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AmberFin & ATG Broadcast Jointly Promote DPP-Focused Approach to File-based Workflows in UK

01/03/2013

AmberFin & ATG Broadcast Jointly Promote DPP-Focused Approach to File-based Workflows in UK 01 Mar 2013

At BVE (stand K31), AmberFin, a leading developer of file-based media ingest, transcoding and quality control solutions for content owners, broadcasters, sports organizations and post-production houses, has come together with broadcast systems integrator, ATG Broadcast, to jointly promote an approach to the adoption of digital file-based workflows that focuses on the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) initiative in the UK.

DPP is an initiative formed by the UK's public service broadcasters to help producers and broadcasters maximise the benefits of digital production. The partnership is funded by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, with representation from Channel 5, Sky, S4C and the independent sector on its working groups. DPP draws on industry experts from the worlds of technology and broadcast production to help fulfil its remit. AmberFin has been a strong supporter of the DPP initiative because it promises Open Standards interoperability and this dovetails neatly with the company's strategic development goals.

At BVE, ATG Broadcast and AmberFin are sharing a platform where they will showcase the market's first DPP specific media ingest workstation and file transcoder. Designated iCR-100-DPP (transcoder), iCR-300-DPP (media ingest workstation) and iCR-500-DPP (media ingest, transcode, playback, metadata entry and QC review), these new products reflect AmberFin's aim of addressing the broadest range of media organizations with enterprise level solutions that are designed to meet their specific business needs. In the UK, these products are available through AmberFin's channel partner ATG Broadcast.

The iCR-300-DPP media ingest workstation and the iCR-100-DPP transcoder are both designed specifically to create high-quality MXF-wrapped AVC-Intra or D10 assets compliant with the AMWA AS-11 specification and DPP guidelines from tape or line sources. Available as a standalone workstations or scalable enterprise solutions, both systems reflect a design that is optimized for easy integration and operation with proven interoperability in multi-vendor environments. The workstations offer clearly defined, documented and extensible APIs. They benefit from AmberFin's Unified QC (UQC) approach, providing automated and manual quality control operation.

The iCR-500-DPP is the complete workstation for the creation and preparation of AMWA AS-11, DPP compliant assets. The iCR-500-DPP combines ingest, transcode and playback functionality with metadata entry and validation, QC review, mark-up and segmentation.

DPP is all about the business of broadcast

According to AmberFin and ATG Broadcast, DPP provides solid foundations for future business growth and, importantly, it provides a level playing field for all the companies working within that sector. DPP provides a sheltered environment or ecosystem in which companies can interact with each other: the other option offers no protection and individual companies can make ill-judged decisions that cost them dearly.

In a world of extremely diverse media utilisation, it is impossible to create a one shoe fits all' media format. The business requirements for archiving the production master of a new movie are different from the business requirements for exchanging a metadata rich proxy across a business network, comments Bruce Devlin, Chief Technology Officer at AmberFin. The best we can do is to have a hierarchy of standards that reduce the number of variants in an application. MXF is the toolbox standard. DPP is the shim (smallest specification) that defines how that application will be used in a given environment i.e. the UK Digital Production Partnership.

Devlin believes that the DPP in initiative could provide the bedrock on which broadcasters, production companies and facilities can build their file-based workflows. He sees a number of clear and strong advantages in this unified approach:

The essence of the problem is the lack of a common interchange format to enable these transactions. DPP is the first open public interchange format that is specifically designed to address this issue.

In a standardized DPP world, there would be a limited amount of pain and cost felt by everybody but this would be shared equally amongst the organizations involved and it would be a limited cost, which is incurred only once. After this point, our industry has a fantastic common interchange format to help encourage partnerships and build businesses.

In a world that has adopted DPP, media and metadata interoperability is not an issue since the format is built on a strong, detailed common interchange specification. In this homogeneous scenario the resources that would have been used in the interoperability engineering process can be used in more creative and productive ways, such as programme making.

In a modern workflow the typical number of file encoding stages between camera and screen is around 10. If you have a single interchange format within your workflow then the number of transcode operations can be dramatically reduced the end product will retain all its quality. The utilisation of DPP as a common interchange format simplifies the workflow and assures that quality levels are maintained throughout. Furthermore, a homogeneous codec environment enables effective QC irrespective of the number of process steps.

In a file-based workflow, the largest single source of cost saving is automation the creation of systems that are capable of making decisions based on metadata. In this environment, it is logical that the better the quality of the metadata, then the better automated decision-making systems that work from that data.

Every operator, working at every stage of the workflow benefits from superior quality metadata. The best q
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