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EVS serves up Olympic replay, playback for multiple clients

February 8th, 2014 By Ken Kerschbaumer, Executive Director, Editorial
The EVS servers inside the IBC will record more than 1,500 hours of content during the Olympic games.

The EVS servers inside the IBC will record more than 1,500 hours of content during the Olympic games.

The Olympics are wrapping up the first full day of action and all reports show productions across the board that are already humming along with solid coverage and enhancements. Much of that is due to the years of experience found across the production units but another factor is that many of the workflows in place were also in place at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“We have the same workflow and duplicated what we did in London with OBS but it’s a little bit smaller,” says Luc Doneux, EVS, SVP, sports division. “The OBS Multi-channel Distribution Service is getting bigger but otherwise we are doing the same thing we did in London.”

One of the reasons that the Winter Games, historically, lack the massive technical changes found at Summer Games is that the time between Summer and Winter is typically only about 17 months (and any changes would need to be committed to about a year after the Summer games) while the Summer Games have about a 30 month window.

Alex Redfern of EVS with the system he and the team are ensuring runs smoothly during the coming days.

Alex Redfern of EVS with the system he and the team are ensuring runs smoothly during the coming days.

Alex Redfern, EVS project solutions architect, played a big role in getting the system up and running this year and has been on site since early January with the rest of the EVS team (yet another reason operations are going smoothly). From his perspective the biggest new challenge was integrating the EVS servers with a Harris automation system but that integration went smoothly. The use of the Harris system allows for OBS to automate the playback of content on the MDS channels during the overnight hours.

All told the EVS presence extends outside of the OBS core plant to the other broadcaster operations in the IBC and also out to the OB units scattered across the coastal and mountain venues. Estimates are that there are about 200 EVS live production servers and live editing systems in use in order to manage the recording of more than 500 cameras. Those operations begin with the use of 8 EVS XT3 servers and 30 logging stations.

The EVS recording systems are complemented by a multi-channel playout system that allows 10 ready-to-air channels to deliver more than 2,000 hours of live content and 500 hours of edited content.

More than 30 broadcasters within the IBC are also relying on EVS servers, including NBC Olympics, the BBC, NHK, Globosat Brazil, and Germany’s ARD/ZDF.

While the changes from London workflows may be subtle the differences from the last winter Olympics, held in 2012 in Vancouver, are tangible. Advances include multiple high- and low-resolution outputs via Xsquare (high-res for EVS and Avid ISIS and low-res for EVS and Web browsing) and an interface with data feeds for scheduling, startlists, and logging feeds. Also new is the IXT iPad app for remote clipping, IP Web-based browsing and remote delivery, and the automated playout of the 8 MDS channels.

Much of the EVS equipment found in the racks of the IBC will be headed to another IBC: the one that HBS will call home for the World Cup in June and July. And other equipment will make the move to the Commonwealth Games (to be held in Scotland beginning at the end of July) and the 2014 Asian Games to be held in Incheon, Korea, in September.

One big difference between this event and the World Cup will be that many more broadcasters will make use of the EVS Web browsing technology at the World Cup. The system allows users to browse the EVS servers from anywhere and then request clips. At the Olympics only one broadcaster signed up for the capability while more than 100 are expected to use it during the World Cup. Doneux credits that difference to the fact that the Olympics MDS channels allow broadcasters to more easily find the content they need while the World Cup will have ENG crews following the 32 teams and acquiring content that can only really be accessed properly via something like a browsing interface.

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