Live from the World Cup: EVS Perspective with Luc Doneux

The World Cup wraps up today and for EVS it marks the end of a long, complex technology journey that saw not only 16 XT3 replay servers being deployed at every venue but also the successful deployment of the massive FIFA Media Access Exchange (FIFA MAX) server within the IBC and also the World Cup debut of C-Cast as it delivered match highlights to millions of second-screen users the world over.

“The biggest takeaway with respect to the movement of files is that our system that dispatches all the jobs from the FIFA MAX server had completed about 940,000 jobs [by July 10],” says Luc Doneux, EVS, executive vice president, sports division. “And in terms of production I think it was very successful in terms of the quality of pictures and workflow that we put in place, especially with remote access, connectivity between all the stadiums and files moving between venues and IBC and IBC and broadcasters.”

Doneux expects that the server will have surpassed one million jobs by the end of the tournament and to have served out between 300,000 and 500,000 clips to rights holders.

The IBC Equipment Room housed the EVS servers and other core technologies for the World Cup.

The IBC Equipment Room housed the EVS servers and other core technologies for the World Cup.

The EVS servers can be found all across Brazil as each of the 12 venues had 16 XT3 servers to handle replays, highlight creation, graphic insertion and content management. Meanwhile, back at the IBC in Barra, more than 100 EVS IPDirector suites were used to log and manage the live incoming feeds and access to the FIFA MAX server that stored match feeds, highlights, feature stories, and more. Around 12 XT3 servers handled 4,500 hours of content located on an EVS XStore SAN. In addition, production teams in broadcast centers around the world were able to use IPBrowse and IPWeb tools to browse low-res proxies of files on the server, select in and out points, and trigger high-resolution transfers to their own channel’s servers within the IBC.

“I think broadcasters will still have a big presence at the IBC, especially at events like this,” adds Doneux. “The fact is we could have delivered files back home for more people but when we deliver them to broadcasters here and then the broadcaster is responsible to deliver them back home that makes the job of the host broadcaster a little more clean cut.”

The big shift in the industry to IT-based technologies and systems has been the biggest challenge in terms of IBC operations.

“As IT gets more and more involved it is a little more difficult to test stuff and we need a little more time for preparation, especially in an environment like Brazil where it is a little bit more difficult to plan ahead,” explains Doneux. “Everything relies on switches and things like VPN and configurations and it is getting critical to get people with the right level of knowledge to configure things on the spot according to the requirement. We have a switcher here and on the same switcher there is access to the IBC, access to C-Cast, monitoring for high-speed cameras, etc. So there is a lot of stuff and you obviously can’t test the environment until you get here. So that makes it a challenge.”

With the World Cup winding down today it’s on to the next big challenge. The servers here will continue their life on the road, heading off to Nanjing, China for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in August and then the Asian Games which will be held in Incheon, Korea, from September 19 to October 4.

“Those workflows will be more traditional with a media server handling archiving and highlights,” adds Doneux.

But first things first: one match to go.

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