Channel 4 Playout
IDS case study
Red Bee Broadcast Centre in White City, London is a centralised playout facility for UK broadcasters. Its clients include the BBC and BBCHD, Channel Five, Virgin Media and Channel 4.
In 2009, Red Bee Media won the contract to host the playout services for Channel 4 and its family of channels including Film 4, E4 and More4.
To fulfil the operational requirements, a large new central playout area was commissioned, supplemented by two reactive playout suites, each with an associated continuity booth and a third continuity booth situated outside the main area. We were asked to install an IDS system that met two main requirements:
- Provide a visual link between network directors in the various playout positions and continuity announcers in their isolated booths.
- Develop an IDS interface for the Snell Morpheus automation system to derive and display relevant next-event count-down information for in excess of 20 simultaneous channels.
Providing the visual link between the network directors in playout and the isolated continuity announcers was a straightforward exercise using our configuration software, IDS Core.
IDS hardware consisted of six Axis IP cameras, each with an associated 24" IDS display, an IDS Squid and a server running IDS Core. The system used a dedicated VLAN on the Channel 4 playout IT infrastructure.
Each display screen was designed using IDS Core to suit its particular application. For example, the screen in the main playout position was more complex than in other areas, as the director needed to be simultaneously monitoring multiple channels with contributions from two different continuity booths.
In addition to the video streams, typical display elements included a high resolution analogue clock, tally lights and a count-down to next event.
A seventh IDS display was positioned by the door of a third continuity booth, which was remote from the main Channel 4 playout area. As this was a shared area with other clients, it provided additional programme status information derived from the automation system.
The interface developed for the Snell Morpheus automation system allowed IDS to derive and display next-event count-down information, collecting the relevant information from the Channel 4 MOS server using an XML protocol. This presented quite a challenge as Channel 4 is responsible for the playout of over 20 individual transmission streams, each of which can playout from any network desk position and be working to one or more of the three live continuity booths.← Back to case studies