Bexel 3G Live! makes multiplatform publishing easy

Last Friday the NBA held its annual technology summit in Houston and the off-the-record discussions centered around the challenges and opportunities the wireless medium presents.

For the most part it dealt with the business challenges: where do advertisers fit in? What is the revenue model? And what is the potential impact on the existing distribution streams?

One thing it didn t dive into was how to cost-effectively publish and produce content for the new medium. But it s a major issue as hiring a staff to produce content for the TV broadcast, the broadband platforms, and each of the cellular platforms could become unwieldy and, above all, expensive.

That s one of the reasons Bexel has put together 3G Live! a new media production package that it says will save sports content distributors time, money, and energy.
There s usually a tradeoff between production quality and speed and we ve been able to come up with a nice balance between production value and speed, says Jerry Gepner, Vitec CTO of the system.
The system relies on four key of technologies familiar to the sports broadcasting community: the EVS LSM-XT server system for storage, Apple Final Cut Pro for editing, and a QuickTime File rewrap that transfers content from broadcast formats into Quicktime.
The system recently had a workout at Fashion Week in New York City where it helped build different versions of the runway shows for MSN.com, IMG, and Aquafina. As the cameras rolled four iso feeds would be recorded on the EVS system as clips. The EVS ISOS system then converted the files into the MOV format so they could be edited using Final Cut Pro. Once edited (the clips would range in length from two minutes for mobile applications to five minutes for online needs) the clips were sent to Telestream s Flip4Mac where they were then readied for distribution over cellphones and the Internet. MPEG files, for example, were pushed out to the phones while Windows Media files were sent to MSN.

The system is a new twist on the old COPE acronym of Create Once, Publish Many. The new paradigm, which this system represents, is ingest once and publish many. Gepner believes the flypack unit is an example of how broadcasters and others will handle content production in the future. Mobile and Web content is going to be a large percentage of productions in the coming years, he says. That s one of the reasons we needed to do this.

Russell Quy, TWI executive producer, advanced media, who headed up the Fashion Week project, says it also allows the production team to tailor the content for a specific medium. At Fashion Week one editor would cut clips for cellphones while another would cut clips for broadband. I want to make the content work for the medium that it s on, he says. A lot of times when you try to take TV on the Internet it doesn t work. So we try to do things to work on that specific medium.

Gepner says the system can ingest up to six channels of content at a time. It can also hook into existing EVS LSM-XT networks that might be on hand at a sporting event and access all the clips created by other operators. For example, as replay clips are built during a basketball game a 3G Live! Operator can take copies of those clips and ready them for distribution over other mediums.

Freelance EVS operators can be found in every major US city, making the availability of trained personnel a non-issue, he adds. For monitoring, the Leitch Suitview multi-viewer is used, allowing all six channels to be displayed on a single, 30 inch LCD panel.

3G Live! also uses an XFile Digital Archive Station tied to the network. This unit carries two hard drives that can be configured to record content in either a mirrored or striped fashion, providing up to 15 hours of content storage.

For Quy, 3G Live! provides the freedom and flexibility he s looking for. A lot of systems that do this quickly don t let me edit the way I want, says Quy. But we re trying to do some effects and have graphics. Other systems are based on hard cuts only.