Versus opens new HD facilities with Avid, Sony at core

By Ken Kerschbaumer

HD is twice as nice for sports cable network Versus after it opened a new 20,00 sq. ft production facility and new 20,000 sq. ft. post production facility last month. “They work together seamlessly,” says Paul Koopman, Versus director, engineering and production administration.

The 1080i facility is based heavily on Avid gear, with an Interplay system handling content management and sharing, making it easier for content to be repurposed in different formats and also distributed. All field produced and live material originates on an Avid SD/HD Airspeed. “That’s worked quite well for us and Interplay, which we installed about three months ago, has been flawless,” adds Koopman. Avid DNxHD at 145 Mbps is also used by the Avid Symphony, Nitris and Media Composers that are in the facility.

Also on hand is a Sony MVS-8000 production switcher with Sony HDC1500L cameras and HDW1800 HDCAM cameras, an SSL C100 audio console, an Evertz MVP multi-imager and a Reidel Artist 128 and Solo intercom system. On the wish list? A better bond between EVS and Avid as the interchange process still requires video going back to baseband.

Transcoding of content for different delivery mechanisms occurs via transcoding servers. “The biggest challenge was getting our transmission lines in place in a timely fashion so we could share content across the facilities,” says Koopman.