The Factual Production Library

Before 2015, the footage shot by the BBC Factual Productions teams, including the critical archive of the BBC’s Natural History Unit, was stored on disk drives. Housed in the tape library warehouses, this content was vulnerable and difficult to access.
Support Partners were brought in to provide an accessible, secure alternative. The new system needed to securely catalogue media for programmes currently in production, provide access for users on certain teams with specific permissions, and ensure production teams split between Bristol and London could easily access archived content.

Our Solution

Our team created the Factual Production Library (FPL), a customised version of the Reach Engine Media Asset Management system.
Based in BBC Bristol’s Digital Village, the FPL is an online platform that provides secure storage and remote access to all the video footage shot by BBC Factual Productions teams in both London and Bristol. It totals a quarter of a million clips and hundreds of Terabytes of master media, with several Terabytes added weekly as freshly shot footage comes in and archive footage from the Natural History Productions is imported.

Initial Concept and Planning

After a thorough user consultation process, we were able to help the BBC compare functionality between a number of systems. Our technical team identified the best choices to deliver asset management, transcoding, archiving and storage, ensuring optimum performance for the available budget.

Drafts and Revisions

When third parties were unable to deliver parts of the integration on time, the Support Partners team developed interim workflows to ensure that the FPL could operate and ingest media. We identified several areas for improvement in the out-of-the-box workflows and worked with the suppliers to design, test and deploy improved workflows to increase efficiency, stability and user experience.t.

Project Delivery

Support Partners succeeded in providing a custom-made digital storage solution that integrates seamlessly with the BBC’s current post-production facilities. Our team redeployed assets from other projects to deliver within a limited budget and to a tight timescale, helping to bridge the gap between the production requirements, capabilities of third party solutions and the availability of BBC resources. The result was a production library that provides secure storage and remote access to hundreds of Terabytes of archive and post-production footage.

The Factual Production Library

The FPL is a custom built, online platform that provides secure access to video footage shot by the BBC Factual Productions in London. It plays a key role in the department’s file-based production strategy and serves three core purposes:

  1. Provides secure, accessible storage for the file-based media shot by production teams.
  2. Replaces the tape library warehouses that were previously used to store all of the BBC’s tape rushes.
  3. Provides a production-facing tool that is integrated into the programme making process.

Reach Engine MAM

At its heart, the FPL is a customised version of the Reach Engine, a database designed to enable users to quickly locate and edit content. Built for integration with custom-made applications, the system is a database of record for the complete media lifecycle. The Reach Engine connects with Adobe Prelude creative assets to allow a speedy workflow and easy access to content.

Our technical team chose to modify this solution for the BBC to provide a production library with a user-friendly interface, remote login, easy access and cataloging of huge quantities of data, and optimum workflow efficiency within a tight budget.

Personalised Innovations, Creative Solutions, Dedicated Support