Our Brilliant Kit27 July 2020
At ITV Content Delivery, we have a number of areas of specialism and expertise. Having these capabilities would mean nothing however if we didn’t have some robust and resilient kit and hardware to work with.
We have two Vintage Cloud Steenbecks in ITV Content Delivery, the only machines of their kind in the U.K. One that captures 16mm and the other that captures 35mm. The scanners digitise film direct to 4K file allowing ITV Content Delivery to digitally preserve film archive. They also allow us to grade and colour correct images prior to digitisation, saving time and money in post production, as well as processing sound in sync with the image at the same time, which further streamlines our workflow and provides another cost saving that we pass onto our customers. The real beauty of the Vintage Cloud Steenbecks is that the machine’s offer a heritage and a romance that in my opinion no other scanner on the market does, in that most of the content we transfer will almost certainly have been originally edited on a Steenbeck decades ago.
Digital Vision World’s Phoenix is the tool we use at ITV Content Delivery to restore, enhance and fix any digitised content from film or tape. Film is a living organism, and as it ages the film (unless archived in perfect conditions) will deteriorate, shrink and otherwise become badly damaged. We use Phoenix to digitally rejuvenate any damaged, dirty or deteriorated images and restore them back to their former glory. This is achieved by using Phoenix’s suite of DVO tools to digitally clean (by removing dust, dirt and debris), stabilise any bouncing or warped images, as well as reducing noise and correcting grain (amongst many other capabilities). The system is also used to up-res SD content to HD, and HD content to 4K, producing great results fast and allowing our operators to be both artists and archivists.
At ITV Content Delivery we use Dalet Galaxy to ingest ITV’s tape archive and Timecode Capture (TCC) any digitised content prior to delivery. We also use Dalet to drive our Flexicarts.
Using the Sony Flexicarts and Dalet, we can digitise from a variety of different tape formats (SP, DB, HDCam, SR, SX and MPEG IMX) and we can ingest as either AS11, Pro Res, DNX and XDCam.
Digitising from tape is a real time process, meaning that if the content you need to digitise is 28 minutes long it will take 28 minutes to ingest. In our dedicated and purpose built machine room we have four decks housed in our Flexis which means that at any one time we are digitising four tapes at once, or 4 times the speed of real time. This allows us to rapidly ingest large volumes of tape in bulk. As the Flexicarts and Dalet are fully automated, and will run 24/7 it means that we are not restricted by traditional office hours, if you have 1000 hours worth of content to digitise, it will take only 250 hours to process (around 11 days).
Our machine room also offers a large variety of options for digitising from older tape formats such as 1″, D2 and U-Matic. We can even accommodate VHS, S-VHS and DVD.
ITV Content Delivery are responsible for the delivery of ITV’s content around the globe. Most territories and foreign broadcasters have very specific, if not bespoke, technical requirements for files that they receive for transmission. It is therefore essential that we have a system like Telestream’s Vantage. Vantage is a media processing tool that transcodes our content to almost any profile that’s required by our customers. It is an automated solution that allows Content Delivery to transcode material around the clock, and is significantly faster than other transcode solutions.
Another tool we use is Alchemist, which is an advanced frame rate conversion tool which uses sophisticated motion compensation to rebuild a series of frames. The Alchemist changes file formats from PAL – NTSC, up-res’s images from SD-HD, HD-4K, and can alter field configurations.
Aspera and Signinat
In order to send content to our customers around the globe, ITV Content Delivery must offer a secure file delivery service. To do this we use leading media shuttle and point-to-point technology from Aspera and Signiant. Aspera and Signiant offer an effective solution for sending and sharing large amounts of content. Size isn’t an issue – whether it’s one large file, or a number of smaller files, the transfer process retains its speed and efficiency. The result is an accelerated transfer that is up to 200 times faster than traditional file transfer technologies such as FTP and HTTP.
Whether you’re a broadcaster, a production company, or you just need your film or tape ingested files quickly, to broadcast quality (or above) and at a price that can’t be beaten please get in touch.