EDITSHARE KEEPS TRACK OF NASCAR
Dynamic. Exceptional speed. Outstanding performance. High specifications.
Just some of the attributes of the cars and drivers that excel in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing. And those same qualities are now used to describe the EditShare equipment and systems used by the professionals who provide the pre- and post-race videos of this hugely popular sport.
“We installed the EditShare system in 2012, and it has been just fantastic for our production operation and has really helped us greatly with our workflow.” That’s the upbeat conclusion of Brook Horn, Program Manager at Sprint Vision, a division of the Motor Racing Network.
The video production company was set up by MRN in 2002 to provide track-side big screen entertainment, news, previews and interviews for fans at the NASCAR race venues around the country. These presentations are shown at both practice and qualifying sessions, as well as before and after the actual races.
“Until a couple of years ago we were using tape for all our productions,” explains Brook. “We had already started to look at improving our workflows, but when the cost of tape rocketed after the Tsunami in Japan, the transition to a new system became urgent.”
Research Leads to EditShare
She conducted extensive research into a number of solutions and found that EditShare’s Flow asset management, Energy shared storage and Ark archiving/backup solutions provided the most cost effective and flexible answer to Sprint Vision’s demanding media management and tiered storage requirements. “It was exactly the high specification that we required. I received approval to make the purchase mid-season and instead of waiting until we had a break in the race schedule, we started the installation immediately. Although we were in the middle of a hectic schedule, thanks to the help from EditShare the transition was extremely smooth.”
Sprint Vision first deployed its EditShare shared storage server. This 32TB Energy Series server allowed Sprint Vision to ingest footage captured at the race track to centralized storage in its native format, making the material immediately sharable among its Avid edit suites. At the end of the season, the company completed the switch to the full EditShare workflow package. In addition to the Energy storage server, the solution comprises EditShare Flow for ingest, logging, and production asset management and EditShare Ark Tape, which acts as both archive and backup. “In fact, the EditShare system forms the core media management platform for the whole of our video production center.”
Brook goes on to explain the workflow that is now in operation for the production team. “We have a state-of-the-art mobile production studio equipped with several P2 cameras. Their footage, together with line cuts, clean feeds, replays, and audio feeds are captured via EVS, AJA Ki Pro and P2 recording devices. Our post facility layout includes a mix of Avid and Adobe editors, Pro Tools and Sound Forge for audio, and several graphics stations.” She says that EVS clips are pulled via an XT-Access Gateway Server, with metadata kept by EditShare Flow. Additional logging of clips takes place in Flow to create a search function that is as comprehensive as possible.
Recording details such as drivers’ names, venues or dates makes it a simple, high speed process to find the required material at a later date. “It means we are not relying on someone’s memory about a particular incident and where it might have occurred. Previously, we would have gone through many tapes to find a specific incident and that was extremely time-consuming. Now, we simply check the logs and have instant access to the event. The time saving is outstanding and makes for a high level of efficiency.” All these clips are currently residing on the EditShare storage, but the footage is also backed up to LTO tape via Ark. Using Flow, Sprint Vision can easily migrate content from the archives to the main storage system and vice versa.
The Ease of Editing
“Flow allows us to transcode the footage very rapidly into one format. And this makes it much easier for the Avid editors as the work comes through to them.” Zak Judkins, one of the senior editors at Sprint Vision, takes up the story. “Using EditShare has revolutionized our workflow and speeded up the editing process. For example, producers can readily access all the ingested material and provide us with a number of low resolution sub clips showing what is needed for a particular program. In editing, we access those clips which have been assembled into the order determined by the producer. The metadata comes with the clips, so we can just drag and drop the material from Flow into an Avid bin.” All the in and out points are marked, making it an easy task to complete the final edit in a short period of time. “The process is easy to understand and makes for efficient working.”
EditShare is for sharing
This ready access to all the ingested material is also beneficial to other members of the team. “Our EditShare system is fully networked,” declares Brook. “So, alongside the editing bays, all computers and laptops – even those in remote locations - can view the stored material. This means, for example, if a race track calls me and requests the use of some of our footage, I can immediately access it from my laptop using the dynamic search function. I can then cut, print and send off the material without having to involve other members of staff or even returning to my office. Of course, as our catalog of material increases with each of the 35 races we cover every year, this storage and search function will become increasingly important. Even with these many more hours of footage, the ability to search in seconds means we will remain just as efficient.” Brook concludes, “EditShare has transformed the way we work. We’ve always produced dynamic programs to match the excitement and thrills of NASCAR events, but we are now able to generate exciting and vibrant output with a much more efficient workflow. The benefits are truly enormous.”