Live From the U.S. Open: CMSI Finds Expanded Role Managing Connectivity

At the core of Fox Sports activities, the company oversees editing, transcoding, storage

Creative Media Solutions’ presence at the U.S. Open continues to expand as the team at Fox Sports finds new ways to leverage its expertise and capabilities.

“We started out with building out normal editing stations,” notes Noah Gusdorff, founder/CEO, Creative Media Solutions (CMSI). “Now it has expanded into networks and IP connectivity.”

Noah Gusdorff with one of the Cisco 10-Gbps switches in use at the U.S. Open.

The core of CMSI’s activities is in Game Creek Video’s Edit 2 trailer. It is there that CMSI oversees five Adobe Premier editing suites (one with DaVinci Resolve for color correction), HP transcoding servers, 256 TB of Avid ISIS storage, and another 86 TB of 10GB NAS storage. It also has a voiceover booth, handles iso recording for both Fox and the USGA, and has a 10-Gbps Cisco network core that, in some respects, is the core of all Fox activities across the event.

“Last year, we took on IT distribution as AT&T and Level 3 handed off all of the bandwidth to us,” says Gusdorff. “We have a core sitting here, and we treat every truck and vendor as a client: they can each request bandwidth, and we shave them off exclusive bandwidth.”

This year, CMSI is also supplying 11 Cisco field kits, which are distributed around the course, connect to the Cisco core, and provide the wired and wireless access that the Fox Sports production team and related vendors need. Cisco switches located on all 18 tee boxes also send the Toptracer and ShotTracker data from the course to the Fox Technology trailer.

“We have eliminated media converters on the course, points of failure, and can monitor the network 24/7,” adds Gusdorff. “We have three people monitoring it during the day and one at night.”

The CMSI team also has access to nine EVS IPDirectors via KVM, enabling producers to pull any EVS clips they need and send them to edit machines or even transfer them to Fox Sports’ Pico facility in Los Angeles via high-speed file transfer. There is also a connection to the Big 10 Network so that anything cut here can be put into the feature-group coverage.

“There are just tons of connectivity all over the place,” Gusdorff notes.

Another important task is helping offload content from the EVS servers since there is not enough storage space to keep an archive of content from previous rounds.

“We’re iso recording onto one of our servers, and then anyone can find footage from the previous day for packages,” explains Gusdorff. “And two media managers here get all of the ENG footage into the ecosystem so that the editors in Pico can call them and get the footage they need. And, on top of that, the Pico team is getting a mini-melt of the best 20 minutes of content each day.”

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