Technology

Newsrooms to Show Off Streamlined Form at NAB

New products for trimming excess steps, simplifying operations will be talk of Vegas 3/18/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

There are stations launching
newscasts in ever more
remote time slots, and news
directors looking for ways to get their
reporters out in the field producing
stories. Anyone sensing a trend can see
why technologies for further automating
and streamlining the process of producing
local TV news will be a key theme at
the 2013 NAB in Las Vegas April 8-11.

Not surprisingly, many of the new
products are designed for speeding up
the delivery of news content to multiple
platforms, which is a high priority but
low revenue producer at most stations.

Helping stations solve that problem
was a key focus in the development of
the recently launched ENPS Version 7
news production system from the Associated
Press, notes Jason Smith, project
manager at AP ENPS.

Other advances include a muchimproved
and simplified user interface;
calendar-based planning tools; and an
ENPS dashboard that provides a customizable
view of the day’s latest information
from wires, media, assignments
and other sources.

“The stations don’t want to have to
have a social media producer, a broadcast
producer and a Web producer all
generating stuff,” says Wayne Ludkey,
director of ENPS sales, the Americas.
“This gives them one tool for multiplatform
delivery and workflows and
removes the obstacles for true multiplatform
production.”

Refined Newsgathering

Another major focus at NAB will be
systems to help stations better refine
their workflows. To help with those efforts,
Bitcentral is currently beta testing
Core:news, a news production, media
management, sharing and archiving solution
that will be launched at NAB.

“Core:news is a way to unify and simplify
workflows by eliminating needless
steps,” explains Fred Fourcher, CEO
of Bitcentral. This will offer better collaboration,
simplified field-based workflows to speed content back to the station,
complete integration with popular
newsroom systems like ENPS and Avid’s
iNews, automated multiplatform delivery
mechanisms and faster access to
stored content, he adds.

“Viewers don’t want to see the same
video over and over again on different
newscasts,” Fourcher says. “If you can
streamline workflows to produce more
content and share it across the group,
you can give [viewers] something fresh
that no one else has.”

Another tool for streamlining and
developing better workflows is Harris
Broadcast’s Invenio Motion digital asset
management solution. “We have
designed Invenio Motion to analyze
workflows and figure out how to adjust
those workflows to better utilize their
resources,” says Stan Moote, VP of business
development at Harris Broadcast.

Harris and others have also been working
on ways to better integrate social media
content into workflows. At NAB, for example,
Ross Video will introduce a new
version of its Inception social media
management tool, notes Allan Pepper,
marketing product manager, technical for
Ross. “It allows you to create workflows
for easily publishing to Facebook and
to easily search content all in one tool,”
Pepper explains.

Trained for Speed

NAB will also see vendors including
Avid and Grass Valley offering overarching
solutions that can help manage
more aspects of a station’s news operation.
That can both streamline workflows and reduce training requirements.

“Many of our customers are struggling
with higher levels of staff turnover,
which means that the level of
training and familiarity their staff has
with their products is lower,” says
Raymond Baldock, VP of strategic alliances
at Grass Valley.

Having an overarching solution like
Grass Valley’s Stratus reduces some of
that training, since users can work within
one interface to perform more tasks.
“One of the important benefits of Stratus
is that you bring consistency to many
different applications, which in the past
would have come from different vendors,”
Baldock explains. “It ensures that those
processes work together seamlessly, and
that the operator doesn’t have to learn different
interfaces for different tasks.”

Vendors are also devoting a great deal
of effort to streamlining the process of
inserting graphics into content for different
devices.

Isaac Hersly, president of Vizrt Americas,
notes that graphics inserted in a TV
clip won’t view sharply on a phone or a
tablet, but few stations have the staff or
time to manually change the graphics.

To overcome that problem, Vizrt has
created processes to automate and rapidly
insert the right graphics for different
devices and formats. “It takes and
inserts graphics that are customized for
different sizes and resolutions in less
than real time, so you can process a twominute
clip in less than two minutes”
for many formats, Hersly explains.

The Viz Reporter app for iPhone and
iPad, which works with the Viz Media
Engine, also speeds up the process of going
live with video sent by reporters in the field. “It gives them tools to create packages
and put in graphics so they can put
more people on the street,” Hersly adds.

The push to put more people in the
field to produce more content is also
boosting demand for cloud-based distributed
production systems like Avid’s
Interplay Sphere, which will be showcasing
some new features at NAB.

Interplay Sphere allows users to much
more easily share and edit content via
the cloud. “It is changing the paradigm
of what they can do as an editor and
reporter outside the facility,” says Jim
Frantzreb, senior market segment manager
for media enterprise at Avid, which
will be demoing a wide range of new
products to streamline workflows. “It
gives them real-time access to all their
normal tools…and it plays into the popular
[strategy] of continuous news production,
where everyone is in the field
and you don’t need as many expensive
news trucks.”

E-mail comments to
gpwin@oregoncoast.com
and follow him on Twitter:
@GeorgeWinslow

 

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