NBC Olympics Selects Technology Providers
NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, today announced a number of the companies that will be providing technology products and services for the Tokyo Olympics, July 23-Aug. 8.
Signiant is providing intelligent file transfer software. NBC will use Signiant’s software to move petabytes of footage from Tokyo back to its International Broadcast Center in Stamford immediately after it is captured.
Signiant’s network optimization technology also allows for transfer of the footage over standard IP networks, eliminating latency and packet loss, so that editors in Stamford can begin creating highlights almost immediately. The software also allows for content, including advanced graphics work and recorded footage, to be transferred quickly, easily and securely back to the broadcast center in Tokyo.
Sony Electronics will provide broadcast and production equipment. NBC Olympics’ crews will use nearly 100 Sony cameras to capture footage at event venues and record athlete interviews, press conferences, and other assignments that require studio and portable recording and capture. A selection of the Sony cameras, including the HDC-3500, will be used for IP-enabled transmission, while the rest will operate in SDI. The camera roster also features Sony’s HDC-5500 and HDC-3500 4K/HDR, high-frame rate studio cameras for slow-motion replay footage, along with XDCAM® camcorders including the PXW-Z750, PXW-Z450, PXW-X400 and PXW-Z280.
NBC Olympics will use several of Sony’s production switcher models — including the flagship XVS-9000 4K/3G/HD IP-ready switcher and the XVS-8000 and XVS-6000 4K/3G/HD video switchers designed for IP- and SDI-based production. Many of the switchers will be used in an IP-based environment and several will be designated for 1080P HDR production.
The switchers will handle feeds from each sports venue to NBC Olympics’ production facility inside NBC Olympics’ International Broadcast Center in Tokyo, as well as to originate HD cable coverage across NBCUniversal’s various networks and platforms. NBC Olympics will also use hundreds of Sony’s professional monitors, including 4K Master Monitors for critical picture evaluation and Series of Trimaster EL OLED/4K monitors for on-set and location monitoring.
Amagi will provide its cloud playout platform, Amagi CLOUDPORT, and live sports/news automation solution, Amagi LIVE, to create Olympic Channel’s live coverage in UHD. With HEVC playout and mezzanine quality UHD encoding, Amagi says its CLOUDPORT architecture “creates a new benchmark for video transmission over IP, especially for a global and premium live sporting event such as the Olympic Games.”
Key features of Amagi’s playout and automation solution include:
- Compute-efficient architecture with entire UHD playout on CPUs and no GPUs
- Containerized and componentized architecture leveraging Kubernetes
- Micro-services for scaling video processing on demand
- Browser-based UI for real-time controls with end-to-end low latency operations
- Rich graphics with DVE effects including HTML graphics, live closed captioning support, and live-to-VOD recording capability
- End-to-end software solution including multi-view monitoring, hitless switching and 24/7 tech support
Amagi says it’s providing “deep integration with NBCUniversal’s existing workflows to ensure seamless operational capability to the network’s various teams.”
Grass Valley will provide IP media audio and video routing solutions alongside control and monitoring systems. The IP Media solution is SMPTE-2110, AMWA NMOS IS-04/05, SMPTE-2059, UHD and HDR compliant, leveraging the full interoperability of industry standards. The system comprises more than 70 IQUCP modular gateways using both the 25GbE and 50GbE product versions, 170 Densitè+ XIP-3901 IP audio/video, SDR/HDR, IS-04/IS-05 processing modules and 16 MV-820-IP multiviewers, underpinning a robust, reliable and future-proof infrastructure. System management is enabled via the GV Orbit dynamic orchestration system, allowing production teams to leverage the power of IP using familiar SDI workflows. As part of the wider IP infrastructure, Grass Valley has also provided MADI audio gateway products, and the Audio Live multi-stream audio processing solution.
RTS will provide broadcast intercom systems and support. The installation for NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Tokyo Olympics will be full IP, comprising more than 600 ports and leveraging two singular and superior RTS technologies: OMNEO high-quality audio for local communication and RVON for international comms. RTS developed and supplied the first IP-powered digital intercom system.
Telestream will provide media capture and automated processing. NBC Olympics will use Telestream’s Lightspeed Live Capture and Vantage media processing platform to perform a unique, mixed HDR/SDR workflow. This workflow is designed to save significant time and enable editing teams to work on both the SDR and HDR products during the editorial process simultaneously.
The Lightspeed Live Capture systems will receive 1080p59.94 HDR signals from the events and create media simultaneously to two different formats. As the 1080p59.94 HDR is recorded in XAVC Class 100 HDR (Hybrid Log Gamma or HLG) format, Telestream’s Vantage software, running on an array of Lightspeed G6 servers will process the media as it’s growing. SDR versions will be created in XDCAMHD 422 at 1080i59.94. The HDR to SDR conversion will be done through a new advanced color processing pipeline in Vantage utilizing color processing Look Up Table filters (LUTs) that translate HDR (HLG) to SDR (Rec. 709). In real time, while Lightspeed Live Capture is under record, Vantage will check both HDR and SDR assets into Avid Interplay. The Vantage system provides frame chase editing capabilities of both the HDR and SDR product, allowing Avid operators to edit on the fly from the live files as they are being recorded.
The unique HDR/SDR workflow takes advantage of Avid’s new cross-rate dynamic relink capability. Avid operators focus on editing the 1080i59.94 SDR-based content, which will be consumed by the majority of viewers, and then simply re-link/conform to the HDR assets to finish edits against the 1080p59.94 HDR product.
The equipment, along with Sentry OTT monitoring solutions from Telestream, will be used to monitor and test the quality of video and audio content used in NBC Olympics’ production, post production, transmission, and distribution workflows in NBC Olympics’ facilities supporting a record level of content.
MediaKind will provide a range of its video processing and advanced modular receiver technologies to support NBC Olympics’ high quality video distribution to millions of viewers. MediaKind’s specialist engineers will also provide assistance through the installation of equipment and system set-up. The engineers will be present on-site 24/7 to offer multi-site support throughout the event.
MediaKind’s encoding solutions were most recently used by NBC Olympics for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Prior to this, MediaKind supported NBC Olympics’ production of Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
TAG Video Systems will provide OTT monitoring and multiviewing, delivering an integrated software-based IP probing, monitoring and multiviewer solution to monitor MPEG Transport Streams originating in Tokyo, which are then logged, categorized and archived in NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. The system will run on true COTS off-the-shelf servers and give NBC Olympics the ability to view metrics and evaluate the health of the signals every step of the way. It will also allow NBC Olympics the flexibility to custom configure the broadcasts on its multiviewers to fit any desired scenario.
Xytech’s ScheduALL will be at its ninth consecutive Olympic Games to deliver advanced enterprise resource and transmission optimization solutions in order to coordinate the highly dynamic environment of the Games. NBC Olympics will be able to use Xytech’s software and services to orchestrate the logistics of people, equipment, locations and transmission feeds.
NBC Olympics and Xytech will again work together, as they have continued to do during their long relationship dating back to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Xytech’s ScheduALL manages critical information, such as video router assignments and satellite uplink scheduling, and automatically passes the information to downstream systems to facilitate on-air coverage for each feed.
NEP Group will provide mobile broadcasting, engineering consultation, and technical support, including outside broadcast units Supershooter 8, ST1 and ND6, as well as associated services, gear and technical support, for live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, as well as athletics, swimming and diving events throughout the Games.