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Telestream Rolls Out GraphicsFactory

Company eyes numerous opportunities for transcoding expertise By Frank Moldstad

Having kicked off the year 2006 with more than a million downloads of its Flip4Mac WMV player by the end of February, Telestream hopes to build on its momentum with three new products debuting at NAB, including GraphicsFactory, FlipFactory Mobile and FactoryArray.

Telestream has split the company into two pieces in the past year, one devoted to the Flip4Mac family of products and the other concentrating on workgroup and entertainment products, said Telestream CEO Dan Castles at the companys NAB press conference. While Flip4Mac bridges the gap between Windows Media and QuickTime, its a different beast than the companys other products, Castles said, adding that the increasing delivery of content as files offers numerous opportunities for Telestreams transcoding tools.

?We can see commercials and syndicated programming all being delivered by a variety of companies now as files electronically. When this shows up at television stations, they have to figure out what to do with it, he said. So we're working with around 10 companies on ways to deliver this content. We have products that fit in the middle of this workflow for the broadcast facilities for what to do when this content arrives, who to talk to, who to notify, who needs to see it, and how to process that content through digitally.

Telestream CEO Dan Castles
There isn't any standard way to handle metadata, he noted, which is one area of discussion between Telestream and content delivery companies. And the onset of high-definition workflows is another focus. ?We have high-definition products today, and we're working with all these players on how to architect their solution, Castles said. ?You'll be hearing more about that from these people. They're just on the cusp, not quite at the show, but they're just on the cusp of announcing to their clients, ?Here's how we're going to bridge HD content. And of course, once files of that size show up at a broadcast facility, that brings in a whole different level of headaches. And so for us, that's a key role going forward for products that will handle that.

GraphicsFactory, one of the new products introduced by Telestream at NAB, is a file-based graphics workflow automation application. It is designed for content producers who need to repurpose their media cost-effectively, by adding localized promos, brands, banners, snipes and QuickTime overlays, said Telestream President and COO David Heppe. GraphicsFactory is available on the Windows platform either as a standalone application or as an upgrade to Telestreams FlipFactory systems.

?This is a template-driven system that's going to save content distributors money by enabling a graphics or creative person to focus on setting something up once and then enabling lower-cost data entry operators to customize or adapt the content for each piece of media that they want to put out, Heppe said.

Content can be repurposed for different houses, as well as mobile, Web and other outlets. Broadcasters and distributors can take their list of all content scheduled for the next week and use that database to feed a template with customized text or graphics ,and then flip it out to whatever distribution format they want.

 ?A lot of customers are coming to us and saying, ?We're putting things out to different aggregators, to different channels, and we need the branding to look different, added Heppe. ?Or they want the branding to fade in and out. This allows you to tailor the content for the output devices, and the clients and the distribution systems that you have.

Telestream President David Heppe
GraphicsFactory has three basic components, Heppe added. ?First, the Template Creator is what the creative person uses to set up the template that serves as a framework for what the graphics will be doing, he said. ?And then, the Submit tool is used to submit content for each piece of media that will be distributed. Finally, the Graphics Engine takes those pieces, and does the processing, combining the graphics with the video and FlipFactory can flip it into whatever formats are needed for distribution, for broadcast, for VOD, for mobile etc. it's very simple to use.  We kind of keep the same philosophy as in FlipFactory and our other products -- make it easy to use, with drag-and-drop functionality.?

A typical GraphicsFactory workflow would start with the editor creating a graphic, or feeding it from an NLE or a graphics system, and building a template that goes into the GraphicsFactory Engine. After the source files are fed in, a data entry operator can set up the data. Each piece of media that goes out can have specific data added, such as what programming is coming next, or geographical information applicable to where the content will be distributed. Or, since it's all XML-driven, the data can be fed automatically from a database.

The two other products Telestream introduced at NAB, FlipFactory Mobile and FactoryArray, add new workflows to the companys flagship FlipFactory application. FlipFactory Mobile is designed for automated encoding and distribution of content for outlets ranging from cellular phones and iPods to the internet. Supported formats include H.264, iPod, QuickTime 7, Windows Media VC-1, 3GPP, Real, MPEG-4, MP3, AAC, and AMR.

FactoryArray, meanwhile, is designed for round-the-clock job processing with file-based workflows in situations where downtime would be disastrous, such as news production. Among its features is intelligent load-balancing across an array of servers, so that if an individual server fails, other servers step in to prevent interruptions. It includes database mirroring and distributed control with no single point of failure.

Both FlipFactory Mobile and FactoryArray will be available with the release of FlipFactory version 5 in June. The new release will include transcoding support for Autodesk products such as Smoke, Inferno, Flame, Flint and Stone. FlipFactory also has expanded support for editing systems, which now includes Final Cut Pro IMX, DV50 and HDV, Apple Xsan on FibreChannel and Avid MXF decode.

Telestream's web site is www.telestream.net.

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Related Keywords:Telestream, NAB, Flip4Mac, FlipFactory, GraphicsFactory, high-definition, transcoding, HD, broadcast, Web


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