LOS ANGELES—Upgrading a control room is increasingly becoming
an event that happens with an eye on the not-so-distant future. The build-out
at Time Warner Cable SportsNet and TWC Deportes, and
later SportsNet LA, happened in two phases that were two years apart,
with the second having been planned as an addition to the first.
|NASCAR Productions’ HD facility in Charlotte, N.C.
“When we did the original build-out for TWC SportsNet and TWC
Deportes in 2012, we left enough square footage to build another studio
down the line, which ended up basically doubling the equipment complement
in the process,” said Mark Coleman vice president, operations for
TWC Sports Regional Networks, with the additions being four Sony 2500
cameras, the Calrec Artemeis, four edit rooms with Final Cut Pro or Adobe
Premiere, with staffing space and other additional capacity.
“Actually, we were finishing the original TWC networks with our systems
integrator, Diversified Systems Inc., when it was announced that SportsNet
LA was going to be launched,” said Coleman. “We didn’t miss a beat. We
had the first two networks up and running during the second build-out.”
A MORE ORGANIC APPROACH
TWC is still working with DSI and the University of Florida is still working
with BeckTV, though such liaisons don’t always continue. In other control
rooms, like NASCAR Productions’ fully file-based, HD facility in Charlotte,
N.C., the approach to system enhancements is more organic; having
worked in 2009 with CEI Engineering of Newington, Va., on the initial install,
the staff opted to conduct its system upgrades in-house moving forward.
For example, last January, NASCAR Productions installed Levels Beyond,
a media asset management and automation product. “We’re the
largest motorsports library in the world, and through Levels Beyond, Fox
Sports and NBC have access to our archives,” Steve Stum, vice president
of operations and technical production at NASCAR Productions.
At the track, NASCAR gathers content from the Sprint Vision jumbotrons,
ENG, clean feeds, dirty feeds, in-car cameras and, soon, 48 HD
POV cameras that will be installed along pit road. “All of that content
comes back here to Charlotte following every NASCAR race,” Stum said,
“via satellite, fiber, or on hard drives, which we call ‘sneakernet,’ that someone
brings back from a track. That’s 300 to 400 hours of content a week.”
And Levels Beyond—which runs on four production servers, one staging
server and nine transcoding servers—facilitates the massive ingest
into a library with more than 220,000 hours of content and more than
800,000 assets—which is part of why NASCAR’s needs evolve more
than change. “We’re constantly upgrading,” Stum said.