Bexel Teams Up with ConCom to Deliver Live Coverage of UFC

When the UFC made its long-awaited return to Japan last month at the Saitama Super Arena, ConCom, Inc. and Bexel joined forces to replicate the classic UFC experience for viewers watching UFC 144 live in Japan and across the world on Pay-Per-View (PPV), Fuel, and FX. To meet the production requirements for the live fight and surrounding events, Bexel recruited its customizable Hercules Flypack for ConCom, Inc.

“Essentially, we had to be creative and bring our entire show from the U.S. to Tokyo,” says Greg Louw, director of technical operations for ConCom Inc, UFC events. “Not only did we anticipate a language barrier, but we also didn’t have the trucks we were accustomed to there to facilitate our needs. The key was coordination and preparation. There was no hesitation when we selected Bexel to provide the right equipment and expertise.”

More than just a one-night event, setup began on Tuesday, with a live weigh-in show taking place on Friday on Fuel, followed by the live fights and post-show on Saturday and Sunday. The PPV event took place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday local time to ensure viewers in the U.S. could watch live Saturday evening.

“The system was designed and engineered to come together very quickly—and it did just that,” says Louw. “Not only did we produce the live fights, we also facilitated the weigh-ins on Fuel and preliminary fights live domestically in the U.S. for FX and a post-show that we integrated for Fuel after the show as well. We had some really early, long days and the language barrier added to the challenges, but all the right contacts and translators were in place, whether on site or back in the states for coordination.”

Bexel attended a local UFC event domestically and a site survey in Japan with ConCom in preparation for the February events. “As a leading systems solutions provider, in addition to identifying the right gear, we have a lot of experience when it comes to shipping and the logistics required for getting gear to events across the world,” says Johnny Pastor, director, Bexel Broadcast Services. “We knew we could maximize the capabilities of our modular Hercules Flypack and it would be the perfect fit for this event.”

The Hercules Flypack allowed the team to create a control room and edit suites within a series of tents inside the venue. Included in the control room were the new Sony MVS-7000X 4 M/E multi-format digital 3G production switcher; Calrec Omega console with Bluefin; an Evertz EMR multi-format video router (160×288 with 11 XLink video display processors); an Evertz audio router (576×576 AES, 96×96 analog audio, 20 MADI ports); multiple EVS LSM XT[2+] six-channel HD DDRs and a mix of Sony and Panasonic multi-format HD VTRs and Sony HDC 1500 cameras, 12 in total along with a HDC 3300 Super motion camera system. Highlights inside the edit suites included six Avid edit stations, which were all networked through a file transfer manager with the EVS equipment to edit and transfer the footage in real-time. Edit included a complete Pro Tools suite for audio sweetening.

“We knew we would have our challenges with space and power conversion, but Bexel was right there to work with the local vendors to ensure we had adequate power for the tech and environmental setup,” adds Louw. “For a project of this size we went right to Bexel and they came through with flying colors. There were no technical issues and the end product was a huge success.”

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