Product Spotlight: SNAPfeed

Dec 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: SNAPfeed, a software tool from AP Broadcast
How it works: SNAPfeed analyzes the resources and connections available for journalists in the field who need to file stories. It then recommends the best and fastest way to send the news report. SNAPfeed, which operates from a PC-based laptop, assesses the type of connection-such as cellphone, land line or satellite phone-determines the amount of available bandwidth and then asks the journalist for his or her deadline to select the appropriate transmission speed, said Mike Palmer, director of technology development for AP Broadcast.
“It makes sure your video file makes it back to base on deadline by looking at available bandwidth and then compresses it to the needed amount to send it back,” he said. “It breaks it down to one question: What is your deadline? We will munch it down to a postage-size piece of paper to get it back on time.” SNAPfeed can operate at very low bit rates to send material back in a short amount of time. However, if a file is actually compressed to the smallest size possible it would probably be re-sent at a higher quality for later re-airing, he said.
Features and benefits: SNAPfeed integrates with the ENPS newsroom computer system so that journalists back in the office are immediately alerted that a file will be sent and what it will contain. They are also notified when the file arrives. ENPS and SNAPfeed share the same connection to the station, which means remote journalists can edit, compress and transmit video while using the same laptop and data connection to write stories, read news wires and exchange messages with other ENPS users. The software is compatible with laptop editing products such as those from Quantel, Pinnacle and Omnibus. The transmission speed can range from as low as 30 Kbps to as high as 6 Mbps. “You would go that low if you have a poor phone line or [if the file was shot] at the time of transmission,” Mr. Palmer said.
Availability: SNAPfeed is currently in beta testing and should be officially released early next year. AP Television News planned to begin testing the software in London and with crews around the world starting this October.