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How EVS supported UEFA in delivering connected host broadcasting at UEFA EURO 2016

CUSTOMER PROFILE

UEFA – the Union of European Football Associations – is the official governing body of football in Europe. Every four years its prestigious EURO tournament becomes the centrepiece for European international football. Due to the popularity of the tournament it also acts as a platform to showcase the latest in live production technology as broadcasters look to deliver the ultimate fan experience for their audiences around the world.

Hosted by France, UEFA EURO 2016 was played out in ten venues across the country including stadiums in Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille and Nice to name just a few. The summer saw the action from 51 matches distributed to UEFA’s 131 broadcast partners that were delivering content to a huge global audience. An estimated 300 million viewers were expected to tune in for the final alone.  

The challenges of delivering the host broadcast for such a high-profile tournament for UEFA and its suppliers – including Aspera, deltatre, the EBU and EVS - come in three sections; the production, management and distribution of content.

 

Live Storytelling – Venue production

To capture all of the on-field action, UEFA EURO 2016’s ten venues were each kitted out with up to 46 HD, two high speed (up to 500 fps) and eight super slow motion (3X and 4X slower) cameras. For the final 52 cameras were installed in the Stade de France. In addition, UEFA planned for eight matches throughout the tournament, the opening game, quarter-, semi-, and final to be produced and delivered in 4K-UHD. This required an additional 14 UHD camera feeds each at each of those matches.

stadium UEFA 2
To quickly and reliably ingest HD feeds from all of the stadiums’ cameras, UEFA installed 12 EVS XT3 live production servers at each of the tournament’s ten venues. For the 4K content production, an additional seven XT3s were operating in 4K mode for each of the eight matches delivered in UHD. Camera feeds were ingested into the live production environment ready for the creation of replays using the EVS LSM remote controller. To more easily manage these replays, playlists of content were built and managed using the LSM Connect interface.

Compilations of highlights were cut together at each venue using an XT3 server paired with EVS’ MultiReview tool for the clips channel 1. This meant operators could create compilations using the main match action and unused camera angles. They also used real-time and slow motion replays as well as longer cuts of the replays used in the broadcast feed. Another XT3 server and IPDirector content management system was also used for the creation of clips channel 2. This was for long-form super slow motion and high-speed camera replays as well as player, fan and VIP reaction shots.

In addition, UEFA used an EVS XT3 server and LSM controller to deliver infotainment content onto the big screens both inside the stadiums and in fanzones around France. This included teams arriving, interviews on the pitch, in-match highlights and pre-prepared promotions. 

 

LIVE CONTENT EXCHANGE AND MANAGEMENT – INTERNATIONAL BROADCAST CENTRE

As feeds, highlights and replays were created, UEFA needed a way to transfer all of this live content to make it available to the UEFA production team, and their 131 broadcast partners around the world, including the 40 based at the international broadcast centre (IBC).

For each match, uncompressed content from 15 feeds including the live stadium feed, clips channels 1 and 2, the main camera and a sixteenth 4K feed (for the eight matches – the opening match, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final shot in 4K UHD) were transported from the ten venues across France to the IBC. This transport was made possible using the 80,000km of cable that Orange provided for the tournament before being ingested into the UEFA EURO 2016 media server. This media server was composed of nine XT3 servers located in the central equipment room (CER) at the IBC in Paris. This meant that with multiple matches happening at once, there could be as many as 48 feeds being recorded simultaneously.

Broadcast UEFA 2
Once ingested into the XT3 servers, EVS’ XTAccess transfer engine was used to create proxy files for faster management and to transfer content quickly into the IBC’s shared storage – an XStore SAN system, configured to store up to 4000 hours of HD content. Stored on this system were live feeds produced at the venues, additional programming produced at the IBC, content created by ENG crews across France and metadata logs assigned to all of the system’s stored video.

As well as content ingested from the venues, 43 electronic news gathering (ENG) teams across the country delivered clips to the IBC. They would shoot additional supplementary footage at the venues, team basecamps and fanzones using EVS’ Ingest Funnel to select their content - with the transfer process to the live production environment at the IBC and to UEFA’s archives in Nyon, Switzerland completed using Aspera, EBU and Orange technology as the contribution network.  As ENG teams used different cameras, Ingest Funnel conformed their multiple formats for easier import and use by the production teams in the IBC. This was done using either an Ingest Funnel Lite application on portable laptops or two available Ingest Funnel stations located at each venue.

Throughout the tournament UEFA production teams in the IBC also needed to be able to remotely preview and import material from the matches’ live feeds. Using EVS’ Xplore interface they were able to access the in-venue XT3s and browse the live content in low resolution. They could then create clips from this content and import them to the XStore in the IBC.

Managing and editing all of this content, once transported to or ingested into the workflow at the IBC was the next big challenge. On arrival at the IBC, feeds were logged with descriptive metadata by an operator using one of the 13 onsite IPDirector content management systems. The added logs let production teams easily find content stored on the UEFA EURO 2016 media server by searching for associated terms like goal, penalty or off-side. Another 17 IPDirector stations let production crews at the IBC search, preview and manage everything held on the UEFA EURO 2016 media server. A total of 38 desktops were installed with IPBrowse licenses which let production teams preview any content in low resolution at the IBC, create clips and transfer them to editing. At the same time 36 editors using Adobe Premiere Pro with EVS’ IPLink plugin were able to access the content available on the UEFA EURO 2016 media server for use in programme editing.

Throughout the tournament, a suite of Livex (UEFA’s content distribution platform) services were made available to subscribing broadcast partners, enabling them to easily access the tournament’s live and additional programming content. Programming on the UEFA EURO 2016 media server was made available to UEFA’s broadcast partners whether they were on-site at the IBC (through UEFA’s Livex IBC service) or at their production premises in their home country using the Livex Remote Full Edition service.

IBC based broadcast partners utilised IPBrowse to browse and transfer all of the content that was available on the UEFA EURO 2016 media server. It then used an XFly 2 portable storage system to collect and store content and an IPDirector and XT3 for playout operations. The UEFA Livex Remote -Full Edition solution integrated IPWeb for remote UEFA EURO 2016 media server browsing, review and ordering of clips with the delivery of content completed using Aspera and EBU solutions. Broadcast partners could also subscribe to RSS feeds that automatically identified and delivered content to their local servers or storage during live production. EVS, in conjunction with Aspera, deltatre and the EBU, was also responsible for coordinating the automated delivery of UEFA additional programming material as part of UEFA’s Livex Remote – Additional Programming service.

DIGITAL BROADCASTING AND DISTRIBUTION - EXPANDED REACH

Engaging with the tournament’s global audience was the priority for UEFA. To enhance the overall viewing experience, UEFA mandated deltatre to deliver their white label mobile applications who in-turn built their solutions upon EVS’ C-Cast product.

Each of the tournament’s venues had an EVS C-Cast Agent installed which was connected to the C-Cast Cloud SaaS, EVS’ connected content platform. The IBC featured 25 C-Cast Central systems – one for each subscribed broadcast partner which facilitated the multimedia distribution, instantly publishing content to applications that used deltatre’s Diva media player. C-Cast enabled the delivery of enriched content like multi-angle clips, statistics and infographics to fans’ mobiles throughout the tournament.

RESULTS

  • EVS servers and LSM controllers created and played out an average of 13 minutes and 50 seconds of replays in each match. This represents 15% of the entire live production.
  • Using XT3, IPDirector and MultiReview, over 700 highlights compilations were produced at the tournament.
  • More than 3500 hours of content was ingested into and stored at the IBC in Paris.
  • ENG crews ingested and transferred 1043 video clips using EVS’ Ingest Funnel.
  • IPDirector was used to create 120,000 logs on content in the IBC.
  • Throughout the tournament 788 additional items of programming were created including highlights, player profiles and special features.
  • UEFA used C-Cast to deliver 45,000 clips to 25 different UEFA broadcast partners.