ITV News has been broadcasting since the 1950s, and in that time has gathered a huge archive of news stories and longer-form content. News teams in distinct regions across the UK often want to retrieve archived media for their current reporting, but because different groups have stored content in a variety of systems over the years using multiple formats, retrieval is often a challenge.
In 2004, ITV News started a project to create a single, searchable database for its content libraries, and were partially successful. But the database and search engine could not easily accommodate the news division’s transition from physical media to HD digital files in 2014. Finally, when the search engine was left unsupported on an old operating system, the team recognised it was time for a change.
New Archiving and Asset Management
The ITV News team was ready to invest in a new archiving and asset management system. But team leaders wanted to retain as much of the original infrastructure as possible to make the most of previous investments. After evaluating proposals from several vendors, the ITV News team selected a system that combines the CatDV Asset Management Platform with an archive storage system from Spectra Logic.
Managing a large volume of video, images and other file data involves cataloguing and organising assets both during projects and after completion. Teams can collaborate more effectively and production often speeds up. At ITV, security has been maintained by restricting content access to authorised users with role-based policies, which means that managers can control and track who is working on what files and manage access through the data lifecycle. Tiered storage is also made simpler because even very large content archives can be indexed and searched across local and cloud repositories.
The CatDV-Spectra Logic combination can support uploads from existing Avid iNEWS and Interplay systems, and supply regional catalogues and maintain identities for ten distinct news regions. Meanwhile, users are able to search across all regions. It can also be integrated with common file-sharing systems for reuse of proxies and allows partial retrieval of long-form content.
Deploying Content Management
In order to set up these integrations with ITV News’ existing tools and workflows, a team of CatDV specialists and consultants customised the system, and even customised the look of the interface using a various web interfaces and style sheets. “We were keen to create an ITV corporate look while also reflecting the unique identities of the distinct regions,” said Steve Teague, head of technical services for ITV News.
Ingesting content and logging timecodes had been largely manual processes at ITV, which CatDV has helped to automate along with other manual tasks. At the same time, CatDV has simplified content access. Journalists from across the UK can now search a single database and retrieve content faster and without assistance from technical staff.
The specialist team were able to index and organize all content in one location, whether it was stored on-site, in a cloud, in object storage or on tape, to make it searchable, taggable and discoverable. CatDV has tools for manual content tagging and preparation, or for tapping into cloud AI tools to enrich, transcribe, recognize and tag content on a much larger scale. The combined team then deployed the system into production, importing about 3 million assets across 10 regions into the new environment. After records were reindexed, the system was placed online, ready for users in a centralized archive.
Customisation and Automation
Quantum CatDV Worker nodes make it possible to customise workflows and automate file processing, with the ability to automate functions such as content ingest, proxy creation, transcoding, content movement and archiving, and file renaming. “The CatDV approach has taken us from a very labour-intensive, manual system to a process that is efficient, puts content first and makes it easier to exploit our assets,” Steve said. “From the user perspective, we have had very positive feedback, especially on the self-service aspect of the system, which has meant direct remote access to content.”
Due to the good results at ITV News, a number of teams beyond the news division are employing the same archive and asset management system. So far, the clip sales team, studios and sports teams within ITV have all adopted the system.
With a new archive solution centred on CatDV asset management and ongoing workflow improvements, the ITV News team can now better support current and upcoming digital workflows. Steve said, “CatDV is a pleasure to use, and the biggest reward is that we now have a system that we understand and that can match our changing requirements.” www.quantum.com