Sunday, August 26, 2007

Change Being The Only Constant

We are in the midst of changing the way we capture and process videos on the Web site and (once again) going at backwards.

For years, we've used a combination of Vegas Videos and Digital Rapids apps to capture, livestream and digitize videos. It's a time-consuming process. To put it simply, it got to the point where it would take 20 to 25 minutes to produce a video for the Web site that was on the air for about 2 minutes. In other words, if we captured a weathercast that lasted for 3 minutes, it wasn't on the site for close to 30 minutes.

It was time-consuming, but it works and allows us to do things we need to do, such as capture and livestream at the same time.

A decision was made, however, that this was all taking too long (which it was) and the powers-that-be decided to use a different process. A company called Anystream has a system where all the newscasts are programmed and the material is captured automatically. We still have to delineate which video clips we want (which takes MUCH more time using Quicktime Pro than it does with Vegas) but they are processed much faster.

One of (several) problems with the new system, however, is there is no quick/easy way to capture the images we need to associate with the videos. The guy from Anystream who came to put the system in place is a great guy, but it became apparent over the course of two days that NO ONE gave a thought to how we actually do the work at the Web site before choosing a new system to integrate into it. (This wasn't his fault, by the way -- those decisions were made way above his head.)

No one came went to a site and watched what we do, observed the work flow, etc. Instead of choosing a system to use based on what we already do, they chose it based only its merits alone.

What is WRONG with this picture?!

So, the process is going to be extremely gummed up for awhile, even as we head into election season and the transition is not going to be pleasant.

A lot of time gets wasted this way when it would be much more efficient and cost-effective to simply figure out what we do AHEAD OF TIME. Would it ever kill anyone to ASK US before making these decisions? At no point did any of the engineers involved in investigating and implementing this new system ASK US WHAT WE DO OR HOW WE DO IT.

I continue to be dumbfounded.

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