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Danish Parliament installs SSL Gravity

Oct 19, 2010

Danish Parliament installs SSL Gravity

The need to make available parliamentary proceedings for public view has become a rite of passage into the information age for many world governments. To accomplish this goal, the Danish Parliament recently installed an SSL DV Gravity Media Asset Management system to encode, edit and disseminate the workings of the Danish government. For the needs of this installation, Studios A/S, a leading facility provider/television production company in Denmark, known for the Scandinavian version of the hit TV Reality show Big Brother, won the contract to specify and install the system. Studios A/S also provides the video editors to turn around edited recordings of the meetings and sessions of parliament on a daily basis for terrestrial, cable and Internet broadcast.

“After many meetings with Danish Parliament representatives, we learned their goals for the project and their specific requirements to cover present needs and future expanded uses,” says Michael Sjoerslev, technical director for Studios A/S. “The system needed to be able to broadcast as many Parliament, town meetings and sessions as absolutely possible across the three main and four smaller meeting rooms, with an emphasis on the automated addition of large amounts of different metadata. This includes the indexing of different people speaking through data gathered from the smart and regular microphone systems being used. It also needed agile editing capabilities for fast turnaround and the capability to simultaneously distribute content over several formats. While we looked at several systems out on the market, Gravity offered the right combination of features for this installation, including being able to handle a change of date within a file when a meeting runs past midnight. Since we completed the installation everything has worked perfectly and to expectation.”

Capturing and disseminating the full content of every meeting was a necessary item and is accomplished through two powerful features of Gravity – Gravity Encoders and integration with Snell Morpheus automation. A portion of the basement in the Parliament building was converted into a television production area with the machine room, docking rooms and all regular meeting rooms linked through a router via fibre. Everything recorded ends up at the Gravity system in the production area. This setup makes the installation extremely flexible.

The Danish Parliament Gravity system consists of six encoders that service three production units with video cameras located in the three main rooms plus four smaller meeting rooms. The three main spaces and two smaller meeting rooms have dedicated systems, with all spaces supported by an additional five cameras that can move around to any room. Remote camera control is through a Telemetrics system.

In anticipation of meetings running longer than initially scheduled, Gravity encoders provide continuous cycle, 24-hour storage on Rorke Data high performance storage array systems. This means that when a session starts before or runs over the scheduled time, all content is still captured. Any video/audio not included in the actual meeting file can be retrieved and added by reviewing the Gravity encoder’s storage. The temporary storage on each camera/encoder starts to overwrite previous sessions’ data every 24-hours. As Gravity is fully compatible with Snell Morpheus automation, meetings and sessions can be logged into Morpheus by staff for playout from the Gravity decoders at a specified time.

The extensive editing capabilities of Gravity were also of key importance to the Danish Parliament, as every meeting is edited and approved before dissemination to broadcast news and Internet sources. This makes for a rigorous editing schedule where speed is of the essence. Gravity automatically generates a low resolution proxy-file that is instantly available for editing even while the high-resolution file is ingesting into the system.

“Being able to edit on the fly is a very important feature for this installation,” continues Sjoerslev. “Some meetings are broadcast virtually live and some need review before sending out to the news organizations and posting to the Danish Parliament web site. The initial rough editing usually involves trimming the non-meeting related items like greetings and goodbyes before the clips are passed on to the next step. This can be done in real time to make sure the process maintains efficiency.”

The rough-cut clips are passed by the nine Gravity Asset Manager workstation browsers to the seven output decoders, at which point Apple Final Cut Pro (FCP) craft editors can create news and highlights packages – all within a tight timeframe and at full broadcast quality. Craft editors can also access and edit media directly via their FCP edit clients using the Gravity Final Cut Plug-in that allows Gravity to automatically load all finished media clips specified by the Snell automation transmission playlists to the output decoders in the correct format. In addition, the Gravity encoding system can simultaneously create a live H.264 video stream for web TV broadcasts while creating the high resolution and proxy resolution material, saving the cost of external encoders and time.

Once all program edits are approved for release, media is delivered for DVB-T transmission in standard definition and to the Internet transmission portal in the MPEG-4 H.264 format by the two Gravity transcoders, which, in order to meet the challenge of near-live editing, have all been equipped with an on-demand transcode capability. Initially storing media internally in DV25 format, the system can be easily upgraded to HD to accommodate future programming needs. The Gravity system offers 96 Terabytes of Raid 6 central storage within the Parliament building, with 96 Terabytes of mirrored storage and mirrored database server in a remote disaster recovery location for full restoration of file-associated metadata.

Once all program edits are approved for release, media is delivered for DVB-T transmission in standard definition and to the Internet transmission portal in the MPEG-4 H.264 format by the two Gravity transcoders, which, in order to meet the challenge of near-live editing, have all been equipped with an on-demand transcode capability. Initially storing media internally in DV25 format, the system can be easily upgraded to HD to accommodate future programming needs. The Gravity system offers 96 Terabytes of Raid 6 central storage within the Parliament building, with 96 Terabytes of mirrored storage and mirrored database server in a remote disaster recovery location for full restoration of file-associated metadata.

“The next step in the process for Danish Parliament is setting up the capability for the news organizations and the public at large to have direct access to the approved files,” states Sjoerslev. “Gravity has the power to accommodate this form of dissemination right now, so if and when the Danish Parliament wants to increase access, the infrastructure is already in place. Gravity is a very powerful and agile solution helping Danish Parliament meet its goals today and in the future.”

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