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Newsroom products

Building the next generation of broadcast products


Mediamano is a leading innovator in the management and provision of digital assets for broadcasters. They operate globally, with clients concentrated in Europe and North America. They're specialised and uniquely vendor-agnostic solutions transform the way video is captured, manipulated, archived and provisioned - from field, through the newsroom and to broadcast. Separately, their products transform the operational efficiency of a broadcaster. Together, they have the potential to transform the economic value of digital content.

Mediamano, based in Spain, needed to build a scheduled recording application that could control 2 geographically separated Zones of Quantel sQ servers.

BigSoft Limited tendered for the project by writing a 15 page proposal including a design outline with mocked up screen shots and time scales. The proposal was circulated around the interested companies requesting comments and feedback which we re-incorporated back into the proposal.

We built a virtualise test environment consisting of several machines in order to create a Quantel test system with 3 dummy sQ Servers providing ten ports capable of recording different formats.

The recording application uses the View, Model, Controller paradigm. The recording application uses a timeline interface and is accessed via a Javascript, Ajax, HTML and CSS front end. The Ajax and HttpRequest Objects communicate with PHP programs which organised the schedule stored inside a MySQL database. NodeJS is used to notify clients that the data has changed so they may refresh themselves to reflect the current state of the system. The unix cron was used to start scheduled recordings. The recordings are managed by a Java program that understands the Quantel ISA Manager and Quantel sQ Server's CORBA protocol. As scheduled events go into record their representation colour changes and thumbnails from the record-head begin to be displayed on each client view. After the record has finished it changes to a satisfying green colour to represent success or red for failure.

This product will live inside a broadcasting station and there are many places where a failure may occur. A video switch might fail, there may not be room on the video server to house the new recording, the video server may be unreachable due to network concerns, or some other reason beyond our control. Trouble shooting when there are so many possibilities is of paramount importance. Most of the possibilities aren't related to this recording product but we must be able to quickly trouble shoot and show why it failed so that it might be rectified with the minimum of downtime.

We built this product with that in mind. There is a simple set of steps to find out why a recording failed to start or failed to complete. This allows us to provide time critical information when it is needed most with the minimum of fuss and makes the information available in an easy to understand form so that operators and engineers do not need specialist training to use the product.

The project took a total of 3 months and is already installed at one television station with another in the pipeline.