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Al Kovalick Presents 

File-Based Technology and Workflow Seminar

The Essentials of Professional Networked Media

Al has recorded a video seminar series for training purposes. The complete course consists of 8 modules each 45-60 minutes in length. Modules may be purchased and viewed in any order, but Module 1 is foundational for the other seven.

To access the videos please contact Al using the Contact page of this web site. 

In addition, Al offers a half or full day in-person presentation of these modules at your facility. The half day version presents any 4 from the list below and the full day version presents any 7.

Module Abstracts

The following abstracts describe the eight technical modules that compose the seminar. All materials are based on the book -- Video Systems in an IT Environment, 2nd edition (2009).  In total, the seminar series reviews topics for “tapeless” AV systems using IT equipment, methods and techniques.


Themes for File-based Workflow Seminar

File-based technologies have replaced video tape methods for a majority of production and broadcast operations. The worlds of AV and IT are coalescing to create new methods and workflows for media production.  This seminar series reviews the following essentials;

  •         Introduction to file-based workflows  (file transfer, streaming,   IT basics/values, new standards)

  •         Storage systems for media  (SAN, NAS, virtual storage, file systems, archives, metrics)

  •        Software and Services overview  (architectures, app deployment, SOA, FIMS, web methods)

  •         IT Networking for media (layer 2, 3, QoS metrics, TCP/UDP, fast file xfers)

  •         Building ultra-reliable media systems using IT methods  (15 methods for reliability)

  •         Media systems integration concepts (the 3 planes, file formats, MAM, system issues)

  •         Security basics (threats, avoidance, encryption and keys)

  •         Essentials of cloud computing for media systems

Module 1 – An Introduction to File-Based Technologies

The essential elements of AV+ IT systems and file-based technology are reviewed. This includes the eight converging forces, three fundamental modes of transfer, client types, hybrid AV/IT systems are compared to traditional AV systems showing the pros/cons of each method across 17 different metrics. Key methods are developed showing how to achieve frame accurate I/O with IT networking. This module builds on the concepts developed in Module 0.


Module 2 – Storage Systems for Audio/Video Workflows

 This material covers storage the systems technology that underpins AV/IT systems.   Consideration of storage virtualization, clustered file systems, hierarchical storage, storage connectivity, ATA versus SAS drives, optimizing storage for real-time AV I/O. SAN, iSCSI and NAS are compared. Fibre Channel and Ethernet are contrasted as SAN conduits.  Storage QoS metrics, data transfer acceleration and caching methods are applied to AV systems.


Module 3 – Software Technology for AV

Software systems organization is explored. Distributed models are explained including client/server, peer-peer, Web Services models (W3C and REST), basic cloud infrastructures. The Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is explained with pros/cons for AV systems. All important middleware is reviewed along with the FIMS effort. Application deployment models are considered with a view to the cloud. Web app technology is reviewed. Data center virtualization scenarios and their usage are explored for AV workflows.


Module 4 – Reliability and Scalability Methods

File-based technology depends on reliable IT platforms. This module develops the basics of high availability design including RAID storage-array classifications and their operation for real-time AV. One and two dimensional RAID error correction is compared. Alternate techniques for array reliability are described including RAIN methods.  MTBF and MTTR are explained in the context of high availability for AV systems. Advantages and cautions of AV data striping are outlined. Fifteen strategies for creating HA designs are presented using standard IT methods. 


Module 5 – Networking Basics for AV

Basic network stacks are examined. Understanding layer 2 versus layer 3; including when to route and switch data packets/frames. VLAN explained for data/control/management flow segmentation. TCP and UDP is explained and compared for AV file and stream transport across short and long distances. Switched and non-switched WAN techniques are classified and segmented for AV use. Seven layers of QoS for transport are explained. MPLS review for inter-facility streaming and file transfer.


Module 6 – Systems Integration Concepts

This section ties other module concepts together to create full featured hybrid AV/IT systems. The three planes (data, control, management) are explained and applied to AV workflow design.  Eight video timing domains are explained along with five fundamental time-based control methods. Interop fundamentals are outlined. Other coverage includes file wrapper formats, metadata standards and the physical and logical layout of MXF.  MAM essentials are explained. Finally four workflow domains are explained; design, process orchestration, operational characteristics and agility drivers.


Module 7 – Security for Networked AV Systems

Enterprise defense fundamentals are reviewed including building blocks for the secure media facility. Included are understanding life cycle threats, five tactics for secure isolation, bridging business and mission critical media operational domains. Data encryption basics are explained using simple examples. Public and private key methods are compared. Digital signatures are explained and applied to AV materials.


Module 8 – The Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing will change the landscape of the media facility. Coverage includes review of fundamentals, business benefits, three cloud types compared, elasticity examples. Public and private clouds are contrasted. The “pay by the sip” cost models are examined. Server virtualization is shown to be a key enabling technology for secure, efficient and on demand use of cloud computing resources. Compute benchmarks are provided. Examples of cloud-based media related applications are reviewed. The future is contemplated.  This module is mostly non-technical and intended for the general audience.

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