Media Management

QMedia - Integrated, multi-user Media Management tools

The aQ software offers a wide range of media handling capabilities, including ingest, review, archiving, low-resolution handling and simple shot selection.

Control over the media handling functionality is provided by the MediaStation application, which is the main user interface to the information within, and the actions related to, the main video clip database. MediaStation is a true network application that can be run on any network PC (where the software has been installed) by any user with appropriate security access. It is a standard Windows application, making it obvious to use, and it follows the conventions of other aQ applications.

The core element of media handling is the Clip Database, which contains information about all stored video, regardless of location: on-line servers, archive servers, low-resolution systems, tape backups, etc. The structure of the database is designed to control the use and transmission of individual items. The database is stored within the main server cluster to protect it against hardware failure. The contents of the Clip Database can be viewed through MediaStation in a number of configurable ways, including detailed list and thumbnail views.

Ingest can be managed from any workstation via MediaStation. This provides the user with control over appropriate devices in order to load material onto one or more video servers. Different types of material will be loaded at different times and in different ways: three possible scenarios are described below;

a)         As-live’ material: some material may need to be recorded into the video server ‘as-live’, with the TechOp or Director manually controlling the vision mixer, sound desk etc. In this situation, the Media Station client application collects the required resources, allocates an appropriate clip ID, opens a record channel and provides simple controls to start and stop recording. Once the item is complete, the TechOp can review the recording, mark in- and out-timecodes, trim and store the new clip.

b)         Pre-edited Items: complete items on tape, which have been edited elsewhere, may need to be loaded onto the video server in their entirety. If the Technical Operator (TechOp) places the tape into an available VT machine and enters the appropriate in- and out-points for the item, the system automatically records the item onto the server. Once complete, the appropriate information is added to the Clip Database.

c)         Press Agency video: feeds from agencies or other providers may be scheduled for specific times of the day, and will be automatically recorded onto an available server channel with an appropriate clip ID. If scripts are sent with the agency video, a Wire Server will collect the text and make it available within the scripting system, allowing the recorded video to be associated with appropriate scripts.

A number of archive options are available, including a simple archive to tape (i.e. as recorded video), transfer to a tape-drive based system (e.g. LTO) and transfer to an enterprise-style archive system (e.g. a PetaSite). The Media Station client application allows one or more clips to be selected for transfer to the archive, and the transfer process is either handled directly by aQ software elements or indirectly via third-party middleware.

A number of options for low-resolution handling are available, including the generation of proxy copies, browsing of the low-res material and simple shot-selection (available as a feature within MediaStation). The Shot Selector allows individual low-resolution items to be selected, marked with in- and out-points and dropped onto a timeline. The application is intended as a simple tool to prepare headline sequences or to carry out simple off-line edits prior to starting a craft edit session on a fully functional editor, and as such, video and both channels of audio cut at the same point on the timeline. The application also provides simple tools to record voice-overs, and position them as required on the timeline, although the ultimate handling of these audio elements is dependent upon the capabilities of the high-resolution server to be used. There are two options for the ‘output’ of the QMedia Shot Selector utility; a) a simple EDL file in a specified format to be used by a separate craft editor, or b) the automatic conform of a new clip on high-resolution servers that provide that functionality (including the aQ Video Server itself).