Newsroom Systems Update

  • With David Kirk

Newsroom Systems Update

Contributing Editor David Kirk updates on the latest progress in newsroom systems in these ever-challenging times...

News continues to be an efficient and cost-effective way to expand broadcast channel ratings, particularly among viewers and listeners keen to experience the detail behind the headlines. Modern newsroom computer systems allow fast coverage of breaking stories as well as providing the resources needed to assemble follow-up reports on themes that merit documentary-style attention. An additional requirement is the need to present news in the distinctive styles needed for television, radio, text-based and on-demand media. The following overview covers some of the most recent offerings from hardware, software and cloudware providers specialising in this sector. It includes products and services scheduled to be introduced during the 15-18 September 2023 International Broadcasting Convention.

Dalet’s Pyramid newsroom system is equipped with web-based tools for collaborative planning, contribution, production, media editing, and multi-platform distribution. A new addition is InStream, described as a multi-channel cloud-native ingest solution that allows news organisations to scale up and down ingest operations according to their needs. Features include multi-site access, a web-based interface that enables users to manage IP and on-premises SDI ingest when combined with Dalet Brio, and support for a wide range of broadcast feed formats including SRT, NDI or RTMP from web sources. Dalet Cut is a web-based editor allowing collaborative production of multiplatform news stories from any location. It also features script-to-graphic and AI-powered translation. The calendar-based Dalet Pyramid Planner now comes with configurable views, tasks, and asset-sharing.

Fonn Group’s Dina now includes new planning and collaboration tools and integrations with industry platforms like Trint, LiveU and Mimir. Reporters in the field can now get video recorded from LiveU directly into their stories. Content will be immediately available in both Dina and Mimir while it is being recorded, ready for editing and publishing.  Dina will be shown at IBC with all its features for creating and publishing news on multiple platforms, a newsroom rundown system, integrations and a mobile app packed with features for planning, creating and publishing news on the move.  

Grass Valley’s Framelight X Asset Management Platform and its underlying Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP) are designed to allow news broadcasters across multiple locations so see the same assets at the same time, even as they are being ingested and edited. "Anybody with a browser can securely access Framelight X and upload audio and video, log footage, view and search transcripts, perform multi-layer timeline editing with graphics, do AI-supported research, create rundowns, share files and do playout," says Damon Hawkins, Director, Production & Product Management.

"Because Framelight X is built on AMPP, an IP-based architecture with an open API and a well-documented SDK, it integrates well with virtually any newsroom computer system. A new MOS-native clip list player within Framelight X allows playout to be driven by an NRCS rundown and displayed within the NRCS system. Journalists or news producers can view clips in their NRCS without having to switch to a dedicated Framelight X interface." For ingest and subsequent editing, Framelight X uses the Elastic Recorder workload. Damon Hawkins, Director, Production for Grass Valley: "With the Elastic Recorder, you can be streaming from your camera or phone to Framelight X and others who are logged in have instant access to the proxy plus the high res, available for playout whilst the content is being ingested. With that asset you can start editing, adding graphics, and rendering all in the Framelight X HTML5 editor before assigning it to a rundown and playout, all while recording continues. Framelight X also includes the ability to create simple or complex workflows to automate media management, ingest and distribution for functions such QC of batching files for transcoding.

PlayBox Neo has expanded the software connectivity of its television channel branding and studio playout servers with support now provided for the Arion newsroom system from SNews Broadcast Solutions. Arion has been used by SNews customers in the reporting of major events, such as Brazil’s fifth win in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the 2008 economic crisis, the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and the Covid-19 Pandemic. "Integrating PlayBox Neo's ProductionAirBox Neo-20 with our Arion system gives newsroom staff the ability to perform playout in a seamless environment," says Rodrigo Brasiel, CEO of SNews. "The combination conforms fully with our strategy of making technology fully transparent in a practical, agile and efficient solution that maximizes productivity at every point in the news production workflow." SNews Arion is designed to give newsroom teams all the facilities they need to monitor, search and filter incoming and archived news. Newsroom teams can create their own rundown including an exact count of surpluses or overruns.

View layouts and colors can be customized to match a channel-preferred design. Arion also allows easy configuration of subsections, expected length and video clip duration. Externally sourced news can be verified automatically through channels such as RSS, Twitter and Facebook. Shared across the entire newsroom, Arion gives authorized users access to the broadcaster's registered sources quickly and easily via a structured agenda augmented by the ability to make a direct query via their mobile phone. 

"This is the latest in an ongoing series of partnership agreements with major broadcast product developers," adds Pavlin Rahnev, PlayBox Neo founder and CEO. "MOS interconnectivity allows Arion-equipped newsrooms to perform all the core tasks of content accessing and news run down playout directly from the PlayBox Neo user interface." ProductionAirBox Neo-20 is equipped with features designed specifically for live production. These include the ability to trim or reposition every clip in a playout while the scheduled session is on-air. Commands such as next, jump or shuttle allow playout order to be modified seamlessly without interrupting the current playout session. Up to four independent players can be configured on a single ProductionAirBox Neo-20 server. Each player can be controlled via its own playlist. Each of the four SDI/NDI interfaces can be assigned as program or preview outputs. Arion's News Graphics template generation and its playout are directly integrated with our TitleBox Neo-20 graphics processor. This allows newsroom staff to concentrate on their core activity without distraction, saving time and maximizing production efficiency." 

Qvest has been active in scoping the digital media supply chain from concept to consumption. "No longer is it only the  large broadcasters and studios focused on producing and distributing quality content in an efficient manner but  consumer products companies, higher education, and niche content producers creating content with the goal of creating a great direct-to-consumer experience," says Jawid Mahmoodzada, Managing Director at Qvest Europe.

"We will see more studio control systems being operated remotely, a higher adoption rate of artificial intelligence tools in the media asset production and distribution, more direct camera-to-cloud workflows, and more studio productions being virtualised using the latest VR and AR technologies."

Ross has introduced V15 of its Inception NRCS and social media management tool. New features have been added to the Assignment Manager to help improve planning, including the introduction of duration-based, all day and multi-day events. There is also improved visibility of timing information for content created in the Assignment Manager as well as increased search capabilities to allow for better planning and communication. Version 15 adds the option to set user permissions by MOS device, meaning that some users may be able to create and modify MOS objects for all configured devices while other users can now be given more limited access. "While we’re always looking ahead to innovate our products, they also have to meet the day-to-day needs of our end users," says Jenn Jarvis, product manager for editorial workflows. "We see product development as a partnership, and the feedback of the people using Inception every day is an integral part of our process."

VSN NewsConnect is an NRCS web plugin integrated in the VSNExplorer suite. "VSN NewsConnect allows users to interconnect all the third-party systems necessary to create their choice of news production environment," says Toni Vilalta, VSN’s product manager. "It integrates into a single interface all the features of a state-of-the-art NRCS with access to all the benefits and functionalities of a modern MAM system like VSNExplorer MAM. "It is compatible with most NRCS available in the market as well as graphic systems, character generators, nonlinear editors, video servers and digital platforms.

NewsConnect integrates perfectly with Windows and OSX environments and can also be implemented in the cloud, enhancing remote production and collaborative workflows. Independently of the NRCS, VSN NewsConnect can be used to prepare and manages content to be published on linear TV channels, non-linear platforms, social media and WebTV. Users have access to the features of VSNExplorer MAM in the same interface, such as the ability to search files of any media in the MAM system, whether they are stored in deep archive, nearline or online. VSN NewsConnect users can also benefit from other VSNExplorer suite features, such as the Adobe plugin that allows integration with Premiere, After Effects and Audition, or access to Wedit, VSN’s fully web-based video editor."