The Baltimore Ravens Celebrate Their Twentieth Season With A Technology Transformation And Workflow Enhancement

Since the birth of The Baltimore Ravens in 1996, much has changed in how fans watch football. Inside the stadium, fans see video clips, images, and replays on high-definition RavensVision screens. Outside, fans watch on broadcast and social media. Emmy-winning Ravens Productions has the job of delivering content to fans wherever they want to see it.

“Even when our television shows are dark and there aren’t any games at M&T Bank Stadium, our fans demand compelling content on our website, mobile app, and social media," explains Jay O’Brien, Director of Broadcasting & Gameday Productions, Baltimore Ravens.

Making Better Use Of A Rich Legacy

Ravens Productions decided to make the shift from a videotape-based workflow to a file-based system to make better use of their assets—19 years of videotaped games, off-the-field activities, community events, and press conferences.

“It’s fair to say that we didn’t really know what we had, and when we did know, it was hard to find and reuse,” O’Brien says.

More Than Just Going Tapeless

Jay and his team enlisted the help of Integrated Media Technologies, Inc. (IMT).

“We wanted a system built on an open platform, that was reliable, cost-effective and scalable... [We wanted] easier access to our archival footage, and this solution absolutely had to be up and running prior to the start of the 2015 training camp,” explains O’Brien.

Solution Set From Quantum, Levels Beyond, And Telestream Provides Answer

IMT recommended an integrated set of solutions, with Quantum, Levels Beyond, and Telestream being the key providers. Shared access to work in progress and archived content is provided by a dual, redundant StorNext Metadata Controller (MDC), a StorNext Pro Studio Storage Area Network (SAN), StorNext File System and Storage Manager, and a StorNext Archive-Enabled Library (AEL), all from Quantum. Media asset and workflow management is provided by Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine (LBRE) Studio. High-performance transcoding is provided by Telestream’s Vantage.

Integrating Workflow-Optimized Storage With Media Asset Management

In the new workflow, content actively being worked on and proxies are stored on a Quantum QXS-1200 RAID array. StorNext 5 allows all the content to be shared by all of the editors and graphics personnel, and it allows it to be seen directly by the Levels Beyond Reach Engine MAMand Telestream transcoding engine.

“StorNext 5,” says Jason Kranitz, SVP of Sales, IMT, “presents the content through a shared, high-performance file system, making it easy to integrate with different applications.”

Inactive files are moved automatically to the AEL500 archive by StorNext Storage Manager, a move managed by the LBRE MAM. Editors see the archive through the same interface as active content, allowing them to access existing material quickly.

“Our production team will have, for the first time, direct access to the team’s first 19 years of content,” says Jay O’Brien.

Better Protection Of Irreplaceable Assets

Another benefit is enhanced protection. The StorNext AEL archive includes Extended Data Life Management (EDLM), which automatically scans stored media to track its integrity. When it detects signs of wear, the content is written to new media. Copies of tapes can also be moved off-site.

“[EDLM] adds a level of integrity to the archive that nobody else can match,” says Jose Palencia, IMT’s Vice President of Engineering.

Tested, Pre-Configured System Simplifies Installation

For the Ravens, the use of StorNext Pro Studio and the archive-enabled library provides production-tested, pre-configured components to simplify and streamline the deployment. And the use of a set of cooperative products, MAM, editing, and transcoding was designed to make certain that the entire solution set would be compatible.

“By using the StorNext Pro solution... we deployed this system in a few weeks,” explains Jay O’Brien, "and it was up and running in plenty of time for our pre-season games.

“We needed a fast and cost-effective enhanced media workflow and this is the perfect solution for us.”