SVG@NAB Perspectives: Pronology’s Aroesty on Location Intelligence, Lessons From the Women’s World Cup
Pronology took to the NAB 2016 floor to highlight the latest features and enhancements to its flagship media-asset–management (MAM) system, as well as a new standalone multiresolution encoder dubbed mRes.
Chief among the MAM-system enhancements is Location Intelligence, which enables editors, producers, and other users to quickly determine whether needed content is available onsite or needs to be transferred from another site. This ensures the most efficient use of bandwidth and storage resources while collaborating around the world. Pronology’s Location Intelligence feature was initially deployed by Fox Sports for its month-long coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, where it managed multiple locations: the events, broadcast facilities in Canada, and edit facilities in the U.S.
During the show, SVG sat down with Pronology President Jonathan Aroesty to discuss the new mRes encoder, Location Intelligence feature, and how experiences with a major sports event like the Women’s World Cup have helped Pronology improve its MAM platform.
How can the Location Intelligence feature benefit multisite live sports productions like the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Location Intelligence is very, very useful for entities that are trying to do offsite postproduction work. For instance, at the Women’s World Cup, Fox’s production was in Canada, and postproduction was done at Fox’s [broadcast center] in Los Angeles and various other facilities. Location Intelligence is the mechanism we have that lets the user know where the media actually resides. Through Location Intelligence, you have an idea of the time frame to finish a piece or finish a project based on available bandwidth and how long it’s going to take to transfer mezzanine or high-resolution media to your actual edit location. So it’s a smart system in the sense that it helps create efficiencies for production and workflow by knowing where exactly the media resides in the ecosystem.
How did Pronology’s experience with Fox Sports at the Women’s World Cup help you to evolve the MAM platform?
We’ve learned from our experiences, and we’re working with other vendors to make the product better. We’re fortunate that we’ve had the opportunity to learn how our clients work and what we can do to improve our products and update them based on those experiences. So we are constantly in a state of perfecting and building the tools to optimize this type of workflow.
We’re also now integrated with some additional hardware devices from the acquisition end with that in mind. We’re continuing to work with EVS on close integration. In addition to that, we’re working with Sony and its new PWS-4500 servers so that product now integrates seamlessly with the Pronology platform through a PWS module we’ve developed. We have a hardware-agnostic platform that integrates seamlessly from the user standpoint with different hardware devices; the user doesn’t have to be concerned with how it integrates with the acquisition side. We’re also working closely with Avid ISIS on many projects, Small Tree on some deployments, and FileCatalyst recently as well.
Tell us a bit about the mRes encoder and how that’s a response to the market demand for multiresolution workflows?
mRes, our standalone encoder, was formerly known as Prostream, but we’ve rebranded it as mRes, and that stands for multiresolution encoder. That’s become a very successful product for us. It is a standalone device, and we [are] supporting 4K on it at NAB. It is unique in that it records an uncompressed video file natively and then the popular compression formats are made simultaneously to external storage devices. It is very efficient and cost-effective in delivering multiple file formats simultaneously for multiple departments in a production. For instance, the promo department may want ProRes, while the on-air department may want DNx. We can make those multiple files all from the same encode device simultaneously. We’re presenting that product in a very kind of standalone mechanism at NAB, which we haven’t done before.
We’ve built a new mRes clip controller application that is designed to deploy very quickly, be user-friendly, drive this encode device, and be [easy] for an operator to set up and configure. Many times, there’s a tremendous amount of complexity involved with the setup of encoding devices and recording devices, so we’ve tried to make that simple and user-friendly. I can show you how to set it up and make recordings in about 10 minutes — that’s how simple it is.
It is absolutely a response to the market needs for the delivery of multiple resolutions and formats, but it is also our way of insulating our product from disruptions outside our ecosystem.
What else are you highlighting at the show?
We’ve been working on partial restore from archive and from spinning disc. The other thing that we should mention is that we’ve been optimizing our social-media–delivery mechanism and workflows. Specific to the common social-media outlets, we have the ability for producers to go into the system remotely, once again because we allow that remote collaboration which is real important to our products. From the remote-collaboration standpoint, you’ll be able to go in and view media and create elements for distribution to social media and third-screen parties.