Qatar TV Uses Avid to Become Top International Network

Under the patronage of TVSDC, Qatar’s Television Support and Development Committee, a re-launch of Qatar TV was planned to focus on virtually every interest imaginable, from arts and entertainment to technology, education, events, and celebrity appearances.

TVSDC's primary objective was to advance Qatar TV’s existing workflow with state-of-the industry solutions that let them respond to new business opportunities more effectively by:

  • Getting a clear picture of what assets they owned
  • Understanding what those asset were worth
  • Working more collaboratively across the entire enterprise

To meet this extraordinary range of challenges, TVSDC built a new newsroom studio and broadcasting complex at its Doha headquarters in 2012, featuring a new set of media asset management and media production solutions allowing them to coordinate and perform the myriad of tasks inherent in such a large operation. Today, Qatar TV has a world-class workflow enabled by one of the most advanced arrays of Avid solutions available.

Comments Mohamad Fares, Head of Broadcast Technology at Qatar Television, ”The end to end workflow designed by the Avid Professional Services team in cooperation with our team optimized our media cycle of acquisition, production, distribution, and archiving. We can easily exchange assets between our production and our archive system and if changes are needed we can even apply them with no downtime while the system is running. We have become more collaborative and efficient than ever before, meeting our business and technological challenges. It is an operational workflow a broadcaster can only wish for.”

Gateway to Engagement

The Avid Professional Services team applied their extensive knowledge of best industry practices to help TVSDC gain a thorough understanding of how this kind of comprehensive, integrated media environment could be structured.

Working closely together, the Avid and Qatar TV teams determined that above all, the system would need to be optimized for effective media management. Secondly, it would have to provide strong links to business processes. And thirdly, it would need to support and orchestrate workflows specifically tailored to the needs of their diverse production groups.

In conjunction with Qatar TV team, the Avid Professional Services team worked to design, implement, and install a full complement of ingest, editing, newsroom management, news playout, and audio post production solutions that could meet all those needs, supported by the sophisticated asset management architecture of Interplay Media Asset Manager (MAM) and Interplay Production.

World-Class Workflows

Starting with the ingest process, Avid Interplay Capture lets the production team ingest media from both tape and live feeds. The solution is comprised of six Avid AirSpeed Multi Stream servers providing twelve SD/HD-SDI ingest channels, all set to record directly into the ISIS 7000 shared storage system using Avid DNxHD120 format. For file-based agency feed ingest such as Reuters, a Telestream Vantage system was integrated by Avid.

All AirSpeed Multi Stream servers are controlled by users through the Interplay Capture application, which increases the speed and reliability of media acquisition through advanced automated feed scheduling and control. Four additional Avid Media Composer editing systems are used to immediately edit material directly from Sony XDCAM players using the Avid Media Access (AMA) feature. As the ingests are initiated, assets are automatically checked into Interplay Production and stored on Avid ISIS shared storage, with capacity for approximately 3750 hours of highly protected, high resolution material across the ten ISIS 7000 64TB engines.

The self-balancing, distributed architecture of ISIS 7000 is designed for reliable real-time media access for broadcast production on virtually any scale. At Qatar TV, ISIS 7000 systems are primarily used for on-line production and news storage, while an additional two ISIS 2000 nearline storage engines are available to park an additional 7000 hours of material during the production process.

For the main house format at Qatar TV, TVSDC uses Avid’s DNxHD120 codec technology. The codec is engineered to create mastering-quality HD media at reduced file sizes with minimal degradation over multiple generations. Providing an end-to-end workflow, DNxHD120 is fully supported by Qatar TV’s EVS playout system, and Avid Interplay MAM, Interplay Production and Media Composer, NewsCutter, and Symphony editing systems.

Creating stories wherever they are happening

Producers and journalists only need a browser and network connection to gain access to media assets through the web-based Interplay Central clients, letting contributors work wherever stories are happening. With 15 Avid Interplay Central universal clients, Qatar TV now employs a tightly-integrated workflow between script editing and video editing. This is especially valuable for supporting Qatar TV’s diversity in news and other programming.

The news editing process starts with journalists using Interplay Central to write stories in the iNEWS newsroom management system while they browse and select video on the ISIS system storage. The video shot selections with added audio are then sent to one of five NewsCutter Nitris DX edit suites for finishing.

For news playback, the iNEWS system allows the producer to send scripts to a teleprompter, control the rundown order of the news program, and dynamically update of the story order for video and graphics. News video playout is coordinated by an iNEWS Command system that controls up to eight HD video channels on two AirSpeed Multi Stream servers, and graphics from a Vizrt character generator.

The new broadcasting complex at Qatar TV is equipped with a program production facility as well as a newsroom and news studio. The program production teams edit non-news programming, commercials, and videos in 16 Media Composer suites supported by Nitris DX and Artist Series control panels. With its 64-bit non-linear architecture, Media Composer lets the editing team at Qatar TV work with practically any media format, allowing the editors to do fast dialog-based searches, script-based editing, mix and match formats, frame rates, and resolutions in real time without rendering.

For high-level finishing, Qatar TV uses two new Avid Symphony Nitris DX editors offering advanced and secondary color correction.

At the Heart of the System

Media management capabilities provided by the Interplay Production and Interplay MAM system lie at the heart of the system, giving it the power and flexibility to handle the extraordinary volume and diversity of content Qatar TV generates. Integrated links between the Interplay Production and the Interplay MAM system provide seamless transfer of video assets, allowing a completed video sequence to be archived directly from the system production environment and restored by any user.

The Interplay Production system supports the creative and real-time production processes, allowing producers, editors, assistants, and reviewers to collaborate in real-time by finding, shot-listing, reviewing, annotating, and editing content while tasks like moving media and transcoding are orchestrated in the background. As production assets are created and projects move in parallel under Interplay Production control, the ISIS 2000 nearline storage system provides additional flexibility and capacity, allowing projects and footage to be parked for ready access.

TVSDC uses an Avid Interplay MAM solution to manage and archive to finished material on data tape for reuse and transmission. Seamless integration between Avid Interplay Production and Avid Interplay MAM allows the transparent transfer of video assets between the systems, so a completed video sequence can be archived directly from the production environment or sent to transmission.

Through Interplay MAM, proxy versions of media are created, enabling any archivist in the system to play video in a web browser at their workstation to log or add enriched frame-accurate time-based metadata.

To restore media to production, users can efficiently search archived assets and initiate a restore request. Upon authorization, the media is moved to Interplay Production and is instantly available for editing on Media Composer and NewsCutter.

In the future, Interplay MAM can be easily expanded to automate more workflows, link with business systems, and adapt to different operational requirements.

The Future of Mixing

Qatar TV uses a digital dubbing suite with the audio production platform Pro Tools|HD and a 24-channel ICON D-Command digital control surface. Featuring tight integration with Pro Tools, D-Command allows the mixer to gain mix precision with touch-sensitive encoders and faders.

 Avid delivered the integrated media enterprise solution that is needed to be highly competitive, and to easily implement new projects.
Samer Younies, Consultant Engineer

The suite includes a video satellite client which allows the Qatar TV team to playback HD video sequences to the dubbing suite. The Pro Tools system then takes completed video sequences with audio tracks created by the sound editors and transfers them through the Interplay Production system for dubbing. Once that is complete, they are mixed down in Pro Tools and written back to the original story tracks in the ISIS storage.

Qatar TV also uses an S5 Fusion digital audio mixing console offering a powerful and expandable DSP engine for standalone operation, as well as complete EUCON Hybrid control to record and mix EUCON-enabled DAW projects.

Integrated Media Enterprise Solution

Today, Qatar TV has an operation capable of rivaling broadcast operations in any media market.

“Qatar TV further emphasized and strengthened its position as one of the top leading Arabic channels in the Middle East and on an international level. Avid delivered the integrated media enterprise solution that is needed to be highly competitive, and easily implement new projects,” says Samer Younies, Consultant Engineer.

Thanks to this open, well-integrated environment of industry-standard solutions, Avid has not only enabled Qatar TV to meet its go-to-air deadline by the end of 2012, but also to join the ranks of the world’s top entertainment and news networks.