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Case Study: Whiteways Installs Octopus Newsroom at Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corp

Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) was created by an Act of Parliament on 23rd January 1982, established on 14th February 1982 and commissioned transmission on 15th February 1982. SLRC aims to provide the best possible programmes to satisfy the needs of its viewers for informative , educational and family oriented entertainment.

The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, the National Television Network was commissioned on 15th February 1982, expanded its studio and transmission facilities in 1986 and rehabilitated most of the original equipment using digital technology in 1998 under three grant aid projects from the Government of Japan. Its studio complex is situated in Colombo the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. The complex comprises a Master Control Room, four Studios, two Dubbing Studios, Digital Post Production Unit, two Analogue Post production Units, several editing suites including Non-Linear Editing and four Outside Broadcast vehicles.

In 2020, SLRC decided to modernise its newsroom system by purchasing a NRCS. They came up with a tender. Many companies participated in the tender. After a rigorous and detailed selection process involving numerous departments with SLRC – they selected an SI to do the project for them – Whiteways Systems Pte Ltd of Singapore.

TECHNOLOGY

The technology selected by SLRC was Octopus newsroom computer systems (NRCS). Octopus is a leading manufacturer of NRCS systems, and has been in the business for the past 20+ years.

They have a very long list of some of the most renowned news broadcasters as customers. Some of them are – Al Jazeera, Euronews, Prima CNN, MediaCorp and many others…
Founded on the principle that journalists should enjoy making news, Octopus Newsroom produces the software that broadcasters use to deliver the fastest, most complete, and interesting news in the world. From New York to Hong Kong, Sao Paulo to Moscow, we assist thousands of daily users in delivering the latest news for on-air broadcasting.
However, the NRCS alone cannot be used to produce news. The NRCS needs a proper system to be able to produce news.

THE SYSTEM

Story is created in OCTOPUS – The story script is entered in the Octopus Newsroom System. With the content received through wires and local stories received by the reporter. CG content can also be entered on the news room system if the CG needs to be triggered automatically during the playout. The stories are at this point waiting for the relevant footage to be available for inclusion into the story for playout at the appropriate time.
Octopus has a very strong Assignment desk – which enables the producer to assign stories to journalists based on calendar, preplanned events or incoming wire feeds. Once the journalist is assigned to a job, he will get to know once he logs into the system.
The other key component to run this system is the automation and playout system. Vector3 – the Spanish playout and automation video server was chosen. Vector 3 has been active in the industry for 20+ years and has 100’s of installations all over the world.

Ingest on Vector Box video server – Video from the P2 cards, backpack-based feeds and satellite feeds are ingested into the ingest server. It will automatically be transferred to the central storage for editing and finishing. This ingest server can automatically ingest based on schedules and generates a unique ID for the ingested clips which ensures avoidance of clip ID duplication.

Video edited on Adobe Premier non-linear system – The video is retrieved from the central storage and edited using Adobe Non-Linear Editors (NLEs). After editing, it is saved back to the central storage along with a unique ID and a low-resolution file or thumbnail, generated by the Vector Box Automation Server. The reporter can then access the low-resolution files of the clips within the Octopus platform itself. They use the provided ID to attach the clips to their stories at the relevant points in the script using the Octopus Newsroom Software. Once completed, the reporter commits the story to the appropriate rundown within Octopus. The final rundown, including all the story scripts, is sent from Octopus to the Integrated Teleprompter system and the rundown is also sent to the Vector Box.

Once this action is executed automation gets the information from the newsroom and copies the video file from the central storage to the playout server. Once there the video can be played out manually or automatically at the specified time and after playout the video can be archived and deleted from the playout server if desired automatically also.

Vector Box will display main rundown in PCR – The Vector Box automation system client will show the main schedule containing all the stories of the rundown, and the elements of the story (graphical elements, video routing, etc).

THE SYSTEM INTEGRATOR

Once the technology was decided, the next decision was to pick the right System integrator. The SI had to be a company experienced in providing complex integrated systems. Obviously, the SI chosen had to provide the lowest price. After a series of negotiations – the project was awarded to a well-known SI – Whiteways Systems Private Ltd. This company was located in Singapore.

However, disaster struck when COVID – 19 engulfed the world. The whole world came to a stand still. All travel ground to a halt. The world’s airports shut down and the project looked to be doomed.

However, the SI kept on moving. They ordered all the goods and shipped them to SLRC, Colombo. For while – everything was shut due to the Delta variant. However, gradually, the airports opened up and people started travelling. As soon as the airports opened – the Whiteways team was on the plane. They had to go through a tough screening process. They started work as soon as they arrived and within a month had installed and tested the system. After the testing a rigorous training schedule began. Dozens of journalists, news producers and operators took part in the training. Once they were trained – the hand holding sessions started. Journalists were told to go through the entire process of producing a story – start to finish.

“We are very happy with this system. We feel that the NRCS will really help us in our daily news production,” said Mr Kapila Dasanayake – the Chief Engineer of SLRC.

The Chairman of SLRC – Mr Reginald Cooray met the system integration team and toured the new facility. He was satisfied with the installation and commended the SI team for their good work.

About Whiteways

Whiteways is an award winning system integration company. Whiteways is focused on providing products and services to Broadcasters (TV and Radio stations), professional audio / video production / post production houses and any one who needs a full system. Whiteways is headquartered in Singapore. Whiteways was established in 2011. Whiteways has a long list of implementing large successful projects. Whiteways has over the years become one of the leading system integration companies in the South and South East Asian region. Whiteways has won several awards in Singapore. Whiteways is a member of various national and international bodies.

Visit http://www.whiteways.biz/

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