Front Porch digitises NTV Russia archive ahead of tapeless broadcast facility move

Russian broadcaster NTV has installed a complete system of Front Porch Digital SAMMA media migration tools to digitise its vast store of videotapes. NTV has also installed Front Porch Digital’s DIVArchive CSM system and DIVAdirector media asset management (MAM) system to help it manage, access, and repurpose the video once it is digitised. The Front Porch Digital migration and archiving workflow enables NTV to preserve legacy video assets before the tapes deteriorate, and ensures the broadcaster will be able to find and reuse those assets indefinitely.

This new workflow is part of NTV’s effort to transition to an entirely tapeless operation, an effort that will culminate in a brand-new Moscow production and broadcast facility, which is under construction and will be completed within two years.

“We want our new broadcast centre to be completely tapeless, and digitising the tape library now means we can store our archive at a secure off-site location rather than at the new facility. Front Porch Digital’s proven, fully integrated system will make sure we can get the project done efficiently and in time for the new building,” said Vladimir Kamentsev, head of project at NTV. “More importantly, having our entire archive in digital form and under DIVArchive’s control will make it easier for users to access and reuse the content later, especially for Internet broadcasting and video on demand, which means we’ll have greater opportunity to monetize our legacy assets.”

Front Porch Digital’s SAMMA media migration technology is in the process of digitising NTV’s nearly 100,000 BETACAM and DVCAM cassette tapes. NTV uses SAMMArobot and SAMMAsolo units to digitise the tapes en masse — accurately and automatically — with archive-quality migration to multiple file formats in a single pass. SAMMAprep and SAMMAclean appliances help ready the tapes to ensure successful encoding and provide metadata to aid in preparation. The SAMMA tools serve as the core of NTV’s digitisation workflow, providing continuous migration at a rate of 100 to 250 cassettes per day.

The workflow is configured to export the high-resolution video automatically, in its various formats, into DIVArchive. At the same time, proxy files automatically go to the DIVAdirector MAM system, where metadata has been preloaded from existing databases. NTV will use the DIVArchive CSM system not only to retrieve the content from the archive, but to handle complex storage tasks such as replication, repurposing, and transformation of complex media objects.

Critical to the migration operation is a custom Microsoft SharePoint portal that is being developed to manage all stages of the migration process and track actions and exceptions. The portal will be integrated with the Front Porch Digital applications in order to both gather metadata and track operational behavior.

For example, the SharePoint portal will contain check-in/check-out forms to help operators keep track of the 300 to 600 cassettes that are making their way through the process at any one time. The portal also helps them to consolidate metadata from NTV’s separate archive silos — such as news, movies, and thematic programmes — to ensure that metadata fields and their content are consistent throughout the new archive. This information is used to preload migration jobs into the SAMMA system so that operators need less time to prepare and inspect cassettes for migration.

The migration process is underway for several of NTV’s archives, including news, long-form programmes, and cartoons. Once the material has been captured, authorised users throughout NTV will be able to access it through DIVAdirector via a Web browser and use it to prepare programming for air.

Systems integrator and Front Porch Digital reseller Okno-TV handled the sale and is coordinating the ongoing implementation.

“NTV has a been an important and colorful part of the Russian TV landscape for more than 20 years, and its archives are full of valuable video that it has wisely chosen to preserve,” said Rino Petricola, COO and general manager, Front Porch Digital. “This sophisticated digitisation and archiving workflow ensures that NTV can make quick use of its legacy content for years to come.”

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