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Fri 4 Jun 2010 04:00 AM

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Optimising output

Avid accelerates post-production processes and optimises broadcast output for Al Jazeera Children's Channel.

Optimising output
JCC uses two ICON D-Control audio consoles with Pro Tools.
Optimising output
Avid helped Al Jazeera Childen’s Channel develop a tapeless workflow solution.
Optimising output
JCC uses Avid Pro ToolsHD to mix sound for broadcast.

Avid accelerates post-production processes and optimises broadcast output for Al Jazeera Children's Channel.

Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) is a pan-Arab TV channel providing educational and entertainment programming for an audience aged between seven and fifteen. The channel broadcasts up to 21 hours a day and is free to view on Arabsat, Nilesat, Hotbird and Eurobird. JCC is also distributed by operators across Europe. For younger viewers, JCC manages Baraem, a channel aimed at pre-school children aged between three and six.

JCC's signature productions include debate shows; thematic magazines on subjects such as science, technology and sport; game shows that combine general knowledge with fun; and animation and cartoon series.

Al Jazeera Children's Channel is keen to raise the standards of children's TV content making in the region. "The quality of the broadcast image and sound is as important to us as the content," explains Samir Mekhazni, director of broadcast & technical services at JCC.

To ensure the highest possible quality of its extensive output, JCC is continually investing in new technologies. The corporation is currently moving from tape-based workflow for post-production processes in an attempt to prevent the risk of degrading quality caused by file format conversion during the ingestion and editing processes.

JCC also offers a range of multimedia and digital content through its interactive web site and mobile-based services. JCC aims to provide very high-quality output through these channels, and also offer near-immediate access to the latest content. To achieve this, JCC is always working towards speeding up its content distribution across multiple formats. Tapeless workflow

JCC is an established user of Avid solutions for its programme making operations. Within its ten production and editing suites, JCC uses Avid Media Composer to edit all of its programmes, and Avid Pro Tools|HD to mix sound for broadcast.

However, each editing station previously had its own local storage system, which did not make it easy to share assets with other workstations.

To enable JCC to speed up and streamline its processes, Avid proposed a tapeless workflow solution that would build on the existing Avid setup. "Avid knows what is important to JCC and supplies us with up-to-date technology," says Mekhazni.

JCC has now consolidated storage and management of its digital media assets using Avid Unity ISIS - a high-capacity media network that can scale to accommodate future growth. JCC's studio recordings are now made directly into the Avid Unity ISIS system rather than being ingested from tape once recording has finished.

Avid Interplay provides a production asset management system that gives editors rapid access to the entire pool of new and existing assets from any workstation.

Avid worked closely with JCC, supporting it as it transitioned to the new tapeless workflow. "As with all our Avid installations, we got excellent support, including training that enabled our editors, producers and media managers to quickly get up to speed with all the new functionality," says Mekhazni. Speedier post-production

Direct ingest of studio recordings means that post-production editing can start before the recording is finished. Furthermore, a number of editors can work on different parts of the recording simultaneously and on the separate audio and video streams.

JCC is using two ICON D-Control 24 audio consoles with Pro Tools to get hands-on command over multiple projects. Changes can be made more easily, freeing up more time for exploring creative options in the mixes. This cuts post-production time and lets JCC focus more of its efforts on quality control and resolving any editing errors.

The Avid solution's ability to work with any file format, combined with the simplified tapeless workflow, reduces the potential for files to deteriorate and helps ensure better final media output.

"This technology will help us save valuable time, allowing our editors to concentrate more on quality editing," reports Mekhazni.

JCC can also produce material in all the required broadcast formats at the same time, meeting its audience's demands for simultaneous content availability via the TV, web site and mobile phones. In its effort to boost quality of output, JCC is now completing a migration to working exclusively in HD.

This involves upgrading its editing stations and replacing Media Composer with Media Composer Nitris DX, which is specifically designed to meet the high-performance requirements of HD production. "Given the technical performance of Avid solutions, and the quality of their after-sales support, we're glad to have them support our move to HD," says Mekhazni.

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