YES Network Celebrates Anniversary With Move to File-Based Workflow
The YES Network has come a long way technologically since its launch 10 years ago this month. After all, the home of the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets was the first RSN to go HD on a full-time basis, in 2004.
The latest evidence of this technological advance can be seen in the network’s evolving digital-asset–management (DAM) system. The Avid Interplay-based infrastructure has allowed YES’s Stamford, CT-based broadcast center to move the majority of its video operations from an analog to a file-based workflow in just over a calendar year.
“At the end of 2010, we began to implement the infrastructure for a [file-based] workflow,” says Reji Mathew, director of IT for YES Network. “We’ve been on it more than a year now. It’s an on-going process, but, slowly and surely, we’re getting to where we want to be.”
YES Network was already a 100%-Avid postproduction operation when it began investigating the move to an overall file-based workflow just over a year ago. With Avid Media Composers and an Avid ISIS media network in-house, Mathew and company needed any newly added elements to be able to interact seamlessly with Avid technology.
“We were not going to stray from our [Avid production environment] because the investment had already been made, so we were looking for tools that worked well with that aspect of our [operation],” says Mathew. “In regards to backing up, restoring, and making sure that our content is secure, we wanted to make sure that all these players were known to each other and that the integration [with Avid] was not an issue.”
With this in mind, YES Network tapped SGL (Software Generation Ltd.) FlashNet to help provide backup, archive, and restore functionality. In addition, YES uses a MediaKive system for ingest, a Spectra Logic T950 tape library for LTO archival needs, and Spectra ntier 500 servers for near-line storage (two servers for redundancy’s sake).
“You have content coming either from air or from an analog tape,” says Mathew. “It is ingested with our MediaKive system and digitized. At the end of the day, it comes into SGL FlashNet and gets backed up. But before all this happens, Avid Interplay needs to index all this content and make sure Interplay has the necessary information and knows where this content is located so our end users can access it.”
As a result of the new workflow, editors, producers, and directors using Interplay can easily restore content from the LTO environment, allowing them to access archived clips as easily as near-line clips. With SGL FlashNet, YES can also continuously create master copies of material, which are backed up and held securely in the LTO archive.
“This all means a much quicker turnaround,” says Mathew. Today, all the information is logged in so that the end user can actually put in a search value such as “Jeter spring training” and the system will produce instant search results. The end user can simply click on a clip and restore it to the Avid Interplay environment and not even realize where the resource is coming from.
“There is no more loading tapes in and restoring it back onto the ISIS environment for the Interplay to bring it online,” he continues. “A lot of tasks have been cut out, so the process has been streamlined.”
While YES’s DAM ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds since its launch, the infrastructure continues to evolve. The next step: full integration with YES’s EVS servers, allowing full integration between the Interplay-based production environment and the on-air playout system.
“In the future, we are looking at integrating EVS into this [workflow] as well,” Mathew says, with an eye out for potential EVS-Avid Interplay developments at the upcoming NAB Show in April. “Hopefully, we can centralize these key systems where the end user can search, retrieve, and use it for air at the same time.”