Miami Heat Get Video-Asset Management Assist From Avid Interplay

Like most professional and even amateur teams, the most important asset the Miami HEAT have is the footage of players and coaches, material that can be the basis of promotions and feature stories that sell the HEAT brand to fans in Miami and around the world.

One of the challenges facing all teams is that the infrastructure needed to archive and edit those assets (in the past, the HEAT have relied on Discreet Logic Edit and then Pinnacle Liquid) can be costly. In fact, too costly if the only function is handling content for 50 games a season. That is where creative thinking and new revenues begin.

“We had a vision of using the equipment to create an in-house production department to take care of all of our video-presentation needs,” says Ed Filomia, Senior Director, Broadcast Services, for The HEAT Group. The Miami HEAT Media Production department even builds motivational videos for legendary coach and current HEAT President Pat Riley.

Growing Alongside Video

The history of the HEAT, a young franchise only 22 years old, is almost a history of video formats: ¾-in. tape, Sony Betacam, Panasonic DVCPRO, and Sony XDCAM (the current format of choice) have all played a role in the video operations.

“The proxy feature of XDCAM allows us to gradually move into an archive system without having to spend the entire budget on storage,” says Filomia, “because we can work with those [low-resolution] proxies.”

And now the team is working on the big move: building out an infrastructure that moves material among EVS servers, XDCAM optical discs, and Avid editing and storage systems.

“We previously didn’t have an XDCAM workflow, but we knew that, in the future, someone would develop a system we could grow with,” Filomia explains. “And that’s where Avid stepped in with an asset-management system so we could catalog, archive, and manage a centralized storage facility.”

Avid also centralized any phone calls in case of problems, since it is the single source for the turnkey system that has 16 TB of storage on an Avid ISIS system. That’s plenty of storage, but, next season, the system will expand to 32 TB.

A Full-Time Job

“That role can take up a whole day of viewing media and deciding what to keep,” says Filomia. “And Interplay Assist was important, as more and more, we are using digital photography. In the past, all we had were slides stuffed in binders. Now we are managing a photography archive as well.”

A total of six Avid editing systems are available, including three Avid Nitris DX systems used for project completion and three HP600 computers running Avid Media Composer software. Avid Interplay management systems also play key roles in making it easy to pick shots and build packages.

“We need to manage our storage efficiently, and Interplay provides that by allowing us to go in and decide what we want to keep and delete,” explains Filomia. “And, from an operational standpoint, the producer can hand the script listing the clips to the editor, and they can do a search, and the right clips pop up. We have never been able to do that before.”

Clips Meet Stats

After each game, the media manager is given a melt reel with about 30 minutes of camera-isolated feeds and clips. The EVS system, coupled with a Dixon Sports logging system, marries the NBA statistical metadata to the clips via timecode, and the clips are then exported to XDCAM for ingest into the Avid systems. That workflow will be improved this offseason.

“Next season, all the proxies will be available online so we can more easily create ‘best of reels,’ which is where we find the real gold for Internet content, ticket-sales promos, and more,” says Filomia.

Project Management by Proxy

The combination of the editing systems with Interplay allow editors to more easily log, storyboard, and manage a project.

“Working in the [low-resolution] proxy video world was a piece of cake,” says Filomia. “Our editor can sit down with interview discs of players and coaches and quickly find the 90 seconds of content they want in the show. And, once they bring the clips into the timeline, they conform the proxies to high resolution, saving us from having to digitize hours of high-resolution material that wouldn’t be used.”

Video Boards and ROI

The hardest aspect of building a new facility today often has less to do with the technology and more to do with battling for budgets. One factor that helped Filomia in that effort was an upgrade of the video boards and a large expansion of Sony digital signage.

“When you convert an entire arena to HD, it is more than just the control room,” he points out. “The video boards get an upgrade, as do the headends that distribute the signal. And HD alone does not have an ROI, so where do you make the return on investment?”

The Bacardi Grand Entrance, for example, has 12 digital displays that can creatively be moved around and create new designs, offering a canvas 10,000 pixels high by 40,000 pixels wide. Sony’s Ziris Canvas digital-signage software is powered by modified Sony PS3 systems to deliver graphics built using Adobe After Effects and video to the screens. Five graphics editors make sure all sponsor graphics are top-notch. The SONY Ziris system now also runs the content which is display on the MiamiMediaMesh, the AmericanAirlines Arena’s 80 ft wide by 42 ft high LED outdoor marque.

Boasts Filomia, “It’s the first downtown video board in Miami that is close to looking like something from Times Square.”

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