Improving workflow in practice for low-cost programme-making using MXF & AAF file formats
Tapeless acquisition and efficient post-production workflows are an aspiration for many production teams, because of the potential savings in time spent on non-creative tasks. The marketplace provides solutions using optical disc and memory-card based acquistion devices, direct ingest of live feeds into servers, and server-based editing networks. Increasingly, the interoperability within these solutions is based on open file formats for material and associated metadata (e.g. MXF and AAF). While the functionality of new systems may be excellent, not every production team has the necessary budget. Where production budgets are low, open file formats provide a new opportunity to integrate commodity IT equipment with existing production tools, to achieve some of the workflow benefits previously only avaliable at high cost. This paper describes a scratch-built multi-channel ingest system built by BBC R&D, based on off-the-shelf components and open-source software. Using standard file formats, the system has been integrated with existing commercial editing tools to enable an improved tapeless workflow, at low cost, for a BBC production team. The relevant enabling file formats are examined and a number of design aspects are discussed. This project is an example of how open formats and open source software give users the means to innovate directly to develop improved ways of working.
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