Why is ingesting such an important topic?
Far away the times when "Ingest" has meant to somehow bring a video file into a post-production application. Nowadays the term "Ingest" describes the starting point of a complex and fully integrated file-based post-production and publication. Nedless to say that production workflows do include various processing steps. Each step requires its own set of essence files and metadata. Such essences files do include amongst others video, audio, graphic and subtitle files. Metadata can be of technical, desciptional, business or control character. It gets clear "Ingest" developed towards a versatile topic.
But where is the origin for all such files and data? While the answer might be different per customer use case it will most often be a combination of central (central ingest desk), decentral (kisk systems, editing stations), remote (abroad journalists, regional offices), B2B (movies, commercials, news, sports) and archive ingest. Other sources might be databases (e.g. rights). Most often ingesting is a manual process but some sources (e.g. metadata) might be available for automatic retrieval. Moreover several processing actions can be automated prior to the essences are finally being handed over to the production systems.
How is our Ingest Solution addessing such opportunities for efficence increase?
A sophisticated production environment requires a proper "Ingest Solution" that addresses the needs of the staff making use of the ingested essences and assets as well as the needs of the staff making such essences and assets available. Our "Ingest Solution" covers all types of sources within and outside your facility. It offers user interfaces as needed by the use case. It allows automatic processing as far as possible.
Who are the product partners for our Ingest Solution?
Capella: file transcoding
FlowWorks: remote journalists and offices ingest & ingest management
Rohde & Schwarz: tape ingest and live feed recording
Signiant: B2B file transfer and workflow automation
Woody: central and decentral file as well as social media ingest
x-dream-media & Medialooks: live feed caputring and monitoring
How a network architecture can look like?
central ingest desk
The central ingest desk is the main place for ingest operations. It's a room where all new content is brought to by the journalists, cameramen and other staff. Dedicated workstations are used by a team of ingest specialists to bring files from camera or USB storage devices into the production chain. While doing so files are previewed, selected, trimmed and stitched. Technical metadata is automatically generated and descriptional metadata is requested from the content sources. The product used for this function is Woody in2it. It transcodes and re-wraps the files to the house format at the ingest workstation.
A variant of central ingest is given when the source devices are getting attached to a server or files are getting moved there in advance to the ingest operations. In this case x-dream-media's Ingest Browser is the right choice. It allows to remotely browse, preview, select and segment video files. In difference to Woody's in2it the x-dream-media Ingest Browser sends the files for processing to x-dream-media's Workflow Manger WFM. WFM orchestrates transcoding, re-wrapping, QC, virus scanning and other operations. It's usually used to manage larger amounts of material.
desktop or kiosk ingest
In addition to the central ingest the desktop or kiosk ingest offers journalists and creatives to bring source material into the production environment from their workspaces or dedicated computers close to their desks. A dedicated computer allows professinonally addressing the risk of viruses. Furthermore it allows to save costs when expensive storage device reader like Sony XDCAM HD are required. The functionality provided is identical to the central ingest desks. The product of choice is again Woody's in2it in combination with x-dream-medias's WFM and other tools for virus scanning and QC.
To serve a larger number of journalist at their desk for occational ingests a Flow Upload Room is a cost effective alternative. See below at "remote journalists".
social media ingest
Ingesting social media means taking content from end-user publishing portals back to production environments. Usually an journalist has found an item of interest and faces the challange to retrieve and ingest the file. Download tools can be used in combination with usual ingest tools. More effective is using one integrated tool. In our solution we use a brand new variant of Woody's in2it (to be released) for directly downloading and ingesting from social media and web portals.
live feed recording
Live sources can be given by satelite feeds, least line or studio signals. Traditionally such video is provided as HD-SDI signals. The recording itself usually happens as "crash-record" or as scheduled record. For a fully integrated multi (camera) feed recording our solution is based on Rohde & Schwarz Venice servers. As a very cost effective, non-integrated but feature rich alternative we recommend Medialooks Direct Take.
For recording of NDI-based IP studio as well as web streams the same usability is required but a different engine is needed to execute. x-dream-media is currently developing a brand new product for scheduled stream and signal recording. In contrast to existing tools and video servers it allows to re-stream the sources within the facility for realtime browsing. That way journalists can follow the feeds at their desks in a very cost efficent way.
Despite the fact that tapes might be dead archives often still consist from tapes. Sometimes tapes are still used in production or for transportation. Consequently our ingest solution addresses this topic for manual operations by making use of Rohde & Schwarz Venice servers in combination with Woody's in2it. Alternatively higher volumes of tape ingests are controlled by the THS ingest scheduler.
Journalists in the field or occasional contributor are usually providing content only occasionally and in smaller volumes. But the number of such content provider might be very high. Thus a simplified way to upload video files with related metadata is required. Tools have to be world-wide accessible and intuitive to use. We do address this needs by so called "upload rooms". Technically such a room is a website that takes the file and requests mandatory and optional metadata. The journalist or contributor either has access to his upload room as he is a permanently registered user or he gets invited by an operator to a temporal upload room.
Staff in remote offices or production facilities do require a tight integration into the systems of the main facility to be as productive as possible. Larger facilities can get equipped as the main facility. Smaller facilities get provided with a fully featured but smaller scale system. In both cases the users interact with a local system that sends and retrieves the files and metadata to and from the main facility as a background process.
B2B content exchange
Todays content production and publishing happens across teamed up companies. Studios are sending material to post-production faclities which do forward after editing to agencies which do forward to broadcasters and publishers. A high volume of video files incl. metadata needs to be send via a save, secure and guaranteed method. Within our ingest solution we prefer to use Signiant's Media Exchange to address such needs. This is achieved via the FlowWorks flow-to-flow technology.
After files and metadata have been ingested fully automated actions can take place: Transcoding and re-wrapping to house format or browsing proxies, quality control, audio processing (e.g. normalizing), video processing (e.g. standard conversions). Finally assets (files + metadata) are handed over to the production system(s). For instance the high resolution file is moved and checked into the production asset management system (e.g. Interplay PAM), a low resolution browsing proxy is made available to the media asset management system (MAM) or the news room control system (NRCS).
How does the service architecture of our Ingest Solution do look like?
The Ingest Management System (short: IMS) is the heard of our Ingest Solution. It acts as Media Asset Management System, Workflow System and Traffic System. As product for the IMS we've selected FlowWork's FlowCenter. All ingest sources as well as delivery targets are integrated with the IMS. For customers with distributed organisations the IMS can be deployed at every facility and connected to act as one global system via the flow-to-flow module.