A conversation with Trevor Francis about SAM’s VIBE

Snell Advanced Media has created a single platform that streamlines the creation of sports and new stories with collaborative efficiency from a single production team.

Snell Advanced Media, or SAM, is introducing VIBE at NAB Show 2017 providing cloud-base news delivery with the power of SAM’s sQ Servers, RIO editing technology, and the cost-efficiency of off-the-shelf IT storage arrays.

In an exclusive, one-on-one pre-NAB interview with The Broadcast Bridge , SAM’s Trevor Francis, director of production systems, summed up the purpose of VIBE in a single (deceptively simple) sentence, “What we’ve done with VIBE is create a platform not just for TV production, but a production platform that will create content for all platforms at the same time.”

The goal of VIBE is to let a single team create and deliver an entire project working together.

Overseeing the whole workflow is the VIBE Core, an integrated orchestration layer that manages media in its original format wherever it resides and governs its processing and output.

The VIBE core workflow<br />(Click to expand)

The VIBE core workflow
(Click to expand)

“The challenge most of our customers have voiced to me over the years is how difficult it is to efficiently create content that can be delivered as a broadcast news story on the one hand, but also streamed to a Web site, sent to their apps, and also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram,” Francis said. “The recent United Airlines debacle is a perfect example where the original material was generated on cell phones and flashed around the world on social media. So how do we best adopt it for broadcast as well as streaming purposes?”

Cell phones, of course, generate images ranging from 15 to 60 fps depending on brand and settings, and in aspect ratios from landscape to portrait. VIBE instantly converts this to the 16 X 9 that TV viewers expect, even if some kind of “boxing” is needed. Then it has to be re-formatted and converted to a medium that can go back out onto the Web.

“With several teams working on a given project simultaneously, this can be terribly inefficient,” Francis said. “The creative team can choose either SAM’s Rio editor or Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC to cut the project in a craft suite. Or they can access the SAM Go! browser-based editor for use in the studio or anywhere in the field with an Internet connection. That give us unheard of flexibility and speed in getting the story to our audience via a hybrid system.”

SAM's Go! editor can be used with any browser even on mobile devices

SAM's Go! editor can be used with any browser even on mobile devices

This is all empowered by SAM’s sQ reliable servers which is governed by the VIBE Core along with PAM (production and asset management) tools that encompass ingest, media management and publishing control.

“VIBE is not a single product,” Francis specifies. “It is very much a bundle of systems which can be tailored to fit the customer’s needs. Our Rio craft editor can go up to 8K file sizes and 120 fps if needed. Of course it can handle HRD (High Dynamic Range) and WCG) Wide Color Gamut).

For those who are more familiar with it, we have embedded the API of Adobe Premiere CC directly into the VIBE storage system so Premiere editors can edit its content directly. And for remote editing, out Go! System is browser agnostic.

Once all the source material is placed on the VIBE timeline, the operators can choose the desired output ratio and frame rate and a function called Momentum applies templates that fill in the empty space created by portrait or landscape aspect ratios. Momentum can be programmed to change these templates depending on when the story will air or where it will be delivered.”

SAM’s VIBE is a new concept for a post production news and sports platform that is as flexible as the multiple kinds of media it is designed to handle, and as fast as the delivery systems it is designed to service.

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