A complete system overhaul at Telebasel

Press release


12, Feb, 2021

Automated broadcasting processes in a modern media company

Using Swiss private broadcaster Telebasel as an example, this article illustrates how optimised workflows can create future-proof structures for an agile company – from technical, organisational and economic perspectives alike.



Telebasel is the oldest private broadcaster in Switzerland and has been independent of investors and publishers since it was founded. It began broadcasting in 1994 and has been growing ever since. This growth has largely been driven by Telebasel’s consistent commitment to integrating the latest technological formats, culminating in its transformation from analogue technology to the digital world.

The key component of Telebasel’s programming is ‘Newsblock’, the channel’s live news show including weather and stock market updates. The channel also produces lifestyle shows, magazine and entertainment programmes, and broadcasts these on a continuous 24/7 loop. These shows are supplemented by children’s programming at weekends, purchased shows, online programmes and social media posts. The house format is Full HD and file transfers into other broadcast formats are a matter of course.

Reports are continuously being produced and moderated in-house, particularly for the channel’s news programming. For the newsroom team, it is crucial that these reports are attractively presented and fully up-to-date. This means the material needs to remain flexible and adaptable, right up to the point of broadcast. Exchange and collaboration between the channels is also gaining in importance for this reason, as this enables Telebasel to react rapidly to developing stories and to integrate topic-specific audience input such as video clips.


New broadcast channels – new workflow

 As Telebasel developed various broadcast formats for traditional TV output, online services and social media activities, the broadcaster’s technical team were tasked with integrating these diverse platforms and formats into a comprehensive workflow, so that their colleagues could rapidly access and edit material wherever they were, across all channels. In addition, the workflow needed to be open to the outside world and well prepared for interaction with audiences, customers and external media outlets. This task ultimately led to a complete system overhaul, resulting in the development of state-of-the-art working and broadcasting processes for a mid-sized media company.


The devil is in the detail

Telebasel’s experts decided to first define the essentials before seeking a partner who could meet their needs. This was because the specific challenges of integrating these platforms demanded processes that could not satisfactorily be delivered by conventional providers specialising in off-the-shelf products. As is often the case, the devil lay in the detail; in addition to the basic requirements for broadcast optimisation, management, editing, administration, archiving and communication, Telebasel also needed specific software customisations and database programs that would enable the different systems to interact, while also ensuring a high degree of automation.


Defining the key system requirements


Decisions on the basic requirements for the system were taken together with partners EditShare (Storage and Flow for storage system and MAM), Adobe (Premiere Pro for post-production), Octopus (editorial system for broadcast planning/newsroom) and HMS (playout system). However, the core task in planning, developing and executing the project was to orchestrate these units. Fully automated file management and transfers – including all the required functions, assignments and administrative tasks from ingest to playout – were top priorities, not just for broadcast operations but also for interactions with external outlets and for statistical purposes. These elements would build the foundations and architecture for Telebasel’s ultra-modern workflow in its production environment and newsroom.

MoovIT took on this task as a prime contractor, developing Telebasel’s desired workflow across all channels (TV, online and social media) based on its in-house-developed Helmut4 project management software. Wherever additional connections, programs or databases were required, such as for the transfer of metadata for statistical or administrative purposes, the software has been expanded and integrated as part of the overall system. The result is a workflow designed specifically for Telebasel based on standard products. This workflow – supported in particular by the underlying ID Workflow Engine – has created clearly-defined assignment and administrative structures even for highly complex collaborative processes – across all partner systems.





The partner systems:


Octopus –  complete newsroom management

Octopus sits at the heart of Telebasel’s scheduling and content planning. Through its integration into the ID workflow, all stakeholders can create clearly assignable projects and communicate these directly to connected systems such as the teleprompters, playout systems or MAM.


Gabriel Janko, Sales Director, Octopus Newsroom:

“With the latest Newsroom collaboration platform, Octopus Newsroom has created a centralised control and management system. Thanks to very positive collaboration with our partners, we have succeeded in developing new and improved workflows for Telebasel that better connect production and post-production processes. Integration with social media and partner systems via APIs, not just via MOS, demonstrates the technical potential of Octopus.”


EditShare – software and hardware

  • Flow Browse/Story/AirFlow/Ingest
  • Storage
  • Archive


Heiko Schlüter, Regional Sales Manager EMEA and Poland, EditShare:

 “For a collaborative environment such as Telebasel, it is essential to have a reliable media management system that connects users, content and media while ensuring efficient workflows. The integration of the open storage solution, Flow media management from EditShare and the Helmut product family represents the most comprehensive solution for project management and remote editing in the industry.”


HMS – playout

  • DiSA GridPlanner for 24/7 broadcasting
  • DiSA Playout for broadcasting the programmes scheduled in GridPlanner
  • ClipBox studio player as a playout system for live broadcasts


Frank Mistol, CEO/Founder, HMS media solutions

“For HMS, Telebasel’s integrated Unique ID workflow with MOS and RESTful API interfaces plays a central role. For the first time, it enables a simple collaborative workflow between project management, newsroom and automation – starting with planning all the way through to 24/7 playout.”


Adobe Premiere Pro – post-production editing system

Michael Gamböck, Senior Strategic Development Manager, Creative Cloud Video, Adobe:

“The system decision for workflow integration at Telebasel, together with partners Adobe, EditShare and MoovIT, shows once again that the open structure of Adobe Premiere Pro, Flow Story and Helmut creates tailor-made solutions that meet customer requirements. Solutions that are agile, more flexible and more cost-effective than the competition enable companies like Telebasel to strengthen their position.”




MoovIT software integration:


Helmut4 project management

  1. HelmutFX for creating, managing and assigning Premiere Pro projects
  2. HelmutIO for exporting sequences, watch folders for conversion to the house codec (XDCAM HD422) and controlling the render nodes
  3. Helmut Cosmo for managing web ingest and import of assets e.g. from Vulcano to Premiere Pro
  4. Housekeeper to administer and delete assets, and to archive older assets which are still required


Additional MoovIT software solutions for workflow automation:


ID Workflow Engine         

Regardless of whether a project was created in Flow, HMS, Octopus or Helmut, the ID Workflow Engine ensures that the project has only one project ID, including all relevant metadata.


ChunkNorris (recording limiter)

  1. Management of the eight Flow SDI ingest channels
  2. Calendar-controlled and timed recording
  3. Definition of template images that should not be recorded, such as test images, black screen etc.
  4. Control of the router


Vulcano (automated graphic engine)

  1. Creation of ‘lower thirds’, either manually or automatically from Octopus
  2. Assignment of automatically generated graphics to a Cosmo project, and thus import into the Premiere project
  3. Assignment of graphics to a Flow project for use in a Flow Story project


XtendX uploader

  1. Creation of web versions of finished clips from Flow
  2. Upload of H.264 with metadata to the XtendX platform for the Telebasel website


PlayOut Statistics

  1. Evaluation of the AsRunLogs from HMS to generate internal and external statistics
  2. Provision of EPG programme data
  3. Writing of metadata from HMS to Flow



Rafael Hutter: Managing Director, MoovIT

“The Telebasel project was a very ambitious task for MoovIT and is a good example of how special customer requests can be met from a single source – by combining standard software solutions such as Helmut4 with customised software developments for specific tasks. Our credo of open connections, clear assignments and tailored adjustments for Telebasel has not just led to new solutions; it was also decisive in helping to overcome the challenges as a prime contractor.”





Work organisation aspects


The Telebasel production team comprises 40 editorial staff. As a rule, 15 editors and 3-4 cutters (2 for news and 2 for magazine shows) are on duty at any one time, i.e. 20 people in total. 5 of the 10 editing workstations have already been converted to Premiere Pro, with the others still to follow.


The employees were actively involved in the process from an early stage and have a very positive attitude towards it – which is far from guaranteed for such an extensive system overhaul and change to working conditions. They can see the benefits of the central platform in terms of its flexibility in use, the rapid exchanges and collaboration between channels, its high degree of automation and its ability to eliminate errors.


Telebasel has a powerful office network that lets editors view and edit video files on desktop PCs at their usual desks. The editors typically create the rough cut sequence before the cutters edit the clip, including sound.  This division of tasks will now become more open and interchangeable as a result of the new system’s capabilities. Each editor will have new organisational and creative tools at their disposal, depending on the requirements and their level of experience.


Editors can access the system via a web-based interface in the desktop office environment. There, they can organise reports and clips which are then uploaded via Helmut Cosmo. Depending on the quality of their Internet connection, each editor can also view each clip from external locations and make edits if desired – or simply forward the clips on to the cutting team as usual. The normal office infrastructure is sufficient for stationary operations, but working from external sites is possible under exactly the same conditions, provided that the Internet connection is of sufficient quality.


The available material is processed in real time, with users accessing proxies in EditShare. In the background, Helmut computes and manages the data for the corresponding high-resolution cut. This ensures that once editing is complete, the clip can be rendered immediately using HelmutIO and added to the channel’s schedule.

Editors working remotely can use this proxy processing method to deliver broadcast-ready high-res material for use in Telebasel’s programming – regardless of where or when they are working.


Telebasel uses Octopus Newsroom software to manage video files, reports  and teleprompter information across all channels. Last-minute changes and additions can be made within the system as Helmut enables all files in Octopus to be updated at short notice. The same applies to graphic assignments from Vulcano, plus Premiere Pro and EditShare Flow Story projects.

File transfers take place fully automatically in the background. This expedites the process, avoids errors and simplifies administration.


Meanwhile, the ChunkNorris software is used to control the router, live source and studio signals. All recorded video signals are analysed for movement or changes in the background, and only the relevant video files or signals are saved. This saves capacity on Telebasel’s central storage system while accelerating the workflow.


Of the eight recording channels incorporated within the workflow, four are used actively and four are intended for use in emergencies. If necessary, the recordings can also be activated remotely from external locations. This means that those responsible – for example, those reporting on sports events which take place outside of normal working hours – can access the source from home and start the recording process. In addition, reporters are equipped with rucksacks so that they can report on current events quickly and live. Recording lines and devices at the broadcast centre are activated 24/7, so that incoming reports can be recorded at any time and made available to the editorial team. At the same time, the parallel recording channels also enable a range of different signal transmissions for diverse technical purposes.

These continuously active parallel recording channels for signal transmission and remote access alleviate the need for Telebasel to rely on fixed working hours or locations.


Helmut4: the conductor in the background


As Pascal Jacot, head of technology at Telebasel and member of its extended management team, explains, “For us, the centralised management capabilities of Helmut4’s components were crucial to the entire system, together with the ID Workflow Engine. This is especially true for our news editing, because Avid or Premiere Pro alone are too slow and inflexible in this area.”


As Jacot adds, “It was also important for us to have flexibility when creating playlists – both for schedule planning and for rapid, short-notice integration of clips for playout via ClipBox (HMS).”


Helmut supports all aspects of live broadcast management. Reports can be recorded for live broadcasts until shortly (approx. 12-15 minutes) before the broadcast begins. ‘Just-in-time’ is preferred to ‘live’ in this regard, as this minimises the risk of errors.


Clips can easily be exchanged in the house Full HD format or in web format because Helmut up- or down-converts file formats accordingly in the background – and this is also true when adapting posts for use on social media networks. The Unique ID workflow improves third-party integration, which is becoming increasingly vital with the new web and social media channels. Supposedly simple tasks such as posting full pictures in portrait format with corresponding face-centring on Instagram are possible via Helmut – even though many large-scale system providers fall short in this area.


Helmut creates, manages, sends and archives metadata in tandem with the central storage system; this work is essential for the clear allocation and transfer of media assets.


Helmut also controls the archiving process, which is closely aligned with users’ working processes. High-resolution files are archived as a rule, but the proxy files remain accessible in the system for editing and processing. If a file needs to be edited, the archived material can be retrieved at the touch of a button; the cut is then synchronised and processed accordingly in the background.


As Pascal Jacot concludes, “The new workflows have helped us to very quickly integrate live reports and news reports into the newly adapted transmission formats.”



Growth during times of crisis


In the current situation, Telebasel is registering massive increases in viewers – both for its TV channel and online. The company is reacting by expanding and evolving its programming, with these developments being driven by demand for up-to-the-minute reporting on Covid-19, allied to a strong growth in interest in regional news coverage. More precise details can be determined using statistical programs that have been developed by MoovIT and integrated into the workflow.


All metadata on programmes, broadcasts and final schedules is collected in a database. The assigned IDs can be used internally for operations and analysis, but can also be passed on to Switzerland’s central monitoring body as is required in Switzerland for the registration of broadcast programmes. In turn, Telebasel receives very precise information on audience responses, such as audience ratings and changes in the number of viewers during each show.


Telebasel can identify audience preferences with regard to content and broadcast times and can react accordingly with adjustments to its schedule – which then increases viewer loyalty to the broadcaster. For example, during recent coronavirus discussions, corresponding reports on the topic were particularly successful during the morning prime-time period, rather than during the early evening as had previously been the case. This important finding is also relevant for discussions with advertising partners, and so plays a role in strengthening the channel’s economic foundations.


Statistical analysis has an influence on production and the economic success of the business, but is also essential for rights management and invoicing tasks, such as with Suisa (the Swiss equivalent of GEMA in Germany). Helmut is able to use Premiere Pro to register the tracks used during a broadcast to the precise second, adding an identification number for billing purposes. For the placing and invoicing of advertising, individual advertising blocks can be integrated into a programme and transferred to playout – with the help of Helmut in the background. At the same time, the corresponding metadata is also forwarded via Helmut for analysis.

Together with the feedback on audience reactions, this not only provides important information for evidence and billing, but also provides a basis for planning content and the positioning of advertising blocks. As a result, this new system gives Telebasel a truly outstanding tool and management instrument that can be used in direct collaboration with marketing experts and agents – paving the way for the channel to secure its economic success and continued growth in the future.

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