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Workflows for theBoys of Summer

As profressional sports teams hunt for new revenue, upgraded HD production and video facilities inside stadiums have become increasingly important for both the clubs and major broadcast vendors, which are reporting signifi cant increases in their sports arena work.

One notable example of the trend is the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball franchise, which has been working on a singular upgrade of its facilities to improve HD video workflows so that the team can increase content production, which has doubled in three years.

A major leg of that upgrade was completed this year when the Giants installed the Avid ISIS 5000 server and the vendor’s Interplay production and content management system. For next year, the team is looking at upgrading its archive system to further streamline workflows.

The upgrades build on a major 2007 investment by the team in a new HD control room at AT&T Park, which was at the time only the third MLB facility to go HD, says Paul Hodges, director and executive producer at SFG Productions.

“It is really a state-of-the-art control room in every sense of the word,” adds Chris Gargano, SFG Productions senior director of marketing and entertainment. “It not only fuels [all the content] sent to the scoreboard, but we use it to produce TV shows, our live streaming Webcasts” and other content, including radio and TV commercials.

The new HD control room has enabled the team to supply more content to the main scoreboard during games and to expand its production for promos, Websites and TV. The production unit has produced 10 episodes of its Inside the Clubhouse series for the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area regional sports channel. Over the last three years, those efforts have earned the Giants 10 Emmy nominations and a 2011 Northern California area Emmy, for its Inside the Clubhouse: Journey program.

But as the in-house production unit expanded, it began to face some serious workflow issues with finding and accessing clips. “We were logging content with Excel, which got to be very timeconsuming,” says Hodges. “Chris [Gargano] would write a story, and then we would spend a lot of time looking for a clip.”

To overcome that problem, the Giants installed the new ISIS server and the Interplay system to tie together their 13 Avid editing suites for an integrated workflow, a move that has significantly sped up the process of fi nding clips for the scoreboard during games and for their TV and Web productions.

Thanks to the new system, editors recently were able to start cutting a new TV show about former Giants star Will Clark only a couple of days after shooting wrapped. “With the old system, the editors might have had to wait two weeks or more before they could start,” says Gargano. “If we had not made the move to be as advanced technologically as we are now, we wouldn’t be able to handle the volume we do.”

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