Sports teams embrace file-based production

Like many production companies, today’s professional sports teams are embracing file-based workflows for the production of HD video content that is used for training and analysis purposes as well as for the entertainment of fans at the game. The technology’s fast turnaround times and cost-effectiveness are attracting an increasing number of teams as they use video in a variety of creative ways.

The New York Giants football team is using Sony XDCAM HD camcorders (with Canon HD lenses) and XDCAM HD source decks, along with a variety of other production equipment, at its new training facility in New Jersey. The team’s entertainment group is using the Sony HD equipment to produce a range of fan-targeted content as well, according to the team. The facility is located within the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where the Giants play home games, and houses a full HD control room including Sony HDC-1400 studio cameras, an MFS-2000 production switcher, HDCAM decks and LUMA LCD monitors.

In addition, several of Sony’s XDCAM HD optical camcorders (model PDW-700) are being used to capture a variety of video elements for team and fan enjoyment. XDCAM HD decks also serve as the Giants’ in-house recording format.

A new HD control room handles all of the video production projects, according to the Giants, including developing content for playback on video and LED screens during games, video features and podcasts for the team Web site, interviews with players and coaches, original programming, highlight videos, specials, PSAs and promotional spots.

In-game video is being produced for the existing Giants Stadium, as well as for the new state-of-the-art stadium being built for the 2010 season in which the team will need more HD content and enhanced technical capabilities, according to Don Sperling, vice president/executive producer for the Giants.

Sperling added that the system’s optical workflow, image quality and longer archival capabilities of Professional Disc were the main reasons for choosing the system.

“The system’s ability to do file transfers without having to first digitize data is a big time-saver,” he said. “We can bring clips directly into our NLE system, start editing and very quickly have finished spots that we can use, internally or externally.”

The new training facility also features several of Sony’s VPL-FX52 LCD projectors for use by the coaching staff to review game video, analyze practices and critique footage of their opponents.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals have purchased two Panasonic AJ-HPX2000 2/3in CCD solid-state (P2) HD camcorders for its coaching analysis. The team is using the cameras along with an AG-HPG20 P2 Portable recorder.

The HPX2000s replaced tape-based digital cameras, which had been in service for close to 10 years. The Cardinals, based in Glendale, use the HPX2000s in conjunction with the DVSport GameDay editing and data analysis software package and exchange game videos over the NFL’s file-based CGE Exchange network.

During practices and games, one HPX2000 shoots from the 50-yard line, and the second is placed in the end zone behind the goal. Both camcorders are fixed on tripods and are equipped with Fujinon XA17x7.6BRM ENG-style HD lenses.

The team maintains nine meeting rooms with more than 20 viewing stations for the Cardinals’ 16 coaches and six scouts. The team can ingest video at five times real time and edit and play back immediately. Partnering P2 acquisition with DVSport software allows an all-digital workflow that removes tape from the operation.

The AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD camcorder records images in more than 30 HD and SD formats ranging from 1080p, 1080i and 720p to 480p, 480i and 576i. With the AVC-Intra codec option board (AJ-YBX200G), the AJ-HPX2000 can deliver 10-bit, 4:2:2 master-quality video for video production and acquisition.