Creative Mobile Solutions Inc. (CMSI) once again finds its team dispersed around the globe for a busy summer. Not only is CMSI providing postproduction and network support to Fox Sports for the World Cup, U.S. Open, and others, it’s also helping out ESPN on events like the NBA Finals as well as BET Networks’ BET Awards this Sunday.
“We always get busier in the summer as the major events converge,” says CMSI President Noah Gusdorff. “We ramp up in the spring and just keep growing, adding additional staff, services, and technical and business expertise to help us stay structured and keep going.”
Gusdorff is currently in Moscow overseeing CMSI operations at the IBC and also venue kits that bounce among the 12 venues. Those kits, for example, allow footage captured on Sony F55 cameras to be offloaded from an ENG card and into a system that ultimately makes the footage visible to Fox Sports staffers in the U.S.
“I am on-site at the IBC, where the playout servers and main control room is, as content is originating from here,” Gusdorff says from Moscow. “After here, it is simultaneously in two places — some sent to Amazon S3, and then, depending on the footage, tagged and sent to Los Angeles. From there, it is visible all over [the Fox operations] and orchestration gets the files where they need to go.”
For the recently concluded NBA Finals (and the Eastern Conference Finals), CMSI worked with ESPN for the third straight year, providing archive file management and an EVS remote solution. Senior Workflow Specialist Scott Meglemre designed and managed the workflow and Ryan Carignan, who formerly worked with EVS, handled file management, as well as hardware and integration support.
“For the NBA Finals, we were able to use an EVS product called IPWeb that allowed for content to be viewed in a browser and bounced back and forth between the production trucks [in Cleveland and Oakland],” says Gusdorff. CMSI’s implementation of IPWeb allowed content to be transferred back and forth between cities while the truck was powered off.
“There was a central system to provide access to the footage in a Web browser as the user would log in, browse, and then choose what to do with the footage,” he says.
As for the U.S. Open, being on a golf course is always a challenge. The scale of the Fox Sports production compounds these challenges. CMSI provided five Adobe Premiere edit systems, a Davinci color-correction system, 512TB of Avid storage, 200TB of NAS-based storage, and 10 Gbps of networking. On location, Mike Kircos managed the CMSI team and kept the operation running smoothly.
“It’s gigantic, and the expectations are the same as with any show,” says Gusdorff. “You need to set up complicated workflow processes quickly, get the systems talking to each other, and there is not a lot of room for error. So, we prepped everything at our facility in Westlake Village, CA, and then got it out to the site in as close to a working configuration as we could. Then we coordinated with Game Creek Video and were ready to go.”
Upcoming events include the ESPYs, the Special Olympics, support for Conan O’Brien’s visit to Comic-Con, and more. This weekend’s big efforts are around the BET Awards, a massive undertaking that requires 20 edit systems to be on site at four venues.
“That show keeps growing and growing,” says Gusdorff. “And everybody on our team has done an awesome job on all these events. Mandi Neece, our Operations Manager, is the glue that holds it all together and stays on top of everything, so our engineers can buckle down.”
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