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DRILLARIUM: Large Scale Playout

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The current broadcast environment requires hundreds of channels to be supervised by a single operator.

Vector 3 has created DRILLARIUM, the tool for this new paradigm of massive playout operations. DRILLARIUM is designed to focus the efforts of the operators towards key activities to maximize efficiency and minimize fatigue. The way this is achieved is by presenting on screen all the information in a timely and structured manner to allow the operator to concentrate on the relevant points.

Vector 3 has 30 years of experience in master control room operation and our personnel have spent most of their careers with playout operators. We have always considered efficiency, simplicity and comfort for the operator the key features of our user interfaces and operational systems.

Nowadays workflows have been standardized and the operator is no more the driver of these processes, as it would be impossible for them to take so many and complex initiatives. The new role for the operators is to use their intelligence only when the software is unable to solve an unexpected occurrence. DRILLARIUM presents only the relevant data and focuses their attention exclusively on what requires intervention.

An avalanche of unnecessary warnings has the potential to desensitize operators and lower their capacity to perceive the important inputs. With DRILLARIUM the operator is warned of potential incidents in advance giving room to resolve the issues in a timely manner. However, to show problems too early is as problematic as to show them too late. If we take a too distant horizon as a reference, there may be a lot of material that is not ready without this being a cause for concern.

DRILLARIUM can centralise in a single master control room the playout of channels spread around the globe and/or in the cloud.

DRILLARIUM is composed by a set of windows and presentations with different functions that can be displayed in different sets of monitors to configure the best suited working environment.

DRILLARIUM presents all the channels with three levels of detail. In the overview form the operator will only see the countdown to next programme and a single LED for each channel showing the status of the channel. If the LED becomes orange or red or more information from the channel is needed, a more detailed layout can be called up.

With this extra level of detail, the operator can check six different status parameters per channel, some of them about workflow and others about technical issues. From there, it is possible to "Drill Down" to check any aspect of each channel to any level of detail. At any time, the operator can open a window with the traditional display of the running playlist of a channel with its programme lines, countdowns, etc... and interact with it in the conventional manner.

DRLLARIUM not only gives control of the channels but also empowers the master control room operator, directing them the location of required assets and critically those that have issues or are logged as missing. If they are stuck in a process, a higher priority can be given to them to expedite them through the workflow.

Finally, all the hardware and software involved in the playout can be centrally monitored by the operator organized from the point of view of each channel, so the operator has all the information at their fingertips.

DRILLARIUM is the playout automation software answer for the ever increasing numbers of channels that need to be controlled today.

This article is also available in the April edition of Broadcast Film & Video.
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