Sprint Vision Shifts Into High Gear With EditShare Tapeless Workflow

From Daytona to Chicago, Talladega to Watkins Glen, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stretches from coast to coast, attracting fans with exhilarating races and entertaining them throughout with high-octane video. Sprint Vision, which produces the video for the big-screen displays, has deployed an end-to-end, tapeless EditShare workflow to better serve NASCAR fans across the country.

Sprint Vision, based in North Carolina, had been using a tape-based workflow for nine years prior to adopting the EditShare system. The workflow was both cost-prohibitive and time-consuming; producers were not connected to any sort of network or central server so, as a result, would not know whether the footage they needed had already been ingested.

“We had one tape deck, because they were obviously expensive. That was on a cart, and we would wheel it from suite to suite and ingest the footage that we needed,” says Brook Horn, project manager, Sprint Vision. “That was a clunky process, especially finding things real time and ingesting real time from tape and only being able to use notes that were on the label [because] there wasn’t any metadata.”

The sheer distance between Sprint Vision’s offices and the network of venues that constitute the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prompted Sprint Vision to search for a cost-effective, file-based workflow. Sprint Vision selected an EditShare Flow for ingest, logging, and media-asset management (MAM); a high-performance 32-TB Energy Series storage server; and EditShare Ark Tape for both archive and backup.

“The shared storage is really the core of the product; it’s the hub that the other parts and pieces work around,” explains Grant Carroll, senior workflow specialist, EditShare. “Flow looks at the shared storage, creates a lo-res proxy database — that’s where you get your asset management and your library functionality — and then, once you archive the hi-res material, you keep the lo-res material on-line on the Flow system.”

Video presentations at the track span hours of coverage each weekend, with practice sessions, qualifying sessions, and races, as well as live coverage of pre-race ceremonies, preproduced team and driver profiles, highlights from earlier races, fan tributes, evergreen packages, commercials, and music videos.

Instead of shipping tapes from the racetrack to North Carolina, Sprint Vision now captures footage from AJA Ki Pro digital recorders, EVS replays and melts, and Panasonic P2 Pro cameras. After each weekend in the 35-weekend schedule, the company ingests this material into the EditShare shared-storage system or moves it to Ark Tape for ingesting.

“[When you’re] shooting on tape, you take that tape and put it on the shelf, and, if you need to go back to that tape, you walk over to the shelf, put it back in the tape machine [and ingest] that material back into your system,” Grant points out. “When you start shooting on file-based media, a lot of the file-based media gets reused and reused, so they needed to come up with a good, easy way to get the material into a safe, protected storage area and then be able to back it up quickly and easily.”

Within the asset-management system, Sprint Vision can assign producer workstations specific permissions, including just read, just write, or read-write. EditShare is also used by Sprint Vision’s parent company, Motor Racing Network (MRN), the national radio network that provides coverage of NASCAR and other racing series.

“Because we’re part of a radio network, we also have audio that needs to be stored and catalogued as well,” explains Brook. “So we have a few audio workstations that can access just their audio portion; they do not have permission to access our video portion.”

Sprint Vision implemented the EditShare workflow in May, midway through the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. However, the team has already benefited from the streamlined workflow. Footage that had, at one time, been ingested multiple times is now ingested only once, and that content is logged, tagged, and indexed for easy search and access.

“We are all connected now, and we all can search the same footage and not have to stop what we’re doing just to go pull a tape and search through a tape,” says Horn. “Our old tapes are still there — we haven’t ingested all of our old tapes, we’ll probably just do that as we need it — but really, just from a workflow standpoint and the ease of location of footage, that’s just been huge. We’ve freed up a lot of time.”

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