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An Audio Workstation Network for Television Postproduction

Digital Audio Workstations are rapidly replacing synchronizers and tape machines in video post production wherever sound needs to be conformed to picture. The advantages of random access audio and non-destructive electronic editing provide immense operational and creative possibilities compared to the current conventional methods used in audio post-production. However, at present, the use of these devices has been limited because of the up load and down load times required to transfer the audio material between jobs. Although commercially viable in a small installation with a well planned workload, the realities of television production requires far more flexibility in scheduling workloads to match resources and in coping with last minute program changes than current workstation technology can provide. This paper describes how a distributed audio processing network can be formed from a control pool of storage devices linked to multiple workstation nodes via an intelligent network manager. The network provides multiple users access to a central database of audio material. Each workstation selects one disk as a working disk for program creation but can access audio material on any other device in the network as required. All disk backup and restore operations are carried out off-line by the network. The use of industry standard communication buses for all interconnections means that a network installation is compatible with existing plant wiring and can take advantage of new generation storage devices as and when they come to the market.

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