After a long absence from the NFL scene, NBC Sports has made a roaring comeback with Sunday Night Football and its studio companion, Football Night in America. In searching for a modular, scalable infrastructure that needed to take an aggressive approach towards production, NBC chose EVS.
On any given Sunday, there are up to 16 football games going on simultaneously in addition to press conferences and other news feeds surrounding the events on the field. As a result, there are a huge number of incoming feeds to record, log and edit all in the short time before the studio show goes on the air.
"When NBC and the NFL reunited in a new primetime broadcast partnership, we knew that we had a daunting task ahead of us. Planning the process of recording, editing and playback of the enormous amount of hours of game coverage, post-game podium sound as well as NBC reporter interviews from the 14 weekly game sites became much easier when we saw an answer. From our experience with EVS at the past few Olympics we knew that EVS was the best solution to manage this massive undertaking," affirmed John Gilmartin, NBC's director of highlight operations.
The EVS XT HD server is at the heart of the system since the beginning of this season, providing NBC with a robust and blazing fast means to record and edit the huge amount of material that goes into their primetime show. All of the feeds that are brought into 30 Rock are recorded on one of the 16 XT HD servers that have been installed in the brand new state of the art Digital Production Systems area utilized by NBC Sports. Metadata describing the action on the field is created by a group of loggers using one of the 34 EVS IP Director suites. Producers are equipped with their own individual IP Director browsing station that gives them the ability to intelligently sort through the enormous amount of material that is being recorded. This sort of interconnected High Definition workflow allows multiple producers to collaborate on the various pieces that are part of the show.
For the producers and editors, the system is very flexible. They no longer need to worry about where a feed was recorded. Once it is captured by any server on the network, it is available to any and all outputs simultaneously. All of the recordings are being stored near-line on a giant 146Tb storage array for future use, utilizing the XStream application. The logs that are created every Sunday are also stored, allowing a producer to see exactly how a player has performed throughout the whole season. By simply clicking on an entry—even if it is from weeks ago—any user in the facility can have instant access to the original high-resolution content for use in today's broadcast.
Gilmartin confirms that "the stability of the EVS HD Server system has been very reliable. But the personal relationship with the EVS staff and their continued support has been the most impressive aspect. Day or night, they are there to help us. I cannot imagine managing this huge operation without the help of EVS and their talented team."
This production upgrade is also being utilized by NBC/Universal's Saturday Night Live and The Today Show programming. Stay tuned for further news involving the migration of this complete HD production workflow.
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