How Equidia leads the field with dynamic content production using end to end EVS workflow
Equidia is a French TV channel dedicated to horse racing that boasts a monthly average broadcast viewership of 1.6 million. It features ten hours of live race coverage every day as well as daily pre-race and magazine shows. The channel has a strong digital presence with a prominent social following and website on which a live stream attracts more than 200,000 visitors a month. Equidia’s app is also well-used, providing the ability to watch the channel and replay races on the move.
The application and website also act as viewing points for subscribers of the channels’ Equidia Racing subscription service. This lets users experience more content than is available anywhere else, with the ability to view up to eight races at a time and see camera angles exclusive to the service.
Alongside a channel rebrand, Equidia set out to adapt how it creates its programming. It wanted to provide fans with more engaging content through better access to information like statistics. It also needed to better serve its digital platforms and improve the overall editorial programming from its team of 70 journalists. To do this it looked to modernize its production infrastructure, centralize operations and make the best use of resources through process automation. It also needed to increase the flexibility of its workflow, so it could scale up resources for the most important or prestigious races.
With more than 1330 meetings a year, horse racing’s governing bodies also commonly use parts of the production infrastructure. For example, they need access to the camera feeds for video officiating processes. This requirement meant that Equidia’s new workflow needed to make it as easy as possible for those bodies to access what they needed.
The channel turned to systems integrator Videlio to create a completely new production infrastructure. On receiving the brief, Videlio and Equidia knew that technology from EVS would provide many of the benefits that the channel needed throughout various stages of the production process.
Talking about the choice to use EVS technology, Equidia’s Vincent Le Dévéhat said “the ergonomics of EVS’ products are continually evolving so operators are given the ability to work more efficiently. We knew that choosing EVS equipment would provide a reliable workflow that performs at an extremely high level with the speed of operation that we needed.”
- For content ingest
At the very start of the production workflow, XS series servers from EVS were selected to ingest up to 16 feeds at once from several different sources. These come direct from cameras, satellite feeds and from video recorders. To make sure the workflow is as flexible as possible for whatever content Equidia is ingesting, the EVS servers can record in both DNxHD or XDCAM, and Ingest Funnel was also put in place to manage the ingest of content recorded by ENG teams.
To manage the overall media ingest process, Equidia uses EVS’ IPDirector content management system to control the servers, schedule media ingest, log content and transfer content to storage through EVS’ XTAccess transfer engines.
- For content browsing and editing
The IPDirector system creates log sheets for content which are integrated with statistic-driven data feeds. This means that once ingest is complete, Equidia’s users are able to easily search and find content on the nearline storage using EVS’ IPBrowse application. Xedio CleanEdit stations are then used by journalists to quickly create news bulletins that feature voice overs and graphics, powered by an integration with Vizrt.
- Control room workflow
The EVS server and LSM are used to create clips and slow-motion replays from the races as well as for the playback of content for transmission or distribution. Talking about how the servers operate, Le Dévéhat said, “The most significant benefit of the server and LSM remote is their responsiveness and speed. It’s this operation that’s made EVS’ replay technology the industry standard and that’s why we wanted to bring it into the control room.”
Clips and other recorded content are managed, and playlists created using the IPDirector content management system which is also used by the operators to publish clips and replays on Equidia’s digital channels.
Sitting at the heart of the control rooms are EVS’ Dyvi switchers which benefit from a software-defined architecture for the most efficient creation of live programming. Its use of macros allows users to easily create processes for the simple insertion of complex graphics. Equidia’s operators use the EVS switcher to cut together the channel’s programming and manage the shows’ effects, creating graphic templates which can be quickly recalled and used, as needed.
“At first, engineers were a little reluctant with Dyvi because it operates so differently from switchers we’ve used previously. However, we quickly came to appreciate the expected reliability of the system and the how easily it lets us create complex scenes, effects and transitions.” added Vincent.
Both the Dyvi switcher and Equidia’s XT servers are integrated with Ross Video’s OverDrive automated production control system. Thanks to Dyvi’s software-driven architecture, it can be controlled by Overdrive while overcoming some of the constraints of traditional automation processes. This means the system helps to maximize the resources that are deployed during live production.
Alongside this, the IPDirector has been integrated using a MOS protocol with Ross Video’s Inception newsroom control system. This allows content and its associated metadata to be accessed and added to a program run down that’s used throughout production.
- Multi-stakeholder flexibility – The EVS workflow allows Equidia’s internal and external stakeholders to quickly and reliably create more content at once.
- Operational efficiency – The way it integrates with third-party systems means EVS technology has been used to create an operationally-efficient production workflow for Equidia.
- Unleashed creativity – Using Dyvi, Equidia is able to be more resourceful with its operations, giving the team time to create the most dynamic programming possible.
- Fast workflow transition – EVS technology is straight-forward and easy to learn which means Equidia’s production team was able to begin creating better content, faster.
- Reliable switching technology – Equidia has put Dyvi in place to produce content for 12 hours every day - demonstrating the system’s inherent built-in reliability.
With its new high-end production workflow in place Equidia has been able to increase its output, with 21% more coverage than it was able to achieve before. This has in turn boosted the channel’s viewership with a 38% increase in the average number of viewers on the previous year.
The non-broadcast distribution of channels is increasingly becoming as important as traditionally-delivered programming. One of the key benefits of its new workflow is how easy it is for Equidia’s production team to quickly and easily create and distribute programming to its digital platforms.
Dyvi in particular has provided Equidia with multiple benefits – providing a more effective way to create higher-quality programming. Speaking on this, Vincent Le Dévéhat said: “All switchers have macro-driven functions, but Dyvi really takes advantage of them. The way it lets us operate saves us so much time that the team can really concentrate on the production of creative concepts and much more editorially-focused programming.”
Overall, the channel has been able to improve its programming, supplementing it with additional statistics and better analysis. Track reports from the live events have also been improved which altogether creates much more immersive race day programming. This enables the channel to make the most of coverage from more prestigious races, allowing it to continue building the Equidia brand and engage new audiences.