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01.10.2006
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NBA Entertainment creates high-tech sports powerhouse

New studio technology - network



NBA Entertainment creates high-tech sports powerhouse



NBA Entertainment is command central for all National Basketball Association (NBA) broadcasts, housing a production facility that literally captures everything that happens in each game, with up to a dozen games broadcasting simultaneously. It sends game broadcasts, clips and other NBA content to 214 countries worldwide.

To improve its facility’s ability to work with that content in a timeframe that is most valuable (immediately following the game) and put the games in a secure archive for preservation and future programming, it engaged Silicon Graphics (SGI).

As a first step, the facility purchased an SGI InfiniteStorage solution capable of storing more than 300 hours of high-quality MPEG-2 SD video, with plans to expand to 50TB or 2000 plus hours in the future. At the facility’s headquarters in Secaucus, NJ, the data warehouse allows NBA production personnel to catalog and store all the action from every NBA game as it occurs.

SGI integrated the complex workflow for NBA Entertainment’s broadcast production facility, which will now be able to instantly capture every play, categorize it and store it for fast and easy retrieval. Those capabilities are essential, as the digital facility is a quick turnaround production and distribution point for digital media globally every night the NBA is in action. More than 150 freelance editors produce nightly highlight reels in 15 integrated editing suites from the online digital archive. NBA Entertainment produces NBA TV, video packages for NBA.com, VOD packages for cable partners, short packages for cell phone distribution and customized video for online viewing on Web sites worldwide. It also indexes and serves video to the NBA Basketball Operations Group.

In addition to the archives of the past 12 seasons, the facility has partial seasons as well as film going back to the late ’40s and early ’50s. And for every current game, two staffers sit at the scorer’s table logging every shot in the game, including who was involved in the play, where on the court it was shot from and, on a scale of one to five, how good a shot it was. That database gets tied to the official game clock and that, using the SGI system, gets tied to the SMPTE time code of the video of the game. As a result, the facility can do a low-res browse and edit of every shot captured.

NBA Entertainment’s new 48TB SGI InfiniteStorage SAN/NAS 2000 solution provides universal data access and flexible, scalable and secure high-performance network-attached storage (NAS). The solution also incorporates the StorageTek SL8500 tape library. The InfiniteStorage solution can easily expand to increase network bandwidth, adding hundreds of terabytes of data.

The NAS solution is already growing into a full SAN with SGI InfiniteStorage Shared Filesystem CXFS, which combines the flexibility and ease of use of NAS with the power and speed of SAN architecture, with no data conversion necessary. This growth will enable NBA Entertainment to expand to 23 Liquid Blue nonlinear editors and add 16 Snell & Wilcox Asteroid SD/HD MPEG-2 MXF encoders exclusively for ingesting its archive.

Design Team Technology at Work
NBA: Pinnacle 15 Liquid Blue NLEs (23 when fully implemented)
Steve Hellmuth, vp tech. SGI:
Mike Rokosa, sr. dir. eng. Filesystem CXFS
Keith Horstman, dir. app. dev. 48TB InfiniteStorage
Dana Stone, dir. digital media mgmt. SAN/NAS 2000
SGI: StorageTek SL8500 tape library
Bill Buhro, media solutions architect Snell & Wilcox 6 Asteroid SD/HD
Tony Karam, program mgr. MPEG-2 MXF encoders
Dale Brantly, systems solutions architect

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