Media solutions providers Dalet and 7fivefive discuss how software-defined content supply chains are meeting media distribution demands of today’s content creators and publishers in this IBC Digital session. Based around a real-world case study, they discuss the benefits of a cloud-native production content supply chain platform, how it allows for a timely and agile response, and what the future holds for secure content delivery for multiple platforms.
In this session for IBC Digital, Matthew Carter, director of sales, UK&I, Benelux and South Africa, Dalet, discusses how their customer, a major UK broadcaster and studio, wanted to explore a much more flexible and dynamic post model than a traditional facility with masses of servers, suites and storage on-premises.
The session looks at some of the challenges that were faced by the customer, a solution that was deployed almost completely in AWS, and an in-depth look at the architecture. In the summary it covers some of the benefits brought about by the solution, with a discussion about future developments.
Carter is joined by Tim Burton, co-owner and managing director of 7fivefive (formerly Magenta Broadcast), a systems integrator specialising in IP and cloud deployments.
“The customer wanted to move away from legacy on-premise hardware and systems to a cloud-hosted solution,” Matthew Carter, Dalet
“We’re working with people like BBC Studios, ITV and A+E Networks, plus plenty of the smaller privately owned post facilities and content owners and creators,” explains Burton. “A large part of what we’re doing now is creating fully virtualised post environments in the cloud. We’re looking at the content supply chain, how we’re getting that data in, how we’re storing it securely and the governance around that.”
“The customer [here] wanted to move away from legacy on-premise hardware and systems to a cloud-hosted solution,” says Carter. “It removes their reliance on some of the ageing on-premise infrastructure they had and some of the legacy systems and workflows they were using. This will also obviously help them enable remote working.”
Carter discusses some of the challenges faced by the customer, and similar companies in the post sector: the volume of content - numbered in terabytes per day - that has to be ingested; the ability to enable high-resolution cloud-based video editing using huge datasets and huge files, without incurring huge data costs; the tracking and analytics around that content, to ensure that the customer is always aware of the status of the workflow right from production until distribution; as well as the reporting that delivers visibility into the cloud usage and costs.
Watch Dalet’s ‘Integrated end to end supply chain in the cloud’ session on IBC Digital here
“It was also really important that all of this content, either the migrated content or the newly ingested content became completely searchable, and hence reusable for different productions,” adds Carter.
Working through a visual representation of the content supply chain architecture, Carter and Burton break down each stage, discussing in detail where the Dalet Flex ecosystem, working in this case with AWS cloud storage and microservices, addresses each challenge.
Ingest and transcoding from camera cards and legacy content is managed by Dalet AmberFin, while third-party content is ingested over the web using the FlexMOVE upload tool. All this raw footage transcoded into a mezzanine format is brought into the Dalet Flex system where it can be managed, organised, and made searchable.
At the same time, 7fivefive deploys tools such as Dalet FlexXTEND to provide integration for cloud-hosted workstations, which enables editors on Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere to actually work on the content whilst it’s being hosted in the cloud. Dalet Flex also supports automatic and manual QC, review and approval workflows, and finally can package and deliver the finished content to a variety of different endpoints - online video platforms (OVP), social media and so on. Metadata is standardised and preserved throughout the entire supply chain, and the system enables full cloud cost reporting from ingestion to delivery so that there are no surprises.
“A large part of what we’re doing now is creating fully virtualised post environments in the cloud,” Tim Burton, 7fivefive
“What we’ve delivered here is the same kind of post production experience you used to get within a ‘bricks and mortar’ facility, only it’s hosted in the cloud,” says Burton. “It’s not limited by the space within four walls; we can deploy new workstations on demand within minutes.”
Carter and Burton round off the session with a look at what the future holds. Dalet for example is looking into offering prepackaged solutions for specific parts of that supply chain that customers want to fulfil, with the Dalet Flex platform deployed in a SAAS-based configuration.
Companies who aren’t necessarily big broadcasters will be better served by such solutions says Carter, such as brands, sports companies and labels. Dalet is also investing heavily in developing web-based editing tools, to serve the boom in remote working and also address the needs of a mobile-first workforce.
Burton foresees a greater acceptance of the security aspects of cloud-based supply chains, where cloud systems can exceed the security profile of on-prem workfows .
“The cloud-based technology and all the associated concerns around security have evolved to a point where doing a large project like this and moving what was traditionally a very on-premise workflow into the cloud is now a complete reality,” he adds. “It’s only going to get easier and easier in the future.”