A Unique Search Engine

Constellation VCM (Video Content Manager) is the new, innovative integrated storage-management and archive-management system for professional video environments, developed by Media Distributors and SoleraTec, with an end-user interface that offers full search, retrieve and manipulation capabilities for video and project files, without touching the original video source content. Specifically designed to manage video data and video file metadata, the system recognizes and supports data from today’s leading video-editing solutions, including HDCAM SR, HDCAM, XDCAM, P2, RED, Codex, Apple Final Cut Studio, Avid, Pro Tools and PilotWare. Constellation also supports all SAN, NAS, RAID, JBOD and external drives, as well as Xsan, Avid Unity, Blu-ray Disc and DVD library systems, and all tape drives and tape library systems.

And if you want an idea of how Constellation is already changing the industry, there’s perhaps no better example than how it’s being used over at Universal Sports, the 24-hour, Olympic-related and lifestyle sports network owned jointly by NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners.

As Keith Manasco, vice president of operations for Universal Sports, explains, "The ‘before’ picture was one of little security and less control over our assets. We located our production, postproduction and channel origination in a third-party facility that’s largely tapeless, and we found that masters of shows that exist in file format only entered the facility’s system and got archived there. But we didn’t have the ability to have our own control of the content, and we were looking for immediate solutions for owning our own tapeless content."

Constellation VCM, a joint effort between Media Distributors and SoleraTec, allows a company to have more "ownership" of their media, offering full search, retrieve and manipulation capabilities without touching the original video source files.

Naturally, this became a growing problem for the company. Happily, a solution was just around the corner in the form of Constellation. "This allowed us to take control of our own content and have it stored on our device in our media, instead of the facility’s media," notes Manasco.

The upside? The move not only provided Universal Sports with increased security, but also offered the company the ability to have ownership of their media. Universal Sports currently uses the Constellation system for deep archival storage of video assets, enabling the company to pull elements from edited or raw masters of its enormous daily flow of live sports-event feeds, which are then edited and processed with voice-over and graphic overlays.

Universal Sports installed Constellation in January, and Manasco sees huge benefits in acquiring a system that recognizes and supports data from leading video-editing systems…

Looking to the future, there also was "the great likelihood" that the company would get into the production of original programming. And that meant having "a great deal of control, flexibility and searchability in our content," says Manasco. "We really needed to have more control of our library—not only in terms of the media, but also in accessibility and searchability of the content so we could repurpose the content in an infinite number of ways."

Vice President of Operations for Universal Sports Keith Manasco with their Constellation VCM system.

Universal Sports installed Constellation in January, and Manasco sees huge benefits in acquiring a system that recognizes and supports data from leading video-editing systems, including Apple Final Cut Pro and Avid, among others, and whose software also recognizes other standard video formats such as mov, mpg, wma and others.

According to Tony Cahill, Manager of Technology and Solutions for Media Distributors, the genesis of the system began over the last few years. "Our clients always have a big need for asset storage and archive management, and I was always looking for a solution that would fit their needs," Cahill reports, "but I never found one." That is, until Cahill met up with Mark Armstrong, CEO of SoleraTec, and his team. "They showed me their tool sets, and it was just amazing," he says. "They were so encompassing and able to do a great job of working with large, rich-content media."