Promise Technology, Vsquared TV Create Editing Suite for Tour de France Broadcast
Broadcast on 121 different television channels in over 190 countries, the Tour de France is the world’s most-watched cycling event. Since 1986, the Tour de France broadcasts for ITV in the United Kingdom have been produced by Vsquared TV. For the 2014 Tour de France, Vsquared TV built the fastest, most advanced editing suites supporting a sporting event to-date with the help of PROMISE Technology and its Pegasus2 Thunderbolt 2 storage solution and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 to Fibre Channel bridge.
Vsquared TV built one of the first large-scale broadcast implementations of Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). The impressive array of equipment deployed for their four main edit suites included AJA Io 4Ks, Softron Movie Recorder and new Mac Pros, which were linked to a 70TB high-speed Fibre Channel SAN via the SANLink2. SANLink2 was critical to this project: without it, Vsquared TV could not harness the immense power of the Mac Pros, as there would be no way to link them to the SAN. Each edit suite had 12TB of local Thunderbolt 2 storage with a Pegasus2 drive configured in RAID 5, which was used to hold the working daily FCPX library as well as an archive of previous days’ libraries.
A massive challenge for Vsquared TV was that the final ‘highlights’ program went to air only two hours after the end of each day’s stage of the Tour de France. The end of the one hour program was usually still being edited as the beginning went to air — meaning speed was vitally important — and their system delivered. “We were able to export 15 minute parts from the timeline to the EVS ready for playout in under five minutes,” said Peter Wiggins, senior editor for Vsquared TV. “When you are editing close to air, this makes a very big difference as it gave us extra time to polish the final edits and still make it to air in time. The Mac Pro paired with PROMISE’s Pegasus2 and SANLink2 were hugely important to help us maximize efficiency.”
“In the end I think we created one of the fastest and most powerful edit systems that can be put together,” said James Venner, producer for Vsquared TV. “My original aim was to achieve a move to FCPX with a minimum of disruption to our workflow. That in itself would have been a good first step, however, we far exceeded that and by the end of the race we were producing items that could not have been made in the same time using other systems.”
“It was really exciting to be involved with Vsquared TV as they broke new ground,” said John van den Elzen, managing director, PROMISE Technology EMEA. “With the quick turnarounds and tight deadlines Vsquared TV faced, they needed to have a lot of speed and confidence in their edit systems. We are thrilled that our SANLink2 and Pegasus2 delivered the performance needed — and played a key role in the successful project.”