Featured clients discussing their mission and recent installations.

Columbia College Chicago: A New Avid Shared Network

Columbia College Chicago Cinema and Television Arts, a department in the School of Media Arts, continues to produce some of the most skilled production professionals in the industry with notable Oscar, Emmy, and Spirit Award winners. At the core of the department is Dennis Keeling, post-production manager. Dennis, along with Jeff Meyers (Director of Technology for the School of Media Arts), must decide how to retool classrooms and the facility in order to meet the ever-changing curriculum for post-production professionals.

 

Jeff and Dennis have both been with the school for over 20-years. Together they’ve been working on a massive network refresh, centralizing all Media Arts computers and systems into a single facility.

 

“When the television and cinema arts departments merged in 2017, we saw a huge opportunity to build a single ecosystem–from live production to post production to publish,” commented Jeff. Dennis jumped in, ”We’ve always tried to follow industry trends. Media Arts cannot be bleeding edge but we want to be leading edge. The school has been pretty early in the adoption of editorial storage area networks, running for 15 years using Avid shared storage.”

 

The Department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago has over 100 faculty and 1300 students. Regardless of which focus a student takes, most receive a basic level of education on editorial and the post-production industry.

 

“A big goal of our curriculum is to allow our students to be prepared for the industry as a whole. There is an emphasis on giving students real world experience with professional tools such as Adobe, Avid, Da Vinci, or audio. You never know what will be the opportunity that launches these students’ careers,” said Dennis.

 

While a variety of editorial software tools are incorporated into the curriculum, Avid storage is leveraged as the backbone for real-time media production.

Most recently, the School of Media Arts upgraded their Avid ISIS Shared Storage to Avid NEXIS. The upgraded storage not only allows higher-resolution workflows but also preps the school for their overall goal of having one centralized systems facility.

 

“Our Avid storage has always needed to be in a separate facility, located closer to the post production and post audio classrooms. This limits the number of students that can access the system at one time,” commented Dennis. “Upgrading to Avid NEXIS will eventually allow us to move our post production servers into one central Media Arts network. This will be a game changer for our students and faculty–while also reducing the hassle of IT managing networks hosted in separate buildings.”

 

Dennis and Jeff rely on the Key Code Media Chicago team to provide installation and support for the Avid NEXIS Shared Storage.

 

“We’ve been working with John Connolly Jr, Kevin Bruce, and the Key Code Media Chicago team for many years–even purchasing our original Avid Unity and LAN shares. It’s important for us to have an Avid ACSR Certified Technician available. When you got 100s of students relying on Avid daily, it needs to be maintained optimally, and always available. Key Code Media moves faster and can provide a higher level of support than any manufacturers.” – Dennis Keeling

 

Columbia College Chicago Cinema and Television Arts Department just upgraded to a new 180TB Avid Nexis E4 system with System Director Appliance. Cheers to educating the next generation of Avid editors!

city of highland park live production

City of Highland Park: HD Live Mobile System

Twenty-five miles north of the Chicago Loop, the City of Highland Park is nestled along beautiful Lake Michigan for nearly five miles, it is the heart of the North Shore and home to Ravinia Festival, the award-winning Rosewood Beach, numerous events and festivals and a bustling downtown. Nearly 30,000 residents and over 900 businesses are proud to call Highland Park home. One of the City’s core priorities is community vibrancy which is achieved in part through proactive and transparent communication. In 2018, the City invested in a high-definition multi-camera live streaming system to continue to provide excellent communications.

 

Hayley Garard, Assistant to the City Manager and project lead, stressed the importance of transparent communication within the City of Highland Park.

 

“The City uses a variety of communication platforms daily including the website, electronic newsletters, monthly mailed newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, and our TV channel to keep residents and businesses informed and allow them to take an active role in the community.”

 

Hayley comes from a telecommunication/production background, with a bachelors in telecommunications and a masters in public relations and journalism. “I like telling the City’s story, and sharing all of our amazing accomplishments through all available channels including our broadcast television.”

 

The City’s recent investment in their channel started with upgrading the basics. Before the transition began, the City Council broadcast room looked like a scene from a 1990’s movie- VHS tape machines for recording, vintage IBM Model M style keyboards controlling an SD playout with no titles or graphics. A lot of upgrades would need to take place to allow Highland Park to continue to live stream basic City meetings.

 

“As parts of the broadcast system started to break we couldn’t find the equipment to replace it. Nothing is standard definition anymore,” said Hayley.

City Video Producer, Vic Walter, worked with Key Code to build out the initial specs. Then, Key Code Media designed a broadcast system which would bring the City Council Chambers into High Definition. The design included Panasonic PTZ cameras, which gives more flexibility with shifting camera angles and zoom. A 4K-capable NewTek TriCaster TC-1 system provides the backbone switching, live streaming, recording, graphics, and social media publishing tools- a swiss-army-knife box providing the necessary tools to produce a modern broadcast. A Castus QuickCast is leveraged for scheduling and playout.

 

The entire system was build inside a Bigfoot Mobile case with industrial wheels, allowing the system to be rolled onsite to different locations allowing for live streaming of local festivals and events.

 

“The update, in general, allows us greater flexibility and adaptability. We have only had the unit a few months and are still learning, but Kevin Bruce (Key Code Media) has been incredibly responsive and continues to support the City through training and troubleshooting. We have been receiving inquiries from surrounding communities and would be more than happy to share our story,” said Hayley.

 

Key Code Media provided the City of Highland Park, Illinois with a full SD to HD studio upgrade, packaged in a mobile live production solution. Hardware included NewTek TC-1, Panasonic USA PTZ Cameras, AJA Video Systems Kumo Router, Castus Playout, and Bigfoot Mobile Systems Case.

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Kentucky Farm Bureau: Live Mobile Flypack w/ Upgraded Archive and Media Management

Kentucky Farm Bureau Studios received 10 Emmys Nominations last year for its show Bluegrass & Backroads, a show which highlights the culture and charm of Kentucky. Along with Bluegrass & Backroads, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Studio produces additional content which continues to deliver stories of farmers and the people of Kentucky. Behind the production is Director of KFB Studios, Matt Hilton.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Studios began video production 15 years ago recording local meeting and events. As the voice of agriculture for Kentucky Farmers, KFB needed a way to expand their communications- leveraging video. They initially sent a DVD to all members and supporters in the community but realized a web strategy would be required to connect with a larger audience.

“In the early days our entire live event production setup was a single lock-off camera with a basic microphone and audio. There was onsite failure all the time in our live recording- sound issues, lacking backups and redundancy,” expressed Matt, “when we received a budget to build a new studio I knew the main issues that needed to be addressed.” The problem was finding the right broadcast solution and vendor.

Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Annual Conference

Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Annual Conference

A BRAND NEW STUDIO WORKFLOW

Matt brought on Key Code Media to help consult and design the best workflow.

“One of the key issues is that we started ramping up all this content for the new Kentucky Farm Bureau YouTube channel. We had hard drives everywhere and it getting tough to manage. I know for a fact our team lost crucial footage because of a missing drive.” – Matt Hilton, Director of KFB Studios

Working with the Key Code Media team, KFB was able to evaluate different shared storage platforms and asset management solutions. Jon Rutherford and Brian Johnson (Key Code) walked Matt through best practices and various ideas that could leverage automation and resolve media issues.

Kentucky Farm Bureau studios ended up installing a Scale Logic Genesis UX (96TBs) and Qualstar LTO-7 tape library with Archiware P5 for all media storage and archive. A CatDV Enterprise with CatDV Pro client software provides asset management capability so teams could instantly search and access files from any production.

Director of KFB Studios, Matt Hilton with Assistant Director of KFB Studios, Austin Anderson 

Director of KFB Studios, Matt Hilton with Assistant Director of KFB Studios, Austin Anderson 

MOBILE PRODUCTION FLYPACK

The backbone of the new Kentucky Farm Bureau Studio is a mobile broadcast flypack with a NewTek TriCaster TC-1, purposely built to speed up the production process.

“We needed more content quicker. Recording live in a studio setting was the only way we could pull it off,” mentioned Matt.

KFB is creating new online programming using the NewTek TriCaster for episodic content. The program will include a range of live discussions on a simple set with a real country comfortable feel.

With the mobile cart and multiple PTZ cameras, KFB studios can now take their production on the road. Recording all Kentucky Farm Bureau events at a much higher quality- this is especially important as KFB is gaining high profile guests speakers. The media and bloggers are eager to repurpose the online YouTube content which is instrumental to their viewer growth.

WORKING WITH KEY CODE MEDIA

“I can’t thank Lisa, John, and Brian from Key Code Media enough. They have the knowledge of what we do, bringing substantive conversation, and show us how we can leverage technology to improve the quality and efficiencies of our production. I know I can call anyone from the Key Code team to answer any little question. We have hundreds more questions to ask and they’ll always be there for me. I won’t work with anyone else,” commented Matt. 

Key Code Media deployed all equipment, training and system integration services for the Kentucky Farm Bureau mobile system. The Kentucky Farm Bureau invested in a brand new mobile production system with multiple PTZ cameras (NDI). This is a completely flexible production system that can be used both in their new Studio as well as out in the field.

The New Live Mobile Flypack w/ Upgrade Archive and Media Management

The New Live Mobile Flypack w/ Upgrade Archive and Media Management

Kentucky Farm Bureau Live Mobile Flypack with Upgraded Archive and Media Management Hardware includes:

  • NewTek Tricaster TC-1 with three NewTek PTZ (NDI) cameras.
  • Bigfoot Mobile Systems Road case
  • Mackie audio board with mics
  • Cisco PoE+ network switch
  • Bigfoot Mobile Systems, Inc. 
  • Scale Logic Genesis UX (96TBs)
  • Qualstar LTO-7 tape library with Archiware P5
  • XRackPro2 Sound deadening enclosure
  • CatDV Enterprise with CatDV Pro client software
  • ikan studio lighting kit includes 27 grid mounted fixtures

Looking To Build A Similar Workflow? Contact Us:

 

 

Max Post: Avid Interplay for Reality Post Production

Max Post is a full-service post-production facility located in Burbank, California. They primarily service reality television- end-to-end from ingest, transcode, offline/online, color, finish, and delivery. Currently, Max Post is servicing five different series for Discovery, A&E, History Channel, CNBC, and Netflix (Confession Tapes and Fire chasers).

 

At Max Post, the workflow starts with ingesting. A typical show’s footage is ingested through Telestream, archiving the raw camera master to tape, then sending the footage to online Avid editorial and color. Sounds simple, but Max Post is dealing with a lot of footage. A show like Deadliest Catch typically pumps in 30,000 hours of footage a season. Although, this last season the lock-off cameras alone brought in around 1.3 petabytes of media.

 

“At Max Post, we really value our relationship with Key Code Media. Allowing us to expand, on-demand. Keep up with the latest technology. You really get the sense that they want your business to succeed and that’s apparent throughout the entire company,” mentioned Scott Randol, Vice President of Workflow and Technology.

 

Max Post has relied on Avid Technology for its online workflow over the past few years. They know when they’re working with an all Avid infrastructure the show is going to be completed on time and on budget. The combination of Avid Nexis with Avid Interplay creates a lot of efficiencies.

 

Key Code Media supports Max Post with Post Production equipment and services.

Looking to upgrade your online editorial workflow? Let’s talk.

 

 

Santa Monica College: Center for Media and Design

Santa Monica College has over 30,000 students and is #1 transfer college to UCLA and UC system. When it came to refreshing their facilities, they wanted students to learn from the same tools that they will use in the field. SMC decided it would be necessary to build a brand new Center for Media and Design facility that includes an auditorium, a gigantic lab, hundreds of classrooms with smart technology. Key Code Media was selected at the lead integrator for the project.  The SMC project required significant project management and fulfillment logistics managing the integration and deployment of over 500 products from 300 vendors including Ross Video Carbonite, Crestron, Avid Nexis, Avid MediaComposer, touch screens and miles of cable connected across the campus.  Integration project was deployed on time and within the parameters of the bid project.  Santa Monica College’s new Center for Media and Design Campus is a true showcase for the California Community College System.

 

“Key Code Media has a long tradition and a long history of systems integration style projects so that when it came time for Santa Monica College to look for partners, we were a natural source for them to look,” commented Ed Locke, “I would say the most significant challenge working on the Santa Monica College project is that it was a very long design phase before the integrator was even brought to the table to start deploying technology. The first thing we did when we stepped into this project is participated in what Santa Monica College referred to as a ‘value-engineering meeting.’ We were able to refresh key aspects of the technology package to give Santa Monica College a truly a state of the art infrastructure. There’s not a single piece of equipment here that students will not touch in the real world.”

 

“Santa Monica College is #1 transfer college to UCLA and UC system. When you leave here, you’ll actually have a head start on your career. I find that Key Code Media is very thorough and excellent at what they do. And it was a great partnership with a lot of synergy to create this brand new awesome facility,” commented Brant Looney, IT Director, Santa Monica College.

 

Key Code Media provided audio, video, and digital signage system integration for Santa Monica College’s new Center for Media and Design facility.

Supersphere: 12G Multi-Geometry Flypacks for Live VR/360°

Virtual Reality (VR) technology is proving to be a prolific new form of online video as well as a new cash source for content creators. Part of what makes it profitable is the underlining complexity of producing immersive 360° and 180º video feeds for Oculus, GearVR, Vive, and VR-compatible mobile devices.

 

At the forefront of VR is Lucas Wilson, founder of Supersphere, an immersive content and technology company. Supersphere has helped major brands take their VR concepts from capture, to post, to delivery – utilizing a systemized workflow for worldwide production.

 

“Major film studios and marketing agencies all knew that they wanted to do VR, but at that time, very few companies were producing projects up to industry standards. I saw an opportunity to create a full service VR company. And over the past 3 years, we have experienced consistent, triple-digit growth.” commented Lucas.

 

Supersphere was recently contracted to produce live multi-cam VR content for high resolution delivery. “Our client had very demanding requirements – live VR in stereoscopic 4K resolution. I knew conceptually what this would take, but also knew we didn’t have a flypack that could currently support it.”

 

Lucas approached Key Code Media to dig into the nitty gritty of the workflow and build a VR system that could pull off 12G multi-geometry live VR/360. Key Code Media’s Michael Kammes took lead on the project, analyzing the system requirements, and collaborating with Supersphere to design the final workflow.

SupershereVR Team with Key Code Media’s Michael Kammes

The result was a flypack with state-of-the-art 180° and 360° cameras from Z Cam, each input supported by ASSIMILATE SCRATCH, with realtime geometry conversion, stitching, color grading, and ambisonic audio insertion. An ATEM Production Studio 4K switcher by Black Magic Design serves as the backbone for switching between a variety of video sources. For delivery, a fully integrated transcoder from Teleos Media – delivering sustained 16 Mbps of high frame rate, 4k + VR resolution content.

 

“The Supersphere team is really pleased with the service and support from Key Code. Everybody – from warehouse to sales to integration – has been top notch and clearly care about our success. I hope these are the first of many products that we will work on together!”

– Lucas Wilson

 

Key Code Media provided system integration design services and equipment for Supershere’s 12G Multi-Geometry Flypacks for Live VR/360°.

 

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