O21, ITV Tap EVS/Apple Integration for Football, Darts Coverage
The ability for EVS instant replay systems to integrate easily with Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems continues to pay dividends for both companies as ITV and O21 Television are using the system for broadcasting both Champions League Football and darts.
TV productions for each Champions League match is handled by two O21 HD trucks with 24 cameras and a replay truck that has 15 EVS servers. The tapeless HD workflow can have up to nine EVS HD XT servers dedicated to match coverage, and it also regularly includes four super-slo-motion cameras. Three more HD XT servers are used in conjunction with Final Cut Pro for the ITV1 presentation.
The trucks are built to allow for maximum flexibility to meet the client’s needs and budget, no matter what the event. “While we want to provide ITV with the cutting-edge technology, we still have to respect their budgets,” explains James Clement, account director with 021, “Using EVS technology throughout our business means that, one week, a machine can be an edit server, and the next, it can be playing clips into ‘Dancing on Ice.’ Better utilization means the most competitive pricing.”
The setup is currently centered on an EVS XF, which allows the editor or producers to select the exact clips they require for editing. Each machine is also independently networked onto two EVS XHubs for backup purposes.
All of the XT servers run in the Apple ProRes 422 codec, allowing easy transfer to and from the Final Cut Pro suite, without the need for transcoding. Individual operators located anywhere on the OB van can access each other’s clips and record simultaneously.
The setup for darts, an SD show, takes the integration one step further. Due to extensive transmission slots, there is high demand for cutting features and packages. There is also an entire one-hour highlights show in need of editing on-site for broadcast 90 minutes after the show goes off air.
Four XT servers are devoted to replays: two for super-slo-mo cameras and another two for replay. Because the machines have such flexible configurations, ITV can use just one XT as a server for three editing suites. The high-speed SDTI network and massive storage capacity also allow at least five 50-Mb video streams to be sent directly to the timeline with bandwidth remaining for clip transfer and record-train browsing.
Three Final Cut Pro suites have dedicated XF units for interfacing between the Mac and the XT servers. These can transfer clips, stream live footage, and compile their own material for editing without disturbing any other element of the broadcast workflow. Finally, two IP Directors serve as user interfaces for the XT servers. These IP Directors enable producers to browse and log the live material, search clips, preview these clips, and subsequently send them via Gigabit Ethernet to any of the edit suites directly.
Completed edits can be exported from any of the FCPs using a background process that publishes it back to the XT as a clip via the XTAccess software. It is not necessary to wait for the entire edit to transfer back to the XT; it can play out as it is receiving the data.
“The APs don’t have to spool through hundreds of tapes anymore. All the material they need is at their fingertips, and the speed of getting into and out of the edits means every second in the suites is productive,” says Nick Moody, series producer of ITV’s darts coverage.
“Clients are often pleasantly surprised to discover how much flexibility and productivity can be achieved comfortably within today’s pressured program budgets,” says Brett Stoneham, EVS head of Technical Operations & Pre-Sales in the UK and Ireland. “This installation allows for the production of around 100 hours of programming over 10 days across two major channels, using just six EVS servers.”