Chicago Blackhawks

EditShare Helps Chicago Blackhawks Achieve Their Goal

Two incredible goals in less than 20 breathtaking seconds helped the Chicago Blackhawks clinch victory over the Boston Bruins to win their second Stanley Cup in four seasons.

Matching the team’s dramatic rise to the top over the last five years is the public’s interest and positive perception of its hometown heroes. Like the spectacular performances on ice, the positive image transformation was driven through carefully created highlight packages, web and TV spots, and locker room shots for local news stations. A number of special TV programs featured individual players, revealing their down-to-earth, family-oriented personalities. These projects involve a great deal of shooting – and with that, a vast amount of footage that has to be ingested, shared and managed. And for that, EditShare is the answer.

Winning Video Production

The carefully crafted packages and programs come from Banner Collective, a video production company owned by the Wirtz Corporation (also owners of the Chicago Blackhawks). “There is one production team dedicated to covering the Blackhawks,” explains Patrick Dahl, Vice President of Creative and Production. “Including me, we have eight people in all, with the five shooters doing their own editing on Adobe® Premiere® Pro, and two who specialize in editing and motion graphics.”

Until recently, Dahl’s production unit was based at Chicago’s United Center. During the past season, the unit moved to a new facility, giving them the opportunity to upgrade some of the equipment and thus better cope with new demands. “When we were located at the stadium, we shared the infrastructure with the building and the game presentation department. They had their content on both an Avid and an HP storage system. Media was shared using hard drives – and this was, quite obviously, not very efficient. We ended up looking through numerous drives for the footage we required, and by the time we found the relevant material, we sometimes missed the window of opportunity to use it.” Dahl continues, “We shoot a massive amount of material and we need to hold it for many years.” For example, when the team’s current president took over five years ago, he gave an interview from which the production team still uses sound bites and video footage.

The team was in need of a power player to help manage the media from ingest to archive for many years to come.

EditShare Joins the Team

Taking into consideration the challenges of managing and sharing, Patrick set out to find a better workflow solution. “I talked with local facilities and vendors, and EditShare was the clear choice from the start. It seemed to us that alternative solutions required a lot of cobbling together of components, all of which we would have to configure ourselves. On the other hand, EditShare provided the tools and team to help us with all elements of our workflow.” Dahl equipped his new facility with an EditShare 32TB Energy 3U shared storage server, Flow asset management and file-based ingest, and Ark Tape with a 24-slot LTO-6 tape library.

EditShare Energy shared storage systems include Flow for file-based ingest, logging, cataloging, searching and simple cuts-only editing – with the ability to drag and drop logged clips with markers into industry standard NLE applications. In addition, Energy includes Ark for backup and archive to an LTO tape library, including EditShare’s own 24-, 48-, 72- and 96-slot libraries.

Flow’s asset management capabilities combined with the Ark backup and archiving software turn the EditShare Energy shared storage system into a complete end-to-end tapeless workflow solution that can handle the numerous formats required by the Blackhawks’ production unit. “We are fortunate enough to have access to a wide range of cameras,” states Dahl. “When it comes to full TV programs or capturing the Stanley Cup celebration parade, we like to use RED or Canon C500 cameras to give the project that cinematic feel. Whereas when we are producing highlights and content for news and networks, we shoot on 5D and 7D, with other material coming from Panasonic P2 card-based cameras. And thanks to EditShare, we can pick the camera best suited for the job without having to worry about managing multiple media formats.”

The Massive Advantages of EditShare

With the EditShare system in place, the unit sends footage to its production facility where Flow is used to manage the ingest operation directly from camera. “We make wide use of Flow File Ingest, as it enables material to be ingested without tying up our Premiere Pro edit suites. With our increasing workload, we are planning to expand this part of the system to accommodate a greater number of Flow File Ingest channels.”

He adds that one vital part of the operation is the ability to share Adobe Premiere Pro projects. “This system allows us to easily share projects – producing just the kind of efficiency that we require to meet increasing production demands. On occasion, all of us are accessing material at the same time, and because production demands change so fast, the benefit of safe, centralized access is huge.”

Patrick goes on, “We can search in Flow, find the proxy and know exactly where material is located on LTO tape. This process is incredibly fast and easy. In sports, a package that you are creating for today may not be relevant 48 hours later. Efficiency and timing are everything. EditShare makes it possible for us to turn around packages with the content we want – exactly where and when we need it.”

So, how does Patrick Dahl sum up the production team’s experience with EditShare?
“We all have great confidence in the system. Previously, we ran around searching for drives and manually catalogued assets. Now, all material is in one readily-accessible location. The effectiveness we are achieving now compared with the previous mode of working is as different as night and day. EditShare gives us the ability to share across production and post-production operations – with support for many formats and editing applications. Flow’s media asset management capabilities allow us to quickly search our Energy shared storage as well as material that has been archived with Ark Tape – and we like that the system is expandable, allowing us to add more storage and performance to meet growing requirements. No other vendor offers this level of integration and performance. For me, EditShare means efficiency.”