Latest Case Study

Primestream and Thomson Reuters deploy an end-to-end HD IT newsroom

July 01, 2010

Thomson Reuters is a highly respected leader in the financial news and information world, with extensive coverage and analysis of the legal, tax and accounting, scientific, health care and media markets. The company operates a wide variety of websites, news channels and market data platforms to provide a complete picture of the worldwide financial situation on an up- to-the-minute basis. Thomson Reuters turned to Primestream’s FORK Production Suite to help meet its ever-evolving media asset management requirements.

Growing Thomson Reuters with FORK

In 2007, Thomson Reuters was facing stiff competition in the news marketplace and we really needed to show our shareholders and customers that we had a next-generation, 100% high definition, New Media Newsroom ready to go,” recalls Raji Krishnaswami, IT Manager for Thomson Reuters’ New York City-based headquarters. “We also needed to enhance our existing product line and show the rest of the industry that we were actually leapfrogging over everybody else to be one step ahead.”
Krishnaswami recalls the evolution that occurred in order to make that goal a working reality. “When I joined the staff at Reuters, they already had a Final Cut Pro editing integration that was at about 80 % of where it needed to be,” he says. “You initially had people cutting and ingesting on a system where some pieces were not fully set up yet. So I wanted to tie up those loose ends and realize the original vision of a cutting edge solution.”

Thomson Reuters “Insiders” control-room desk in NYC
"From one desk, operators can do the following using FORK Production: Ingest in SD or HD, browse content across departments, edit using FORK Editor, playout using Live Assist, review packages and Publish content to the web.
Raji Krishnaswami - IT Manager - Thomson Reuters


Deployment and learning FORK

“Once we completed the first phase of the integration with FORK [in the summer of 2008], we took a little time to get to know the system firsthand,” Krishnaswami continues. “Then we went back to Building4Media to learn more about its potential additional capabilities. As we installed more workstations, integrated the fibre channel network and got the metadata system working, things really started coming together. Building4Media was able to do their remote site verification and by September 2008 we were completely “open for business.”

Daily Workflow
Krishnaswami describes his typical day’s work.“Our programming starts as early as 6:30 in the morning. I get in around 10 am and start by catching up on any workflow issues that have come up during the earlier shift. Half the week we begin with global conference calls because morning for us is midday for the UK office and evening for Hong Kong.”
“For the most part our content is a schedule of daily and weekly shows with an anchor commenting on real-time financial charts and data or conducting interviews,” adds Krishnaswami. “Other times we have to move in a hurry, for instance, we had a breaking news event recently when the CEO of General Motors resigned. In those situations, our bureau chief will schedule a quick meeting and figure out the angle, while the feed is simultaneously being scheduled and ingested by FORK.”

Final Cut Pro Integration
Hisayo Uchida works with Krishnaswami as an Final Cut Pro editor and FORK operator. She finds that FORK has markedly enhanced and streamlined her workflow. “I like features like being able to schedule recordings so that I don’t even need to be there everyday at a certain time,” she says. “For example, the New York Stock Exchange opening and closing bell occurs at the same time everyday. I used to have to call the master control room and ask to use their recording, which made the process more stressful and time-consuming. Now I can schedule the whole week’s recordings in advance and each day I just check to confirm the bell is actually happening on time; so it’s very reliable and just simplifies everything.”

Favorite FORK Feature
“Another great feature of FORK is while I’m ingesting clips, I can mark whenever there’s a mistake or a second take in raw production footage,” Uchida adds. “I used to have to write down the timecode and manually enter it later while editing to get to that point in the timeline. Now I just mark it once in FORK and the marker shows up automatically in Final Cut Pro when I start editing.”

Flexible End-to-End Solution
Krishnaswami feels the integration between FORK and other key pieces of software advantageous for Thomson Reuters’ content delivery needs. “Using FORK in combination with Episode Engine is huge because it solved some very challenging workflow requirements we have for transcoding completed to a variety of different output formats; including Windows Media, Flash, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4,” he explains. “Now all that encoding is completely automated and we have it all down to a 20 minute turnaround, where it used to take up to half a day!”

Apple Hardware
With Thomson Reuters’s FORK integration fully active for daily production, Krishnaswami is taking stock of how the suite has helped producers and operators within his department. “With the tight FORK and FCP integration, you have an editing platform that’s a lot more accessible to both new and existing users, he notes. “The Mac-based hardware and OS have become so rock solid, users are no longer being slowed down by render bars or importing and exporting operations. And of course the increasingly lower cost of Apple’s servers and workstations have made them very popular in broadcast and TV post-production operations”.

The Transition
“For a lot of people coming from a more linear post-production, the principal challenge was understanding the proxy-based and centralized storage model of FORK’s workflow,” Krishnaswami observes. “When you’re sending something, it’s not actually going anywhere but just referencing the original media, so you forget everything you know about a computer hard drive and keeping track of where things are stored. Now we’ve all learned this new paradigm where everything is everywhere simultaneously and that was the big deal for us.”

FORK Production Suite has enabled Thomson Reuters to operate as a full-fledged New Media HD news bureau. The organization’s completed installation readily handles multiple simultaneous ingest and playout feeds on a daily production schedule, with minimal hands-on intervention required. With the automation and centralized storage power of FORK, Thomson Reuters is able to apply the methodology and high-end workflows of cable and satellite operations without the attendant overhead and expense.

Primestream has over a decade of experience delivering IT- based broadcast automation and media asset management solutions. More than 260 broadcast networks in 37 countries rely on Building4Media’s FORK software to produce and deliver their daily programming. FORK’s powerful features are utilized as well outside of traditional broadcasting in realms as diverse as the military, government and medicine.