In this “Unsung Hero,” we go behind-the-scenes with our file-deliverables expert, Chuck Wall. A rock star on our Engineering team and one of the men behind the development and creation of our file-based encoding and delivery system, Chuck is VITAC’s deliverables guru.
File-Based Deliverables Expert
Q: What are some of the most recent “new media” requests VITAC supports?
Chuck: One of the more frequently requested services are CableLabs compliant MPEG-2 deliverables. MXF wrapped files are the newest requested services as captioned video files for broadcast playback. This year, we expect to see more requests for file deliverables and fewer tape-based deliverables.
Q: What makes VITAC’s technical department able to handle these services?
Chuck: We have the right tools, the right personnel, and have been delivering files for over two years. We use Manzanita analyzer software for file compliance checking and can caption many files without recompressing them, thereby preserving image quality. We can handle every tape format – both in SD and HD.
Q: Can you describe the workflow for one of our customers?
Chuck: Sagemont Church is a good example. They FTP an H.264 and we give them back an MPEG-2 program stream file with embedded 708/608 captions. They don’t send tapes anymore and are very happy with the process.
Q: How did you come to be an expert in this area?
Chuck: While working at WTAE-TV as one their broadcast maintenance engineers during the early days of the internet, I started an ISP (1994) with three co-workers. Back then, tools used to compress files were just coming to market. It took some experimenting to create files that were small and still worth the time for web viewers to watch them. We had also set up live 24 hour encoding solutions streaming radio stations to Real Player users. During that time, I created and maintained the WTAE-TV website. I learned the coding and wrote it by hand since there were no WYSIWYG programs like there are now – there was a real learning curve for that. The site was dynamically driven from a database and allowed the on-air talent to update the site just like current content management applications work today.
After 14 years at WTAE I took a job at a local production firm in Pittsburgh. They were the first in the Tri-state area to offer DVD authoring. I learned the ropes of DVD authoring with closed captions and Multilanguage subtitling using Sonic Scenarist. We also had a dedicated high end MPEG-2 real-time encoding system that could be found at large firms creating Hollywood releases.
As transcoding tools became more sophisticated, we added them to our toolbox. Early on you had to use a different application for each type of file you needed to generate.
I have been using the Apple Final Cut suite of tools since version 3.
Today, VITAC has many applications available for when a client provided file won’t convert in our main transcoding system. We also have several Final Cut systems for digitizing and playback, as well as other NLE solutions.
For more information:
Check out our updated Deliverables Spec Sheet!
The Employee Spotlight turned on Chuck in September