Handling a Complex NOA-AVID Integration Project in a Pandemic
The COVID-19 health crisis has forced us to question our approach to daily operations, and that’s a good thing
Blog by Jean-Christophe, managing partner NOA Archive
A few months ago we announced an interesting project we were embarking upon with Sharjah Broadcasting Authority. The organization had ordered a complete intersite archiving solution which would also integrate all assets bidirectionally incorporated from AVID Interplay. We were due to deliver the solution before the start of Ramadam in May. But then, of course, to the world’s surprise, a major force came our way.
Yes, I’m refering to COVID-19. In order to adapt to the new reality we had to change the way we operate. Instead of having someone physically install the servers, for example, we had to create simple instructions of what, where and how to connect them for the local SBA engineers. Instead of onsite training on the new system, we had to shift to remote training. And, instead of onsite acceptance tests, we began carrying out remote acceptance tests using many cameras.
Now months into this health crisis, there is a recurrent question in my mind. It is: “Did the remote process help or hinder our day-to-day operations?”
My answer may surprise you but here it is: We think that by applying these new remote strategies, the project as a whole was a great success. We surpassed — by far — our already high quality of documentation and delivery. And staff, on both sides of the project, had the chance to be fully attentive home-based engineers — despite of course the rare moments where the internet connection was frustratingly slow. Though overall we were able to meet the pre-agreed timetable.
Thus, when we analyze the situation clearly, we realize that the restrictions introduced by COVID-19 have created new opportunities and a new way of working online and remotely.
You all know about our love for AV archives. Well the archived content has gained an extraordinary value in this time of physical restriction by filling the gaps in the content production processes. During COVID-19 times up to 30% _ as we unofficially heard _of broadcast content came from archives thanks to those who luckily had access to most of the legacy material. Is this a wake-up call for all those who never thought this way about archives?
Indeed this raises many questions and offers insight into how we’ll deliver our projects in the future. And frankly I believe that moving forward we can successfully and effectively carry out much of the work remotely, meaning less time onsite or at least less time than we previously believed necessary. I perceive that the establishment of a trend that was initiated by a need will provide more freedom of choice and a more efficient way of working in broadcast production.
Integration of AVID Interplay into NOA mediARC AAM system at several of its regional stations
The Sharjah project was complex and required all our expertise in multiple-system connectivity. But even so, thanks to efficient remote application tools, we were able to successfully complete multisite project. Specifically we connected two sites and in doing so, we streamlined the entire workflow. For Sharjah, we united AVID to DIVA through mediARC in order for the network to transfer heavy AV files in just minutes. DIVAnet ensures they are replicated in one place and accessible by both sites. This is important for disaster recovery. The NOA mediARC controls the files that go directly to the DIVA archive, resulting in a more efficient (fast, secure, precise) way to guarantee multisite and continuous work sharing.
To give you context into the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority project, here are a few highlights:
– One centralised OAIS archive management repository for n-regionals and HQ
– Complete integration of regional AVID workstations and Interplay
– Archiving from AVID regionals (Masterclip, Sequences and Clips) towards NOA’s mediARC with one click
– Complete AVID bidirectional Interplay metadata integration
– Possibility to order from SBA HQ towards SBA Wousta AVID Interplay and vice versa
– Normalization toward OP1A with conform MXF headers
– Clustered four nodes of central mediARC database
– Complete second failover system: hot standby located 70 kilometers away
– DIVANet integration over two sites separated by 70 kilometers
– Partial File Restore integration for FFV1
You can read the full story of the Sharjah installation here.
The benefits of systematic in-house digitization
Also during this crisis we are proud of the help we provided to broadcasters such as Croatian public radio broadcaster HRT. When the media house found itself having to work remotely on very short notice, we were happy to offer support to their 40 producers, ensuring they could efficiently work remotely. To do so, we lent HRT 40 temporary web licenses free of charge. This resulted in the broadcaster being able to repurpose content thanks to its capacity to retrieve audiovisual material from the archives and repackage it for their listeners. That, per se, might seem simple, but HRT didn’t have the necessary web licenses that would allow them remote access to the repertoire.
That brings us to the topic of systematic in-house digitization. NOA has recently been very focused on the advanced systematic approach to archiving. As opposed to a simpler approach driven only by production needs, this method ensures long-term quality, productivity and efficiency to play a key role in various levels of legacy media preservation.
A systematic in-house digitization facility, for example, can efficiently manage 60,000 tapes a year compared to the mere 600 tapes a solely production-driven strategy typically achieves. It therefore plays a significant role in saving a much larger portion of an archive in the same period of time, helping archivists construct a bigger and more coherent audiovisual repertoire.
I believe there is still a great need for preservation of legacy media carriers around the world. We are constantly evaluating the requirement of our present and potential clients and continue to share information with them on available archiving options and best practices.