Archiving Italian football – Part II
Following an agreement with the Lega Calci, and with the assistance of Prevideo-Mediadesign, Infront Sports & Media recently implemented the management of the Italian historical football archive at its Milan facility. Roberto Landini looks at the technical details of the system.
After a long period of initial designing, the system was set up with a choice of Harris hardware, implementing classic Nexio servers and Invenio software taking care of all Media Asset Management functions, plus Isilon for storage.
The main idea was to create a gigantic system in order to offer broadcasters around the world the widest possible choice of Italian soccer seasons. So the complexity of the plant required great professionalism, almost endless scalability, the possibility to add drives without interrupting the service, or reformatting or else, and an incredible ability to integrate very different formats and feeds, typical of this multimedia world.
Furthermore it had to be practical, capable to integrate in a single system several services, like archiving, retrieving, and all created files should contain details, names, time-code info, nicknames for clips and protagonists, etc for any multiple and fast queries and successive re-distribution.
As far as distribution is concerned the system is also capable of live streaming images even when the event is taking place on field. The whole event can be streamed on the internet towards the subscribers who in their turn may -through dedicate software – watch the complete match through the low res web-stream and mark some highlights of particular interest. These highlights may be up to around four-five minutes of footage and the subscriber practically forms an EDL. Then this list of editing decisions is sent back to the Infront system which creates a mid-res version of the requested video and audio sections and delivers them back to the subscriber.
The British company IPV had also an important role in this plant since they created the development of their particular software, such as Curator, to be used to archive and retrieve materials and most of all to live stream all the media. Harris equipment acquires and load the clips in ingest keeping the native formats via live, satellite, fibre feeds and all files are then stored in two formats, one in SD as XDCAM and the other in HD as IMX. All materials – the live matches and the previous seasons cassettes – are ingested first in some dedicated online servers for a first trimming of unwanted parts and in a successive step moved to the big storage servers completely based on discs and avoiding tape storage completely in order to cancel any possible issue and room consuming physical shelves.