Recently the National Rugby League commissioned Videocraft to design and build a new production and post production studio and facility at NEP’s Redfern HQ to take care of live and recorded online programming and content for their new Digital Network, www.nrl.com, including 16 clubs and 2 state associations sites and mobile applications.
NRL media services manager Wayne Dakin explained, “Online properties such as nrl.com are hugely important now, as are the content they produce. With this in mind we engaged Videocraft to build us a studio and facility, based on their previous experience in this area, that would allow the creation of fast turnaround highlights edits of all matches, panel shows, pre and post-match content. As well as fast it all had to be reliable and cost effective.”
With a strict brief from the client Videocraft designed the facility with quality, speed and efficiency in mind. Videocraft worked with NRL partners NEP and NRL production office provider to ensure that the solution design integrated seamlessly with existing NRL Bunker and new NRL NEP production infrastructure. The solution design integrates and utilises another NRL primary partner Telstra, utilising the DVN and satellite infrastructure for content delivery.
Videocraft MD James Taylor added, “We saw very quickly that for the kind of fast turnaround that was required an EVS XS Server and IP Director production asset management system was definitely the way forward for the new nrl.com studio and post facility. There was also a requirement that the facility be able to manage all incoming feeds and studio records and then the playout of the material. In which case, as EVS is compatible with all of the NRL’s existing broadcast providers and partners such as NEP, Channel 9 and Fox Sports, this made the solution seamless.”
With content for the NRL Bunker also managed by NEP the new Videocraft facility made it particularly easy for the NRL to continue down a well-proven path.
Dakin continued, “Videocraft really thought through the design and build of the studio and with our specific requirements in mind made the studio Ross based with a powerful Ross Graphite production switcher at its core. They have used this switcher in studios many times before and it’s an ideal combination of power and reliability at the right price point for us. It also has a feature rich version of XPression 3D motion graphics, two channels of clip server and the RAVE audio engine all built in. This allows us to create very high quality graphics at a very reasonable cost.”
The issues of cost and quality are not lost on Dakin who went on to explain their importance in the online space.
He added, “As a result of the Videocraft solution nrl.com now has very high quality graphics and a replay system which are comparable to TV but without the engineering resource required for a big studio. This means we get TV quality, but online. The reason for this is that Videocraft treat online production with the same approach and respect as they would for a free-to-air studio build. This in turn means we can now create the exciting, high quality content that’s critical for us to truly engage our viewers and we have Videocraft’s 45 years’ worth of knowledge, expertise and forward thinking approach to thank for that.”
In addition to the Ross Graphite switcher the Videocraft solution also integrated a 400TB Avid Media Central system to help with the fast programme turnaround and NEXIS storage for its excellent reliability and interoperability with EVS systems.
Wayne Dakin concluded, “The new studio, post production facility, edit suites and storage are an excellent example of a clever, efficient, integrated, high-end Avid solution. With EVS taking care of the ingest and live production workflow and Ross the graphics and vision mixing we have not just a state of the art system but a bulletproof one. The best compliment we’ve had yet is that the content you see on www.nrl.com looks just like it does on television. Great job Videocraft.”