Latest Case Study

Cisco TV Infrastructure streamlines automation and asset management workflow with Primestream’s FORK

November 17, 2014

Executive Summary

Customer Name: Cisco
Industry: Technology
Location: San Jose, California
Number of Employees: 73,000

 

Challenge

Cisco® TV is a nonprofit entity within Cisco that provides video production services to internal customers worldwide from facilities in San Jose, North Carolina, United Kingdom, India, Japan, and Singapore. A team of approximately 100 people, both Cisco employees and independent contractors, support video production and video-related infrastructure management.

Every month for the past 10 years, Cisco TV Infrastructure has captured more than 100 live broadcasts and added 300 hours of hosted video content. Until recently, video files were stored in an OS-level file system with no useful metadata or search mechanism, making it difficult to locate and re-use video assets. In some cases, Cisco TV Infrastructure would re-shoot B-roll or other footage to meet a business deadline, simply because searching for the existing video assets would take too long.

Cisco TV Infrastructure also wanted to decrease turnaround time and get new video content in producers’ hands faster. Business users wanted access to video of customer events and other time-sensitive content right away; however, engineers could not begin the editing process until the entire recording was complete, which added one to three hours to the process. Moreover, due to lack of automation capabilities, broadcast engineers often had to work late nights to record events in different time zones.

“Internal demand for video is growing quickly at Cisco, and we needed to be more efficient in how we capture and manage our video assets,” says Jack Yu, visual networking manager with Cisco TV Infrastrucure. “In order to provide the best possible service to internal customers, we decided to look for a content management system built specifically for video.”

 

Solution

Cisco TV Infrastructure investigated various solutions and chose Primestream FORK, an integrated media asset management and production automation workflow system. It also implemented FORK Xchange Suite to provide web access and control over video content and workflows. FORK Xchange enables content producers to share and edit media from any computer connected to the Internet and provides users the ability to trigger actions and workflow automation scripts, such as “send to archive” and “restore from archive.”

“We did extensive testing of Primestream FORK and talked to other high-volume studios that use it and are very satisfied,” says Yu. “Primestream stood out because it’s easy to use and it’s designed from the ground up to handle large, high-resolution video files. It also integrates well with other products, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and a variety of video archiving platforms.”

Yu and his team deployed Primestream on Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®) servers for performance and scalability, and also because of Primestream’s strong partnership with Cisco. Both Primestream FORK Production and FORK Xchange Suite have been validated to run on Cisco UCS, according to Daniel Formica, VP of IT Technologies, at Primestream.

“The power of the Cisco UCS platform allows FORK to process multiple streams of high definition video coming in at the same time without running into CPU bottlenecks,” says Formica. “That allows our customers to produce video content faster and make it available to business users when it is most valuable.”

In its San Jose facility, Cisco TV Infrastructure can now ingest up to eight channels at once from live feeds and play out four simultaneous video streams, doubling its previous ingest/playout capacity. By referencing lightweight proxy video files created in real time by FORK, video editors can begin their work even as the media is still being captured. They can add time-coded text markers and create sub-clips without waiting for the event to complete, savings hours of time. And, because video feeds can be ingested on an interactive or prescheduled basis, engineers no longer have to stay late just to hit “record.”

“Having an automated system for transcoding, archiving, restoring, and publishing makes life so much easier for our engineers,” says Yu. “We’ve automated many previously manual tasks, including heads and tails editing, to save time and improve workflow. We can do partial file restores and grab just the snippet of video we need instead of restoring the whole file—we couldn’t do any of these things before.”

 

Results

With Primestream FORK Production Suite running on Cisco UCS, Cisco TV Infrastructure will be able to manage more video assets and keep up with ever-increasing content growth. By accelerating its broadcast engineering and editing workflow, Cisco TV Infrastructure can make video content available to business users faster. With workflow automation, broadcast engineers can work more reasonable hours. And, now that producers can easily search for and re-use existing content, video teams can concentrate on producing, shooting, and delivering new footage.

“The ability to re-use video content without spending a lot of time finding what we need allows us to be more responsive to business users and give them timely, compelling video,” says Yu. “It’s also going to save us a ton of money.”

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