CBC incorporates EVS Technology to produce highlights for Bundesliga TV
CBC (Cologne Broadcasting Center) was founded in 1994 and has become one of Germany’s leading broadcasting and production companies. Part of the Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, the company provides a number of different services to over 20 television channels including playout, studio operation, post production, systems integration and digital archive processing.
CBC supplies live production services both to the DFL (Deutsche Fußball Liga), which operates Germany’s top two football divisions (German Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga), and to its subsidiary Sportcast, which acts as its host broadcaster. As part of this service, CBC produces match and match-day highlights for the Bundesliga TV’s international audience.
Due to its deployment across the different TV channels of Mediengruppe RTL and the Deutsche Fuβball Liga, CBC’s services and the systems used must be reliable and efficient regardless of the configuration. Any system implemented at CBC needs to be flexible, so that its engineers can configure it specifically to meet the production’s individual needs and make sure any workflow they install will perform during a live event. Technical crews also need to be able to record multiple sources simultaneously using a fast system which lets them turn content around as quickly as possible. Finally, the solutions in place need to remain scalable so that additional systems can be added for a production that requires it.
CBC incorporated EVS technology in its production workflow for the Bundesliga productions. This included the installation of three EVS live production servers for content ingest and an IPDirector suite, XTAccess gateway units and Xsquare orchestration software for content management. EVS’ IPLink plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro CC and IPBrowse was added to the post production workflow.
Of the three servers installed by EVS, two were XS-12ch units and the remaining server was an XT3. Within the broadcast workflow, EVS’ XS media server is the perfect replacement for a VTR. Built on EVS’ unique loop recording technology in the same way as the XT3, the XS is used for the recording of multiple audio and video feeds and for playback operations.
The XT3 is EVS’ industry-leading live production server and gives the infrastructure the speed and reliability needed within a live sports environment. Again leveraging EVS’ loop recording technology, it enables live editing, the creation of slow motion replays and multi-channel playback. The XT3 is the live content enabler for craft editors, automation, archiving or storage.
Within CBC’s live production workflow, the installation of these three servers allows up to 30 HD/SD feeds which can be set up in any combination of ingest and playout. To get the speed associated with EVS’ live production servers and to ensure the availability of bandwidth during production, the three servers are networked with 10 GigE connectivity.
The system can easily be set up in different configurations depending on any specific production’s needs – content can be encoded into any of the codecs currently being used in the industry. In the setup used for the production of the Bundesliga highlights, each of the live feeds is encoded in native XDCAM HD. For certain productions of the live coverage, however, CBC uses the XT3 to encode multiple feeds in native AVC-Intra.
To control and schedule ingest, CBC uses the ingest scheduler application in IPDirector, EVS’ content management suite. As well as ingest scheduling, IPDirector also allows playout control, metadata management and on-the-fly editing. Everything is managed from its single interface to make these operations easy to use.
XTAccess processing engine units are used in CBC’s workflow to generate low resolution files in a H.264 proxy. It allows recorded content to be transferred quickly and easily to a Harmonic MediaGrid shared storage system. XTAccess is EVS’ transcoding and rewrapping software and is built specifically to facilitate media interchange between EVS technology and third-party systems. Controlled by the Xsquare orchestration software, XTAccess makes sure CBC’s ingested content is transferred swiftly into storage.
Once content is stored on CBC’s Harmonic storage, its editorial staff are able to use the newly implemented IPBrowse for quick access to the material. This stand-alone application has been designed by EVS for browsing lo-res content available in IPDirector’s logs and bins as well as on third-party storage systems. Easily searchable metadata will be assigned to the content so that various members of CBC’s production crews can find what they need quickly and reliably, whether they are journalists, producers or editors. Once found, content can be sent to a number of destinations including CBC’s Adobe-based post production suites.
Editors working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC can quickly begin working on ingested content through the utilization of EVS’ IPLink plug-in. This panel extension can be used to access clips and content. It has been designed to work whilst a live event is still taking place. With IPLink, CBC can use assigned metadata to quickly find the content for editing. When completed it can be used to send edited content directly back to the Harmonic storage.
The EVS solutions were implemented into CBC’s Cologne facilities during the summer of 2015 and the new additions to the workflow were operational by July 31.
The implementation of EVS solutions into CBC’s infrastructure increases the speed and reliability of its extended productions. “What we like about EVS’ live production solutions is that they have been designed with speed in mind, but reliability at the forefront,” says Juergen Moelders, head of post production at CBC. “At the end of the day, what we need is to make sure we are able to ingest, manage and edit productions quickly and efficiently.”
For CBC the integration of the new systems into their existing environment was a key factor. Axel Weber, system engineer at CBC adds: “What we have now installed is in sync with our Harmonic storage system and our Adobe edit suites. I think if you ask any engineer, one of the things they will always say is that systems need to ‘speak to each other’ easily. With EVS the communication between the systems is pretty fluent.”
Having EVS technology at the core of its production has also allowed CBC to be flexible when it comes to producing different programs. Mido Fayad, CBC’s director of production and broadcast operations says: “Whether it’s the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers for RTL, the FIFA World Cup qualifications, the productions for the Bundesliga or other major events, the most important thing is to have a reliable system that adapts to our existing infrastructure.”
Producing live sport of this nature means that a significant amount of replays and highlights is created. “No matter if the requirements change from one production to another, EVS equipment allows us the flexibility we need,” adds Fayad. “With this setup, we have multiple options. It also provides high scalability allowing us to adapt the workflow to our production needs.”