WWE delivers RAW quality production abroad

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Dave Taylor used this EVS workstation for production of the Birmingham, England, event in April.

Every week, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tape room creates some of the most technically complicated shows on the air with no set days, two operators and one AD.

A typical “RAW” or “Smackdown” involves 16 separate playback sources covering everything from promos and graphics to entrance videos and switcher effects. One page of the script — about eight minutes of airtime — contains as many as 20 separate elements and replays.

Trying to reproduce this intricate system of interfaces and having to move more than 1000 elements to a new truck each week would be next to impossible, so the WWE retains exclusive use of NEP SuperShooter 22. For 51 weeks a year, the truck crisscrosses North America to produce close to 120 nights of live entertainment.

Such complexity isn’t typically attempted for WWE’s international shows. Those are usually simplified to accommodate time limitations and working with an unfamiliar truck. However, in April the WWE road crew tackled one of its biggest challenges at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England, when it attempted to recreate the look and feel of a normal “RAW” and “Smackdown” more than 3000 miles from home.

Accomplishing this task required four 6-channel EVS LSM-XTs, one 4-channel SpotBox and an XFile. Load-in began three days before the Birmingham date in Stamford, CT, at WWE’s television facility. Longtime LSM operator Dave Taylor spent two days loading the most current elements in NTSC from SuperShooter 22. In Stamford, he used a Snell & Wilcox Alchemist to transform current and archived NTSC elements to PAL on a rental EVS LSM-XT and XFile. The EVS ability to change television standards with the flick of a switch made that possible.

Taylor loaded 768 individual elements to a 200GB LaCie hard drive over three days. The rental equipment was returned to Bexel in New York City while Taylor boarded his flight to England with the LaCie hard drive.

According to Taylor, they were prepared for the possibility that something wouldn’t go right. However, using an EVS-based system actually turned out to be easier than what the crew normally does in SuperShooter 22.

For more information, visit www.evs.tv.

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