New Zealand’s TVNZ Launches Tapeless Production

New Zealand’s public-television broadcaster TVNZ (Television New Zealand) is operating a fully tapeless, file-based production chain at its broadcast centre in Auckland. The new installation, supported by a media-asset-management (MAM) system, was designed, built, and overseen by UK integrator TSL and covers TVNZ’s four national channels.

The broadcaster, which recently finished extensive live coverage of the Heineken Open tennis tournament in Auckland and regularly covers other sports, including cricket and rugby, began considering options for tapeless workflow in 2008. It broadcasts sports, news, factual programming, entertainment, and films across four channels: established terrestrial services TVONE and TV2 and the more recent digital-only TVNZ6 and TVNZ 7, home to the early-evening weekday magazine show Sport on 7, available on the Freeview platform. A watch-again service, TVNZ ondemand, is also part of the offering.

TSL was contracted to design, procure, and install the system, which incorporates software from 16 companies and hardware supplied by 14 manufacturers. To identify what was necessary for a workflow that would provide what is needed not only for current operational needs but also for the future, the operations team at TVNZ liased with the systems-integration personnel, including Project Manager Mike Phelps, who spent a year in Auckland overseeing the installation.

Much of the equipment was pre-built and assembled at TSL’s premises in the UK. The core MAM system is based on Vizrt’s Ardome system working with a Mayam workflow engine controlled by Italio management software. Both suppliers collaborated on developing the production chain at TVNZ during the course of the project.

The system is supported by an 80-TB Omneon Mediagrid shared-storage network, with Apple Final Cut Pro workstations fitted with Aja Kona LHe cards for edit-in-place. Avid Media Composer is integrated into the installation through VizrtHarmoic Rhozet,Matrox’s Ardex integration product.

Material on tape — DVCPro 100 for HD, IMX30 for SD — can be loaded into the system using Vizrt Video with Matrox video cards and Harmoic Rhozet Carbon Coder, which allows files to be imported and transcoded automatically.

Material is played out from a Harris D Series system, run by MCP-22-2-41C media directors and Spectrum multiports. To ensure that audio levels are consistent between different programme types, TSL designed a loudness-profiling feature based on Axon DLA44 cards. Using this, TVNZ can produce a 5.1 output, including feeds from “legacy media assets.”

“The impetus for this project actually began three years ago,” says TVNZ Project Director Tom McVeigh, “which can make it easy to lose sight of the original goals, particularly as it’s obvious that processes, workflows, and technologies can change a great deal in the meantime. The past year of actual hands-on implementation has been intense, but the performance of everyone involved has resulted in a world-class system in which we can all take pride.”