As one of the largest multimedia retailers in the world, QVC, Inc is a genuine “global player”. With roots in the USA, and retail operations in Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, and China, QVC has more than 17,000 employees worldwide, and engages shoppers via 15 broadcast networks, seven websites, and 195 social pages, reaching more than 360 million homes.
Only 6 years after the launch of the original QVC broadcasting station in the United States in 1986, QVC expanded to Europe and founded its second market in the UK. Ever since its start in 1993, QVC UK successfully grabs its viewers’ attention, offering their customers a front row seat to everything from legendary performers and world-renowned designers, to unstoppable innovations they can’t find anywhere else.
Special requirements at QVC UK
After running this business successfully for more than 25 years, it’s no surprise that a highly professional Multi Media Retailer like QVC has developed very dedicated and highly specialized workflows over time. Perfectly tailored to their particular needs, QVC’s post-production runs in ProRes 444 XQ, AVC UHD, and 4K – and the QVC house standard AVCintra100 50i.
QVC have developed a specific workflow that needs to be adhered to, including media asset management and quality control.Gordon Rutherford, Edit and Motion Graphics Manager, QVC UK
The project was led by Alex Guiton, Broadcast Projects Engineer at QVC, Gordon Rutherford, Edit and Motion Graphics Manager at QVC, and Jon Stroud Post Production Supervisor when the time came to replace an existing Quantel system.
The perfect opportunity
When the service level agreement with the existing Quantel system drew to an end, QVC , decided to seize the moment and embarked on a search and evaluation of all contemporary products in the market place, both in terms of media asset management and editing.
We evaluated many different enterprise MAM/PAM solutions but they seemed unnecessarily complex.Jonathan Stroud, Post Production Supervisor, QVC UK
Fairly quickly, the team at QVC determined that Adobe Premiere would be the best fit for their editing suites. While it was clear that QVC wanted to keep their existing StorNext-based solution as the underlying media storage for the 7 seats connected via 10Gb Ethernet, they needed a state-of-the-art media asset management tool, ideally with seamless Adobe integration. QVC turned to XTFX, trusted supplier of tailored workflow solutions in the UK, to help to find the right MAM.
Excellent first impression
XTFX introduced ELEMENTS to the team at QVC, demonstrating that the German hardware and software developer offered the perfect solution to fulfill all demands.
No other solution has deeper integration with Adobe Premiere than ELEMENTS storage with Media Library.James Hamilton-Hislop, Founder & Solutions Architect, XTFX
During the first demonstration of the ELEMENTS solution “we immediately saw the potential of the ELEMENTS Media Library managing our existing portion of our existing StorNext-based post-production storage.” said Gordon. Providing seamless access and collaboration through the central storage and special features specifically developed for users working with Adobe Premiere, QVC was highly impressed with what ELEMENTS had to offer out of the box.
Full-service POC on site
Since QVC’s set of requirements was very explicit, especially regarding their specific workflow, XTFX and ELEMENTS provided a Proof of Concept (POC), consisting of 2 ELEMENTS GATEWAY and WORKER nodes, including switches and other peripherals and all PC hardware for Adobe software, with 3 Craft machines and 4 x soft seats.
ELEMENTS Media Library provides everything we need. But unlike others, it’s easy to use!Jonathan Stroud, Post Production Supervisor, QVC UK
Installed on top of the existing StorNext-based storage, connected via Fibre Channel and providing high aggregate bandwidth at the block level, the ELEMENTS servers were connected to the Adobe Premiere workstations via file-based Ethernet. The smart and flexible hardware design of ELEMENTS allows the use of both Ethernet and Fibre Channel fabric simultaneously – and have workstations connected through Ethernet read and write directly to the StorNext file system.
Thanks to a diligently pre-configured system delivered for the POC, the “on-premise evaluation” of the system went exceptionally well. However, the final decision was not entirely based on technical topics – but also on a somewhat personalised basis.
Personalized service at its best
In the course of the POC phase, the team at QVC developed a fantastic working relationship with the development team at ELEMENTS. Well-known for being exceptionally accessible and engaged, ELEMENTS’ software developers listened closely to QVC’s requests and suggestions on how to enhance the Media Library – and were passionate about realising them right away.
The dev team at ELEMENTS have implemented all customizations to the Media Library requested by QVC successfully.Gordon Rutherford, Edit and Motion Graphics Manager, QVC UK
Powerful, yet affordable
The attractive pricing of the ELEMENTS package allowed QVC to “maximise the order”, and turn the original single-server solution into a clustered system with two GATEWAYS and two WORKER nodes. This not only ensured a significantly higher level of resilience but also provided increased performance both concerning load balancing and data throughput. The WORKER nodes take workload off the production system by adding render capacities for generating proxies – fully automatically.
Even workflow automation is easy with ELEMENTS.Jonathan Stroud, Post Production Supervisor, QVC UK
“ELEMENTS allows us to build custom workflows,” Gordon stated. “The Media Library enables us to include even still images which simplifies the project management tremendously.”
Besides improved ingest times, other noticeable benefits the production team at QVC enjoys with their new ELEMENTS solution mainly derive from the Media Library. The web-based GUI of the efficient MAM makes communication a breeze, as the easy-to-use features allow not only for commenting but also leaving drawings on the image, using any standard mouse or tablet.
We are delighted to work with ELEMENTS and look forward to taking the product even further.Gordon Rutherford, Edit and Motion Graphics Manager, QVC UK
Best of all: There are no IT skills required to use the features of the Media Library to the full extent.
Also, the user management is easier than ever, allowing users (editors) at QVC to own and edit their content of each project while producers and other members of the post-production team can actively contribute to the project.
System administrators can copy, move, and delete files directly on the storage without requiring the content to come onto the network, keeping workload off precious production systems and infrastructure.
Utmost flexibility, unlimited collaboration
Sharing media assets and projects – not just internally
In addition to selecting media files and adding comments for the editors, the Sequence Editor embedded in the Media Library allows producers to create rough-cuts and build sequences that are fully compatible with Adobe Premiere: Editors can simply open the sequence directly out of the Adobe Premiere application and create the final edit, while comments and other meta data are visible on the timeline within Premiere. Pre-defined workspace templates ensure consistency for all new projects, preventing chaos in the directory structure.
With ELEMENTS Click QVC is now even able to share proxy based assets with users outside the post-production facility. The Cloud feature, also embedded in ELEMENTS Media Library, allows all connected workstations to share assets through a private cloud, directly from within ELEMENTS’ GUI. With a simple mouse click every operator from any workstation, even those without direct internet access, can initiate the upload and create a unique link to the specific video in the cloud. Users can access the shared assets from any external location and can leave comments and drawings on the image which are integrated and synced back to ELEMENTS Media Library on site.
We are proud to have accomplished the mission to provide QVC with a solution that genuinely improves the efficiency of collaboration across multiple applications and locations. It’s been fun to work with the team at QVC, and we can’t wait to hear new suggestions and ideas on how to improve our applications even further.