What is a broadcast systems integrator?
A broadcast systems integrator will help your organization assess your broadcast solution needs based on your current and future production plans, workflows and budget. Whether you are starting your broadcast operations for the first time or upgrading your existing system, BTS can help you with equipment selection, installation, integration and training. You should look for a provider with competent leadership and staff, access to major product lines and manufacturers, extensive knowledge of broadcast engineering standards, sterling financial integrity, established safety programs, as well as solid work ethics and an impeccable reputation.
At what stage of construction should we be talking to a broadcast systems integrator?
You should include us in the early stages of construction design and development. We can collaborate with owners, architects and general contractors to determine the right space layout and size requirements, conduit and pathway needs, as well as integrate with your audio and lighting vendors. There are substantial cost savings to install cable/fiber before the walls and ceilings are completed. In addition, we can assist with your work flow planning for a multi-campus and multi-outlet programming distribution environment.
We want to move from Standard Definition and High Definition formats to 4K (UHD). What is involved in this transition?
First we will need to determine if any of your existing equipment can be used or up-converted. Then we develop a system that works well within your organization’s infrastructure and budget. This process includes upgrading your broadcast equipment (cameras, recorders and playback units, switcher, monitors, graphics, program archive systems) as well as your distribution path for internet streaming, in-house presentation, and television distribution. You will need to decide on a multi-core Triax cable or fiber type connectivity. The transition needs to be facility wide (including all campuses) to be most cost-effective. However, the FCC requires television stations and networks to have their content in high definition format and closed captioned.
We have many hours of content on outdated technology platforms. How can we efficiently and cost-effectively archive this footage?
As recording and playback technology has evolved from two-inch, one-inch, U-Matic, BetaSP, Digital Betacam, DVCAM, DVCPRO, and MiniDV (and more) to disc-based formats including Blu-Ray, DVD, XDCam, Memory Stick/Cards; many organizations find themselves needing to transfer footage to a format that can be used for many years to come. It is becoming increasing difficult to find service and parts for this legacy equipment. Consideration factors for storage solutions include hours of content, future usage requirements, workflow setup, and desired conversion formats. Primarily there are two forms of storage options – LTO and ODA.
Linear Tape-Open (LTO) is a magnetic tape data storage technology originally developed in the late 1990’s as an open standards alternative to the formats available at the time. This is a lower cost solution to migrate programming content. LTO version 6 can hold 2.5 TB in a cartridge. LTO is widely used with small and large computer systems, especially for backups. Tape durability for LTO is generally 15-30 years archival, 5000 cartridge loads/unloads, and approximately 260 full file passes (fill the entire tape). The downside to LTO is that you can only go back two generations (LTO 5 to 3) before needing to re-format all of the footage again.
Optical Disc Archive (ODA) is a media and hardware technology that was introduced by the Sony Corporation in 2012. There are several disc sizes in write once and rewriteable formats: 300GB, 600GB, 1.2TB, and 1.5TB. The ODSL10 is a 10-slot library archive system. The OSD55U is a one disc external USB3.0 drive. Portable storage drives are also available. Estimated shelf life is 50 years, read cycles are more than 1,000,000 times, and erase/write/read cycles are more than 1,000 times. If owners require a larger system, there are several Petasite Library solutions available. BTS is an authorized Sony reseller.
Content owners should also consider an off-site storage facility for tape backup in case of damage to your facility due to fire or weather.
In addition to your storage solution, you need to also address a media management system to easily find the footage you are looking for (think of it as an electronic filing cabinet). There are several multi-level systems available than can help you find by date, word/phrase, presenter/actor/athlete, camera shot type and much more.
We are in the Houses of Worship industry sector. How can we improve/monetize our content and to increase our exposure?
Many Houses of Worship rely heavily on volunteers to staff technical positions. The best thing you can do is to develop a training program, create easy to understand user guides and video. It is important to hold pre-preproduction meetings before each service if your volunteers rotate, they should understand their assignments and service rundown. In addition, provide feedback after the service what was done well and what needs to be improved. The director should give clear instructions and “ready” each position before you take it on air, all positions should act as “live” during the entire service, never take off your headsets. BTS can provide customized coaching and technical assignment recommendations.
In addition to your in-house presentation during the service, pay attention to what is on the monitors before, during and after the services. Make sure that you are using your content as a marketing tool for your organization to promote upcoming special events, giving campaigns, volunteer opportunities and the like. In addition to the traditional service coverage; you can create series for DVD sales, create short promotional videos to be used for specific giving campaigns or investor meetings, as well as instructional or educational videos. BTS can help you with marketing and promotional idea and content creation.
In addition to live streaming and archived content on your website; there are many opportunities for local, regional, national and international television distribution. BTS can assist you in researching options and negotiate agreements to meet your budget and exposure goals.