Post & network production facilities
NBC Universal Design Team
David Mazza, sr. VP, eng.
Larry Thaler, VP, distribution tech.;
Keith Jackson, VP, production tech.
Media Strategy Partners:
Peter Humphrey, software architect
HLF Technology Team
Technology at work
Blue Order Solutions
Cyradis Technology VMS
Digital Rapids DRC
Isilon Systems storage
MOG Solutions Toboggan
Snell & Wilcox Mach 1
For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, NBC Universal set the bar even higher for delivering content
The 2008 Beijing Olympics broke numerous records. However, not only the athletes should be lauded. NBC Universal (NBCU) set a precedent for successfully delivering content across platforms.
An ambitious infrastructure allowed content to be recorded and ingested in China to a digital media storage array. From there, it instantly became available to the many systems and users requiring media files and finally delivered in the correct formats to various new media outlets. This required the most cutting-edge technology and, more importantly, working exceptionally close with more than 20 vendors to ensure all hardware and applications would perform collectively, with the overriding principle that quality should never be sacrificed.
Omneon MediaDecks ingested feeds at the IBC, while the MediaGrid provided 180TB of storage in China and 120TB of storage in New York. Blue Order Media, along with Cyradis, OPIS and IDS, used the schedules created in ScheduALL to manage the media files, generate statistic metadata and create the EDLs read by MOG Solutions, which auto composited the high-quality essence based on instruction. Stats metadata was merged with the streaming files created by Digital Rapids for unified display on NBCOlympics.com by CMS provider Deltatre.
During the ingest process in China, shot pickers in NY screened, logged and produced the content for digital distribution using low-res proxy files created by the MediaDecks. Conformed SD and HD video, images and EDLs were sent to Avid using Cisco WAAS for more finished edits and/or to the Anystream system for transcoding for new media outlets.
Anystream’s Velocity, located at Englewood Cliffs, NJ, auto-ingested production metadata entered by producers at 30 Rock via a customized MS application. Based on the metadata,
Velocity instructed Agility to transcode the correct format. After each transcode passed quality assurance, distribution packages, which included thumbnails, various resolutions of Windows Media, MPEG-2 video and XMLs, were auto published by Velocity based on an outlet’s requirement to MCDS. MCDS, an in-house application powered by Signiant, sent out packages to the appropriate outlets, such as NBC Direct.
For VOD packages, all 50Hz content was standards-converted through a Snell & Wilcox Mach 1, controlled by Agility and re-encoded as 60Hz with ad-stitching for delivery to the appropriate cable VOD outlets.
In excess of 22,000 video files of Olympics programming were published to more than 13 outlets for Web, VOD, mobile and electronic sell through. Six million mobile subscribers accessed content via cellular phones, and 10 million hours of video was watched across new media platforms, shattering U.S. digital records. Ultimately, these games set a new standard for how digital content is delivered across platforms.