Live from IBC: EVS looks beyond sports, unveils 4K XT3 replay and C-Cast Xplore remote browsing

EVS took the opportunity at IBC2013 this week to show off the impressive new Fox Sports facility in Amsterdam, in which its technology plays an integral role. During the company’s annual press conference, EVS spotlighted its key role in the technical infrastructure of Fox Sports Eredivisie and Fox Sports International (both of which launched in August).

In addition, EVS highlighted two new sports-focused products — the enhanced 4K XT3 replay server and the C-Cast Xplore remote-browsing interface — as well as its continued efforts to expand its business beyond its core sports-based market. According to EVS CEO Joop Janssen, one-third of the company’s overall business now lies in the non-sports sector, up from just 10% a year ago.

“EVS is more than only sports,” said Janssen during the press conference at Fox Sports’ facility. “We have clearly articulated a long-term strategy with 2016 as our horizon. We are not only focused on continuing in our primary market — sports — but also to focus on entertainment, news, and media. We are getting more and more business because entertainment [programming] is moving more towards live. In order to get viewers to watch a talent show, you have to do it live because social media makes it old news very quickly. [As a result,] we are seeing more and more requests for our products because live is what we do best. ”

Serious about 4K replay
With the new Multicam 12.02 software release, EVS’s 4K live slow-motion replay system can use an EVS XT3 server in a one-channel-in/one-channel-out configuration (a prototype was shown at NAB2013 in April; the product was released in July). By the end of the year, EVS aims to allow configuration of up to three 4K channels to work as one in/one out, one in/two out, or two in/one out, allowing a single XT3 server to continuously record two 4K cameras while providing 4K instant replays and highlights.

In addition to providing the typical capabilities that an XT3 LSM offers in an HD workflow, the 4K system works in conjunction with AJA’s Corvit card to allow the operator to zoom in on the 4K image and pull out a close-up, HD-quality video replay.

Having conducted 4K trials using its XT3 replay servers with Japanese OB company Kyodo Television and at the Bayern Munich-FC Barcelona Champions League semifinal match (XT3 4K system was configured as a one-in, one-out system), EVS is set to embark on a full season of NFL football in the U.S., with Fox using the XT3 4K system on its A games to create zoomed-in HD replays and for Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

“One of the keys for us … is to offer our customers that are going into 4K the ability to have a community of operators,” says Nicolas Bourdon, marketing and communications director, EVS. “EVS has a community of about 8,000 operators using the LSM systems. There is no additional training required for these operators to use the 4K. That is a key element for us.”

EVS explores the future of C-Cast
C-Cast Xplore, EVS’s new browsing interface, gives sports broadcasters, producers, and editors in remote locations access to the live multicamera-recording feeds and clips on an XT server. It allows them to review, create clips, and select previously inaccessible content. A Web-based interface, C-Cast Xplore is fully integrated with EVS’s C-Cast infrastructure to provide remote access to content recorded from the live venue on the XT servers. C-Cast connectivity allows C-Cast Xplore users to remotely review live server content as it is recorded and select clips shot from any camera angle. This material can then be transferred in HD by the production team back at the studio for archive or postproduction or to enhance the live production.

In addition to Fox Sports Netherlands’ extensive use of C-Cast, Sky Sports in the UK (for Premier League), Canal+ in France, and several other major broadcasters are using it for live sports coverage.

“We [established] this as part of our strategy two years ago at NAB, and that concept has become reality in 2013,” said Janssen. “C-Cast is not a concept anymore; it is reality. What [C-Cast] means for the rightsholders is, they can split up the rights in different ways. So they don’t just sell one program feed and that is all they can charge for, but they can actually create multiple packages and sell them separately to different audiences.”

EVS backbone for Fox Sports’ Netherlands launch
Fox Sports Netherlands (operated by Eredivisie Media & Marketing, a Dutch media venture owned by Fox International Channels, Endemol, Dutch football league Eredivisie, and Dutch football association KNVB) launched two premium TV services in August: Fox Sports Eredivisie and Fox Sports International, focused primarily on professional Dutch football and European football, respectively.

The new sports-TV operation opted to commission solutions directly from EVS in constructing its brand-new facility. EVS and the Fox Sports team have worked to create a complete production workflow linking servers at various venues to the centralised media platform at the broadcast centre in order to enable faster access to more content and seamless delivery to multiple platforms and devices.

EVS provided a full battalion of equipment and solutions for the new facility, including xS ingest servers, xStoreSAN for nearline storage, IPDirector management suites, the IPBrowse application to search the content library, metadata-assignment tools, XT3 replay servers for the three new galleries at the broadcast centre, the EpsioLive graphic tool to insert the offside line on replays, and, of course, the C-Cast multicam media-delivery platform.

Watch for SVG Europe’s in-depth report on Fox Sports new state-of-the-art Amsterdam facility following the conclusion of IBC2013.

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