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EVS Brings RAW and Smackdown to Birmingham, England

EVS equipment aids complicated World Wrestling Entertainment production in the UK (June 22, 2005)

Every week, the World Wrestling Entertainment tape room creates some of the most technically complicated shows on the air with no set days, two operators, and one AD. A typical RAW or Smackdown involves sixteen separate playback sources -covering everything from promos and graphics to entrance videos and switcher effects - and one page of the script, about eight minutes of air time, contains as many as twenty separate elements plus replays. Trying to reproduce this intricate system of interfaces and having to move over a thousand elements to a new truck each week would be next to impossible, so the WWE retains exclusive use of NEPs Super Shooter 22. For 51 weeks, the truck crisscrosses North America to produce close to 120 nights of live entertainment.

Due to this complexity, the WWEs international shows generally have had to be simplified to accommodate time limitations and working with an unfamiliar truck, which essentially has to be built from scratch. However, this past April, the dedicated road crew tackled one of their biggest challenges at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England, when they attempted to recreate the look and feel of a normal RAW and Smackdown more than 3000 miles from home.

Accomplishing this task required four 6-channel EVS LSM-XTs, one 4-channel SpotBox, and an XFile - which proved to be the most integral piece of equipment. However, the load-in actually began three days earlier in Stamford, Connecticut, at WWEs television facility. Dave Taylor, longtime LSM Operator, had already spent two days loading the most current elements in NTSC from Super Shooter 22. In Stamford, he used an Alchemist to transform current and archived NTSC elements to PAL on a rental EVS LSM-XT and XFile. EVSs unique ability to change television standards at the flick of switch is what made this process possible. Taylor loaded 768 individual elements to a 200GB LaCie hard drive over the course of three very long days. The rental equipment was returned to Bexel in New York City while Taylor boarded his flight to England. The LaCie hard drive with its essential data was stowed safely in the overhead.

Upon his arrival, Taylor met with Stuart Burton, the tape engineer for the Visions mobile unit they would be using. ?Stuart has been working with us for a number of years, and has gotten quite used to the ?crazy Americans always wanting to do something different and difficult, Taylor said. ?Hes not afraid of a challenge, and we never fail to give him one.

During the show, Taylor ran two of the XTs and cued a third, which was triggered by the trucks tally system. TD Doug Getts serially controlled the SpotBox with a Phillips switcher. Frank Hoogstraten ran the final XT, and Gavin OShea was the tape AD.

?We went into this knowing that there was a good chance that something wouldnt go right, and we would have been okay with that, Taylor said. ?Using an EVS-based system actually turned out to be easier than what we do normally in Super Shooter 22. I was sitting in front of five controllers, and it felt great. We never expected two perfect shows, but thats what we got.

About EVS
EVS Broadcast Equipment has been committed to the international television community, developing digital video disk recording technology since the company's inception in 1994. EVS revolutionary disk-based slow-motion replay devices include the Live Slow Motion system (LSM), which is second to none and has evolved into a worldwide industry standard. The newest range of general-purpose video servers includes models designed for live broadcast applications as well as for integration in an automated play-out environment. The EVS Group currently employs over 150 people on a dozen different sites around the world. EVS products are being sold in more than 60 countries.

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Related Keywords:EVS, RAW, Smackdown, World Wrestling Entertainment, NEP, Super Shooter 22, LSM-XT, SpotBox, XFile, Bexel, LaCie, Phillips,


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