TVT Media is a leading independent digital media lab, providing and delivering content and systems for the world’s principal broadcasters. One of the world’s fastest growing media services companies, TVT has operations in London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Sydney. Their media management service and software platform, ContentSelect underpins the services they provide to a wide variety of customers – including A+E Networks, AMC Networks International, BBC Worldwide, Discovery Communications, Fox Networks Group, ITV and Sony. ContentSelect is managed and developed in house by TVT who have their own dedicated software development team in Poland.
When an analysis of the compliance editing operation that TVT were optimising highlighted operational friction and unnecessary data entry, caused by the need to manually search for content in Adobe Premier, TVT looked for the most straightforward solution to the problem and chose to commission an integration project to leverage the BLAM’s Adobe Premiere plug-in.
“We often find that we need to move quickly and remain critically focussed on the high level content supply chain challenges we assist our customers with – we don’t always create our own specialist tools, we look for what we can find in the market to benefit from others’ economy of scale. In the same way that we use Adobe off the shelf, we use other existing tools to enhance our product offering” explains Peter Elvidge, TVT’s VP of Technology. “We select partners, like Blue Lucy, who share our vision and can work at speed, in a flexible manner to deliver a compelling solution rather than a one-off project.”
TVT’s requirements were, on the surface, relatively simple: when edit tasks are assigned in ContentSelect, the source media and Edit Decision List (EDL) relating to that project should automatically be loaded in Adobe Premiere so that work can begin without the need to search for content or set up the project. This capability is available off-the-shelf with BLAM and simply needed to be integrated into the ContentSelect platform.
Because all features and functions of both BLAM and ContentSelect are accessible programmatically through a REST API, integrating the two technologies was straightforward. The small team of Blue Lucy Professional Service engineers and ContentSelect developers took an iterative approach which allowed rapid progress on the core capabilities, with refinements made following direct feedback from the key stakeholders. The outcome, delivered in a matter of a few weeks, is a robust, highly-tuned and rationalised integration between the two asynchronous systems where BLAM acts as the gateway between ContentSelect and Adobe Premiere.
Media assets are delivered from production companies to ContentSelect via various accelerated transfer tools that have also been integrated and follow a largely standard ingest process which includes browse creation and automated quality control.
Assets are then registered with the BLAM via an API call from ContentSelect. Without moving the original file, BLAM runs a simple check to ensure that the registered asset data matches the physical file and creates a thumbnail from the source file to support quick validation in downstream operations.
When an editing task is picked up and actioned as part of a workflow in ContentSelect, the corresponding task is raised in BLAM via an API call. This means that the material that editors need to complete their assigned tasks is automatically shown in the BLAM panel in Premiere and can be loaded onto the timeline with a single click.
When ingested files have completed the automated QC process, ContentSelect updates the BLAM record with the data returned from Baton. The asset then goes through a further Human QC (HQC) which is carried out by an operator using Adobe Premiere and specialist equipment.
Once the HQC is complete, the segmentation markers are validated by BLAM and passed to ContentSelect along with the QC Marker data. The next task is then automatically loaded or, if all pending tasks are complete, the application is closed.
In addition to HQC and setting AS-11 Segmentation data, some material requires a compliance edit – that is to say the material is edited with segments typically being cut or re-sequenced for different markets. This workflow follows the same path as the HQC but, on task completion the sequence is rendered using Adobe Media Encoder to a target file which is set by ContentSelect and passed to BLAM as part of the task data.
“Blue Lucy and TVT have similar views about the implementation of technology,” says Blue Lucy founder, Julian Wright. “We believe that technology’s role is to support businesses’ operating models and that the proper integration of systems is key to delivering business benefits. The gaps between systems are operationally, and therefore financially, expensive. By combining the capabilities of our different systems TVT has been able to offer their clients a low friction service quickly and without engaging a ground up development.”
“The Blue Lucy and TVT teams have a good cultural fit, allowing us to come to an arrangement where we could integrate a part of BLAM’s capability into ContentSelect in a win-win way,” concludes Elvidge. “BLAM has provided TVT with a quick and efficient integration with Adobe Premier – being able to glue it seamlessly into ContentSelect saves our clients’ time and provides better quality data exchange.”