How EVS and Grass Valley Have Changed Broadcast Television
by Eric Pierce, CAS
Data servers have the significant benefit of being able to connect to a high-speed Ethernet or fiber network for file transfers. This allows the operators to push elements from the stage to post-production, where Avid and Final Cut workstations have instant access to the files. And then post-production can push files right back to the stage from picture editorial or final mix. This is a clear advantage for live television, where very often packages are being edited right up to air time. Topical shows like Conan, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Lopez Tonight, The Talk, etc., take advantage of networked servers to keep up with the pace these shows run. Clips and packages can be shipped from editorial and placed into a playback cue at the same time the show is being taped. In the case of Dr. Phil, the operator can record the program and save clips and, when Dr. Phil catches one of his subjects changing their story, he can say: “But earlier in the show, this is what you said!” and the clip is instantly played for all to see.
Using servers to ingest live feeds from the stage, then exporting them via network to the post-production servers, yields a huge time and cost savings. This gives editorial instant access to all the show elements which allows them to start cutting right away, making it possible to work on extraordinarily tight schedules that can sometimes allow only a matter of a few days from acquisition to delivery. Local 695 member Al Adams, one of the recordists working on Dr.Phil and The Doctors, tells us that once they complete the transition to full server acquisition, the show will save $20,000 to $30,000 each month in tape stock alone, not to mention the time saved and the creative choices made possible by using these advanced technologies.
And Joan Cusack? With high-speed servers delivering the content for her, that video clip would have made it to air and she’d still probably have time for a latte.