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NAB Perspectives: Primestream’s Lisman on Latest FORK, Xchange Updates and Their Role at USC

April 24th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Jason Dachman

Primestream hit the NAB 2015 exhibit floor with the latest versions of its FORK asset-management and automation system and Xchange collaboration software, which provides production teams Web access to content on their FORK production servers from any PC or tablet device. Primestream also announced that its FORK Logger metadata-tagging module now integrates with in-depth, prepopulated data feeds from STATS.

FORK v5.0 includes updates to both FORK Production Suite and Playout, with advances in MXF and 4K workflows, as well as new two-way integrations with the three major NLE platforms: Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Apple Final Cut Pro X.

In addition to unveiling a major update with Xchange Suite v4.0, Primestream released Xchange Media Cloud using Microsoft Azure, marking the first time Xchange is available for software-as-a-service (SaaS).

SVG sat down with Primestream Marketing Director Robert Lisman to discuss the FORK and Xchange enhancements, the STATS integration, and how these platforms are streamlining the education process at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Robert Lisman, director of marketing, Primestream

Robert Lisman, director of marketing, Primestream

What is the thinking behind releasing Xchange on Microsoft Azure as a SaaS?
We have added our software on the Azure marketplace so that someone with an Azure account can subscribe to the application right there, in a very straightforward lease agreement. They can choose the exact type of infrastructure they need based on their requirements. We are providing them the ability to control the level of commitment and infrastructure. So it’s an easy leap for a FORK customer to deploy a cloud solution with Xchange Azure. if they want to cover the Super Bowl, they can roll it out for just that event, or for the whole year. That is the flexibility they have.

 

Can you tell me a bit about the updates included in v5.0 of FORK?
New at NAB is our addition of Master Control and control room playout in 4K/UHD. We are keeping up-to-date with all the different file formats and new resolutions so our customers are future-proofed. We’ve successfully tested eight channels of MXF and MOV playout in FORK, utilizing new high-density I/O. That was on a standard Apple MacPro, a Windows PC is no different, and it’s going to get even better.

What is Primestream hoping to accomplish with these latest versions of FORK and Xchange?
I think, the past couple years, a lot of technology has been progressing, and it’s in a mature phase. We’re not experimenting anymore as much as we’re adding layers on top of a solid foundation. In our case, with Xchange 4.0, we can build on a solid, tested foundation and add specific features that people are requesting.

We’re able to hit the ground running because FORK is powerful enough to let us do all this stuff. We have Xchange and all these new tools, and FORK is the engine that is powering automation and giving us control. That is what differentiates us. The MAM industry is saturated with probably thousands of different types of MAMs. But this engine is allowing us to do great things.We’re not talking about just the cloud; we are talking about the convergence of cloud and ground, hybrid environments. That flexibility is letting the customer be more creative in both how they create the content and how they plan for the future in terms of the economics of their business.

How will the integration with STATS benefit FORK users?
Instead of having loggers go in and add the roster manually, they are able to bring that STATS feed into FORKLogger automatically, integrated it seamlessly, and the user can immediately start logging. If a player is injured, that player is removed from the roster. It gives up-to-date information on every player on the [roster.

How is the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism using FORK and Xchange?
University of Southern California has about 2,000 students, if not more, per semester, using everything from Xchange to FORK to Mobile2Air. Mobile2Air is our our tool for sending content from your phone to the production environment. We’ve integrated them all, so it’s all one database.

 

When you log in to Mobile2Air you see all the content that’s in Xchange, based on your user rights and permissions. So you would log in and see only your own content, unless an admin gave you permission to see other things. That control is letting an environment like USC flourish, where there are all different types of students in different programs and different faculty using Xchange to even grade projects. Students are submitting their projects; faculty looks at them, suggesting changes,and then determines the grade. So we’re getting into this world beyond broadcast, beyond traditional video production.

This translates into sports very nicely. Just as much as a student needs to learn, an athlete needs to learn. Maybe coaches won’t give a grade, but they can point out specific plays and player tendencies – and then work with a player to improve. Combine Xchange with FORK Logger – that’s a powerful tool set to gain a competitive edge.