Avid gives NBC Olympics a lift

NBC will be rely on Avid video and Digidesign audio gear for a fourth consecutive Olympic games beginning Feb. 10 with the kickoff of the network’s broadcast of the XX Olympic Winter Games
in Torino, Italy.

NBC will use the Avid gear to construct a
comprehensive, state-of-the-art digital SD and HD production pipeline
that greatly expands the video and audio workflow it implemented for
the 2004 Summer Olympics. The deal also represents an unprecedented
move in television history, as NBC will be the first U.S. network to
broadcast the Olympic Winter Games in HD during primetime.
“This is the fourth consecutive Olympic Games where we’re using Avid
solutions, and the third for graphics products that were formerly from
Pinnacle but are now part of Avid. Each time we have adopted a bigger
and more powerful workflow while also maintaining tremendous efficiency
and reliability,” said David Mazza, Senior Vice President, Engineering,
NBC Olympics. “For the 2006 Olympic Games, we will be deploying our
largest shared-storage solution to date, and it will serve as the heart
of our editing and graphics workflow that includes HD production and
broadcasting for the first time on our main network feeds. It’s always
a challenge to bring together a multitude of systems from several
manufacturers, but Avid helps make the configuration seamless and
cohesive. More importantly, with extremely time-sensitive production
cycles for Olympics broadcasts, it’s imperative that we have the full
functionality and support that Avid is able to deliver in this highly
charged environment.” NBC’s Torino production facility will
comprise six Avid Unity ISIS systems and three Avid Unity LANshare shared-storage systems, totaling more than 100 terabytes
of storage; 36 Media Composer Adrenaline systems – 29 of which
are equipped with the Avid DNxcel board for HD capture, real-time
editing, and output for high-end editorial finishing; a Digidesign ICON
integrated console environment featuring a D-Control console and a
Pro Tools|HD 7 Accel system for recording, producing and mixing
audio in 5.1-channel surround sound; five Deko 3000 HD character
generators and five Thunder HD production servers to deliver all the
on-air graphics; and Avid Professional Services for on-site training
and support. Additionally, NBC will use the revolutionary Avid
DNxHD format to facilitate HD production at 1080i/25 resolutions
within an Avid shared-storage environment. Because Avid DNxHD files
support full raster 8- and 10-bit media, they deliver the pristine
quality of 10-bit uncompressed HD images – but with the bandwidth of SD
files. When fully operational, NBC will be equipped to handle more than
100 TB of HD media in a shared-storage environment – or 800 hours of HD
footage. The Digidesign ICON environment is at the heart of
the NBC Olympics audio postproduction suite in Torino, and will be used
around the clock in the weeks before the Olympics and throughout the
games. For this deadline-critical environment, NBC chose ICON for its
tight integration with Avid systems to produce the audio for promos,
athlete profiles, and other segments. ICON’s tactile control and rich
visual feedback help engineers get work done quickly while maintaining
the highest audio standards.

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