Golf Channel Tees Up Sony Gear

When Golf Channel began its upgrade to high definition more than a year ago, it had two primary goals in mind. The first was to upgrade the channel’s image quality, which it has accomplished through the use of Sony HD technology – XDCAM HD optical camcorders and HDC studio cameras.

The second was more ambitious but no less important: streamline the channel’s workflow, from ingest to editing to archive, and effectively manage both its legacy tape content and its new file-based content. To do that, Golf Channel is using a combination of Sony’s XDCAM automated multi-disc cart system, PetaSite® tape storage library system and a range of third-party digital asset solutions.

“We knew we needed superb HD image quality, that was a requirement,” says Ken Botelho, senior director of engineering for Golf Channel. “But it was also just part of the story. When I joined in January 2009, we lacked the right solution for digital asset management, both for the near and long term, as well as deep archives. It was a problem, but Sony’s been a real staunch supporter of meeting all our needs.”

Botelho and the team at Golf Channel, which also includes Marc Caputo, senior director of operations, and a full team of personnel, have completely overhauled the channel’s infrastructure and its workflow. Golf Channel’s Orlando facility now includes three full HD production control rooms, a digital media center, technical operations center and a digital transfer center.

Throughout the expansive facility are Sony MVS-8000G production switchers, LMD and BVM professional LCD monitors, HDC-1500 multi-format cameras and the XDCAM Cart and PetaSite systems, in addition to 12 Avid editing suites.

Golf Channel is also standardizing its operations on Sony’s XDCAM HD technology, making it the company’s primary acquisition platform and using more than 65 optical decks (PDW-HD1500 and PDW-F800) for program mastering and archive.

The channel’s improved HD capabilities begin in the field. Golf Channel crews use PDW-700 XDCAM HD camcorders to acquire content, and will soon be adding two PDW-F800 models. According to Botelho, the ability to accept content acquired on the optical system has significantly streamlined their crews operations and production workflow, allowing footage to be shot, edited and sent to air in a faster and more efficient manner.

“We can simply get on-air with coverage quicker than ever before,” he adds.We’ve significantly enhanced our production and on-air processes, and we expect to experience many more operational improvements and efficiencies with the XDCAM HD system.”

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