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Automated Production Control:What to Look For?

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Automated Production Control: What to Look For


Four Potential & Traditional Broadcaster Benefits of Automated Production Control There are a few other significant benefits.

It's Not Just Television Anymore
Over the last five years, the newsroom has been transforming faster than any time in recent memory. Reporters who were once tasked with delivering content for the five, six or eleven o'clock news must now deliver content for traditional workflows AND social media like Facebook Live, Periscope, and plenty of others. This new layer of distribution has created intense pressure for news organizations to perform on a 24/7 news cycle. Today's reporters might get sent to cover a fire, Tweet about it on the way to the scene, and then as the photographer is setting up the bonded cell network, start broadcasting from their cell phone to Facebook Live talking about the event.

This dovetails into the reality that viewing habits have changed. Younger viewers don't watch linear television; they consume their content on web and mobile. Broadcasters have not been able to monetize content created for web and mobile as successfully as for linear productions. The intense demand for current web content has created the need for second and third control rooms; however the CAPEX for these projects is far less. This will continue to be an obstacle until a proper level of monetization is achieved for web and mobile content.

What is Automated Production Control (APC)?
Automated production is a software layer that resides in a broadcast facility which allows a single operator to control the various devices needed for a given live production. A proper APC system should be able to handle both scripted and unscripted breaking news style productions seamlessly. The APC solution should be the central point of communication and control, no additional third party playlist tools should be utilized as these ancillary software systems can easily get out of sync when breaking news or rapid change is occurring. APC solutions, the right ones, should scale from single M/E products, all the way to four M/Es and greater.

Things to Consider with APC
APC can bring a number of efficiencies to your broadcast environment, most notably fewer on-air mistakes, which translates into a higher production quality. The fact is that not all directors or operators are created equal. They come with varying abilities, which can be visible during weekends and early mornings. APC adds consistency across all days and shifts. There can be an ROI, if your solution can automate devices such as audio consoles, and it's worth noting that many APC solutions struggle with audio, requiring a manual audio operator which works to negate many of the benefits.

Flexibility
Customers tell us they are looking for flexibility first. This means flexibility in handling all productions in a facility. APC solutions need to be simple enough for any experience level of operators—this could mean a technical director, graphic artist or producer. APC solutions must be intuitive and customizable to meet the needs of the production, as not all productions have the same level of complexity, so choose an APC solution that allows users to customize their UI to match the exact needs of the live production being produced. Whether it's linear over-the-air, web or mobile, broadcasters need a single tool to manage however many control rooms with one unified workflow.

A scripted production can easily be done with any solution, but change is inevitable and broadcasters need a solution that can quickly and easily handle any type of event whether scripted or unscripted. In studio, live or outside of the confines of a newsroom computer system (NRCS) or a script, the solution must be able to deliver a very dynamic show and deliver the same quality production consistently every time. If your APC solution falls apart during breaking news or unscripted production, you should consider a replacement.

Integration
Typically, integration consisted of interfaces with various third-party devices needed for live production. The dawn of the web and mobile era has caused the demand for APC solutions to now include integration for all platforms that help manage online content. Platforms like a facility's CMS are no brainers, but what about social media management? What about managing all of the content, logins, and passwords for Twitter, YouTube and Facebook across your facility? What about the ability to track a story's trend in the social media space? How about the ability to set a kill date for a particular story on social media? Your APC solution should have an answer for regional multicasting, the embargo of content and the proper SCTE insertion of ad breaks for linear, web and mobile.

What is the Typical Timeline from Box to On-Air?
If the integration and rollout are planned well, this change is not something that will affect the viewers' experience. Typically a facility will spend a few weeks stacking and racking the new equipment. We spend a week commissioning and two weeks of training. To help ensure there is no impact to production, training typically occurs when the production crew has down time—this might be afternoons, mornings or weekends. Your system should support dynamic templates which help to drastically reduce the size of your library and the time it takes to create production events. The more tools a vendor can provide, in terms of device creation and setup, the more sophisticated the solution.


Basic APC Checklist
While evaluating an APC solution should be a very involved task for news, engineering and technical management, there are some basic things that you want to look for during your evaluation:
 Comments 
Sat, 03 Feb 2018 17:29:19 PST
JZegar... wrote:

Excelente articulo,tecnico e Innovador. Felicitaciones y respetos.

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 17:32:05 PST
JZegar... wrote:

Excelente articulo, tecnico e innovador. Saludos y respetos.

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