EditShare Connects Television, Radio and Web Production at WMHT

Media Convergence Makes Sharing Seamless, Efficient…and Costs Less

Known for its diverse educational and cultural programs such as ‘New York NOW’, ‘AHA! A House for Art’ and ‘Classical WMHT’, WMHT is a PBS public television and NPR radio station serving New York State’s capital region. WMHT recently replaced its three islands of media production with an EditShare integrated media production environment providing media asset management, shared central storage and tape-based archive solution that creates a connected workflow across its TV, radio and web production departments.

Before EditShare, staff copied content from one drive to another in order to share media across groups. This was incredibly time consuming and expensive in terms of maintaining legacy storage devices and physical space,” comments Bob Cummings, chief engineer, WMHT Educational Telecommunications. “The new EditShare installation centrally stores all TV, radio and web content and makes it possible for anyone in any department to collaborate. And equally important was the fact that the cost of our new EditShare platform was lower than the cost of upgrading our legacy system. At the end of the day, we made production much easier and more secure for staff across all three groups and made accounting happy by saving on budget.

The new WMHT media infrastructure relies on an XStream EFS high-performance, high-availability shared storage cluster, Flow Media Asset Management and Ark low cost, LTO tape-based back up and archiving. Bob comments on his decision to go with the EditShare brand, “In a previous position, I had installed EditShare for nearly similar reasons and the positive impact on productivity was immediate. That past experience gave us the confidence to do the full infrastructure change.

Enhanced Productivity

Prior to EditShare the team would copy material onto a Ki Pro drive or generic CDs or thumbdrives to transfer content from one system to the next. Centralizing media storage on the XStream EFS storage system gave production teams round-the-clock access to TV, radio and web content, cutting the time to share material by as much as 90%. Vice President of Radio, Chris Wienk, explains the impact of having a shared, collaboration platform, “We provide the WMHT TV group with voiceover support. Requests for voiceover projects usually come in several times per week, but at peak times it might be several times per day. Before our systems were connected, we would do the voiceover, save to our ENCO Radio System, then copy that content over to my desktop, then onto a disk or drive and, finally, walk it over to the TV department. Depending on the project size, this could easily take an hour. Now, thanks to EditShare, everything is consolidated onto one system in my office.

Today, I can record the voiceover from my desktop direct to the EditShare and publish the file in a Media Space that is designated for TV. Within minutes the TV group has it. No more tracking down CDs or thumb drives. Everything is right there and easily searchable.

Built for HD Production and Broadcast

In addition to supporting content sharing and storage across departments, the XStream EFS platform serves as the main production storage for WMHT studio operations. Six HD cameras record productions onto the EditShare storage via a Ross router. Content is available to the WMHT Adobe Premiere Editors as soon as the content hits the storage system. Meanwhile, the Flow Media Asset Manager scans all content recorded to the platform, creates a proxy for each asset and maintains a database that supports fast, simple searching of assets within the online storage and tape archives.

Our directors have really embraced Flow,” comments Bob. “They like that they can log in from their own system and view their program’s footage, make notes, and even assemble a storyboard without having to bother an editor. It allows them more time and total convenience to review and work on their content.

One of the biggest impacts in terms of productivity enhancements is WMHT’s new closed captioning and QC workflow. Distilled down to a handful of steps for the production and post team, the new process eliminates copying content onto portable drives and manually moving it from one location to another. Consolidation of content onto the EditShare Shared Storage server combined with Flow metadata tracking and automated watch folders simplifies the entire process.

Thanks to EditShare, we have been able to consolidate a number of steps with regards to recording and airing programs,” comments Bob. “With our previous workflow, we would record to Ki Pro, then dump the footage to an attached storage, edit, then put back onto a Ki Pro and send for closed captioning. Get that file back and then copy onto a server for upload to master control in Syracuse. Today, it’s just much more efficient, reliable and trackable.

Set Up for Remote Collaboration

The EditShare installation also features AirFlow, a web-based Flow application that gives secure, remote access to media on the central EFS storage server. “AirFlow is ideal for WMHT customers who rent production time in our studio,” Bob explains. “For example, we have a Connecticut production company that comes up to Albany every couple of weeks to shoot in the WMHT studio. While they are based in Connecticut, the editor is based in NYC. So after the shoot, they would copy the footage onto drives and ship to NYC. With the new infrastructure, they will be able to record the content to the EditShare storage, and the editor in NYC can access it externally using AirFlow. They won’t have to wait for a drive to be shipped. The editor can simply download the proxies, even as the shoot is underway, and begin editing the project.

He continues, “Based on the final cut, they can securely download high-resolution files stored on the XStream EFS storage system at WMHT via AirFlow. Likewise, the producer in Connecticut can log into AirFlow and browse proxies, make notes for the editor, and even storyboard proxies and send to the editor to finalize.

Future-Proof Platform

Completing WMHT’s connected workflow is EditShare Ark Tape for offline archiving. Fully integrated with XStream EFS and Flow, the tiered storage environment features automated backups and comprehensive media restoration capabilities, giving WMHT easy access to the archives with search tools to locate and retrieve content quickly.

Emphasizing the enhanced productivity by having a fully integrated workflow with EditShare, Bob adds, “With content fully tracked from ingest to archive and being easily searchable, we are able to utilize our assets more efficiently across the board. And because we are on a contemporary architecture, we are well situated to take advantage of emerging technologies, such as EditShare’s Flow, that continue to improve the quality of our production and the use of our staff’s time.