Broadcast Beat Magazine September, 2015 - Page 91

But in order to justify the expense of returning the Big Iron system, it was imperative that any replacement system had to be 100% “ready for prime time” before it was delivered and installed. The previous experience had cost a lot of time, money and frustration in the attempt to get it commissioned and operating according to specifications.

Lesson learned! It had to be right the second time around, so the two companies agreed that it was prudent and practical to emulate the station’s current operations in RUSHWORKS’ build facility. Since Wide Orbit traffic and billing drove the operation of the station by generating logs imported as playlists, the first task was to be sure the current export format was compatible with A-LIST playlist creation.

Under Rick’s skillful guidance and direction, Wide Orbit and RUSHWORKS worked closely together to match all the required fields and functions for successful import. The station relies heavily on scheduled animated snipes and other graphics, so that information needed to be accommodated in the import parsing.

Wisely choosing full redundancy for playback, the station specified two identical four-channel A-LIST automation engines, with software that mirrors both the content and the playlists on the primary and secondary units. RUSHWORKS is a DELL OEM partner, so all system configurations include the three-year ProSupport warranty which covers overnight parts replacement and next-day on-site service if required.

The OS is Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, with 32GB of DDR4 RDIMM, dual E5-2630 processors, one 256 SSD, and 4 x 4TB data drives in a RAID 5 array. The systems include two Matrox LE3/22 SDI input/output cards, supporting the four independent channels of A-LIST Automation.

To insure 100% signal flow redundancy, the station also specified two Blackmagic Smart Videohub 12 x 12 A/V routing switchers which are controlled via IP by the A-LIST servers.

RUSHWORKS configured all the hardware and software in its build facility, and downloaded all the media files and playlists from the station in California. With the Wide Orbit import verified, the systems were placed into mirrored operation, effectively shadowing the daily operation of the station. Two channels are

dedicated to two on-air playlists, one is for scheduled and manual recording, and the fourth is available for playlist/file vetting and future channel expansion.

The RUSHWORKS SegmentR utility is used to trim and segment MPEG-2 and H.264 files, operated either on the playback server or a second networked computer.

And the list of features and functions is what you’d expect from a Big Iron system, and more, which is what makes the value proposition of this “station in a box” so attractive. It supports back-to-back playback of multiple file formats – including MPEG-2, H.264, MOV, AVI and MXF – with real-time up/down conversion between SD/HD files; two independent crawls and dedicated EAS crawl; automatic or scheduled bugs, crawls, text and snipes; multiple DTMF and GPIO triggers; program delay and join-in-progress; traffic import and as-run logs … and much more.

Because the system supports multiple file formats, it’s possible to place network-delivered files directly into the playlists without “flipping”, saving lots of time and streamlining workflow. This applies to popular delivery systems like Pitch Blue, Pathfire, and PBS’ NRT support platform.

So what’s missing from a Big Iron system? The price, of course. These four-channel A-LIST systems are about $32,000 each. So after the Big Iron is gone … you can truly do more with a lot less, and repurpose operations personnel to drive production up and costs down.

“Basically, this was a trouble free transition from the get go,” said Owen. “I don’t know how this could have gone better.”

After the dust settles, the name of the game is “Don’t just survive. Thrive.”

Editorial contributed by Rushworks


IBC Issue September 2015