PHASE ONE OF OMNILAB MEDIA'S NEW BROADCAST OPERATIONS FACILITY COMPLETED
Continuing their expansion and future planning strategy across Asia Pacific, Omnilab Media, the region’s largest, privately owned, vertically integrated content development and media service business, has completed phase one of its new state-of-the-art broadcast operations facility in Yurong Street, Sydney. The first phase includes MTV taking the entire ground and mezzanine floors of the four-story building for its Australian operations and management.
Head of the project team responsible for the Yurong Street facility is Andrew Hogg, General Manager of one of Omnilab’s key brands, The Playroom Sydney. Hogg explained the background to the group’s most significant technical project to date: “The plan to build a new playout facility started in October 2004 when we were advised that The Playroom Sydney would have to move from our North Ryde facility by 2007. At that time we consulted with MTV as we wanted to further our existing relationship with them and wanted them to be involved with the relocation from the ground up.”
Omnilab went through a major design evaluation taking six months in which they proposed keeping the character of the original 1934 Studebaker building whilst adding a mezzanine floor and state-of-the-art technical infrastructure. The review involved several meetings with the local council in order that the refurbishment fit with plans to revitalise William Street and the surrounding area, known to be a hub for advertising and media companies.
Hogg continued, “Our strategy was not just to build a playout centre but to future proof our offering to clients. Thus we included facilities for major playout outsourcing, convergence technologies, the new digital domain and IPTV. This required a major submission to the Omnilab Media board and included a complete new power system, mezzanine floor, new technical design, dark fibre, diverse fibre optic ring and high speed interfaces being built and installed.”
With the review completed and approved by the Omnilab board, negotiations were finalised with MTV who agreed to lease the ground and mezzanine floors of the building on a long term agreement.
The new facilities’ major technological achievements were inspired by Omnilab Media’s strategy of forward thinking and leadership through innovation. “We wanted to help make all our clients more efficient.” Said Hogg, “Our fibre optic ring connects Foxtel, Globecast and all Omnilab companies including Cornerpost and the LaB in Sydney and Digital Pictures and Iloura in Melbourne. This allows the group to work offline and offsite then use the Playroom Sydney as the distribution hub to our uplink providers. This system is already successfully in place and used by Qantas for the Oprah Winfrey show.”
Much of the internal infrastructure design was done in collaboration with MTV to ensure maximum efficiency for their operation. As a result the Yurong Street facility boasts full HD wiring, substantial servers for HD files, data links in addition to SDi and inter-floor high-speed fibre.
MTV’s current operation includes 20 Final Cut Pro after-effects stations connected to the central storage and archiving systems, a local ingest room, on-site library facility for up to 15,000 tapes, asset management system and 100 general workstations. “We worked with MTV to provide them a complete business solution.” Explained Hogg. “This included all their servers and external connectivity to parent company Viacom.”
Phase Two of the Yurong Street project also includes The Playroom Sydney occupying the first floor of the building where it runs its broadcast facility for the MTV NZ and the Movie Network channels in addition to audio sweetening booths and Final Cut Pro and Avid editing suites.
Says Omnilab Media Managing Director Christopher Mapp: “Successfully implementing MTV’s services is only phase one of our plans for the Yurong Street site. Phase two later this year includes a full broadcast and audio facility for up to 20 channels run by the Playroom and phase three involves significant projects that fully encapsulate our strategy of offering content creation, professional services, infrastructure and partnerships in sales and distribution. There are big announcements to come in each of these areas.”