EVS live and near-live technology was used by France Television at the heart of its integrated workflow for the production of the Roland Garros 2007 tennis tournament in both standard and high definition, writes Fergal Ringrose.
The French broadcaster is responsible for the production and the international distribution of the tournament. In addition to the production of international feeds, France Television produces a series of special programs distributed through its two main channels France 2 and France 3.
During two weeks, all of the matches from seven different tennis courts were brought into the France Television media server and recorded onto four EVS XT2 servers. This represents a total of 21 SD and 28 HD cameras. All the servers were connected through the XNet2 high bandwidth media sharing network.
Metadata describing the action during the match was created by France Television's operators using their own XML file logging system directly integrated with the XT2 servers. Once created, keywords and descriptive metadata allowed producers, editors and any operators of France Television to instantly retrieve any footage recorded on any XT2 server on the network via the IP Director browsing station. Avid editors - in charge of the post production of highlights for special programmes - used the latest version of the IP Director to browse into the huge amount of recorded material and review the multiple camera feeds they need to build their edits.
Since matches were recorded in IMX40 format on the XT2 server, there was no need for encoding and decoding and thus a fast transfer process with no quality loss. Once retrieved, the editor can simply transfer the footage to the Avid timeline for editing. In total more than 830 hours of content including the key matches, the best clips and highlights of the tournament were recorded on a total of 38 Xfile2 removable hard disk drives for a total of almost 20TB of archived footage. (SD and HD footage are respectively recorded in IMX40 and Avid DNxHD codec).
In addition to the highlights production, other users such as OB trucks, producing live broadcast, were connected to the XNet2 network and also had access to all of the content captured by the system. For the first time in Roland Garros, the matches from the two central courts were also recorded in high definition for further studio production and archiving as native files in the new Avid DNxHD codec on one high definition XT2 server.
"We needed a technical set-up that would perfectly meet our requirements for multiple productions at high speed. The new media server we've put in place with EVS technology perfectly achieves our goals to speed up our production process during live events and improve creative possibilities", declared Denis Vivaldini, sports production director of France Television.