Vantage for France at the Rio Olympics

Rio fencing
Neal Romanek
October 27th 2016 at 12:30PM : By Neal Romanek

French broadcasters used Telestream's Vantage product for their Olympics workflows

The pressures of TV production for a major event like the Olympic Games are well known, and broadcasters look to reliable partners and technologies to help them deliver a great experience for their viewers on all media.

For Rio2016, Group France Televisions, the national broadcast group of France, commissioned Videlio-Cap Cine to ensure that their Avid post-production platform was able to meet the demands of round-the-clock production for multiple channels and platforms.

From the planning stages, it was clear that the media processing, and in particular the video transcoding, workload was huge. During analysis of the project requirements, Videlio-Cap Cine foresaw that the use of a Telestream Lightspeed K80 GPU-accelerated image processing server, working with Telestream’s flagship Vantage media processing platform, would be an invaluable addition to the system in Rio, for several applications.

Distance running

The France TV teams on site used this system 24/7 to ingest rushes from 12 ENG teams. Vantage allows them to re-wrap the rushes into the container required by Avid without transcoding the video essence. This preserves the quality of the content, while also speeding up the ingest process. The France TV post-production supervisor estimated that the Vantage ingest process was seven to nine times faster than other methods, and allowed them to make Media Composer edit stations available much sooner than otherwise.

In Brazil, the national broadcast format is NTSC, and HD content is shot at 60 frames per second (or 59.97 to be precise). Images that were required from France TV sports archives were often in 50 fps, either HD or SD resolutions. Therefore there was a massive requirement for converting both frame rates and resolutions of content to match that which was shot in Rio.

Vantage, running with its Cinnafilm Tachyon option, enabled extremely high quality frame rate conversions thanks to the processing power of the GPUs in the Lightspeed K80. Announced late last year, it is possible to operate Cinnafilm’s Dark Energy plug-in running on Lightspeed servers. The addition of Cinnafilm’s motion compensation based noise reduction and image scaling solution to Vantage strengthens a relationship which has seen Cinnafilm’s Tachyon frame mechanics and standards conversion system supported on Telestream’s Vantage media processing platform for some time.

Degrees of difficulty

Another challenging workflow that was simplified by Vantage was the ingest and transcoding of numerous unpredictable file types, often created on phones or tablets, so that they could all be made usable in the Avid Interplay system. Meeting another production requirement, in Rio, Videlio-Cap Cine integrated Vantage with the EVS IP Director. This combination enabled AVC-Intra 100 files from the central servers in OBS (Olympic Broadcast Services) to be delivered to France TV’s Avid Interplay system in their required XDCAMHD-50 format.

After clips and sequences had been edited, the sequences were exported from the Avid system to Vantage, where they were conformed into formats suitable for broadcasting in France and delivered to the various channels which required the content. Vantage also transcoded this content into H.264 clips for viewing at the French team’s production headquarters in Rio.

Overall, this system supported the entire production requirements of three French TV channels - Fr2, Fr3 and FranceO. After 10 days of competition in Rio, the single Lightspeed K80 server had processed more than 5000 files of various lengths, often into multiple formats and frame rates, and always with the highest image quality.

As Frédéric Gaillard, Post-Production Team Leader for France TV in Rio said after one very busy night in Rio, “Lightspeed saved my life tonight.”