EVS Goes to the MAX for HBS World Cup Server

The 30,000-square-meter World Cup International Broadcast Center looks like an unassuming convention center from the outside. But inside, Host Broadcast Services (HBS) is producing the World Cup feed seen by billions of fans around the world on what is arguably one of the world’s largest video servers: FIFA MAX, the nickname for a Media Asset Exchange system built around EVS server technology.

The server makes all video acquired by HBS, whether for the matches or the wealth of feature stories and video shot by 40 electronic-newsgathering (ENG) crews across the country, available to subscribing rightsholders. Within the walls of the IBC and at broadcast facilities around the country, hundreds, if not thousands, of EVS IP Director systems allow broadcast production staffers to view and listen to clips for radio, TV, or Internet broadcasts.

The IBC has two types of EVS storage. First, 11 XT[2] Plus servers record eight feeds from each game in both high- and low-resolution, complete with metadata describing the footage.

Alex Redfern of EVS is part of the team overseeing the FIFA MAX server and related systems.

Meanwhile a collection of XStore2 systems record all file-based material, including incoming video from the 40 ENG crews delivered from the field via Smart Jog, a file-transfer system that requires Smart Jog ingest points to be installed at the venues and other strategic locations in South Africa. ENG crews in the field, using Panasonic P2 cameras, upload content directly from the P2 cards.

Content can also be transcoded via EVS XT-Access from the XStore2 drives to an Apple XSAN/XServe for Apple Final Cut Pro editing needs and to other servers in the IBC.

“The matches will stay on the online XT[2] Plus servers for the entire tournament,” says Alex Redfern, EVS project engineer.

The low-resolution versions clock in at 30 Mbps so that the content can be streamed over 1BaseT networks and via h.264 for Websites. More than 150 IP Directors, plus IP Directors run by the various broadcasters, access those low-res files and allow editors, producers, and others to find favorite clips before requesting high-resolution versions that are recorded at DVCPRO 100 Mbps. The high-res clips are then transferred to the storage system within the broadcaster’s facility.

Licensed rightsholders outside of the IBC can also access two Websites, Radio MRL and TV MRL, and browse content. They can then request content and have high-resolution versions transferred to their servers.

The system is finding believers, especially among smaller rightsholders who don’t have the large capital budgets to field massive production teams.