One of the keys to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)’s success has been its unique blend of programming and the ability to provide fans with a variety of both live events and post-produced shows.
WWE broadcasts in 30 languages to more than 15.5 million fans per week in the United States alone and its programming can be seen by half a billion television households worldwide.
SYSTEM PROVIDES SPEEDY THROUGHPUT
We produce upwards of 50 hours of programming per week for our domestic and international properties combined on a fully networked storage area based on Grass Valley K2 servers and the Grass Valley Aurora HD editing platform. We’ve become proficient in working the system to our advantage, and can turn around packages in about an hour’s time.
We had been using SD edit systems from Grass Valley, but early last year, converted our entire operations to HD and installed multiple Aurora HD systems as part of a file-based infrastructure.
All content that we produce or from an outside source is handled as I-Frame MPEG-2 at 70 Mbps. This gives us great quality images to work from. It also makes it easy to store and retrieve from our Grass Valley K2 servers, and makes it unnecessary for our editors to deal with mixed formats, as productivity and speed are critical to meeting our goals.
Our production system includes 16 HD ingest channels, and has a 3,800 hour HD storage capacity and 15,000 hours of online disk-based proxy storage. The system is designed to support 200 named users and 50 simultaneous users, 20 full-resolution viewing seats, and 36 full-featured multi-stream nonlinear editing systems.
In order to maintain full redundancy and ensure that our staff has all of the bandwidth they need to complete their projects, we divided our editing environment into two main areas—primary and backup. They mirror each other and consist of 14 Aurora viewers and 20 full Aurora Edit workstations tied to 130 TB of storage (per side). This gives editors full access to our archives and the ability to search and retrieve through the Aurora interface.
COMES WITH LOTS OF PLUSES
The Aurora platform is compatible with other systems in our facility, including a full Apple XSan with multiple Final Cut Pro edit stations. Another great advantage is the repackaging and reformatting that the system can perform after each edit is made. And its “Auto Save” feature automatically saves all of the work completed up to that point, so we never lose anything.
For archiving, the Aurora makes it easy to archive our clips to our in-house Nesbit media asset management system and SGL robotic library system. We save everything, including all raw footage and final masters, because we never know when we’ll need it again.
We’re now producing programming on a 24/7 basis and really give the Aurora platform a workout. We’ve never missed an air date or time—ever. Given the amount of work we’re pushing through the system, I’d say our investment in the Aurora platform has proven to be very successful and we would do it all over again. In fact, we plan to expand the system to include more Aurora Edit systems going forward.
Kevin Quinn is vice president of TV Technology at WWE, and is one of the original members of the WWE HD design team that put the original production and post architecture in place. He’s been with the WWE since 1988. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Slim Simon has worked at WWE for 20 years. Prior to that, he was with MTV as a tape operator and audio engineer. He may be contacted at email@example.com
For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or visit www.grassvalley.com