NBC makes Avid buy for SD and HD Olympic production

Avid Technology Inc. announced that NBC has purchased Avid video and Digidesign audio workflow solutions in preparation for the network’s broadcast of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

The solutions, Avid said, “enable NBC to construct a comprehensive, state-of-the-art digital SD and HD production pipeline that greatly expands the video and audio workflow it implemented for the 2004 Summer Olympics.” The deal also represents an unprecedented move in television history, the equipment maker added, since NBC will be the first U.S. network to broadcast the Olympic Winter Games in HD during primetime.

“This is the fourth consecutive Olympic Games where we’re using Avid solutions, and the third for graphics products that were formerly from Pinnacle but are now part of Avid. Each time we have adopted a bigger and more powerful workflow while also maintaining tremendous efficiency and reliability,” said David Mazza, senior vice president, engineering, NBC Olympics.

NBC’s Turin production facility will comprise six Avid Unity ISIS systems and three Avid Unity LANshare shared-storage systems, totaling more than 100 terabytes (TB) of storage; 36 Media Composer Adrenaline(TM) systems—29 of which are equipped with the Avid DNxcel board for HD capture, real-time editing and output for high-end editorial finishing; a Digidesign ICON integrated console environment featuring a D-Control console and a Pro Tools|HD 7 Accel system for recording, producing and mixing audio in 5.1-channel surround sound; five Deko 3000 HD character generators and five Thunder HD production servers to deliver all the on-air graphics; and Avid Professional Services for on-site training and support.

Additionally, NBC will use the Avid DNxHD format to facilitate HD production at 1080i/25 resolutions within an Avid shared-storage environment. Because Avid DNxHD files support full raster 8- and 10-bit media, they deliver the quality of 10-bit uncompressed HD images—but with the bandwidth of SD files. When fully operational, NBC will be equipped to handle more than 100 TB of HD media in a shared-storage environment—or 800 hours of HD footage.

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