Houston Astros Win Big with Avid

For a historic five consecutive seasons (2005-09), the Houston Astros production team won the Best Show in Baseball award, something no other MLB team has accomplished. The Astros’ run is unprecedented, and the production team takes an enormous amount of pride in their team and the way it is presented to fans.

Avid’s industry-leading video and media storage solutions form the core of the Astros media production system, providing the team with the workflows they need to deliver high-quality, entertaining content to fans.

“Whatever the team is doing, we want our fans to have a good experience,” says Kirby Kander, senior director of creative services. “That’s why we’re here, to get reactions, to make memories. We believe we have a strong impact on both the game and the players.”

New scoreboard, new production HQ

In 2011, the Astros replaced their scoreboard with a large, high-definition display, added a secondary video display on the upper deck in left field, and wrapped the entire seating bowl in ribbon boards.

Production headquarters moved to a 1,500 square foot control room, which houses workstations, a monitor wall, audio booth, and four individual edit suites. Each suite has a Media Composer editing system, and connects to a centralized server housing the team’s store of shared media.

By leveraging cutting-edge Avid workflows, the production team was able to greatly streamline the production and distribution processes—they can now distribute content across multiple platforms quickly and efficiently.

“There are three full-time people in our department and we work as an internal Astros organization to support all the stadium teams and events,” Kirby relates. “Any kind of production comes out of this room, from promotion and signage to all our own TV spots.”

Ease and versatility of ISIS

The production team’s ISIS shared storage system provides them with the integrated, end-to-end workflows they need to enhance collaboration, and produce impactful programming with standout production value.

In the past, producing a high-level video required having an intern upload files to an external hard drive, then take that to someone else who would use that to ingest the media. Now, any contributor can access whatever media they need from a central repository, work with it, and return it to the system for others to continue working on later.

The Astros chose ISIS primarily because it offers a streamlined workflow that involves far fewer steps than other solutions. Additionally, since the group works with both Media Composer and non-Avid editing solutions, ISIS allows them to put any format onto the timeline. As a result, the production team has achieved a 300% increase in the volume of content they can produce.

The group also uses Avid Motion Graphics (AMG) systems, which let them run production in a more broadcast-centric mode by performing all of the windowing directly through AMG. Using this process, they are able to transition in and out, going from a live shot to the score window, without the need of running it through the scoreboard software.

Tightly-crafted promotional packages

The Astros production puts a significant amount of time and effort into fully scripting their promotional packages. Instead of simply laying images over a song, their work is based on tightly crafted concepts with highly exacting timeframes. Without the storage and management capabilities provided by their ISIS system, this would be a lot more difficult—if not impossible—to achieve.

“What separates the Astros show from a lot of teams is that their packages are not built on endless repetition of the same songs or video concepts,” says Brock Jessel, Director of Ballpark Entertainment.

The Astros’ production group continues to play a key role in building the Astros brand. In fact, the group has become a huge reason why fans come back to the ballpark.

“In order to keep winning awards and keep fans in the stands, the quality has to keep getting better, year after year,” says Jessel. “And now, everyone from the top down wants to keep that trend going.”

© 2014 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Product features, specifications, system requirements, and availability are subject to change without notice. Avid, the Avid logo, ISIS, Media Composer, and Avid Motion Graphics are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.