Be tv and KeyWall turn to EVS to transform live sports operations
Be tv is a French-language subscription-based television service that covers Belgium and Luxembourg. Part of VOO, it offers a range of premium programming, featuring the latest blockbuster movies, high-profile TV series such as Game of Thrones, and live sports including the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, the English Premier League, IndyCar Series, golf, tennis, rugby, basketball and field hockey. Be tv also provides non-linear services such as Be tv Go and Be à la demande.
KeyWall is a Belgian services and facilities provider that is specialized in virtual sets. The company offers a variety of audio-visual services from virtual set rental to complete production solutions aimed at broadcasters and production companies.
Facing the industry-wide need to reduce production costs and streamline operations while maintaining a consistently high quality of output, Be tv has recently undergone a major technical and operational transformation. The network opted to move its studio from its headquarters in Brussels to its broadcast center 60km to the south in Charleroi so that it could group its technical assets together in one location. As part of the ambitious project, it wanted to keep operations in-house where possible, but outsource certain elements of its studio and technical requirements, so it could focus more on creating quality and engaging sports content for its subscribers.
In Charleroi, Be tv established a partnership with KeyWall to outsource certain operations such as virtual set production. Consequently, it needed to deploy a high-performance remote workflow that would give it the flexibility, functionality and quality required to service three specific production models that it’s content creation would be built around. These would cover producing programming around its live foreign sports properties, as well as studio-based and non-studio-based coverage of its own Jupiler Pro League football productions.
Already an EVS customer, Be tv found the answer to its unique set of requirements in EVS’s latest suite of live solutions and invested in two Dyvi switchers, one XT-VIA live production server and five XS-VIA studio production servers. To complete the workflow, studio operations partner KeyWall also purchased a Dyvi switcher and two XT-VIA servers for any studio-based programs. This flexible approach enabled Be tv to meet its objective and utilize the same infrastructure on all three of its production models. KeyWall would also be able to maximize the return on its investment in EVS technology by utilizing its new infrastructure for other projects and customers.
For Be tv’s coverage of its sports content, which amounts to around 600 productions a year, operators use the Dyvi switcher to preset features (macros), such as opening and closing credits, the name of the match commentator and information relating to upcoming matches, as well as trigger the playout of clips from the XS-VIA servers for use during the live program. And for its popular Goals of the Day program where multiple Premier League matches are played at the same time, transitions can be triggered over the featured match with the Dyvi whenever a goal is scored elsewhere and needs to be shown. All these operations are activated through Lawo’s VSM broadcast control system.
Using EVS’ IPDirector live PAM suite, Be tv is able to schedule the ingest of live feeds on its XS-VIA servers. As these feeds are being recorded, an operator can use an XSense control panel to review the action and create clips and playlists that can be played back instantly during Goals of the Day. These can also be used for other purposes such as 23-second closures and game highlights that can be shown in other Be tv broadcasts.
The second production model is used to produce the pre-game, half-time and post-game coverage of Jupiler Pro League matches where a studio is not required. This model is used for around 300 productions per season.
Here, an XT-VIA server records the program feed that is produced by the OB van at the stadium and ingests the camera feeds of the match commentators in the stands and the interviewers on the pitch. The XT-VIA is controlled by an LSM remote control panel, which is also used to create multi-angle replays and highlights of the match for half-time and post-game analysis and closing sequences.
The Dyvi is used to create features for the live production as well as switch the commentator and interviewer’s camera feeds, and playout highlights and commercial breaks.
The final production model that Be tv wanted to be able to utilize covers 80 of its higher profile Jupiler Pro League matches each season where a presentation studio is needed for pre-game, half-time and post-game analysis. Having closed its Brussels studio, Be tv now uses KeyWall’s virtual set and control room in Charleroi.
The studio’s control room is equipped with KeyWall’s own Dyvi switcher, which is connected using a 40Gbps leased line to the Dyvi at Be tv’s facility some 14km away. KeyWall’s LSM control panels and IPDirector are used to operate the XT-VIA servers, which record the match feed, the camera feeds from the virtual set and the clips created for game analysis.
Thanks to Dyvi’s remote production capabilities, the operator at KeyWall’s control room is able to use video sources from Be tv’s Dyvi processing module such as opening and closing credits, commercial breaks, highlights from other matches and up to 16 camera feeds from the stadium, as well as KeyWall’s own Dyvi processing module which includes the studio cameras and clips from its XT-VIA servers. This additional creative freedom is possible because the processing modules can be combined into a cluster, no matter their physical location, which can then act as a larger, united processing module, enabling the users to do more.
Increased flexibility – Be tv is now able to produce up to four programs simultaneously and customize its workflow to suit its preferred production model.
Reducing costs – The use of EVS technology has enabled Be tv to increase its operational efficiencies and to outsource the studio management to KeyWall.
Remote production – Be tv is able to connect two Dyvi processing modules located 14km apart, with one able to control the other in a master/slave model.
Ease of use – The new workflow didn’t require lots of training and was easy for operators to transition to thanks to Dyvi’s simple and intuitive user interface.
Increased commercial opportunities – When not servicing Be tv, KeyWall is able to use its EVS workflow to deliver quality live production projects for other customers.
Be tv’s vision of how it could produce quality content more efficiently and at a lower cost has become a reality thanks to the flexibility delivered by EVS’ latest live production and studio solutions. “The EVS-powered workflow is so flexible that we’re able to easily switch between our three production models and keep control of our output, despite outsourcing some of our technical requirements to KeyWall,” said Dominique Vanlaeys, Technical Director at Be tv. “Dyvi is a revelation as it lets us run simultaneous productions, and quickly change configurations from one program to another. Without its remote production feature, this set-up with an external virtual studio would not have been possible.”
And KeyWall’s EVS investment is already reaping commercial rewards outside of this project. “Not only are we able to service Be tv by overseeing its studio production operations, but we’re also able to use our new EVS live production infrastructure for other jobs, such as our production of the UEFA Europa League for RTBF,” added Thibault Baras, KeyWall’s TV Solutions Manager. “Although it’s different from other switchers, Dyvi is very intuitive and easy to pick up. The benefits it will bring to our business are already clear to see.”