ABS-CBN goes digital on its 55th anniversary


By shifting to digital technology, ABS-CBN can now record a game show like Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal (shown above) in its studio without using video tapes.



As ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation celebrates its 55th anniversary, the media conglomerate marks a new milestone in Philippine broadcasting history by being the first to do tapeless TV production in and out of their studios.

The Kapamilya Network was the first among Philippine networks to recognize the digital trend in broadcasting by setting up a 100-percent non-linear post-production workflow. From 2003 to today, ABS-CBN has been increasing its number of editing and audio workstations and server storage to cope with the rising volume of content.

"ABS-CBN is unique to all other broadcasters in the world because we create our own content, about 90 percent. Not even CNN produces this much," cites Raul Bulaong, head of the Kapamilya Network's technical operations division. "With the size of our organization and the amount of work that we do, only Avid matches us."

Avid Technology, Inc. is considered a leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions.

Patrick Ongchangco, ABS-CBN head of technical research and development, said the digitalization of TV production will improve the company's efficiency in TV production, save time and costs, and improve video quality.

He said ABS-CBN can now record a game show like Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal in its studio or tape a teleserye like Kahit Isang Saglit on location without using video tapes.

"All our recordings whether from our studios or at the sets outside will be using servers instead of video tape recorders. These servers transfer the videos as files through our computer network like emails," he said.

By going tapeless starting this September, Ongchangco said TV production staff can easily bring its new OB boxes to far flung areas for their tapings, giving them more flexibility and convenience than using the current OB vans.

In terms of post-production work, ABS-CBN technical production operations accounts head Arvin De la Vega said the shift from tape to tapeless also means shorter editing time by as much as four hours for a game show like The Singing Bee.

As of this writing, De la Vega said Kapamilya Deal or No Deal is one of the fortunate programs to use EVS (through Avid Interplay) and into Avid ISIS in a tapeless environment. He said, "The production teams have seen the benefits of tapeless production. There are no more apprehensions on using the new technology."

Avid, ISIS and Interplay are also ABS-CBN's gateways to Digital Media Asset Management, which provides a secure media archive. "That's very exciting for us because it will allow our audience to access our library of TV shows—a mesmerizing 200,000 hours of video and counting—from their PC, laptop or TV," said Bulaong.

With this development, the Philippines becomes the first country in Southeast Asia to go tapeless in TV production. This step is another addition to the innovations that ABS-CBN has introduced over the years such as launching Internet TV via TFCnow (formerly abs-cbnnow) in 2004, and rolling out Internet Protocol TV or IPTV via TFCko outside the country in 2007.

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