MIAMI—Univision’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Brazil represents the networks largest remote production operation, according to Burbank, Calif.-based gear renter and integrator, Bexel. The vendor said that it designed and supplied a complete production environment for Univision within the International Broadcast Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to help the Spanish-language network broadcast cover the event.
To ensure that everything will work seamlessly for the World Cup event, a senior team of engineers, IT experts, and senior executives traveled from Univision’s Miami headquarters to Burbank to collaborate on the design-and-build process with the team from Bexel. The teams began having weekly meetings in November of last year to review floor plans and technical requirements. Intensive workflow meetings were also held with Univision’s production, media management and editing teams to determine specific needs.
From the beginning of the project, it was determined that Bexel would build out the studio at their headquarters in Burbank, break it down, crate it using their proprietary inventory and shipping system, transport it to Brazil via boat, and finally rebuild it on-site in Rio de Janeiro. The window of timing for the project was incredibly tight. Once the cases were removed from the ship, they had to clear Brazilian customs. Then there was just two weeks to reassemble the system, followed by two weeks of rehearsal time before live programming begins.
Collaboratively, a plan was developed for Univision to deploy 18 people from Miami to Burbank in the weeks leading up to the ship date. “The plan of testing the system in Burbank together, before it was shipped, allowed for a lot of preconfiguring,” said Johnny Pastor, director of Technical Services for Bexel. “It let Univision actually simulate a live-production scenario, using one control room, the editing systems, and the EVS. This was not only cost effective, but it will save Univision a great deal of time in Rio. And time was a critical factor in this project.”
Pastor added that Univision’s Enterprise IT Group was also in Burbank, setting up connectivity back to Miami. They were able to send files back and forth, confirming the system was operational. “All they had to do in Brazil was re-establish the communication and the workflows, and the collaborative environment began again,” he said.
Bexel sent approximately 15 engineers to Brazil to reassemble the Univision system. Six members of the Bexel technical team are staying on for the entire run of the World Cup to provide 24/7 coverage and support. The Bexel-designed system consists of two large control rooms with Grass Valley 4 M/E Kayenne switchers and Calrec audio consoles. The file-based workflow consists of 11 Avid editing systems, four EVS XT3s for playback and instant replay, and a robust graphics system including augmented reality. Bexel is also providing Sony HDC-2500 cameras complete with a camera stabilization system and jib for their studio at the IBC.
Univision, which holds the Spanish-language broadcast rights for the event in the U.S. market, plans extensive coverage from Rio de Janeiro in addition to the actual World Cup matches. Univision Sports built a set from which they'll broadcast pre- and post-game coverage, and Univision Entertainment will be broadcasting its morning show, Despierta América, from Copacabana Beach as well as a show for Televisa Deportes from the rooftop of the Atlantico Sul Hotel.
In addition, Univision will use two of their flypack systems to shadow Team Mexico and Team USA. The Bexel setup will serve as the hub supporting all of these activities. From the remote setups, everything will come back through the Bexel backbone and then go out to Miami via a fiber uplink and satellite. From there it will be broadcast from Univision master control.
In addition to Bexel’s work with Univision, Vitec brands supporting various other 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil broadcasts, include Anton/Bauer batteries and chargers, artemis camera stabilization systems and operators, Autoscript teleprompters, Litepanel’s LED lights, Sachtler V18 and V20 fluid heads, Vinten Osprey pedestals, Vinten Vector 75 and 750 pan-and-tilt heads, and a Vinten Radamec remote pan-and-tilt head.