BURBANK, Calif. – Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s Services Division and a leading worldwide provider of broadcast services and solutions, is furnishing a complete production environment for Univision’s broadcast of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Faced with the largest remote production the network has ever undertaken, Univision turned to Bexel to design the system being used in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To ensure that everything will work seamlessly for the month-long summer event, a senior team of engineers, IT experts, and senior executives travelled from Univision’s Miami, Fla., headquarters to Burbank, Calif., to collaborate closely on the process with the team from Bexel.
Bexel began having weekly meetings in November of last year with Univision to review floor plans and technical requirements. Intensive workflow meetings were also held with Univision’s production, media management and editing teams, so that Bexel could glean from the different stakeholders what their specific needs were. “Univision had an initial concept of what would be needed for this project,” noted Johnny Pastor, director of Technical Services for Bexel. “We then provided our expertise and worked with their teams to help the system evolve and get even stronger. We were with them step by step, ready and willing to accommodate any last minute changes along the way.”
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,” explained Pastor. “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.
“Univision’s Enterprise IT Group was also with us 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.”
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.
“We wanted to design a production environment for Univision that will have the flexibility to deliver everything they need, yet still have easily recognizable equipment, so their staff can walk in and know exactly what to do and how to use the systems,” concluded Pastor. “We relied on our many years of live broadcast experience for large events to deliver the systems necessary for this project. We have really enjoyed working with the team from Univision, and it was an honor to have them out here working with us on site.”
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.