Telestream’s FlipFactory Key to Orlando Magic’s HD Success

The Orlando Magic have rolled through the NBA Playoffs this season, sweeping the first two rounds en route to the Eastern Conference Finals. Thanks to Telestream’s FlipFactory video-transcoding software, fans can see all the Playoff magic in 100% HD.

Orlando Magic Broadcasting, the in-house production department for the Magic, uses FlipFactory to convert HD video captured live on the OB truck’s EVS slo-mo system into DVC Pro HD for editing on its Final Cut Pro system. Magic Broadcasting then converts these edited highlight segments back into EVS HD and provides them to television partners Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida for use during live game telecasts.

“Most of the games were in HD or at least use an HD truck, but those trucks do not have any form of HD videotape recorder,” says Rick Price, assistant director of broadcast technology and services for the Orlando Magic. “I struggled for years with all these EVS files and how to get them without going out and buying an expensive EVS. I wound up getting FlipFactory, and it allowed us to transcode from EVS to our codec of choice, which is DVC Pro HD Quicktime for [import into] Final Cut, and then back to EVS. Therefore, we were able to deliver pre-produced content completely in HD.”

The Magic deployed FlipFactory in 2008, and more than 7 TB of HD game highlights were transcoded during the 2008-09 season alone. The software essentially eliminates an entire step in the chain for Orlando Magic Broadcasting when it comes to editing HD highlights.

“Basically, we bring in a drive and give it to the guys in the truck. They hook it up, and then the EVS operator populates our drive over the course of the game,” says Price. “Then, at the end of the game, an intern goes in, gets the drive, and brings it back to the office. We just drop it into FlipFactory, and it flips everything to DVC Pro HD files. So then we have the highlights of the game in HD, which we never had before.”

Price also says that FlipFactory offered a cost-effective alternative to buying an expensive HD tape deck to record HD game highlights. “For roughly $17,000, FlipFactory allowed us to acquire and deliver HD content to the broadcast trucks without having to invest in a $40,000 tape deck or something.”

This will be the Magic’s final season in the aging Amway Arena; the brand-new state-of-the-art Amway Center awaits just a stone’s throw away. The new facility will enable the Magic to acquire, edit, and deliver highlights entirely in HD. However, this does not spell the end of FlipFactory in Orlando. Price also uses the software for a variety of transcoding tasks, including Flash for the Web, h.264 conversion, and Windows Media for review and approvals.

“We’ll definitely use it as a transcoding engine to facilitate all sorts of workflow improvements,” says Price. “I use it for review and approvals. Editors can drop their stuff into a review and approval folder, and e-mails go out to key individuals in the organization. Those people can view the video by just clicking on a link to a Windows Media file that’s just been created. It works really well for that.

“It also works very well for all of our archiving processes,” he continues. “Whenever an editor is done with a sequence or a video, they drop it into a folder that automatically creates a master Quicktime and some h.264 archived Quicktime [files].”

While the Magic’s post-season run has kept Price and FlipFactory busy, the team’s utter dominance thus far has provided for some much-appreciated downtime.

“We keep sweeping everybody,” Price says. “So that gives us some days off here and there.”

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