Colorado Rockies Up Replay Ante With Grass Valley K2 Solo Server

Last summer, Scott McGinnis and the Colorado Rockies’ video staff found themselves in a tough predicament. With one of their highest-profile series of the season, against the New York Yankees, just a week away, their replay server was on the fritz. The Rockies audio video manager and his team needed to think fast and opted to bring in a Grass Valley K2 Solo 3G two-channel media server, a solution that continues to enhance its production workflow as it prepares for Opening Day at Coors Field in April.

“The Grass Valley K2 Solo was a perfect fit for the Rockies,” says McGinnis. “Our clip player went down in the middle of the season, and we were able to get back running in a matter of a few hours. Grass Valley had the right product for the right price for us.”

He made the call to Grass Valley just one week prior to the first game of the Yankees series. Five days later, the Grass Valley Dyno replay system had arrived in Denver and, just two days after that, had been installed and was ready to go live for the series opener. The K2 Solo 3G was also easily integrated with the Rockies’ existing Kayak digital production switcher.

“The Rockies operations team already had one of our servers, so they were familiar with the user-interface and how it worked,” says Bruce Lane, director, channel sales and sports market development, North America, Grass Valley. “So there was no training required on their part. That said, if we needed to get some training done, we would have made it happen.”

The whirlwind week was indicative of how a growing in-venue–video market often demands an ultra-quick implementation.

“Yes, it was a very, very fast turnaround,” says Lane. “When [sports facilities] have an issue, it is my goal to make sure that we can service that need, and their needs usually involve a very short turnaround.”

The compact, standalone two-channel K2 Solo 3G server delivers the same functionality as the four-channel Grass Valley K2 Summit 3G but is half the size, suiting it for smaller in-venue control rooms. The unit enabled the Rockies’ video team to tap into the K2’s file-based infrastructure and file operations, while guaranteeing that on-air channels never lose video — key to the Rockies’ in-game operations.

“We never have to worry about dropping a frame of video, which is really important, considering the length of the baseball season,” says McGinnis. “The K2 dramatically improved how we ingest clips from our editors: we now can do file transfer.

The K2 Solo also provides 25 hours of HD storage, immediate access to clip playout and instant replays, and fast, easy loading of files.

According to Grass Valley SVP, North America, Andy Jackson, an increasing number of in-venue video-production teams have turned to Grass Valley K2 servers for replay operations.

“The in-venue–experience market is definitely a growing segment,” he points out. “It is an important segment because at those venues need to create an experience that will motivate users to come and enjoy the event at the venue. As we continue to deliver an ever-more appealing experience at home, you have to up the ante in the venue to keep people coming out to the stadium and being a part of that.”

The Rockies aren’t the only Denver franchise jumping on the Grass Valley train. Both Sports Authority Field at Mile High (home to the Denver Broncos) and Pepsi Center (Nuggets and Avalanche) recently selected the company’s replay servers for revamped A/V-production facilities.

“We are extremely focused on this vertical and are scaling our technology to address this segment,” says Jackson. “This particular vertical has a very large palette to deal with on their large screens. As they continue to make upgrades, it opens up opportunities to do a lot more with their productions. It’s our challenge to come up with a product that allows the venue production team to create quality content that will entertain that audience. There will definitely be a lot more consideration in looking at plays and replays at the venues. It’s a growth segment, that’s for sure.”

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