Raycom Media Expands Grass Valley’s Edius Software to All News Markets

Raycom Media has expanded all 33 of its news-producing television stations to the exclusive use of Grass Valley’s Edius Pro editing software. The deal includes all software upgrades for the next two years and contains about 1,500 editing seats at the broadcast group.

Raycom, an employee-owned company, is one of the nation’s largest broadcast station owners with 53 television stations in 37 markets and 18 states. The stations cover 13.1 percent of U.S. television households and employs over 4,000 individuals in full and part-time positions.

Most Raycom stations are in the South and many of those stations share news stories with each other over a dedicated wide area network. WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, produces more than 48 hours of news programming each week. Much of that content is shared with neighboring stations including WECT in Wilmington, N.C, WMBF in Myrtle Beach, S.C., WCSC in Charleston, S.C., WTOC in Savannah, Georgia and WIS in Columbia. S.C.

Edius is used in all Raycom mobile news vans on Dell Latitude laptop computers as well as on desktops in the newsrooms of the stations.

Edius is used in all Raycom mobile news vans on Dell Latitude laptop computers as well as on desktops in the newsrooms of the stations.

“All our news producing stations have Bitcentral Precis news production systems and Oasis archival systems,” said Tim Donley, Raycom news operations manager. “We bring our video into a NAS (network attached storage system), then we edit the video in Grass Valley Edius and then export that project to Precis, which is our playout system. Once the news show is broadcast, it will auto archive the video from the raw video depository to the Oasis platform, which becomes available for all of our stations.”

Tim Donley, corporate news operation manager says that Raycom's regionally concentrated stations share a good deal of material.

Tim Donley, corporate news operation manager says that Raycom's regionally concentrated stations share a good deal of material.

Raycom’s personnel, he said, likes Grass Valley’s Edius editing system because it is easy to use, has plenty of performance power, is fast and can take any video format you hand it. “It works really well for producers that are doing simple editing, teases and things like that, while it also supports the needs of craft editors doing more complex editing for special projects,” he said.

Raycom encounters multiple file types and Edius can handle them all, says Donley.

Raycom encounters multiple file types and Edius can handle them all, says Donley.

The speed and ability to take any format is “very important,” Donley added. “I’ve not met a file format that Edius can’t take. We get a lot of user-generated content. People bring in their tapes and files that they have and Edius can take it all.”

Steve Wise, Grass Valley’s senior product marketing manager of editing, said Raycom has been using Edius for several years and its growth has been steadily increasing. Normally, he said, Grass Valley only sells the individual Edius licenses for $499 each and does no subscriptions or service contracts. However, due to the scale of the Raycom project, he said the company is doing a service contract.

Grass Valley’s senior product marketing manager of editing, Steve Wise, says that because of the scale of the Raycom project, Grass Valley has developed a service contract for them.

Grass Valley’s senior product marketing manager of editing, Steve Wise, says that because of the scale of the Raycom project, Grass Valley has developed a service contract for them.

“In a nutshell, the advantage of Edius for a news operation like Raycom is speed,” said Wise. “The reason we have a speed advantage is because we support a lot of different formats. In a traditional post production environment, that’s not such a big deal because you are not going to be surprised by a particular format. But news is different.

“In the field, crews are often handed various formats,” he continued. “Raycom is using the (Panasonic) P2 format for their own work, which is a standard format that we support natively. We also natively support (Sony) XDCAM. Basically, anything that comes out of Japan we support since our development is based in Japan. That is one of the key benefits for us. We are very quick to include native format support. By native, I mean we can read it and edit it on the fly. When Raycom is in the field and they get handed different formats, they can quickly handle it.”

Another advantage of Edius is that the application software works on lower cost, more basic laptops — such as the mid-range Dell Latitude business computers being used by Raycom. Some at Raycom are even successfully experimenting using Edius with the Microsoft Surface tablet, which can run Windows applications.

“Where we differ from our competitor Adobe Premier is we write our codecs to the CPU so we can perform on lower spec machines,” Wise said. “Adobe writes their format support to something called the Mercury Playback Engine, which is a graphics accelerator. Adobe has a good system, but it is typically used on a desktop PC with a very smoking graphics card. They take a different kind of approach than we do.”

Raycom is doing all its news at high-definition resolution, but Wise said if handed 4K resolution video, the system can read and edit it. Edius was recently released at version 8 and Raycom will get the upgrades — which mainly feature additional video formats for camera and mobile phones.

Edius has compatibility with all its competitors, including Adobe and Avid, because many news operations mix and match gear and use multiple systems. “Reuters, for example, uses Edius in the field and Avid inside as a traditional post tool,” Wise said. “When we talk about codecs and speed, Avid’s format support is fairly slow but it doesn’t need to be that fast since they are working with DNxHD, a mezzanine codec most of the time. It’s a different area of functionality.” 

Raycom edits news in HD and is ready to read and edit 4K if the need arises.

Grass Valley, which is owned by Belden, Inc., is a major vendor of news editing software, especially in Asia and the United States, said Wise. “We are very strong in North America particularly in broadcast news. But not so much in Europe. One reason we are strong in North America is we are being helped by GV Stratus, our production asset management system. CNBC, for example, has Stratus and that helps with the adoption of Edius.”

In addition to television stations, Raycom Media owns Raycom Sports (a marketing, production and events management and distribution company), Tupelo-Honey Productions (a New York-based production company), Limerick Studios (a Charlotte, NC-based motion graphics design house), RTM Productions (a Franklin, TN-based automotive programming production and marketing solutions company) and Broadview Media (a post-production/digital signage company based in Montgomery, AL).

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