Miami “Preditors” Turn Up the HEAT with Avid

For a professional sports team like the Miami HEAT, it’s not just about what happens during the game.  When the rest of the world goes to commercial, Ed Filomia, Senior Director, Broadcast Services, and his HEAT Group go to air, firing up the HEAT franchise brand with a wide array of media assets managed by the Avid Interplay production asset management system.

The name of the game in the sports industry today is entertainment, which goes a long way to explaining why Ed refers to his HEATV editorial staff as “preditors.”  They’re not just there to record events.  They are there to monetize them by using all the media at their disposal to assemble everything from sponsorship advertisements to funny features for concession stand HD displays throughout the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Miami Heat video

Game-changing Approach to Sports Marketing

It’s a game-changing approach to sports marketing.  No longer concerned exclusively with the athletic competition between two teams, the goal of today’s professional sports team is to provide a total experience for an audience that pays an ever-increasing price to attend their events.

For the Miami HEAT, one of the cornerstones of that experience is Avid Interplay, a premier asset management solution the HEAT Group’s Media Production Department uses to search, retrieve, and archive the media they need to create high-profile, brand-centric content.  Providing an unprecedented level of collaborative capability, Interplay gives the group’s “preditors” total access to their media and enables everyone in the workflow to manage both data and the metadata associated with it.

 It’s not just about the game anymore.  It’s about the brand.

Ed Filomia, Senior Director, Broadcast Services

“Our most important asset is that Dwayne Wade dunk clip,” Filomia explains, “because it’s not just that clip, but the nine other angles and nine other elements that go with it.  It’s everything that happened between 9:40 and 9:40:30.  And when all those elements all get assembled into marketing packages, that moment is absolutely priceless.”

Virtual In-house Production Agency

Filomia and his crew have built a virtual in-house agency to monetize assets the same way NASCAR teams monetize the surface of their cars.

“Teams are under increasing pressure,” he says, “to put an increasing share of investment into the kind of video presentations that populate multimillion dollar video boards, marquees, electronic signage, and IPTV."  This multi-tiered approach has already been responsible for raising the bar; HEATV was recently recognized by I.D.E.A. (Information Display Entertainment Association) as one of the best video production concerns in sports entertainment. Comments Filomia, "My peers throughout the sports industry are facing the same challenges and have been inquiring about our model.”

Footage of players, coaches, entertainment teams, and even Miami’s beautiful scenics, can be the basis of promotions and feature stories that sell the HEAT brand.  Now that there is an infrastructure in place to effectively manage those assets, Filomia’s group is moving past the traditional function of handling the season’s actual game content and getting creative about the generation of new revenue streams.

“Our vision has always been to use the equipment to create an in-house production department capable of taking care of all our promotional needs,” Filomia declares, “up to and including creation of motivational videos for HEAT President and legendary coach Pat Riley.”

Growing the Heat Group Infrastructure

The HEAT Group has long used a variety of video formats.  3/4 inch tape, Sony Betacam, Panasonic DVCPRO, and Sony XDCAM (the current format of choice) have all played a role in the video operations.  Now, to expand the HEAT brand on an unprecedented scale, the group is building out an infrastructure that moves material among EVS servers, XDCAM optical discs, and the Avid editing and storage systems.

“We previously didn’t have an XDCAM workflow, but knew that, in the future, someone would develop a system we could grow with,” Filomia says.  “This is where Avid stepped in with an asset management system that gives us the ability to catalog, archive, and manage media in a centralized storage facility.”

The Avid ISIS shared storage system currently provides 16TB of storage and is due to be expanded soon to 32TB.  It supports a complement of six Avid editing systems, including three Avid Nitris DS systems used for project completion and three HP600 computers running Avid Media Composer software.  Avid Interplay Assist management systems, accessible from 16 HP Touchscreen desktops, also play key roles in making it easier to pick shots for logging, archiving and story boarding feature packages.

After each game, the media manager is given a melt reel with about 30 minutes of camera-isolated feeds and clips. Dixon Sports Computing created an interface coupled with the EVS system to marry the official NBA statistical metadata to the clips via timecode. The clips are then exported to an XDCAM disc for ingest into the Avid systems.

At the end of the day, Interplay allows us to go into the system,” explains Filomia,” retrieve what we want from all the content we have created so the producer can search for the right clips and hand them to the editor. We have never been able to do that before.”

Winning the Budget Battle

The hardest part of building the system was not acquiring and installing the technology, but battling for budgets. Three factors played in the HEAT Group’s favor: an upgrade of the video boards, large expansion of Sony digital signage, and conversion of the entire arena to HD.

“We had to do more than just rebuild the control room,” Filomia points out. “When the video boards get an upgrade, so does everything else.”

Long story short, the Bacardi Grand Entrance now has 24 HD digital displays that can be configured to create new designs. The 2 sets of displays offers a canvas 10,000 pixels high by 40,000 pixels wide in true HD upon which five graphics animators can paint.

The AmericanAirlines Arena also features the largest outdoor LED display in the southern US standing 80ft wide by 42ft high. The MiamiMediaMesh, as it has been branded, allows the HEAT Group to promote their brands and events and sell sponsorships, giving Filomia's preditors another canvas.

“It’s Miami's first downtown outdoor video board that's as close to looking like something from Times Square,” boasts Filomia, “and a great demonstration of how us ‘preditors’ are turning up the HEAT here in Miami.”