UK facilities company Timeline Television is implementing new features and plug-ins on the EVS server network it is providing for horse racing TV specialist Racecourse Media Group (RMG). Five channels went on air from dedicated studios at Timeline’s premises in Ealing, west London during February, using technology that also includes the first Grass Valley Kayenne video production mixers installed in Europe and Yamaha DM2000 digital audio consoles.
RMG is broadcasting three branded services from the new production centre: Racing UK, a 24-hour a day, seven days a week subscription channel carried on the Sky platform to homes and pubs in the UK and Republic of Ireland, giving coverage from most racecourses in both countries; Turf TV, transmitted to betting shops with live races and information including odds and results; and GBI (Great Britain and Ireland) Racing, comprising three channels, also distributed to bookmakers, providing race footage and media services.
The channels come from five production galleries, with an 800 square feet studio, three Final Cut Pro edit suites and a master control room (MCR) also in the complex. Timeline’s head of broadcast and PR, Andy Beale, describes the studio as a “double aspect” space, with a “hard set” for daytime broadcasts on Racing UK at one end and a more relaxed “soft set” at the other, which is used during the channel’s evening transmissions.
The vision galleries for both Racing UK and Turf TV house Kayenne video production centres, with standard 3.5 M/E version in the former and a compact 2.5 M/E model for the latter. The associated sound areas are equipped with Yamaha DM2000 consoles. Two desks are being used in tandem in the Racing UK audio room to cope with what Beale describes as the large number of feeds coming in from different locations. A single DM2000 is used for Turf TV audio.
Hitachi HD cameras are used throughout. These are fitted with remote pan and tilt heads that can be controlled either from the MCR or by a studio director from a panel in the vision gallery. Graphics for all channels are generated from a Chyron HyperX system.
The GBI Racing channels rely on out-of-vision continuity, with each gallery having its own voice-over booth. Audio for these is run from a Yamaha LS9-16 mixer with integrated MIDI control.
Three EVS XT-3 servers are used for recording footage, replays and fast turnaround editing. These are connected to a 256TB SAN, with operators using EVS IP Director (IPD) to manage ingested material, produce clips and create playlists. The FCP suites are used for more involved editing and footage is passed to them using the new IPLink plug-in, which allows files in the IPD database to be viewed on the edit workstations.
IPD has also been supplemented with a program written by Piranha Software. This produces XML files with race card information, including betting odds and times, that is immediately associated with edited material.
Timeline is also about to implement another new software program, which will enable footage to be more efficiently archived in the Atempo deep storage tape robot system used for RMG. Beale explains that at the moment the facility is running pure data backups to Atempo but the new system will allow the archive to be managed from within IP Director.
“Currently to do full archive integration would require the EVS MAD enterprise tool, which is over the top for this simpler operation,” he says. “To simplify this, EVS has taken the key interface blocks from MAD and is creating a lightweight integration engine, which allows this to be done entirely within IPD. So for example when the tapes in the archive are full and need changing the media manager will get a prompt within IPD.” Beale adds that this development is due to go into operation “imminently”.
With the new Timeline facility RMG has not only made the move to HD but also tapeless operations. Beale observes that RMG had been previously been relying on tapes stored on shelves but is now using a full file-based library system with metadata associated with it.