The Football Worldcup 2018 in Russia

Also at one of the most important and largest media sports events in the world, the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, BNC was represented several times to ensure a smooth flow in the recording, administration, operating and post-production.
At this 21st edition of the World Cup in Russia, we worked for HBS, ORF and ARD / ZDF at all locations. Not only in Russia, but also in Vienna and Baden-Baden, the remote production sites of ORF and ARD / ZDF, we were represented both in terms of personnel and equipment.
The most complex set-up in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium – venue for a total of 5 match encounters – was supervised by our colleague Lisa Sluka as system administrator on behalf of HBS and in close cooperation with EVS.

There the following EVS equipment was in use:

12x XT4K (production codec: AVC-Intra 100)
2x IPD (1 Engineer, 1 Backup Action / Emotion Channel)
2x XTA
1x Xfile
1x Xplore
1x Multireview (Backup Action / Emotion Channel)
1x IngestFunnel laptop

The 12 XT4K servers were assigned to the workflow as follows:
6x XT for 8xSSL + 16x normal cameras
4x XT Dual LSM 8IN 4OUT
2x XT Ccast (+ Backup Action / Emotion)
2x Ultramotion (SONY) + 2x Pico (from eighth finals) -> on Dual LSM servers

In addition to the live production of the game – which in itself is a major challenge – the EVS system must serve various other channels in parallel, such as action and emotion channels (special channels that are filled with pre-defined content, in case of the emotion channel, these are, for example, particularly beautiful shots of the audience in the stadium), or even Ccast, a SaaS platform (software as a service), whose operation and application is explained below *.
But all of this only works if everything is perfectly set up, configured and administered, many thanks to Lisa for the great implementation!

Our colleague David Schiebel worked for the ORF at the IBC in Moscow where he was responsible for 2x XT4K Server, 1x IPDirector, 1x XTAccess and access to the FIFA MAX Server.
A total of 8 transmission lines had to be connected and additional slomo and emotion clips were created. By accessing the central server in the IBC (FIFA © MAX), the editors had access at all times to PK’s, training, story, emotions, certain game scenes, etc … The desired raw material was then transferred to the XT4K server and via the IPDirector playlist transferred to Vienna.

We were also active in other places during the World Cup, for example in the ORF center in Vienna. Katharina Cimzar and Enrico Ganassin cut the scenes for the half-time analysis, as well as a 90-second summary of each game for the ORF TVThek. Also, the selection of content on the large video wall in the studio during the half-time analyzes was in the responsibility of Katharina and Enrico.
In order to meet the increased production requirements on weekends with simultaneous Formula 1 transmission, a mobile production unit from REMOTION was also used.
Thanks to all for the active support of the ORF in its World Cup broadcast!

Also in Baden-Baden, the remote production site of ARD and ZDF, we were represented with our equipment, ia. with 5x EVS XT4k servers which were used to record and distribute the content coming from Moscow to the Avid © Interplay © system. Also the file-based transfer of the edits on the Avid © Media Composer © happened via the XT4K server as they could be addressed directly from the editing suites.

In terms of rental equipment as well as the use of our staff at all World Cup production sites … you can say that this World Cup was a great success for us !!

* How does action and emotion channel work?

The EVS operators who are involved in the live production not only take care of the fast and accurate playback of slow motions and short highlight packages, they also constantly create additional content in the form of clips that are assigned via keywords to the corresponding channel at the press of a key. If an operator assigns the keyword “ACTION” to a clip it is send to the action channel, if he or she assigns the keyword “EMOTION” it will be send to the emotion channel. As soon as a corresponding keyword is assigned, the IPDirector in the setup accesses it and transfers the corresponding clip to the IBC connected via 10GigE.
In addition – and this was a first – operators who sat in the IBC in Moscow could access all the inputs of all EVS XT4k servers installed in the different Stadiums via EVS XPlore technology and thus create completely independent clips, another proof of the performance of the servers from Liege. In this way, between 1500 and 2000 clips were taken from the stadium to the IBC (International Broadcast C) per match


* How Ccast SaaS works:

Ccast from EVS is not a well-defined product but a SaaS platform that can be used in a variety of ways. It is impossible at this point to address all these possibilities, which is why the principle of the use in the ARD / ZDF library should be explained:
During the World Cup it was possible in the ARD / ZDF media library to watch all the key scenes of the current game from 24 freely selectable camera perspectives again.
Due to time constraints, the director is unable to show more than two or three repetitions of a scene during the live broadcast, so the apps from ARD and ZDF offer viewers a great opportunity to watch a goal, a foul or a controversial scene as often as she/he wants to watch it from camera angles that were never broadcasted in the linear program.
This is the credit of Ccast, perfectly implemented in the apps of ARD and ZDF, but how does it work?
The Ccast Operator sat during production at the IBC in Moscow and operates the GUI of the ccast publisher. This interface is networked with the XT servers in each stadium and visualizes the clip content of each server. Because Ccast is “multicam-optimized,” each clip is automatically displayed in all available camera angles. The operator now decides which clip and which useful camera angles of this clip should be extracted from the servers at the location. When this happens, a corresponding command is sent to the ccast agent – which was installed on XFile3 platforms at the venues. The latter then extracts the corresponding clips and camera perspectives, sends them to the Ccast-Central transcoder within the selected cloud, which then generates the media formats requested by the customer – in this case ARD / ZDF. Finally, the transfer of the media into a predefined destination directory takes place.