New York Giants, KMH Audio-Video Integration Move the Chains for Team’s Video-Production Capabilities
Upgrade boosts postproduction workflow, isolates audio-control room
Two years ago, the New York Football Giants teamed up with KMH Audio-Video Integration to upgrade and expand their video-production capabilities at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ, the team’s year-round video-production home. And, although the upgraded facilities were certainly an improvement, it was only the beginning of an ongoing project and partnership.
It’s hardly news that, every year, the NFL offseason — if there really is one — gets shorter and shorter, meaning that upgrades must occur on shorter and shorter timelines. However, unlike the Giants’ video-production facilities at MetLife Stadium, which are in use for 10 games a year, the facilities at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center are in use throughout both the season and the offseason for postgame shows, press conferences, training-camp coverage, and year-round digital content.
“With our year-round workload, we can shut down for a couple weeks here, a couple weeks there, but we can’t just stop what we’re doing altogether,” says New York Giants VP/Executive Producer Don Sperling. “We have to have some kind of workflow that exists throughout the whole year. We worked with KMH on a phased approach; they were really supportive and had some really good ideas on how to look at the strategy of what we needed, what new technology we were embracing, what our media platforms needed. They helped us kind of create this phased approach.”
That approach, which began during the 2015 offseason, continued in the 2017 offseason, when the Giants worked with KMH to increase their postproduction resources while maximizing their existing space at the Training Center. The two entities worked together to inventory existing space, personnel needs, and technology; determine a budget; and lay out a timeline that would allow the Giants to continue to produce content for broadcast and digital platforms.
The first step to enhancing postproduction capabilities was a reorganization of the physical space. According to KMH President Kevin Henneman, the room was filled with large furniture and large equipment that essentially capped the number of editors who could work in the space and the amount of editing that could be performed. As a result of the spatial reorganization and file-workflow consolidation, the Giants were able to increase their postproduction capacity by 50%.
“This is a common challenge for a lot of teams,” says Henneman. “They say, We’re not going to build another building, we’re not going to add a floor to our facility, we have to work with what we have, but, at the same time, we’re expanding and growing. What can we do? … We redesigned the postproduction area spatially and reoriented the editors, getting them into smaller footprints because, these days, you can do a lot more with a smaller piece of equipment.”
In addition to the postproduction area, KMH tackled one of the biggest issues in the main production-control room: noise. With the Giants, KMH designed and built an isolated audio-control booth to separate audio operators from the normal control-room hubbub.
“Now the audio operator can — like in a real control room — focus in on the audio,” says Henneman, “and not worry about ambient conversations taking place in the room.”
On the technology front, KMH expanded the facility’s routing capabilities with the installation of a Snell Advanced Media (SAM) Pyxis router. The compact multiformat router delivers larger capacity in a more compact footprint and is configured to support 72×72 HD-SDI signals, 72×72 stereo audio, and 32 RS-422 ports. Editing and graphics workstations were consolidated into a shared-storage environment to provide simpler access all around.
The team also added a new matrix-based Bosch/RTS KP5032 intercom system, Planar for touch panel and QC monitoring, and AJA IO 4K Thunderbolt at each edit station. Custom technical furniture was designed by Forecast Consoles. The Giants upped their audio capabilities with Behringer Q802USB for audio mixing and monitoring and Wohler AMP1-2SDA for ingest-position monitoring and added Mackie CR3 active-audio monitors, Middle Atlantic IDF and ingest rack expansion, and custom JBT panel interconnects.
Conversations surrounding this most recent phase of the production-facility upgrade started in January, and, by March, the project was full steam ahead. However, with the NFL Draft on the calendar in April and training camp beginning in late July, KMH had a tight window in which to get everything done. Henneman attributes the project’s success to the tight cooperation and coordination between his team and the Giants’ facilities and IT departments. For Sperling, the result has been a more efficient video-production workflow and video-control room.
“We can operate with a very slim, streamlined staff inside the control room,” notes Sperling, “and moving out the audio just makes for smoother communication: the director and the producer are able to talk to people in the control room and to the camera [operators] without a lot of interference, which has made our production life easier and a lot less stressful. It had gotten a little hectic in there in previous years, and, this year, we’ve really had a much more, I wouldn’t say relaxed — because you’re never relaxed in the control room — but we’ve had a much more productive control-room atmosphere.”
KMH’s Kevin Henneman will take part in a panel discussion on Control Room Upgrade Design during the Venue Production Workshop on Monday Dec. 11 at the SVG Summit. At the Workshop, New York Giants’ Don Sperling will present a Case Study on the team’s multiplatform season-long 10-year anniversary celebration of Super Bowl XLII. For more information on the Venue Production Workshop, CLICK HERE.