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19/06/2006

HIT Entertainment Brings Content Encoding In-house With ContentAgent-XR

HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading pre-school children's entertainment producers and rights owners and has an exceptional portfolio of properties including Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina and Pingu.
With more than 1,000 hours of programming sold into 200 territories, and with new projects continually in development, it's vitally important for HIT Entertainment to be able to generate and distribute material for client and sales presentations speedily and efficiently.
To aid that purpose, the company recently installed ContentAgent-XR, the universal encoding platform from Soho-based ROOT6 Technology.
Karen Davies, Head of Technical Services at HIT Entertainment's London HQ, said: "The past two years have seen a gradual reduction in demand on our copy room for VHS tape-based materials, and a consequential upturn in the requirement for encoded clips on DVD. At first we outsourced this, but as the volume increased, it made sense to bring it in-house.
"We chose ContentAgent-XR as our encoding and DVD authoring platform on recommendation, and because it was easy to use. We didn't want a system that would require us to take on additional technical staff. Also, the system is HD ready so we can upgrade at the appropriate time."
The bulk of the work currently handled is encoding to QuickTime and Windows Media 9 formats and MPEG2 for DVD authoring. ContentAgent-XR is used to create the DVD masters, and a duplicator and DVD label printer are all the extras needed to create a fast-turnaround service for the company.
"The system is very easy to use," confirms operator Sophie Aslett. "It comes with pre-defined job templates, but it's easy to set up new ones such as ftp upload, for example. We have a number of outposts worldwide so, if required, we can use ContentAgent-XR to transcode material from tape and upload it automatically to an ftp site for instant access. It's the fastest means of distribution available."
The rejuvenated copy room is now able to address a number of additional requirements, making clips widely available where still images may previously have been used. Increasingly, clips are encoded for incorporation in PowerPoint presentations adding considerably to their effectiveness.
In a particularly innovative application, ContentAgent-XR is used to encode clips for the Creative Department's video iPod. This ensures that when seeking co-production partners, for example, the relevant media is always on hand.
"It only took us a short while to get up and running," concludes Karen Davies. "We then had a manic period centred on MIP in Cannes. The system coped extremely well with the high demand for showreels, presentations and follow-up material, and within the space of four months it had paid for itself."
(SP)
VMI.TV Ltd

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