TV-BAY August 13 issue 80

To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

Sportsnet stays ahead of the game with Quantel Running on full The system typically runs between 70 and 90% full on a daily basis. Media management is all handled in the Ingest Area. This critical part of the operation is run by Media Asset Coordinator Paul Peterson, who as well as checking automatic deletions and archiving, also keeps an eye on naming conventions – evidently some staff will try anything to keep their clips on the system forever – but Peterson knows all the tricks! Long term media asset management is now via Viz Ardome, which was installed in 2010. It has 2500 hours of intermediate (nearline) storage populated mainly with lo-res media, linked to an LTO-5 archive robot for storage of hi-res media. Current capacity is 200,000 hours. The Viz Ardome has an umbrella view of material stored on both Quantel and Ardome. Users are able to search material and captured closed captioning, and initiate transfers for edit or playout or to Rhozet for transcoding for web use. “The result is that everything that is produced and aired can be seen by everyone,” says Lisa Bowditch, Director of Media Operations. Sportsnet is now well advanced in its program to transfer 120,000 hours of media that is still on tape into the Ardome archive. This all happens in the quieter surroundings of the 3rd floor media operations area, where footage that was not logged live is also logged so that relevant clips can be easily found via the MAM system. Capturing the highlights There are three main studios at Sportsnet, each with its own control room. Studio One – aka ‘The Stage’ - looks out through its glass walls over the logging, editing and news room. Games are logged live using sQ View within the Dixon Logger - each sport has its own customized template, optimizing productivity. The logger uses Sportsnet’s Autocue newsroom system to create script notes for the highlights packages – ‘clip 34 – great goal’ etc. On a busy night all 15 logging stations will be in operation under the watchful eye of the Highlights Supervisor. Up to eight editors sit opposite the loggers compiling the highlights packages on sQ Edit applications with the producers close by. The assignment desks are alongside, scheduling crews all over the country to get up to the minute interviews into the programs. Studio 2 has been deliberately designed with a more generic look so that quick changes in lighting and what’s on the big monitors can instantly reconfigure it for soccer, skiing or any other sport. Its control room is technically identical to Control Room 1, providing 100% redundancy if required. Finally Studio 3 is largely reserved for hockey and its control room mirrors 1 and 2. All three control rooms have three playout channels of the Enterprise sQ system available so they can go straight to air via sQ Play if required. For any sports programming, graphics play an important role in helping viewers’ understanding, and Sportsnet puts a lot of effort into producing high quality animations and over-the-shoulders to explain and inform, using a combination of After Effects, Photoshop and 3DS Max. When graphics are completed they are uploaded to the sQ system using a Quantel I/O station that lives in the graphics area. Wonderful simplicity Editor Chris Moskavec left college four years ago, having learned to edit on Final Cut, Avid and Adobe. He was taught to edit on Quantel at Sportsnet in two days of training – “I was editing for real within a week. It’s all on the server in pieces – loggers do a loose script for a one and a half minute highlights package. There’s a wonderful simplicity to sQ Edit – I couldn’t imagine going back to another system – it caters for a range of very different editing styles.” Speed counts The six sQ Edit Plus craft editors handle all the feature jobs, promotions, show packaging and effects work. Editor Vince Monteleone took a little while to re-orient to Quantel after spending seven years editing on Avid, but with the arrival a few years ago of V4.2 with its multilayer timeline, he is now a Quantel convert and really looking forward to the forthcoming V5 upgrade. “I’m an editor – not a sports fan! Quantel is by far the fastest turnaround system I have ever seen, and the color corrector is also by far the best I have seen - I got frustrated trying to do color on Avid. “I now use effects a lot more. It’s a solid system. I also like that even after flattening finished pieces for playout, I still have the kit of parts on the server or the Ardome archive for older jobs which is great for re-edits or working into different stories.” Complete programming playout As you would expect, all studio production playout comes from the sQ system, but Sportsnet is also making full use of its Enterprise sQ system for program content too. Under the control of automation, the sQ system provides reliable, redundant playout to air of programming content for all six Sportsnet channels, with plenty of room for future expansion. Connected with QTube QTube also plays a major role in helping Sportsnet share media across the country. “I don’t know how I did my job without it,” reflects Virginia Gibberd. “It means we can make content available to all our stations and City operations, helping to make their sportscasts richer.” Nimble and creative “Quantel has been a very good product for us – it allows us to have universal desktop access to media, through high end editing and producing content for master control – ubiquitous usage of that content is what allows us to be as nimble and creative as we are,” Gibberd explains. “Last summer we had staff coming back from the London Olympics having watched other people’s workflows, and they reported that their Quantel system was better than anything else there – from the associate producer, producer and journalist perspective. It reminded us that we have a technology solution that we’re happy with – and that’s four years on from installing it. And we’ve doubled live event content since then, added two channels and Quantel technology has sustained it – all we’ve done is added more storage,” Gibberd concludes.