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Quantel Newsbox Excels at Torino 2006

EBU gets near-instant highlights for Winter Olympics thanks to news system (February 27, 2006)

Throughout the 2006 Winter Olympics the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) provided near-instant highlights of each event as well as two 30-minute highlight packages every single day on Quantel's news system in a box - Newsbox. These packages were distributed to the EBU's 60 members spread throughout Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East and seen by tens of millions of viewers.

To offer coverage of any event of this size and scope requires meticulous planning. Fernando Pardo, Head of EBU Sports Operations, explains, "We dont want to play with dynamite. In the Games we stick to what we have planned because this is not the time for experimenting."

Fernando Pardo, Head of EBU Sports Operations, with the Newsbox Q Record ingest control stations at the IBC in Torino. The Newsboxes enabled the simultaneous recording of up to ten feeds from different events as highlights editing of the incoming material continued.
Fernando Pardo, Head of EBU Sports Operations, with the Newsbox Q Record ingest control stations at the IBC in Torino. The Newsboxes enabled the simultaneous recording of up to ten feeds from different events as highlights editing of the incoming material continued.
Having used Quantel sQ server-based systems for the compilation of the daily reports for the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the Euro 2004 football championships in Portugal, the EBU wanted to use the same winning formula for the Torino 2006 Winter Games. This time Quantel offered a production system based on Newsboxes which is based on the same robust sQ server technology and aimed at meeting the specific needs of news and sports events.




The real challenges were the timeframes and the scale of the operation. Based in the Olympic International Broadcast Centre (IBC) the EBU set-up had access to feeds for the various events. Two six-channel Newsboxes each with 110 hours of storage and configured as five inputs / one output, provided the core server, storage and management. In addition a third Newsbox with 50 hours storage gave backup for the bigger events such as semi-finals and finals. The three Newsboxes formed the core of the video and audio operations, responsible for simultaneous multi-channel ingest, editing and replay.

The openness of Newsbox and its ability to integrate with IT equipment was one of the major reasons for its selection by the EBU. The video/IT split system created the whole workflow where the IT usage was not just to make the system cost effective, but also to address the pressing needs for distributing information. The whole workflow from the live event to the member broadcasters transmissions had to be lightning fast and totally reliable.

To handle the volume of work, eight sQ Cut editing seats worked in parallel to share the load and created all the highlights and summaries. Based on its recent Olympic experience, the EBU saw it as essential that they produced not only the video and audio, but also information about the footage to guide local commentaries. Pardo points out that, The operators are editors; not VTR editors but sports editors! This was of major importance as they were called on not just to cut together the highlights and summaries but also to write the information to make up the detailed shot lists so the members commentators could prepare their voiceovers even ahead of seeing the video.

Pardo reflects on the Turin operation. "We are more than happy. And we expect to develop the equipment even further for our future operation in Beijing  or anywhere else; we never stop!"

About Quantel
Quantel is dedicated to creating the most powerful and efficient tools for content creation and production in the digital age. Quantel systems combine industry-leading performance with total scalability in both hardware and software across post production, graphics, digital intermediate, news and sports production for multiple resolution, team-working environments. http://www.quantel.com


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