Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NBC @Home: One last Olympics post

Yes, the Olympics are over, but the technology background stories are still coming out, so here's a summary of some of the interesting facts:
  • For the first time, all of the video was shot digitally and sent to U.S. viewers over a Gigabit network provided by Cisco.
  • Video was ingested into an Omneon MediaGrid SAN in Beijing, and then only those portions that were needed for editing into on-air content were mirrored to a MediaGrid in the U.S. via Omneon's ProCast Content Distribution Network.
  • All of the on-air content shown on NBC Universal's cable networks and Telemundo stations was edited in the U.S. The commentators for all of the events shown on these cable networks were located in the U.S., not China. Most of them were working in Studio 8H, the studio normally used for "Saturday Night Live," watching the events on HD monitors.
  • Virtually all of the highlights clips and packages were produced at NBC headquarters in New York.
  • There are more details in the current issue of TV Technology Magazine, available online.
It's now possible to foresee an Olympics where the vast majority of production and post-production occurs at the network's headquarters, not on site (assuming, of course, that the host country's broadcaster provides plenty of high-quality feeds.) Of course, there aren't very many events on the scale of the Olympics, but no matter the size of the event, the fewer people and less equipment that you need to send to a location, the better.

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