Production House Werne using Primestream dynamic media management for ice hockey and soccer
Located in Helsinki, Finland, Production House Werne (Tuotantotalo Werne) services two of the leading media groups in the Nordic region – Viasat Sport Finland and Sanoma Media – with ingest, media management, logging, editing, archiving, material services and playout for the Finnish national ice hockey league, professional football (soccer) games, and various other programming.
A Primestream client since 2009, Werne started small with ingesting, material services, and archiving for Finnish national hockey league games and soccer for leagues throughout the Europe. As technology evolved from standard definition to high definition, and clients requested additional and more complex services, Werne added two 24/7 FORK Master Control Playout channels, DAC storage for archiving, and a Chyron Hego Graphics system. On the production side, Werne upgraded to the latest version of FORK, adding Logger and Live Assist. For outside access to Werne’s Media Asset Management database and archive, Werne added Xchange Suite, offering automation control for restoring content from the archive and requesting the high-resolution source material.
Werne’s 10G local area network features a 2G in/out redundant internet connection. The server room is divided into a production network and an office network – people working with FORK are on the production side, while administrative departments such as marketing and accounting use the office side.
Werne employs three dedicated system admins to support the operation at all times: Sami Peltovuori, senior systems developer; Kari Kantanen, system specialist and technical support; and Olli-Matti Kärkkäinen, system management supervisor.
“We have a three-layer network with core, distribution, and access switches,” says Kärkkäinen. “Every system, server, and production computer on the 10 GB network is connected to the core layer, so a healthy IT infrastructure means everyone can do their job.”
Werne uses FORK to automate HD signal ingest from satellite, fiber and studio camera sources. Some 15 stadiums across Finland have direct fiber runs to Werne. The in-house ingest runs on four Apple MacPros using Sonnet’s xMac Pro Server and 7 AJA Kona cards. Media is housed on a Harmonic MediaGrid with 100TB allotted for production.
During live broadcasts, Werne loggers working on MacMinis with two LCD monitors and two broadcast monitors add descriptive metadata, subclips and markers to incoming feeds. To increase logging speed and accuracy, Werne uses FORK Logger, a customisable application for adding pre-defined metadata. System specialist Kari Kantanen customised Werne’s Logger suite with his own theme. “With our pre-defined metadata, you can click on a player and get a list of all the other players on that team, which simplifies things for our operators, ” adds Kantanen.
Metadata tags and FORK Smart Bins make it easy for Werne editors to search the FORK database for logged content – players, goals, penalties – during a live ingest and then send the assets to Adobe Premiere Pro using a FORK Action Script. The assets are cut into highlight packages for live broadcast on Viasat or Sanoma’s sport channels.
Nonlinear editor integration is a big deal at Werne. Editors using Adobe Premiere Pro have access to clips from games in-progress through a FORK client, allowing them to assemble between-period highlights and post show recaps even while the game feed is still being ingested. Incoming files also contain FORK events and metadata added by the logging team – making it fast and easy for editors to locate a specific part of the game and import it into a Premiere Pro timeline. Giving editors the flexibility of working with the live production team means they spend less time on finding assets and more time being creative.
Werne is home to a state-of-the-art production studio where pre-game, half-time and post-game shows are recorded and played out in HD. In the control room, Live Assist software integrates seamlessly with existing hardware in the Newsroom Control System. “The benefit with a software-based system is that we can quite easily modify it by ourselves,” says Peltovuori. “I can go to the shop and buy whatever we need, and Primestream supports the upgrade.” Upgrading the Werne system to handle playout for Sanoma’s PRO1 and PRO2 sports channels was a matter of allocating 30TB of storage on the MediaGrid and adding two MacPros with AJA I/O 4K playout devices running FORK Playout.
Material services, asset management and more
The FORK Production Server, Xchange Server, Harmonic WFS, FTP and render farms run in a VMware virtual server environment. These applications drive the Werne Material Services department, which is primarily tasked with receiving media from Sanoma – movies, commercials, and promos – and preparing it for broadcast delivery.
Content Navigator and FORK Production Server rely on watch folders for file-based ingest via FTP, Arkena, and Sanoma’s M4 traffic system. “Actions” automatically populate Smart Bins based on metadata properties, and files are transcoded to MXF in Harmonic WFS (for editing and playout) then archived and also placed into a mirrored 200TB network attached storage for playout.
It used to be that when Sanoma pulled footage from the Werne archive, they had to request a tape. Now with Xchange, Sanoma has instant Web access to Werne’s 864TB ALTO archive from any PC. Sanoma can browse and request downloads of proxy files or source content to repurpose in promos or other marketing and sales activities.
“This new version of Xchange provides Sanoma with a more efficient way to access the content we produce for them,” says Kärkkäinen. “They also needed automation control over scripts to trigger things like restoring an asset from archive.”
As Werne continues to grow and evolve, FORK helps them quickly and easily adapt to bigger jobs for bigger clients. “We’re looking to grow our playout services and invest in developing applications for video-on-demand platforms like Apple TV,” says Peltovuori. “Our client’s needs are always changing and FORK and Xchange give us the scalability and customisation we need to keep our system one step ahead.”