BBC Sport deployed ContentAgent, the file-based workflow management tool from ROOT6 Technology, to automate a number of important frame rate conversion and transcoding tasks at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Based in BBC Sport’s production facility in the International Broadcasting Centre in Rio, five ContentAgent systems were used to process additional workflows including camera card ingest and Avid Interplay check-in and archiving.
At the tournament BBC Sport converted over 3,500 separate clips totalling nearly 8 TB of media for use in editing. ContentAgent was also used to convert a further 37TB of media during the event so it could be added directly the BBC Sport Archive in Salford.
Tachyon, the highly acclaimed motion compensated frame rate conversion algorithm from Cinnafilm, is integrated with ContentAgent’s powerful transcoding engine to generate smooth conversions between the 60i HD material provided by FIFA and 50i BBC archive material. Footage from the newsgathering teams also utilised ContentAgent’s automated workflow capabilities with transcoding to AVC-I for BBC Sport’s EVS servers and DNxHD for the broadcaster’s Rio-based Avid editing facility.
The frame rate conversion engine is optimised to take advantage of NVIDIA’s Tesla series of high performance graphics processing cards which enables ContentAgent to become a cost effective replacement for expensive legacy hardware-based workflows involving time-consuming trips to and from baseband for standards and format conversions. In addition to providing the frame rate conversions for BBC Sport’s operation on the ground, ContentAgent was also employed to supply material to the broadcaster’s UK headquarters in Salford where it has a further five systems, used for ingest prior to editing in Final Cut Pro.
ContentAgent’s ability to also automate camera card ingest replaces one of the most time-consuming elements in file-based post production. The automated workflow extracts the media and associated metadata then transcodes or rewraps the files in parallel as necessary, in readiness for immediate editorial. BBC Sport also utilises ContentAgent’s ability to transcode camera card structures to single clips, facilitating simplified media management and editorial. Additionally, ContentAgent automatically checks in transcoded Avid DNxHD files into the Interplay database and writes the media to shared storage for faster collaborative access.
“We’ve been working with BBC Sport for some time,” said ROOT6 Technology’s Head of Development, Owen Walker. “Its formidable operation demands speed and accuracy but the latest iteration of ContentAgent software, used to automate more than a dozen different workflows at the FIFA World Cup, more than met its challenging requirements.”