Case Studies BBC Sport
FocalPoint Server and BBC Sport
FocalPoint Server – collaborative workflow solutions for file indexing, access and control environments
FocalPoint Server is a new file indexing, access and control system that will ensure collaborative workflow environments turn jobs round quickly and accurately, such that users never need to worry about lost, wrongly labelled or incorrectly stored data and broadcast files. FocalPoint Server means post production teams can rest assured that the material being processed in edit suites is the most recent and correct version. It’s the kind of problem busy TV and web broadcast news and sports desks regularly face. FocalPoint Server has been designed to solve these problems and to improve workflow productivity and accuracy and it has been tested and proven itself time and time again.
The system is easy to use – operators typically learn the basics within an hour and are comfortable running the software within one day. It runs on both PCs and Macs and can be used to improve workflow around a wide range of file types ranging from broadcast files through to document and design formats. FocalPoint Server is an essential collaborative tool for content workers which can be easily integrated with any underlying software whether broadcast editing, design or document based.
The system is built around a sophisticated tagging and indexing format which means that new users always label and update file versions according to an organisation’s existing protocols – this is particularly useful in studios using large numbers of specialist freelance workers or where there is a high turnover of creative staff or where documents need to be accessed and worked on from multiple locations around the world.
Files can be indexed according to a wide range of parameters – a broadcast sport file could be tagged initially on the basis of sport, editor name or time/date, for example. When access is required, the user enters the basic classification system and the file is retrieved – the user does not need to choose between copies of the same basic work. The most recent version will always therefore be delivered to the desktop, which removes the risk of lost files or files which have been stored incorrectly. Each time any changes are made, that file assumes the primary version.
Resolving potential file tagging and storage issues alone will improve a studio’s workflow and accuracy. At the same time, an intelligent system of backups means that non- destructive editing can take place, such that two editors can work on a broadcast item without either’s work being lost, but ultimately, there will only be one primary file version. From an editor’s point of view, this enables a rolling backup to be kept, so editors can easily revert to a previous version, should the situation demand it.
The system also allows for hierarchical privileges, enabling files to be accessed on a read only or with predetermined editing rights, meaning files can be accessed by the widest possible audiences, but always with the highest data safeguards in place.
The BBC’s Chris Groom, the Post Production Lead at BBC Sport, believes that FocalPoint Server plays a critical part in ensuring fast and efficient workflows and on-time delivery of the right broadcasting files, including during the high pressure summer of London 2012. Commenting on the system he said, “FocalPoint Server solved a circuital workflow and productivity issue for us during one of our busiest and highest profile periods of broadcasting on record. It was reliable, easy to use and it did the job asked of it.”