EVS Backs Up ‘Thursday Night Football’

As an EVS lead, editor and replay operator working in live television, my job can vary dramatically from one event to the next.
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HARTFORD, CONN.—As an EVS lead, editor and replay operator working in live television, my job can vary dramatically from one event to the next. Regardless of my specific role, I can only be as good as the tools at my disposal. Knowing what you want to do to is one thing, how to do it as fast and efficiently as possible is another.

Nowadays, the EVS/LSM server is the backbone of any of my live productions, handling everything from live camera recording for replays or streaming to fast-turnaround highlight editing, graphic sequences and playout. The EVS XT3 server is what we use most no matter which production client or remote truck vendor we’re working with.

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During a regular season game, “TNF” can have up to 17 XT3 servers.READY FOR GAMEDAY
For the last few months I’ve been working on CBS/NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” coverage. We have 17 servers each week and that number will grow to 28 servers and 30 operators—not counting the pre/post game and half-time shows —on Feb. 7, when CBS covers Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. On “TNF,” the workflow includes six 12-channel servers for eight times super slo-mo to interface with the Sony 4300 super slow cameras. It’s a complex production as the new SSCBS is one of the first all-IP trucks NEP has designed, and that has brought challenges in integrating all of the infrastructure and functionality.

All XT3 servers have specific functions within the confines of the “TNF” replay infrastructure. Each has a mixed capability of 12 or eight channels—or three channels of 4K—with high-speed connectivity between every server, including 10 GigE switches. Within the design of the show we can transfer to and from third-party applications like Avid timelines, archiving and file transfer, for archiving as needed.

FILES AND METADATA
We’re using Sony 4300 cameras as standard 30 fps as well as high-speed and 4K configurations. The XT3 can be configured to support super slow-motion, supermotion 3X/6X/8X, hypermotion, and HD. The XT3s can also be configured to handle the much larger 4K file sizes.

The XT3s allow us to work with growing files, meaning we can work on clips during live recording, then send final edits for instant playback. There’s no need for a traditional codec conversion process as the use of EVS’ XT Access allows for transcoding as necessary.

Advanced metadata functionality is another way to ensure speed and efficiency. All action is tagged to create timecode-specific metadata that is clip specific, allowing archive material to be sorted. Metadata is also critical for the NFL, which logs what happens in each and every play for archival purposes. Descriptive keywords allow them to retrace all angles sorted by timecode.

The ability to share information has all but completely eliminated the use of videotapes. Just two years ago we were still using UPS and FedEx to send tapes to remotes, but now digital is more reliable and much less expensive.

The ability of the EVS XT3 server along with its capacity, power, speed and reliability allows us to focus on the more creative aspects of our jobs, most importantly without worrying.

Mark Levy has more than 30 years of live and post television experience and is a 15-time Emmy Award winner. He can be contacted at perdiemmark@gmail.comor call 860-655-4567.

For more information, please visit www.evs.comor call 973-575-7811.