March 22, 2016
Comcast SportsNet, located in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa district, covers Bay Area sports—including the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors—for fans across the country. The facility has a central news floor for journalists, on-screen talent and operational staff. Comcast operates two production studios with supporting control rooms and a centralized equipment bay.
Fast Turnaround on Game Day
For live sports coverage, Comcast receives up to six camera feeds from the venue delivered via fiber networks. The incoming feeds are fed into an Avid® iNEWS® system, and operators catalog each feed and create metadata for subsequent search by news producers. Because of the latency of this process and the common requirement to get a highlight on air quickly, Comcast produces a fast turnaround feed from an Abekas eight-channel, dual-user Mira™ Instant Replay server. This allows the production team to create real-time highlights and feed them directly to the control room as part of a play list. This is particularly important when a major play happens just before a game break and the on-field, or in-studio talent needs to review the play immediately.
Studio A provides three separate shooting locations and can be quickly configured for each sport. This is especially important during cross-over periods during the season where, for example, the Warriors might be playing at the same time as the Giants.
Ultra-Wide On-Set Displays: A Built-in Feature of Mira Production Servers
Every HD display on the front of the anchor desk and the on-set displays behind the anchor are all fed by Abekas Mira Production servers. One of the main advantages of Mira for driving on-set displays is the fact that channels can be combined together to create larger-than-HD display playback. Comcast set graphics are prepared to measure 5760 X 1080 pixels. Mira automatically loads each segment of the ultra-wide screen video into their respective playback channels, and synchronizes playback of the three channels, as directed by Mira MultiPLAY control software—in this case, to produce a single, unified, ultra-wide screen image. This unique feature of Mira Production servers eliminates the need for expensive display wall image processors.
Production Under Control
In the control room, another four-channel Abekas Mira Production server provides key and fill transitions under VDCP control from the Sony MVS switcher. In addition, pre-packaged video bumpers are replayed from a three-channel Abekas Tria video server. Program outputs from the Mira Instant Replay server are fed into the switcher, while an AUX bus feeds on-set touch screen displays. This workflow setup allows instant replays to be incorporated into live coverage as part of live in-studio or on-field analysis.
Comcast SportsNet operates similar studios across the country and delivers live sports broadcasts, game highlights and analysis to millions of fans in their home markets. Each Comcast SportsNet feed is delivered via fiber to the 63,000 square-foot NBC Universal Technology Center in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey—where it is distributed to cable viewers across the country.