Playback Innovations is proud to announce a revolutionary advance in tapeless workflow with the successful design, implementation and execution of a completely tapeless playback solution for the 2009 Academy Awards®. The production design for the 81st Oscars® telecast, always an ambitious undertaking, was particularly challenging this year. More than 2500 individual playback and graphic elements were produced for the large number of on set displays.
Playback Innovations, an industry leader in the design and implementation of tapeless workflows pro-actively instituted an end-to-end solution that allowed content to move from creation all the way through live playout as files. “Going in to this years show, we knew that the sheer volume of content would be a challenge for the playback operation”, said Tad Scripter, Engineer in Charge of the Academy Awards® telecast. “A completely tapeless solution was the only way that this volume of material could be created, ingested and played back quickly enough for the demands of the Academy Awards® production”.
The video post operation at Chainsaw and the production facilities at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood were merged into one large TCP/IP network. This gave the editors all of the benefits of being on-site, without compromising their ability to make full use of the complete post-production environment at Chainsaw. Playback Innovations solicited the services of Location Connect a Los Angles based provider of location connectivity to establish a high-speed robust (1 Gb/s) wireless network between Chainsaw and the Kodak Theatre. Location Connect, in partnership with Nthair and Loea Corporation, installed two Loea LM1000 Gigabit radios. Through the use of these radios, the Avid Symphony Nitris DXs at Chainsaw were linked to the Pi playback controllers which managed the EVS XT playback servers at the venue.
When the Chainsaw editors wanted to deliver to the Kodak, they would simply right-click and send their finished High-Definition sequences from the Avid directly to the playback operation at the Kodak Theatre—faster than real time, with no loss of quality. No longer did they need to output to videotape, have a courier run the tape through traffic to the venue or re-digitize into the playback server before the content was available for use. They could even send their video sequences late at night, when there were no operators available at the Kodak Theatre, in order for the content to be available first thing in the morning for rehearsals. “The ability to send from any of our edit suites directly to the playout servers at the Kodak Theater more than a mile away was an incredible time saver for us”, said Mike Polito of Chainsaw . “It enabled us to focus on doing our best work while not being concerned about the logistics of delivery”.
Playback Innovations deployed twelve six-channel EVS XTs on site at the Kodak Theatre to handle all of the playback requirements of the broadcast. The XT’s were controlled by the Pi Controller, enabling simultaneous and frame accurate control of up to 48 channels by a single operator. The EVS XTs have the ability to record and playback native Avid DNxHD files. “We needed to implement a system that would allow us to stay ahead of the late breaking changes that are an important part of a production of this scale,” said Jon Aroesty. “Obviously not many shows are the size of the Academy Awards®, but the workflows that we have proven here, and the partnerships that we have forged along the way will enable us to make this sort of infrastructure viable for almost any size production.”