ContentAgent Case Study – Fox International (UK)

Fox International logo“It sounds very basic, but the ability to have reliable deck control, coupled with the consistency that ensures high quality material time after time, is just perfect for us.”

Simon Brett, Head of Facilities at Fox International (UK), describes how ContentAgent has made their lives easier and enabled them to build “epic” workflows to cope with both tape and file-based media.

Watch the video of the interview or read the transcript below.

” We are the in-house facility for the National Geographic and FX channels. Our work is primarily for the UK but we do a fair amount of servicing for our European channels. We’re both an SD and HD environment and are predominantly a file-based operation where ContentAgent really comes into its own. The system fits into our workflow very well and has enabled us to step up a gear – we still make the same files we did before but now we have the increased accuracy and reliability that’s essential in creating consistent high quality hi-res material for transmission.

Currently, the majority of our content is still sourced from tape – particularly long-form programming – so we still receive lots of traditional DigiBetas and Beta SPs. In the HD world we’re very much a CAM environment, so that’s all about HDCAM and HDCAM SR. What’s good for us is that we can take those tapes and create whatever we need from them. In the file-based arena, ContentAgent allows us to handle more file types than we could previously and the Standards Conversion feature means we no longer have to outsource conversion with subsequent savings in time and cost. And, while we used to receive badly made tapes on occasion, we now sometimes receive badly made files. We can rescue these on ContentAgent and restore back to tape if needed.

We use many aspects of the system apart from straightforward transcoding. We regularly capture from tape and save to USB or DVD, or make use of ContentAgent’s automated ftp and emailing facility. We can create epic workflows that may have dozens of steps. But it’s good to know that once I’ve put in the time on setting that up, they can be repeated at will with consistent quality.

“We also regularly produce DVDs for presentations and it’s good to be able to do that with a pre-set template, or if necessary, create a unique workflow for a specific requirement. I really like the ease in which ContentAgent handles DVD authoring and how you can make it as simple or complex as you wish.

ContentAgent has made our lives easier. Before, we sometimes struggled to maintain a uniform level of work. For example, if we had to make both a high and low-res file from a tape source we were using two and sometimes three independent systems with the risk that the timings might be mismatched. In those days it wasn’t such an issue as people were prepared to work around that but, as we move increasingly towards a tapeless world with improved kit and better formats, our playout facilities expect and deserve total accuracy.

It sounds very basic, but the ability to have reliable deck control, coupled with the consistency that ensures high quality material time after time, is just perfect for us.”

Simon Brett
Head of Facilities

FOX International Channels is News Corporation’s international multi-media business. It develops, produces and distributes 183 wholly-and majority-owned pay-TV channels across Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, in 35 languages. These networks and their related mobile, non-linear and high-definition extensions, reach over 300 million unique subscribing households worldwide.