Front Porch Digital off to the races with Woodbine Entertainment

Front Porch Digital has inked a deal with Woodbine Entertainment, Canada’s top racetrack, for the deployment of Front Porch Digital’s DIVArchive to manage tens of thousands of hours of content and to facilitate fast browsing and retrieval of specified clips.

Woodbine Entertainment’s DIVArchive is interfaced with four M-Series iVDRs, three of them located at the Woodbine production facility in Toronto, and one at the Mohawk racing and production facility located 30 miles away. It is also networked to three Avid Adrenaline NLE suites and two Grass Valley PVS-1108 Profile XP video servers. The network link to the NLE suites means that a producer working on a documentary or similar project can identify and retrieve footage directly from the archive into Avid Adrenaline. Woodbine’s Storagetek SL-500 tape library contains 49 LTO3 tapes (400GB/tape) as well as a disk array of 13x136GB drives for a total of 1.6TB of RAID 5 storage.

“We did extensive research to find the most user-friendly system available, and that’s DIVArchive,” said Doug Flaherty, Woodbine Entertainment’s director of television. “This was crucial to us. The interface is very straightforward, making it easy to search for something, find it, view it, mark it, and restore it to location. I could show anyone how to do it in 10 minutes.”

Woodbine’s television operation employs 110 people who produce 11,500 hours of live television every year, most of it for local races, but also thoroughbred and standardbred races from around the world. Since 2006, relevant current content has been loaded into the DIVArchive system. Currently in the works is a long-term plan to make historic material accessible as well, eliminating the expense of tape and tape maintenance in addition to the complications and delays posed by tape machines.

Unlike many broadcasters, Woodbine archives a high percentage of what it produces because it remains of interest to constituents of the racing industry indefinitely. “A horse may only race for a short time, but horses have offspring, so the bloodlines last forever,” adds Flaherty.

For that reason, Woodbine has a unique, vast, and irreplaceable trove of footage, some of it dating back to 1924. This footage is used by a varied and demanding clientele — not only news, sports, and documentary producers, but also handicappers, trainers, and owners.

Front Porch Digital’s DIVArchive system is ideal for this environment because it makes it easy for a new user with no specialized technical knowledge to browse, identify, and retrieve clips from a familiar desktop interface. It also makes it easy to link complex and varied metadata to the content. A thoroughbred breeder looking to generate a future contender with particular attributes may, for example, wish to browse clips of every mare that has won a turf race by more than two lengths on a rainy day. DIVArchive makes this possible.