aQ Broadcast supplies NRCS and Video Server for Local TV launch
aQ Broadcast has collaborated with Mustard TV, the Norwich-based television division of the Archant newspaper group, during their launch as the UK’s second Local TV channel.
With just three weeks to go before the on-air date, aQ Broadcast installed their newsroom computer system, including the database server that it runs from, for use by Mustard’s journalists and their AVS video server for use by the technical team.
Spending time on-site in the lead-up to the launch meant that it was possible to extend and customise the aQ products to the environment. Neil Hutchins, aQ Broadcast’s Managing Director said: “We were confident that our newsroom system could play a valuable role within Mustard TV’s operation, but by collaborating closely with the technical team we were also able to develop the AVS to meet their specific requirements within the Local TV framework. It was exciting and rewarding to be able to discuss a challenge during one visit and then provide a solution during the next.”
Fiona Ryder, Mustard TV’s Managing Director, commented: “For a small broadcaster, speed and technical resilience are essential components of our operation. Working with aQ’s newsroom computer system has enabled us to time programmes accurately, improve news and production workflows and integrate seamlessly with the studio teleprompter.” She went on to say: “Separately, the AVS has optimised the recording and distribution process, saving hours of transcoding and content management time. We are absolutely delighted with the solutions provided and recommend them to any post -production or broadcast environment looking for easy to use, robust products.”
The QNews NRCS and AVS are currently providing the following functionality for Mustard TV:
QNews Newsroom Computer System (NRCS):
- Rundown management, program timing and script preparation across the various production teams for news, sport and features.
- Native integration to the Autocue teleprompter.
- Hosted web-access, providing internal and external routing to the NRCS via web browser, without any special hardware or configuration on the Mustard TV network. This allows access to the system for the users from any location and via any type of device. (*)
- Individual archives for News, Sport and Features production, allowing all script and rundown content to be retained and indexed for future use.
- Assignment (Diary) and Contact List provision.
A new automation interface to the Tricaster. This has been implemented as a direct connection between the aQ and NewTek devices, utilising the Tricaster remote control SDK, and does not require use of a third-party MOS gateway (which would involve additional software, hardware and licences). (*)
- Captions (titles) can be entered into scripts at any time during preparation of the programs, with template selection based on the styles being used in the Tricaster. All of the titles for a show are then built automatically in the Tricaster GFX bin, without the need to duplicate the entry of any information. (*)
- Similar integration to the EditShare server allows users to select clips to be used during a program, and then have those transferred automatically to the Tricaster local drives and then loaded automatically into the Tricaster DDR bin. (*)
aQ Broadcast Video Server (AVS):
- Recording of the studio output in HD, providing an immediate way to review the current program (even while it is still being recorded), high-definition source material for subsequent edits - for instance to allow an interview from the magazine show to be repurposed for news – and instant access to the media files which can be converted and uploaded for subsequent transmission.
- Recording and/or transcoding of content into the specific format (IMX-30 codec in an MXF wrapper) required by Comux. Material in this format has been validated and approved by Comux for upload to their Network Operations Centre (NOC) as part of the Local TV operation. (*)
- Handling to provide assistance with the process of upload to Comux, including an agent which can receive material from the AVS and either upload it directly to the NOC via FTP or transfer it into the local upload directory. (*)
- A 'one-button' trigger on the AVS GUI to initiate and run the transcode and upload process for Comux in a single operation. (*)
Integrated control of record, review and transfer functions from a single hardware button box, making it easy for an operator to begin recording, mark in- and out-points on the fly, end recording, review and update the marked portion and then initiate the transcode and upload process. (*)
- Transcoding of content to a long-GOP format appropriate for use on a website or as part of a catch-up service.
- Handling to provide automatic uploads via FTP to the web management system.
- A ‘one-button' trigger on the AVS GUI to initiate and run the transcode and upload process for the web management system in a single operation. (*)
- Independent transcode operations via a watch folder system to allow externally generated material to be converted to Comux or web formats. (*)
- One of the four outputs of the AVS has been connected to a spare camera input (HD SDI video) and a pair of audio inputs (two analogue channels) on the Tricaster, allowing stored content to be incorporated into studio production. This allows recorded content to be easily reviewed (for instance to confirm in- and out-points or to check for errors) and would also allow breaking items to be played to air directly, which would otherwise require that the Tricaster output is interrupted temporarily in order to load the content on to its local drives.
Items marked (*) have been added or adapted specifically as a result of working with Mustard TV in the period leading up to their launch.