News broadcaster WPLG has a 44-year history in Miami. Now an ABC affiliate, the broadcaster produces more than 50 hours of news each week and competes for viewership within a dynamic and highly competitive news market. An Avid customer for the past 10 years and faced with an aging production infrastructure, WPLG implemented Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions for media creation, distribution and optimization to enable efficient collaboration and a more virtualized production infrastructure.
The powerful MediaCentral platform, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, underlies a unified, integrated workflow that gives the station needed capacity, speed and efficiency. According to Darren Alline, Chief Engineer at WPLG, “The overall speed of the new system, particularly when transferring and sending playback items, is significantly faster.”
WPLG’s new cloud-based workflow allows easy collaboration. “A two-way flow between the newsroom and crews in the field is very important,” he says. “Avid’s offerings give us the seamless two-way flow we need between the newsroom and crews in the field—the ability for crews in the field to access tools at the studio, for the studio to push content to crews in the field, and for crews in the field to select content and pull it to themselves. Avid’s offerings provide us with all of these different workflows.”
Rock solid media storage
Based on WPLG’s previous experience with Avid’s “rock solid” and cost-effective shared storage solutions, the station invested in Avid NEXIS, the industry’s first and only software-defined storage platform.
“Avid NEXIS is robust and very flexible,” says Alline. “It’s the next evolution of Avid storage and we're very happy with it.”
In addition to the newsroom’s editing team, who rely on the industry-standard nonlinear editing system Avid Media Composer, WPLG’s creative services team also uses Avid NEXIS for its Adobe Premiere Pro projects—thanks to Avid NEXIS’ ability to work with all the top media creation applications.
A single interface for simplicity
MediaCentral | UX, the cloud-based web front end to the MediaCentral Platform, provides WPLG users with a unified desktop environment to access media and work on projects, whether they’re using the MediaCentral | Production Management system or Avid iNEWS newsroom system.
According to Alline, “The team likes using MediaCentral | UX and it’s working well for us. Instead of having a newsroom computer system interface for text editing and an Interplay interface for viewing and trimming video, the end user’s desktop just has one interface that allows them to access both. It’s much simpler for the end user.
Alline also praises the tight integration between the Avid newsroom, production asset management and nonlinear editing systems, and how it reduces the chances of human error.
“You can enter information into a rundown, and that information flows seamlessly to the editor and back to the producer. Human intervention isn't required to transfer information from one person to another, so there’s no chance of making a mistake.”
Virtualization brings flexibility
WPLG engaged Avid Professional Services and Avid Consulting Services to virtualize a large part of its system and train users on all the new functionality of the story-centric workflow.
Eliminating the need to have discrete servers for different functions, a virtual environment gives WPLG high availability, high fault tolerance and an easier upgrade path.
It’s much easier to upgrade things because you can spin up a new version quickly, and then go back to the old version if you need to—and you can spin one up on one host, and then bring it down on another host,” explains Alline. “And then if you have a hardware failure, these guests can move seamlessly from host to host. So you really have a lot of fault tolerance, and an easier upgrade path as the system ages.
The virtualization gained also allows the team, through software, to increase the resources dedicated to a specific task and change the overall performance of the system. “It offers a level of flexibility that would be very hard to achieve any other way,” says Alline.
The goal is an environment where WPLG and its news teams are empowered with the media access, remote collaboration, and multiplatform capabilities to deliver a story—with all of its angles—to its viewers faster and more efficiently. With a story-centric workflow powered by Avid’s MediaCentral Platform for all its newscasts, WPLG is able to take advantage of all of these capabilities to rise above the competition.