CBS Sports Builds Super-Sized EVS Server System for the Big Game; Embraces DNX100 Codec

CBS Sports this weekend is rolling out a massive EVS server infrastructure for Super Bowl XLIV, with 37 EVS XT[2] servers broken up into two networks (24 used during the game and 13 during the pre-game), ensuring that viewers at home see all the important shots, pre-packages, stories and profiles, promos, and more.

“The reason we have so many servers is we have to be able to isolate and record everyone of the 51 cameras we have,” says Bruce Goldfeder, CBS Sports, director of engineering.

The EVS servers are complemented by five EVS Xfile systems and 10 EVS IPDirector systems. There are also two Avid Unity servers on hand for craft editing, with one dedicated to pre-game needs and the other to the game. One Avid Unity server is located with three Avid Media Composers in the All Mobile Video unit that will be used to edit clips and packags during the game. The other Unity server is located alongside eight Media Composers in the compound and is handling pre-game material.

There have been a couple of big changes since the last time CBS had the Super Bowl. First, all video is being recorded using the Avid DNX codec at 100 Mbps. “Now transferring between the EVS and Avid systems is seamless,” says Goldfeder. “With the IP Director we can push content to either the Avid systems or to any of the IP Director systems and we can also push content between the game and pre-game SDTI networks.”

Another big change is that the SDTI network has grown from 540Mbps to 1.5 Gpbs. “That takes a big load off of the network and we have Gigabit Ethernet to bridge between the pre-game and game networks,” says Goldfeder. “And we can also transfer between them without having to go back to baseband video.”

For Goldfeder and the team this weekend’s game is the culmination of a more than a year of work as they have assembled the tools, parts, and people to put plans into action. “The team we have together is awesome,” he says. “For the last three months we’ve been going over the pregame and detailing every single feed and what equipment will feed it. And now it’s a living organism.”