Meeting the challenge of deploying a centralized graphics operation like that recently deployed by the NBC Television Stations Division requires more than just graphics and character-generator (CG) hardware and software: It requires a system to bring it all together. In the case of NBC, that meant using a number of products from Proximity, an Australia-based manufacturer that today does more than 60% of its business in the U.S.
"There is a cost-efficiency reason for creating a centralized graphics facility, but that's not the only reason to do it," says Proximity CEO Luke Tristram. "There are also quality improvements because smaller stations can receive a higher level of service they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford."
NBC uses the Proximity products to tie its stations more closely with NBC Arthouse, the group's graphics facility located in Dallas. The products work closely with Pinnacle's Deko character generator to provide the content-management system used to catalog the graphics as well as the system used to distribute them.
"There's also a piece of our system that works with the Pinnacle Deko CG for titling and a backend order-management request process that allows a station to request a graphic and have the artist build it and then publish it straight to the station's rundown," he says.
Proximity's products include Xenomax (it converts and transfers content from one manufacturer's system to another), Xenomotion (a transcoder) and Xenotrack (a system that tracks requests and order fulfillment).
It's Xenostore, however, that offers some of the most interesting applications. Tristram refers to it as the company's "Google" equivalent.
"Rather than creating a separate bucket where everything is kept, we can actually go in and map what you've already got and create thumbnail and metadata about content on different systems," says Tristram. "Then people can create a single search point for locating stuff."