One of the great challenges for sports broadcasters is how to make the most of the live action footage they transmit. Fox Sports in Singapore is one of the most successful broadcasters of live action sports in Asia. They have the right to re-transmit top sporting events and to produce highlights of games as they broadcast. In order to do this successfully, they need to annotate the match as it happens with relevant information (metadata). For example, if Fox Sports is broadcasting a soccer match, the program editors need to be able to tag the incoming sports feed with ‘goal’, ‘corner’, ‘foul’ and the players’ names whenever a highlight occurs. In order to use the highlights and enrich the metadata set effectively, Fox Sports uses Avid's iFind media management toolset.
Fox Sports uses iAcquire to control the recording of live sports material from multiple external sources around the world. These recordings can be started instantly for the fast turnaround situations required of live sport. These sessions are often scheduled in advance using placeholders obtained via an interface to the traffic system, removing the need for re-keying and reducing the potential for errors. Metadata added downstream of the traffic system is also fed back via an XML interface to assist the scheduling process with up-to-date information.
As material is ingested, operators at iLogger workstations can view a proxy copy—which is created at the same time as the high resolution, even though the recording is still in progress—and tag the incoming sports events. The user interface presents appropriate sport and match-specific validated metadata via hotkeys and drop-downs, which is held with the media throughout its editorial life cycle. This makes the process of producing the end of match, end of tournament, and end of the year highlights programming much more straightforward.
Search and discover
iFind allows the editorial and production staff to find highlights for inclusion in programs using a variety of search options. For example, by looking for ‘goal’, they can construct a program presenting the top goals of a season. By searching for ‘goal’ and ‘Crouch’, they can find all the goals held in the system which feature Peter Crouch. ‘Goals’ plus ‘Crouch’ plus ‘World Cup’ results in all the goals scored by Peter Crouch in a World Cup, and so on. iFind is the desktop search engine for all the broadcasters’ media.
Viewing the captured highlights in iFind gives the editors the ability to produce a rough cut edit as they work. The EDL, which also contains the logged metadata, is then exported to Final Cut Pro where craft editors can use the rough cut to produce a final edit on the high definition material for playout to air. Searching for media using iFind lets the user view copies of the clips they find at their desktop workstation. Once again, iFind gives the editorial staff the sort of functionality they would expect of a web browser—search/browse/move/save. The major difference is that iFind works on live uncompleted events, providing up to the minute data about the event, and allowing the broadcaster to produce accurate fast turnaround programming.
A key part of sports broadcasting relies on previously aired content, and an effective archiving strategy is key. Automated workflows ensure that the on-line system is kept clear with space available for current projects, whilst the ability to research historic content using metadata and proxy clips allows content to be re-purposed and ROI maximized. Critically, the structured metadata held against content—rather than a simple flat tagging structure—makes it easy to find content to ‘tell the story’ and enhance the viewer’s experience. For example, a single search could return all the goals from the 2012 World Cup, or all the goals from a particular player.