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IBC: AmberFin debuts Unified Quality Control solution

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CreativeCOW presents IBC: AmberFin debuts Unified Quality Control solution -- IBC Expo Editorial


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Bruce Devlin, Chief Technical Officer at AmberFin
Bruce Devlin, Chief Technical Officer at AmberFin
At IBC 2011 in Amsterdam, AmberFin introduced iCR Unifed QC, a Unified Quality Control solution for content ingest and transcoding. With UQC, AmberFin enables users to create a high quality file-based HD/SD masters, provide file conversion to multiple formats and implement levels of automated and manual quality control within a single software ecosystem. UGC is slated to ship October 1.

"The disappearance of HDSR tape after the Japanese tsunami was the impetus for us," explains AmberFin CTO Bruce Devlin, who was co-author of the MXF specification. "Suddenly, everyone had less tape. Businesses usually make decisions gently when it comes to big changes, but there was a sudden influx of people asking us what to do, how to change their workflow to use tape more effectively."

As file-based workflows have begun to dominate, the traditional manual methods of quality control are not effective, states Devlin. AmberFin's UQC combines automatic and operator controlled tools and checks not simply the files but also the processes creating them. "Unified QC fixes the process, not the problem," says Devlin. "It auto-adapts to how people want to work." The Unified QC integrates Snell's Hyperion and Digimetric's Aurora within a single timeline to show potential problems throughout the ingest and transcoding process. Snell's Hyperion provides real-time baseband QC on ingest and automatically checks for VTR playback issues and common audio and timecode faults. Digimetric's Aurora offers file-based QC after ingest and checks for common file wrapper anomalies as well as container metadata and delivery metrics.



This unified timeline gives and accurate and easy to use display of potential issues of any kind such as simple video and audio problems, file wrapper abnormalities, artefact detection, PSE (Photo sensitive Epilepsy) Flash detection, loudness violations and potential content-related editorial issues.


London-based broadcast facility TVT is the beta partner for AmberFin's Unified Quality Control. Built in 1994, and redesigned as an end-to-end file-based facility in 2008, TVT offers versioning, localization, and media supply services. AmberFin also announced that iCR has been successfully integrated within Sony's Media Backbone workflow orchestration and integration platform. Sony's Media Backbone Conductor allows users to combine a range of third party platforms, and the interface between the two provides transparency, enables greater automation and drives efficiencies. "iCR is a one-stop shop," says Devlin.



"iCR is a one-stop shop," says Devlin. By measuring QC at two places and storing the results with the asset, UQC creates knowledge about the media. For larger view, click image.


AmberFin TVT iCR
London-based broadcast facility TVT is the beta partner for AmberFin's Unified Quality Control. For larger view, click image.


Devlin points out that, even in a world going increasingly tapeless, users still need to go file-to-tape. "That's what we do--fill in the gaps in a workflow that isn't entirely file-based," he explains. "The file-to-tape part of the business is thriving. People were building file islands in a sea of tape and now it's inverted: they're creating tape islands in a sea of files. But there are still gaps from workflows that were first developed 24 years ago."

Tape will eventually go away, says Devlin. "It's cultural," he says. "People who grew up with tape still think in terms of tape. Internet-savvy people have that as their core background. Even if those people are only one percent of the IBC crowd today, in five to 10 years, they'll be the majority. At that point, tape will be seriously hurt, but even then it won't entirely go away."

To support user expertise in navigating issues including file-based workflows and metadata, AmberFin also launched a free, vendor-agnostic educational program--called Bruce's Shorts--that consists of weekly video shorts and monthly in-depth webinars.


Bruce's ShortsBruce's Shorts: a series of short videos and exclusive webinars where AmberFin CTO Bruce Devlin, co-author of the MXF format, will help you solve your workflow problems.


My chat with Devlin made me wonder if, indeed, tape ever will go away. It seems inevitable and yet the huge amount of content that lives on tape--as well as the huge existing tape-based infrastructure in media centers--gave me pause. If Devlin is right, AmberFin has plenty of time to plan its future moves. Meanwhile, Bruce's Shorts look like a lot of fun and it's good to have fun while trying to keep up with ever-changing technologies.






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