How NBC Olympics Distributes 5,000 Video Clips in One Day of Sochi Games Coverage

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We’re into week one of 18 consecutive days of Olympic coverage and for NBC Olympics, an event like Sochi really tests us to the limits. To enable the efficient and quick management and distribution of content on demand is a huge and complex task.

At the heart of its operations is Avid’s Interplay MAM, which is helping the broadcaster to improve efficiencies and streamline collaboration across multiple locations worldwide. At the 2012 Olympics in London, they had two Interplay MAM systems: one in London and one in Stamford.

But for Sochi there’s just one Interplay MAM system serving all locations. It’s pretty impressive given the huge scale and complexity of this production how, through efficient metadata tagging, its global sites are able to access, manage and distribute the thousands of hours of content that’s being captured in Sochi. This is truly a content everywhere games for NBC Olympics and its viewers.

Here are some statistics to give you a flavor of the enormity of the challenges involved:

  • More than 400 users are using Interplay MAM across four cities worldwide, as well as across remote venues in Sochi
  • Yesterday, more than 1000 clips passed through Interplay’s MPI (MAM-Production Interoperation) services. Today, that figure leapt to a mind-boggling 5,000
  • There was 4.6 Petabytes (4710.4 TB) of digitized content that NBC users are accessing from remote venues 3000 miles away. This week the broadcaster set a new record when a user in New York successfully sent a 126-clip long edit decision list to an Avid Symphony from sources including Sochi, Stamford and an LT05 archive

Over at its Montreal site, the ICPS (Interplay Common Playback Services) team is working closely with the four PS members at their headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, and Russia. The 12 CS team members are across the PAM system and they have 12 NBC staffers who fix, train, develop workflows and maintain the system. The system is used for 75 simultaneous live recordings in Russia and Stamford, and the single database is shared remotely with the large remote contingent of users.

Despite the daunting scale and complexity of the operations, Avid Interplay MAM allows NBC Olympics to streamline its workflows by enabling a worldwide media flow.

There’s a team of more than 300 in Stamford, including 25 loggers who play a critical role in helping users across the globe find the content they need. They log the Russian live record trains within the Interplay MAM system, and these live logs are then made available to global users. While host broadcaster OBS provides objective metadata, like when a race started, who’s racing and who won, our loggers log subjective notes – like if an athlete hugged their mum or fist-bumped a teammate. Both sets of metadata are married together to give users a complete picture of the content and what makes it worth using.

Meanwhile, here in Sochi, production teams at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) are using Avid Media Composer and Symphony editing systems connected to an Avid ISIS 7000 system with 384 TB of shared storage to assemble their content for air. Each Olympic venue has a 64 TB ISIS 5000, AirSpeed 5000 and Interplay Production systems that connect them to the IBC.

Despite the daunting scale and complexity of the operations, Avid Interplay MAM allows NBC Olympics to streamline its workflows by enabling a worldwide media flow. This increases efficiency and enables seamless collaboration between the teams spread over 5000 miles apart so they can all get access to the media they need, everywhere, on demand.

As a Solutions Engineer at Avid, I've worked on our Interplay Media Asset Management solutions for over 6 years. I focus on the integration and enhancement of our customer's MAM installations. I also help to find new digital workflows to make the life easier and faster.