|NEW YORK: NBC Olympics will send a veteran
crew of more than 1,500 to cover the London
Games, headed by Dave Mazza, NBC Olympics
senior vice president of Engineering, Terry
Adams, NBC vice president of IBC Engineering
and Chip Adams, NBC vice president of Venue
Engineering. TV Technology caught up with them
just prior to the Games to discuss the networks’
TV TECHNOLOGY: The Games are about to
open, what has been your biggest challenge this
MAZZA: NBCUniversal will provide 5,535
hours of coverage for the
2012 London Olympics
across NBC, NBC Sports
CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo,
two specialty channels,
and the first-ever 3D platform,
level that surpasses any
previous coverage of the
Our team is charged
with assembling the technical
platform to produce, route and manage all
that content. It’s a massive project, but it is also
a great opportunity.
TVT: Production wise, how do these games compare
to Vancouver and Beijing?
MAZZA: The 5,535 hours of Olympic coverage
are the most ever and surpass Beijing’s coverage
(3,600 hours) by nearly 2,000 hours. It is
equivalent to 231 days of coverage.
NBCOlympics.com will live stream every
event and sport for the first time ever. In all,
the site will live stream more than 3,500 total
programming hours, including the awarding of
all 302 medals. By comparison, NBCOlympics.com live streamed 25 sports and 2,200 hours
for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Two apps—one focused on live streaming,
one on short-form highlights, schedules, results,
columns, and more—will be available for mobile
and tablet users.
As in previous years, we will collaborate
with OBS who provides NBC with all of the core
coverage. OBS provides the world feed which
is international coverage of every venue. We
supplement as much of it as possible, but our
assets are primarily used to help tell the story of
the U.S. athletes.
We also have a large group producing the
Olympic Zone show, which includes daily segments
NBC affiliates can use to create their own
highlights show hosted
by local anchors and
featuring regional athletes.
TVT: Can you highlight
any particular new
technologies or visual
enhancements that will
debut this year?
MAZZA: NBCOlympics.com will live stream every
event and sport for
the first time ever. The
site will also feature rewinds of all event coverage,
a steady stream of athlete profiles, event
highlights, a tour of London as the host city, and
more. The vast majority of content will only be
available to authenticated cable, satellite or
In another first, NBCOlympics.com will provide
multiple concurrent streams for select sports,
such as gymnastics (each apparatus), track and
field (each event), and tennis (up to five courts).
For example, during a session of track and field,
instead of viewing only a single feed that moves
from event to event, a user can choose to watch
a stream dedicated to a specific event, such as
the long jump or javelin.
In the studios, we’re shooting with the new
Sony multiformat cameras, the HDC2400’s And
in the field we’re
using 30 PDWF800s.
studio that includes
22x, and for the field
and ENG the 86x, 22x
and 14x mm wide angle.
Editing-wise, we are using
over 40 Avid seats, a combination
of Media Composers and Symphonies that are
centrally stored on an Avid ISIS. We’re also using
a Sony XDCam Station which combines an
optical drive and a hard drive inside the same
chassis. 48 channels of feeds are recorded in
London through those XDCam Stations and then
transferred to a 288 TB Omneon Media Grid,
which is then replicated to another media grid
in New York using both the high-res LonGop50
and low-res proxies.
TVT: How is the effort to distribute content to
multiple platforms working out this year? Any
MAZZA: We’ll have up to 35 venues going on at
the same time. Streaming more than 3,500 live
hours starts with figuring out how to ingest and
backhaul that much content, which at times can
come from as many as 60 feeds concurrently.
We have transformed Saturday Night Live’s
studio space into what we call the “Highlights
We’ve got 10 gigabits of bandwidth coming
via our AT&T circuits to the U.S. That’s a staggering
number, considering many of the same
feeds are also being converted from 50 to 60
hertz and coming home via a variety of means,
including many MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 encoders
from Ericcson, and a few JPEG 2000 links. All of
those feeds create a number of complexities that
you just can’t avoid. It’s a daunting task, but we
are confident we can do it.