EVS Enhances ‘America’s Got Talent’ Workflow

Michael Shore

NEW YORK —Season 8 of “America’s Got Talent,” produced by FremantleMedia for NBC, was broadcast live, two nights a week for 10 consecutive weeks last summer. Creating three hours of live primetime television every week is always stressful in its own right, but this year was made even more so by a move to a new venue: New York’s historic Radio City Music Hall. Shooting at this location required the construction of a complete post-production facility (16 Avid Media Composers and a 128TB Unity ISIS) nearly two blocks from the production truck.

To accommodate the video traffic, a fiber-optic circuit was installed between the venue and a nearby office building that became the post-production facility for the shoot. The only way that this setup could work reliably, however, was to create a delivery system that the entire team could count on during crunches. We used EVS’s XT servers to create our unique workflow, with media management software from Pronology directly controlling them and managing all of the file creation tasks.

The XTs delivered the high performance, speed and reliability we needed and its loop recording technology guaranteed uninterrupted multichannel recording and instant access to material at any time, which was critical to our system architecture. During pre-production, the XTs were configured with all channels as recorders, enabling a number of cameras to be isolated. After necessary elements were acquired and dispatched to their various destinations by the Pronology system, the XT2s would be used to air the material. This allowed multichannel synchronous playback directly from the PI interface, again using native protocols to control the XTs.

The ability to easily switch from an “all record” mode to an “all playback” mode was the most significant and economically efficient aspect of the entire operation. EVS’ open integration points allowed the server to act as a foundation with third-party software, maximizing the available resources.

The Pronology ingest controller allowed production personnel to create and fulfill multi-step workflow requirements with a single button press. They could easily record and create high-resolution content, as well as low-resolution web-browsable proxies. These proxy files were linked to their high-res siblings that resided on both the EVS XT server in the truck and on the Avid ISIS system two blocks away. Pronology automatically organized content by show, day and performer and also hosted a web server allowing instant and secure access to these proxies by executives located around the world. In addition Pronology suite enabled the creation of .mp4 files downstream of the EVS high-res recordings for immediate uploading to YouTube, providing the ability to “fingerprint” content and secure ownership before other contributors could upload unauthorized copies.

Creating and moving media is one part of the puzzle; useful organization of this media is quite another. The Pronology suite, working in concert with EVS tools, provided a secure and organized means of creating and browsing footage, as well as a tool for delivering media to multiple destinations in a highly organized and efficient manner. The result was the successful completion of season eight of “America’s Got Talent.”

Mike Shore is the founder and principal of Pronology media asset management software. He may be contacted atmshore@pronology.com.

For additional information, contact EVS at 212-660-1600 or visitwww.pronology.com.