When you know media like we do, the word gets out. With the ability to bring game-changing concepts and best practices to our clients’ technology environments, NTC has delivered numerous successful projects for industry leading companies that demonstrate our knowledge and expertise on evolving media technologies, architectures, and operational workflows.
From its first Network Center, designed and built in 1994, Fox Network Engineering & Operations has relied on NTC for design and construction of increasingly sophisticated network origination facilities. NTC has been a trusted partner in analysis of emerging technologies and their implementation into Fox Network and Twentieth Century Fox Studio facilities. Read More
Having built its original network center in 1994, in 1998 NTC was retained to provide detailed design and integration services for a newly constructed 225,000 square foot digital production and network origination center. The facility originated multiple channels and its core digital routing and distribution systems were one of the largest ever built. Over the years, NTC has been retained to update this facility and provided design and integration for numerous Fox facilities, including the Fox Speed Channel in Charlotte, NC, and the Fox Network Center in Houston, as well as the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network in New York City.
The Speed Channel needed to meet the challenge of developing an increasing quantity of multi-channel, multi-platform content while supporting the demanding requirements of a traditional live sports production operation for their new origination facility in Charlotte, NC. Fox selected NTC to design and build a high definition file-based production workflow incorporating a Dalet Enterprise Media Asset Management platform to address the needs of a dynamic media production, playout and archive environment. NTC’s Software Solutions Group also stepped-up to create highly specialized software that allowed seamless preservation of closed captioning information throughout the hybrid Dalet and Final Cut Pro content processing workflow.
The Fox Network Center in Houston originates the Fox Regional Sports networks and serves as the disaster recovery site for the Fox Network. It originates multiple channels using fiber channel networked on-line storage arrays to enable all the channels to share the same content without the need to copy content between SANs connecting the file playout and record systems. NTC designed and built the new HD file-based playout system without impacting the current plant operations. NTC also transcoded and migrated over 40,000 pieces of content for the initial facility startup.
When Twentieth Century Fox Studios began the massive challenge of repurposing their television assets for electronic sell-through (EST) platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu, to name a few, they turned to NTC to architect their next-generation content processing platform. First NTC conducted an in-depth consulting review to bring all of Fox’s stakeholders to a common understanding of the problem. This work considered not only the conforming aspects of the process (format, aspect ratio, resolution, color grading, etc.) but also determined the best mezzanine format with implications on content archiving and future repurposing, as well as production throughput and turn-around time requirements. Due to the massive scale of the conforming work to be done, NTC also consulted on physical space needs including electrical, cooling, and reliability considerations. Once requirements alignment was achieved by all stakeholders, NTC proceeded to perform the detailed systems design and integration of the complex digital media workflow systems required by this unique solution.
Since 1997, NTC has been a trusted partner in the design and build of ultra-reliable program distribution facilities for DIRECTV. This work has encompassed DIRECTV’s Los Angeles Broadcast Center, the California Broadcast Center, and Local Collection Facilities nationwide. NTC has built new facilities for DIRECTV and modified on-air facilities in-place with 100% facility availability during the re-build. Read More
As the nation’s premier direct satellite program provider, DIRECTV’s facilities are designed for five nine’s availability, meaning an up-time of 99.999%, or no more than 5-1/2 minutes of potential outage annually. Since 1997, when NTC designed and built the Los Angeles Broadcast Center (LABC), which originates its nationwide program feeds, DIRECTV has relied on NTC to provide the systems needed to maintain this level of reliability.
NTC continues to provide next-generation technology and design updates for the LABC and maintains a staff presence on-site as part of its support for DIRECTV operations. NTC has planned and executed continuous technology evolution at the LABC, transitioning the facility to Video-over-IP technology, updated to include live streaming, digital-on-demand, and distribution of programming to a full range of alternate IP delivery platforms.
NTC was selected to design and build a major in-place facility update for DIRECTV’s California Broadcast Center (CBC), which provides programming to Latin and South America. NTC planned and flawlessly executed the transition of the facility from 17-year old technology to the latest approaches. A phased plan assured no disruption to existing on-air broadcast operations, which also included surgical de-installation of the old cable plant. Through careful planning, NTC met DIRECTV’s challenging mandate to maintain power and cooling “neutrality” throughout the entire process since there was no reserve for even a temporary increase as new equipment was added and before old equipment was removed.
CBC operating efficiency and flexibility is considerably increased in that the new facilities utilize an exception-based monitoring model which is readily re-configurable so that each operator can now monitor a significantly increased number of channels. The innovative design doubled the number of operating positions in the same physical space and significantly increased program channel capacity without any increase in transponder count.
The initial phase of DIRECTV’s spotbeam local-into-local service to provide local channels via satellite was successfully launched simultaneously to viewers in 41 markets in December 2001. Since that time, NTC has designed, built, and installed local collection facilities (LCFs) to collect and aggregate local broadcast television channels in over 150 markets throughout the United States. In an ongoing relationship with DIRECTV, NTC provides update services to all LCF sites nationwide to maintain compatibility with current receiver and compression technologies.
From design integration services for PBS’s Network Media Operations Center that housed one of the first high definition, file-based production systems to providing financial and engineering analysis for a new interconnection platform, NTC has been a trusted partner to help design, build, support, and analyze PBS’s entire range of broadcast process functions, new traffic and scheduling systems, and emerging media technology initiatives with station partners. Read More
NTC was retained by PBS to provide detailed design and integration services for a newly constructed Network Media Operations Center. The Center would support a range of broadcast process functions, including ingest, quality control, archive, editing and insertion of program data for captioning, V-chip, network ID and rating icons.
The MOC was one of the earlier deployments of a high definition, file-based production system that allowed PBS to improve distribution reliability and efficiency by improving the edit process and overall program workflow, from receipt of producer content through its final distribution to its network origination facility.
The MOC served as the origination point for the distribution of content to PBS member stations throughout the U.S. The Center included Avid edit systems, multi-format flattening chains, near-line and archive storage, and a central equipment room for routing, reference and distribution systems as well as the incorporation of new traffic and scheduling systems.
Based on NTC’s unique understanding of their broadcast and distribution infrastructure, in 2014 PBS asked NTC to provide a financial and engineering analysis of potential future interconnection architectures for a planned migration to a modernized interconnection platform. NTC reviewed contemporary television and radio distribution and interconnection technologies and examined current operational requirements and the requirements of both PBS and NPR to help identify solutions that would assist them in the increased production of content across a wider variety of consumer devices, both in real-time and on-demand.
NTC provided several options for increasing efficiency through various joint PBS and NPR operations initiatives that would deliver a more responsive and streamlined approach for their interconnection goals. NTC’s analysis helped PBS and NPR consider how alternate technologies and practices might be incorporated into their plans for a next generation distribution platform.
NTC has designed and built production facilities for Warner Bros. Telepictures division for 15 years, since the Extra! Production facility was built in Glendale in 1994. Since that time, major renovations to it, and two new and innovative facilities were developed by NTC for Extra!, TMZ and the Ellen show. The two newest of these facilities incorporate cutting-edge IT technology to leverage the latest capabilities for these fast-paced shows in daily production. Read More
TMZ is the first television program to have originated on the Web. It uses guerilla-style newsgathering techniques to air segments, sometimes within minutes of them actually happening, using innovative capture, editing, and delivery systems.
Except for the field segments, the entire show is shot in the newsroom, making the facility not only tapeless but also “control room-less.” All of the stand-ups are shot from a variety of desks situated on a platform in the middle of the newsroom with camera operators shooting sitcom-style.
NTC worked with Telepictures staff to study the unique workflows for this first-of-a-kind facility and worked closely with a variety of vendors, many of whom had never had their products closely integrated before. These included Apple, Dalet, HP, and Omneon, amongst many others.
The entire facility is fully HD, with 25 Mbps files being passed around without bottlenecks on the network.
The TMZ system included a fully integrated Dalet newsroom computer system that supports ingest control, media asset management, desktop proxy editing, scripting, tight integration with craft editing, and rundown-driven play-to-air with a completely tape-less, HD workflow. Due to this unique workflow with consolidated creative and craft functions, a single individual is the “producer / editor” (“preditor”) and creates all elements of the show.
Supporting 89 workstations, including 69 desktop edit seats, the systems were fully integrated with Apple Final Cut Pro, newswire services, MOS prompter integration, automated ingest control, FIFO recording, and rundown control of play-to-air servers. The Dalet system is also used as part of the master control playout where individual segments stored on the Omneon server are assembled “on-the-fly” to feed the show as well as to make assets available in low and full resolution form for web distribution and other purposes. Due to the dynamic nature of this show, the real-time assembly of the final show feed provides the opportunity to incorporate last minute stories and to prioritize the sequences at the last moment before air.
When it was time for the Ellen DeGeneres Show to grow its live audience and production facilities and move onto the Warner Bros. Burbank lot, Telepictures turned to NTC to plan, design, and build a new 30,000 sq. ft. production facility with entirely new workflows and a fully integrated video asset management system that contained all current and historical content produced since the show’s inception. NTC designed and integrated a solution centered around Dalet for media management, Omneon for live camera capture, HP for compute and archive storage, DNF for specialized record control, and a variety of other products to facilitate an advanced HD digital workflow. In addition, NTC’s engineers planned and executed the construction of the state-of-the art studio production facility comprised of multiple studio, jib, and hand-held cameras, multi-channel real-time instant replay capability, a massive three tier production control room, and an advanced audio production facility which supports live musical performances in addition to normal show audio. The facility is considered to be one of the most advanced daily television entertainment show production facilities available.