In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company talks about the new playout and MCR facility it recently designed and integrated for Saudi Broadcasting Corporation Dignitaries from Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the authority that oversees media and broadcast operations in the Kingdom, recently visited a brand new tapeless playout and […]
In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company talks about the new playout and MCR facility it recently designed and integrated for Saudi Broadcasting Corporation
Dignitaries from Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the authority that oversees media and broadcast operations in the Kingdom, recently visited a brand new tapeless playout and master control room (MCR) system that was developed for Saudi Radio and TV complex in Riyadh to serve six of its sports channels. Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company was responsible for providing a turnkey solution for this project, including modifying an existing room within the complex to make it suitable for MCR operations and then, undertaking the entire broadcast element for the facility. The broadcast element included designing, procuring kit and integrating all of the systems within a very tight timeframe of two months. The facility is currently undergoing testing and commissioning.
SBCs President, His Excellency Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Hazza; Vice President of Engineering Affairs, Eng. Saleh bin Abdulaziz Al Meghaileeth; General Director, Eng. Ibrahim Al Rowaitie and other dignitaries from the organisation visited the new facility in April.
Although Saudi TVs six sports channels have been on air since last year when the broadcaster secured the rights to air the Saudi Football League, they will include sophisticated sports programming and operate as full-fledged channels only after Ramadan.
A major chunk of this project included the deployment of several EVS products including five XS servers for ingest and playout (18 ingest channels and 12 playout channels in main and backup mode); its XSAN storage with a capacity to store up to 2000 hours of HD material; 14 IPDirector servers to manage the media and control ingest, playout and logging; 13 EVS XTAccess servers for media operations, transfer and transcoding; and four Xedio CleanEdit for proxy low-res editing. The facility is also kitted out with baseband equipment for 6+1 channels: seven Avid Motion Graphics servers; an 128×128 Evertz Xenon router; seven Evertz EMC MCR switchers, seven Evertz VIPX multi-viewer systems for monitoring; Harris signal processing equipment and an EMC2 VNX-5300 with 40TB usable storage for local archive media asset management that is connected to SBCs main Digital Archiving Centre in Riyadh, which has been expanded to include another 200 TB.
In a typical workflow, feeds from the MCR or recorded footage from the VTR will be ingested into the EVS XSAN where it is available to all of the components within the EVS environment. Simultaneously, a high resolution version (DVCPro HD) and a low resolution version (H.264 @ 1.2Mbps) will be generated and written into the storage. The files become available for on-air playout as they are recorded. The IPDirector MAM allows for the control and management of the assets, entering metadata in a customisable profile, logging, creation of playlists and on-air playout.
“Customised profiles can be created in the EVS environment. This metadata is transferred to the archive system using XML where it is interpreted and inserted into the database,” explains Zakhia El Hayek, Systems Engineer at FGC.
The files can be edited on the storage area network (SAN) using the low resolution editor Xedio from EVS, or can be written to the existing Avid ISIS shared storage to be edited by the Avid NLE system. Files can then be sent to the local archive from the IPDirector interface.
Here, the files are synchronised with the Digital Archiving Centre. The files can be retrieved from the archive via the ISSCore mini MAM interface. These files are then transferred back and checked into the EVS environment with their metadata.
More than 30 people from FGC worked on this project between design, integration, implementation, civil works, testing and commissioning.
According to the systems integrator, the tight timeframe was one of the biggest challenges to completing this installation.
“Time constraints were really the major challenge,” explains Joseph Choufani, Systems Engineer at FGC.
“Setting up the environment and integrating the hardware and workflows of several systems within a limited period of time required a high level of focus and skill from all FGC teams involved in the project.”
Technical training for the end user is scheduled in June.