YLE's new system is known internally as METRO (Media management for Television Radio and Online services) - an apt name for a system that transports content at high speed between a network of internal and remote workstations. YLE production sites in Helsinki and Tampere, and 15 regional bureaus are included in the METRO environment.
The METRO system is built around a Media Archive MAM system from Blue Order Solutions. In order to make the content easily accessible to YLE's 3,000+ operators, Blue Order partnered with Marquis Broadcast, developer of media integration tools, to install Media Archive integrated with Marquis' Medway media integration and file conversion software. As part of the project, YLE has purchased an enterprise-wide licence for Medway.
The primary role of Medway within the overall project is to enable seamless integration between the METRO archive/storage locations managed by Media Archive and YLE's Avid ISIS Interplay and editing systems. Integration between the systems makes use of the Medway/Avid Interplay web services API. Key to the successful of the project is Medway's unique approach to metadata management.
Medway avoids bottlenecks in file-based workflows by overcoming incompatibility problems that occur when media moves between systems that use different file formats and different operating architectures. The integration of Medway with Media Archive has enabled YLE to build a collaborative and flexible workflow by allowing 'best of breed' broadcasting and post-production applications to be encompassed into the METRO environment.
When moving media from METRO archive/storage locations into Avid Interplay, operators select sequences from the Media Archive browse facility. An EDL is generated and passed to Medway which transfers the selected media from METRO's storage to Avid Interplay along with the relevant metadata. All metadata from METRO is available in Interplay correctly formatted and ready for use.
When media is moved from the Avid systems into METRO, metadata generated in the Avid systems is moved back into METRO. Medway's powerful Genealogy Metadata Tracking feature tracks the parentage of the clips used in the edit. Marquis worked closely with YLE to ensure the scheme for handling metadata during the METRO to Avid transfers were correctly specified, mapped and integrated.
Ingesting is undertaken centrally. A browse proxy is created via transcoding followed by shot detection and key frame extraction. Medway logs all metadata and genealogy information attached to the media during ingest and sends it to a central database for further use.
METRO has brought YLE a range of efficiency and cost savings benefits through the provision of enterprise-wide process and workflow automation. This includes the ability to transfer content between programme planning, scheduling, ingest production, archive and delivery. YLE have also been able to establish efficient rights management workflows by using media genealogy tracking throughout the production process. Less time is now spent rekeying metadata. However, by providing easier and more flexible access to content and better use of operators' time, the main benefit of the METRO system is quite simply an overall improvement in programme quality.