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FOX Sports made history at last year’s FIFA Men’s World Cup™ in Russia by using live streaming technology for remote editing on a scale it had never achieved before. In previous years, broadcasters traditionally sent their entire editing staff and equipment overseas to the venue. By taking advantage of IBM Aspera live streaming technology, FOX Sports was able to begin producing highlights in near real time from their state-of-the-art production facility in Los Angeles, with only a small crew onsite in Russia, saving the broadcaster time and money while creating richer content for viewers. Ultimately, this event ended up being the largest production in FOX Sports’ 24-year history.
2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup fully edited from Los Angeles
Tasked with delivering a similar experience for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in France, FOX Sports wanted to go all in on remote editing, with 100 percent of the editing and post-production work taking place in Los Angeles. The projected number of concurrent streams to remote storage over the course of the tournament was expected to more than double the FIFA Men’s World Cup. This creates a challenge to not only build on last year’s performance, but to continue to deliver a spectacular viewing experience for audiences worldwide.
Achieving greater efficiencies while reducing production time
To help with this massive undertaking, FOX Sports again teamed up with IBM Aspera. The Aspera streaming technology, along with Telestream and Levels Beyond, are delivering new remote production capabilities and greater efficiencies, such as real-time direct-to-cloud archiving, more extensive and consolidated monitoring, and live streaming into Adobe video editing. Creative teams are able to quickly begin working on live-capture feeds in Los Angeles, delivered straight from Paris while the match is in progress. Transcoding, packaging, editing and other downstream workflows work off the streamed video. As a result, live camera feeds from matches were edited in Los Angeles within Adobe Premiere Pro in less than 10 seconds of live action.
This capability significantly shortens highlight and feature story production cycles while increasing the quality and value of the produced content. Furthermore, within seconds of a match being completed, raw, high resolution footage will be fully archived in the cloud, saving the production team the time typically spent on the post-match archival process while also allowing it to fix issues with downstream assets in minutes instead of hours.
“IBM Aspera has built a legacy in sports broadcasting,” said Kevin Callahan, FOX Sports VP Field Operations. “Given our success with the Aspera live-streaming technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we pushed even harder to move all editing to LA this year while adding exciting new capabilities like real time auto-archival to the cloud.”
Through the Round of 16, FOX Sports had achieved the following results using IBM Aspera:
- Streamed 350 live edit feeds from 40 matches from Paris to LA, for a total of 118TB of content.
- Transferred roughly 500TB of video content to cloud object storage for archival and editing.
FOX Sports plans to use the joint Aspera solution for other major sporting events in the future to deliver consistently great content for viewers.
A partial view of all high bit rate feeds being streamed from Paris to Los Angeles and Portland for live editing and archival in real time.
Enhancing the viewer experience with IBM Watson
Also at the World Cup this year, FOX Sports worked with IBM to uplevel the viewer experience with a new broadcast segment called Player Spotlight built with IBM Watson. The AI-backed tool helped generate stat analysis for match commentary using a natural language interface. Watson offers the power to reason, understand, categorize and learn what’s inside video footage, further enabling FOX Sports to enhance viewer engagement. Commentators can interact directly with the tool, which in turn surfaces highlights, data and analytics that the broadcasters can reference on-air.
For more information on IBM Aspera streaming solutions, visit http://ibm.biz/aspera-streaming.