First-rate technology for Euro 2016 match highlights

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The background

24 teams from across Europe have arrived in France for the Euro 2016 international football tournament. With a total of 51 matches taking place, this hotly anticipated tournament is a bona fide festival of sporting action.
With more teams and matches than at previous events, more technology is in use – and more content is being produced – than ever before. This poses new challenges for broadcast teams, both at the broadcasting centre and on-site at the tournament venues.
MoovIT has provided technical support and services at recent World Cups and European Championships. The Cologne-based provider – together with partners including EVS, Adobe, HP and Solarflare – has delivered the necessary hardware and implemented seamless workflows.

 

The challenge

As at previous tournaments, the task for broadcasters at Euro 2016 is to prepare and publish highlights packages as soon as each match has finished. These clips need to include all the major talking points from the game. While match footage is being recorded, editors leverage cutting-edge software to access content stored centrally on the EVS servers, alleviating the need for copying or transcoding. This requires an extremely high-performance storage system and exceptional IT infrastructure, as the files continue to expand as the match progresses, and all production processes require access to the same data.

 

The solution

Across multiple tournaments, the StorNext SAN integrated by EVS has proven to be a fast, reliable and high-performance storage system.

For Euro 2016, approximately 40 editing workstations have been installed, each equipped with a Hewlett-Packard Z-Workstation. Each computer is connected to the rest of the network via a 10-gigabit fibre-optic cable. Adobe Premiere Pro CC, After Effects and Audition are leveraged for post-processing tasks, and Prelude is used for conforming and logging. All of these applications are sourced from the Adobe Creative Cloud. In addition, Maxon Cinema 4D is being deployed for numerous graphic design tasks.
When it comes to real-time editing, ensuring rapid, low-latency data transfer is a top priority. With this in mind, each HP workstation has a Solarflare 10GbE network adapter that gives the user seamless, super-fast access to the central server. Specifically, the adapter uses a file server to access the central SAN storage system for content editing tasks.
The Solarflare SFN5162F network adapters preferred by EVS feature two 10GbE ports, and offer 40 Gb/s two-way data transfer, with minimal jitter. As a result, they fulfil all of the key requirements
of this solution. In addition, the adapters ease the load on the CPUs at each workstation, freeing them from operational processing tasks – and therefore increasing the processor’s productivity when
editing data.
The standard, system-wide production format uses the AVCIntra 100 codec, with a 1080i50 resolution. All content is stored, processed and distributed in line with these specifications, with no intermediate formats and no other codecs. The content management system is based on EVS’s IP Director software.
To ensure seamless interaction between the EVS storage system and Adobe Premiere editing software, MoovIT’s developers have created a standardised tool known as Helmut. This tool accelerates and simplifies search and administrative processes when editing project files. Helmut also adapts the program interface and settings to the exact requirements of each user.

 

The implementation

Throughout Euro 2016, MoovIT will continue to assist the event hosts at the broadcasting centre – both with implementation of the technology, and with ongoing support.

IP Director logs highlights while matches are taking place. The ‘IP Link for Adobe’ panel inside the editing system displays the very latest logging information. The editor sees a list of thumbnails depicting key passages of play, and can use these to quickly create a highlights clip.

Editors can access the files on the EVS servers, even as these files continue to expand. This significantly accelerates the entire process.

The solution eliminates the need to transfer or re-code material, as users have direct access to content on the EVS server, and Premiere Pro CC supports native editing of footage.

The material – including all relevant meta-data – is made available to all users on the EVS server, in a highly secure, read-only format.

 

Summary

The workflow described here has become standard practice at both the World Cup and European Championships, and enables highlights packages to be delivered just moments after the final whistle blows.
As system partners, EVS, Solarflare, Adobe and MoovIT have worked together to create a solution that enables these major sporting events to be a real success, both on and off the pitch.

 

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