NHRA, Sony Collaborate on Cloud-Based ‘Content Factory’ Workflow
One goal is to leverage 50 years’ worth of archived digital assets
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has continued to grow by leaps and bounds in the two-plus years since it brought its production operations in-house. Now, to better preserve and have access to the organization’s vast library of assets — more than 50 years’ worth — and better serve its growing fanbase, NHRA is making moves once again. The organization is working with Sony to leverage cloud-based tools for digital-asset management, propelling the NHRA toward becoming a one-stop “content factory” for hot-rod–racing fans.
“As a media company, the NHRA is still in its infancy, and a big part of our goal is to develop new fans and showcase our sport on every possible outlet,” says Ken Adelson, VP/executive producer/chief content officer, NHRA. “One of the most important things we knew from the beginning was, a digital-asset–management solution would help us accomplish these goals and, as important, the ability to digitize our library and get it into a form accessible to fans, sponsors, race teams, and partner tracks would help propel our business in new and exciting ways.”
NHRA teamed with Sony to create a digital-asset–management ecosystem based on the company’s Ci Media Cloud, Memnon Digitization, and Ven.ue solutions. Rather than adopt a more traditional, on-premises solution, NHRA opted for the flexibility that a cloud-based system would offer. And, because NHRA had no digital-asset-management system in place, the organization was able to start from scratch with Sony to build the right solution.
“From my perspective, just a few short years ago, there was a lack of confidence in the cloud: people wanted to be able to touch and feel their assets,” Adelson explains. “But now, things have changed to the point where we are very confident [with the cloud], and, especially working with our new relationship with Sony, we’re very confident that the cloud is the place you want to be.”
With the new cloud-based workflow, NHRA will be able to feed content from EVS servers housed in NHRA’s Game Creek Nitro A and B units directly into a network-attached–storage farm inside Nitro’s C unit. From the C unit, content, with metadata attached, is automatically pushed up to the Ci Media Cloud, where it is immediately accessible to anyone who needs it, say, to post to social media, to build highlight packages, or to send to racing operations for review.
“This gives us all that real-time access,” says Adelson. “We can start producing a variety of shows and other multimedia content as soon as our telecasts are over. Having this type of a setup with Ci gives us the ability to operate in a way that we couldn’t before, in a non-linear fashion that is critical for us to continue to grow.”
For NHRA, however, having access to content from its most recent races was only half the battle. With more than 36,000 assets spanning more than 50 years sitting on the shelf in various outdated formats, NHRA needed a way to digitize, organize, and archive its assets in a way that could still be accessible for use in its productions. Using Sony’s Memnon Digitization, NHRA is able to identify and prioritize assets for digitization. Once assets are digitized and tagged with metadata, they too are uploaded to Ci for immediate access (assets that will not be needed can be pushed to dormant storage). That process will continue throughout the season.
The Ci workflow, meanwhile, was put in place prior to this season, and NHRA will continue to build on its capabilities and fine-tune its workflow over the coming months. Looking ahead, NHRA and Sony intend to introduce a subscription on-demand service via Sony’s Ven.ue platform prior to next season, where fans can access and consume current and archived content on a variety of devices.
NHRA has used Sony cameras for several years, including its latest ultra–high-frame-rate HDC-4800, and these new workflows expand the organization’s use of Sony technology.
“This new collaboration is the logical evolution of our relationship with NHRA,” says Mike DesRoches, sports national accounts office, Western region, Sony Electronics. “They have used our cameras to create content, and now they are taking full advantage of our cloud technology and workflow solutions to not only make that content work more efficiently for them but to also preserve it for generations.”
To see the 2018 NHRA race schedule, CLICK HERE.
For the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series TV schedule, CLICK HERE.