SAM 2010: EVS Gives Inside Look at HBS’s FIFAMAX System

Calling EVS’s Media Asset Exchange system for the 2010 FIFA World Cup a massive undertaking goes well beyond understatement. During EVS’s month in South Africa this summer, the FIFAMAX system managed more than 3,000 hours of HD media for Host Broadcast Systems (HBS), the primary feed provider for the World Cup. At SVG’s 2010 Sports Asset Management forum on July 21, EVS gave attendees a close-up look at this immense system.

Overall, the FIFAMAX system totaled 3,150 recorded hours, 160,000 clips created  (5,932 ESPN clips), 200,000 clips transferred (6,003 ESPN clips), and 105,000 log entries. These figures are staggering until one considers that the FIFAMAX server was the primary database for rightsholders around the world to distribute World Cup content to billions of viewers. HBS and EVS had no choice but to create one of the world’s largest video servers to manage the glut of content.

“We have a long relationship with HBS, dating back to the 1998 World Cup,” said Greg Macchia, GM of operations, NALA, for EVS. “We started as a provider of just slo-mo and replay in the trucks back then, but we’ve come a long way. For this World Cup, we provided the core central media system for them — from ingest to the broadcast center to distribution for the media rightsholders and several different devices.”

Fifty HD XT[2] servers (DVCPRO HD) managed more than 1,900 hours (360×300 GB), while a collection of XStore[2] media-storage systems managed more than 1,100 hours of hi-res media (220×300 GB). The FIFAMAX system also featured 18 live-feed ingests, 140 EVS IP Director systems (for logging, browsing, and content management), six XF[2) removable storage devices, and two XT[2]Web sites hosted in Torino, Italy.

HBS brought in a variety of video feeds to the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) in Johannesburg and ingested them into the FIFAMAX system. Nine broadcast feeds — clean and dirty, several tactical/team cameras, a highlights feed, and a specialized mobile feed — were sent back to the IBC. The mobile feed was a newly minted and extremely important aspect for HBS.

“HBS was focused on having a dedicated feed for mobile devices during this World Cup,” said Macchia. “They were using special cameras tailored to that mobile aspect, and they were generating that feed and sending it through our system and streaming it to Final Cut Pro.”

Low-resolution versions of the files were streamed over 1BaseT networks for Websites. Editors, producers, and others from rightsholders around the world could access these low-res files, find the video that they need, and request high-resolution versions for their needs.

Rightsholders outside of Johannesburg could also access the content through two Websites, Radio MRL and TV MRL. They could then view the low-res files and request that the appropriate high-resolution versions be transferred to their servers.

“In this case, we did the primary asset management,” noted James Stellpflug, senior manager, products and systems integrations, for EVS. “A lot of it was the core of the server and working with other vendors and companies to provide an appropriate solution. Broadcasters all over the world could search and sift through this content and use it as quickly as possible.”