Live from IBC: With eye on future, Quantel moves towards ‘stream-based’ workflows

Marking its 40th year at IBC, Quantel put the focus on stream-based workflows and the latest version of its Pablo Rio postproduction platform at its Friday-morning press conference.

Quantel sees stream-based workflows as the next step in the evolution of video production — just as file-based workflows have already transformed it in recent years. With Quantel’s stream-based workflows, there is no need to wait for files to complete their transfer before users can start work with streamed media as soon as the frames begin to arrive. There are no copies of media created and high-resolution frames are transferred only when absolutely necessary, as a background task.

“Traditional tape workflows actually had some strengths: you could actually watch the content while you were transferring it, you could instantly route to multiple destinations, and it was reliable and interoperable,” said Tim Claman, CTO, Quantel. “When we transitioned to file-based workflows we lost some of those things, even though we gained some things as well: ease in duplicating data, digital content-creation tools.

“The idea with stream-based workflows is taking a technology that was built for delivering content to viewers, bring it upstream into content-production workflows, and actually gain back some of the things we lost [when we transitioned to file-based workflows],” he continued. “We are only just now starting to see streaming technology in content-production workflows, and there are a lot of potential benefits there.”

QTube InterSite tees up Quantel’s vision of stream-based workflows
Headlining Quantel’s push into stream-based workflows at IBC is QTube InterSite, a new workflow that allows users to edit anywhere and publish anywhere without waiting for files to transfer. QTube InterSite users can search and browse media across local and remote sQ servers and build it into a single timeline, which can then be published either locally or to a remote sQ server. QTube InterSite handles all the media streaming and movement automatically and entirely transparently to the user. Content that is still being ingested at one site can be accessed instantly at every other site; there is no waiting with QTube InterSite.

Users view and make creative decisions on low-bitrate streams, and the published result is just metadata. QTube InterSite then automatically moves the high-bitrate ingredients between sites so that the result is available for playout at the right location. Only the frames used need to be moved, maximizing network efficiency and minimising time to air, two key benefits of stream-based workflows.

QTube InterSite will be available in October.

Pablo Rio 2KO targets budget-conscious postproduction community
In addition to QTube and Quantel’s stream-based workflows initiative, the company unveiled Pablo Rio 2KO, the latest addition to the Pablo Rio color- and finishing-system family. After introducing 4K capability in the Pablo Rio at NAB2013 (via an AJA Corvid Ultra video card), Quantel is making a run at lower-cost PC platforms with Pablo Rio 2KO. The product is aimed at broadcasters and post houses that wish to use Pablo Rio for 2K and HD 3D but do not require top-end 4K capabilities, according to Quantel Sales Director Martin Mulligan. It handles 4K camera formats, includes full Stereo3D capabilities, and delivers 2K and HD S3D output in real time.

As with all Pablo Rio models, Pablo Rio 2KO is available as a turnkey system — including storage, video I/O and the full Pablo Rio toolset — or as software only to run on the customer’s own hardware. It is fully compatible with both the Neo and Neo Nano color-control panels to deliver grading-suite client interactivity and handles all the digital capture and file formats announced this year for Pablo Rio.

Pablo Rio 2KO turnkey systems will be available in October, with the software-only offering arriving before the end of the year.

Odds and ends
Other highlights of Quantel’s IBC-opening press conference included:

  • Quantel unveiled a new 64-bit software release for its eQ, iQ, and Pablo systems.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro has been integrated into Quantel’s Enterprise sQ workflow.
  • Eurovision Production Coordination (EPC), the production arm of the EBU, used Quantel Enterprise sQ at the IAAF World Athletics Championships held in Moscow earlier this year.
  • Quantel launched its next-generation field editor, the new Marco.
  • Enterprise sQ will be used by the BBC to handle news-video production for its Arabic and Persian, local London, and Wales services.
  • Fraunhofer IIS has integrated its DCP creation and importing software into the Pablo Rio, Pablo, iQ, and eQ toolsets.

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