—Editing for sports
programming used to be all about providing
highlights after the game. Not anymore. Another kind of sports editing is catching
It began at the largest national championship
sporting events and is trickling down
to a broader market as demand increases
and technology develops. It is about editing
sports action and clips for replay within the
event itself. Many edited clips show viewers
what they just saw, not necessarily from different
angles and speeds, but from different
perspectives. Sports editing enhances live
sports production and can happen inside
a sports truck, or from virtually anywhere
with a fast internet connection.
“Sports trucks provide real-time feeds
of live and instant replay action frequently
covered by graphics,” said John Salzwedel,
president of Wisconsin-based Token Creek
Productions. “Several leagues request trucks
covering both teams provide parallel clean
feeds for off-site uses.” Some of that off-site
work generates edited files that are sent
back to the truck via FTP or posted.
Before an event, most teams or competitors
will anticipate the need for older
archived material such as early video of
a batter about to break a record. “Often,”
Salzwedel said, “old local content like that
resides on 3/4-inch or 1-inch tape in a TV
station archival library.” Teams generally
provide sports trucks digitized clips to load
on its servers that might prove particularly
useful during certain predictable events.
SPEED IS MONEY
With friendly files loaded in an editor, the
actual speed of editing varies from editor to
editor, human and machine. Everyone has a
favorite and the big names such as Adobe,
Apple, Avid, Imagine’s Velocity and others
are all fast. The challenge in sports editing
is not just creating a timeline, but how long
it takes to pull file data from a
sports truck and push edited content back
to the truck’s servers and the Internet.
During many sporting events, action can
be happening on any camera at any time.
“Sports editing workflows can require operators
to decide what sources to push to
an edit station,” said David Pinkel, sales
manager of EVS the Americas. The number of
unique sources that may be available depends
on truck infrastructure such as encoders
and available outputs. More access
to more channels of live or near-live content
gives producers more tools to colorfully
illustrate recent near-live stories.
Recently, Adobe developed an editor that
can use shared storage managed by an EVS
device. This integration with between EVS
and Adobe creates a fast, intuitive and productive
edit platform for near-live sports post
work. The technical collaboration between
the two companies extends to remote production
and editing workflows.
|NewTek recently added a number of new integrated production capabilities for creating dynamic
sports programs to their 3Play replay systems, bringing the products into the sports editing realm.
Simon Williams, director of strategic relations
at Adobe, sees the collaboration with
EVS as a real advance in what editors can do
under pressure, whether on site or remotely.
“Our goal is to enable editors to work as
efficiently as possible while creating brilliant
results,” Williams said. EVS’s IP Link for
Adobe, a plug-in panel extension for Adobe
Premiere Pro CC can access clip elements
made available for editing by EVS IPDirector
while the live event is taking place. Access
to the underlying media files is made using
shared storage managed by IPDirector.
The IP Link for Adobe plugin panel allows
the user to search for clip elements
based on metadata in the IPDirector and
preview and use the associated files stored
on the shared storage. This allows direct
access to the files from Premiere Pro CC
without having to move or copy files to the
local workstation storage.
According to Williams, a typical sports
truck might have four servers with ISOs,
dirty program and clean program outputs.
EVS MultiReview lets directors and replay
operators browse camera angles simultaneously,
keep a record of selections and make
instant replay and editing decisions across
a local network. It uses a high-resolution
codec with a low-res proxy available on a
single interface in real time. A producer can
see all the action at once and automatically
make a play list.
Multiple channels may be subdesignated
as one master channel. When one clip is
marked, other designated channels receive a
similar mark, providing different camera angles
in a single playlist. For remote facilities,
“It’s like going shopping to extract content,”
Williams said. Efficiently pushing edited content
back is equally critical and depends on
what other work must be done to conform
the file to the servers it is being pushed to.
Imagine Communications Product Manager
Darby Marriott sees parallels with live
sports editing and traditional editing. “They
both require fast ingest, editing and airing,”
Marriott said. Server flexibility is crucial.
Flexibility in sports editing is the ability to
ingest and stream multiple files in multiple
formats, and it extends to editing software
and systems. The faster the systems operate
and the more conforming work they can
do in the background, the better. Servers
such as Imagine’s Nexio AMP have agile
integrated software codecs, which support
most formats including DV, MPEG-2, IMX,
Avid DNxHD, Sony XDCAM HD, H.264,
DVCPRO HD, and Panasonic AVC-Intra.
Imagine Communications partnered with
Dixon Sports Computing to use its
sports logging app, Dixon HiliteSystem, to allow
loggers to mark edit points that creates subclips in an Imagine Nexio editing
system automatically. A drag-and-drop
interface between the Dixon app and Nexio
make the system intuitive and easy to use.
Marriott sees 4K and beyond in the future
of sports editing as that market develops.
When sports truck backbones move to
higher resolutions, sports editing improvements
will follow. Technology is already
headed in that direction.
Some sports editing functions are being
built into sports production gear. NewTek
recently added a number of new integrated
production capabilities for creating dynamic
sports programs to their 3Play replay
systems, bringing the products into the
sports editing realm. According to Don Ballance,
NewTek vice president of worldwide
training, new capabilities include “the ability
to instantly and simultaneously publish
content to multiple Internet destinations,
including Facebook and Twitter.” 3Play can
build real-time overlays to create visuals,
clips, animations, replays, and live action.
Built-in animation buffers and stinger transitions
replace the need for additional video
servers and graphics stores.
Editshare is active in sports editing primarily
through partnerships. Jeff Barnes, director
of workflow design for broadcast and studio
at the Boston-based company said, “The trend
is toward intercompany partnerships instead
of end-to-end solutions.” Companies are
working together to make files compatible.
Editshare recently announced compatibility
partnerships with NewTek’s Tricaster production
switchers and 3Play replay systems
and with Broadcast Pix among others.
Regarding metadata, there are many ways
to log and tag on-the-fly. Many tools, apps
and programs are available for metadata tagging,
and an interesting new tagging product
recently shown at the NAB Show was
Primestream’s Fork Logger 1.0, a metadata-tagging
tool designed for logging live or prerecorded
video. Its tightly integrated and configurable
user interface can make the screen
appear as simple as a fast food restaurant
cash register. Custom buttons are labeled for
every possible action that might occur during
a particular sport or team. It also allows
multiple users to log the same clip simultaneously.
Clearly, the new near- and post-live
power resides in the metadata and the easier
it is to log and tag it, the better.