workflow manager. Content is automatically imported from the ingest systems onto Omneon MediaGrid on-line storage, scene change thumb nails automatically generated, and associated metadata placed in a SQL database. Operators can add extra metadata into customizable schemas, classifying by groups, and adding tags.

Using advanced search tools operators efficiently find and preview assets from their desktops, placing required assets into a basket. Tools are available for marking in and out points on one or multiple clips, and either automatically conforming new high resolution clips within MediaXplorer, or exporting an EDL with content to Apple FCP or Media Alliance NewsMontage NLEs. These same NLEs can be used to edit media even as it is being ingested, to ensure rapid story turnaround.

VGTRK journalists use the Media Alliance NewsNet newsroom computer and production system to prepare their news stories. From their desktops they prepare prompter text, select and preview both clips and 2D/3D overlay graphics, and add voiceovers as required.

Media Alliance NewsMaster is used to efficiently and reliable control the VGTRK television news playout from Omneon MediaDeck video servers with graphics added downstream. Once played to air, or in accordance with other customizable rules, assets are automatically archived to Disk Archive ALTO storage, and can be fully or partially restored quickly on demand.

Now Media-Alliance is migrating their product suite to frame accurate web applications that support Cloud operation. VGTRK is looking at this with interest as this evolution could be strategic for the management of such a large implementation.

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VGTRK successfully migrate nine regional newsrooms

How VGTRK successfully migrate nine regional newsrooms across Russia to file-based operations with a solution designed by Media-Alliance. David Stewart investigates Read more...