Headquartered in Cairo since 2005 and serving the Middle East region, Al Baghdadia TV airs two channels: Al Baghdadia, a news-based 24-hour station, and B2, which broadcasts a mix of drama, movies and entertainment. The network also operates studios in Baghdad and in northern Iraq, and plans to expand with further Iraq-based studio facilities.
The broadcaster had two key issues in mind when it decided to overhaul its technical operations. The first was a phased station-wide migration to HD to maximize efficiency and quality of content, while the second was to significantly improve time to air for its news division. Working closely with leading integrator and Avid reseller AV Solutions, Al Baghdadia decided to introduce Avid MediaCentral platform as the foundation that would unify and streamline workflows across the breadth of its studio, local affiliate and field operations.
The full MediaCentral solution includes an upgraded iNEWS newsroom control system with iNEWS | Command and Media Composer | NewsCutter Option; ISIS | 5000 shared storage; 12 channels of AirSpeed 5000, Interplay | Capture and Interplay Archive.
Moving To HD
All the MediaCentral components are designed for high definition news production, which is a key ingredient in Al Baghdadia's long-term plans to migrate all of its resources over from SD.
Over the last 18 months the broadcaster has undertaken a phased transition which has seen it exchange its SD ENG cameras for a fleet of HD units, and outfit its studios with HD-ready vision mixing and routing gear. The upgrade of its production facilities with new and enlarged storage capability in early 2015 marked the completion of a key phase.
Interplay | Capture is the first step in the broadcaster's Avid end-to-end workflow. With native control of routers and AirSpeed 5000, Interplay | Capture optimizes workflows by providing comprehensive tools for feed scheduling and recording.
Al Baghdadia has two AirSpeed 5000 servers, each with four channels for ingest of mainly satellite feeds, and a further AirSpeed 5000 for playout. As tape capture is reduced further, feeds will be streamed directly to Interplay | Capture, reducing the need for baseband media.
Collaboration improves time to air
“The design and installation of the new Avid workflow has transformed Al Baghdadia TV's news production,” says Fitian Alkhashlok, News & Programs Director, Al Baghdadia TV. “We have over 70 reporters and journalists working in the field but, without any remote or web-based editing capabilities, the speed of story creation was not where we wanted it to be. Now, all of our producers and journalists—regardless of whether they are in the newsroom, the studio, or on location—are linked together through the single web-based interface of Avid MediaCentral | UX.”
With all media stored centrally on an Avid ISIS system located at Al Baghdadia's Cairo facility, anyone with log-in permission can access content, upload video footage and audio files from the field, add voice-overs, write accompanying text and share comments. This enables smooth and efficient collaboration for creating, viewing, and editing iNEWS stories as well as browsing rundowns, significantly enhancing Al-Baghdadia's news gathering and news dissemination capabilities.
Production to playout to archive
The iNEWS newsroom management system is the dynamic center of Al Baghdadia's content creation and distribution, enabling it to create and deliver breaking news. iNEWS gives journalists, assignment editors, producers, and news directors swift access to moment-by-moment status information, feeds, stories, and rundowns and even playback status via iNEWS | Command.
As well as expanding the amount of Avid ISIS storage to 128 TB, which is eight times larger than previously, the production team has far greater freedom to view content stored in deep archive.
It has also enabled us to meet and exceed our audience's expectations with a service that is of higher quality in every sense.
Fitian Alkhashlok, News & Programs Director, Al Baghdadia TV
“Material can now be moved from Avid ISIS to an LTO6 tape library for long term archive under the control of Avid Interplay Archive,” explains Alkhashlok. “At the same time, production teams can interrogate the database, browse and then retrieve full or partial clips for use in production in a far more streamlined and time-saving manner than was possible before.”
Seamless iNEWS communication through the MOS (Media Object Server) protocol means Al Baghdadia can link video servers and editors to the VizRT on-air graphics system, affecting a superior news production workflow.
Higher quality, higher productivity
This leading Middle East broadcaster has achieved a major business transformation encompassing full file-based operation, a transition to HD and a closer integration of its studio production and field news gathering workflows which will be able to expand in the future with Avid MediaCentral at its core.
“We have attained a number of goals as a result of this major project,” concludes Alkhashlok. “Avid was already a trusted partner and we had no hesitation in choosing to work with them again. The end-to-end system across our organisation has succeeded in giving us greater agility to create stories in the field and operational efficiencies at all points of production. It has also enabled us to meet and exceed our audience's expectations with a service that is of higher quality in every sense. Both of these improvements are providing us with a competitive edge.”