Sunday, August 14, 2022

Fox Sports Oz, NEP Australia Power 4K Live Sports with Dell EMC

Dell EMC has announced that FOX SPORTS Australia and NEP Australia have each selected Dell EMC’s Isilon F800 all-flash scale-out NAS storage solution to power the production of live sport in 4K UHD video resolution. This content is broadcast on Foxtel’s new dedicated Foxtel 4K channel (Channel 444). 

To meet the complex technical requirements for the new 4K live sports production, FOX SPORTS needed a storage platform that could provide extreme performance and scalability for live video ingest and highlights editing in their Artarmon NSW production facility. In addition, NEP Australia has deployed Isilon F800 storage into two of their premium 4K-capable Outside Broadcast (OB) vans – providing extreme performance density for their client FOX SPORTS.

“This project will serve as a benchmark as we transform our business toward a new 4K digital era,” said Stephen Edwards, Director of Technology and Infrastructure at FOX SPORTS Australia. “We are confident in Dell EMCs ability to support this first-of-its-kind 4K live workflow because of their industry expertise and our longstanding partnership through the years.”

Robert Oliver, Head of Technology at FOX SPORTS Australia has been driving the 4K Live project from inception. 

“We have been using Isilon as our core media production storage for many years. After our transition to the new Isilon Gen6 platform, we wanted to test the limits of the all-flash F800 model and found that it exceeded our performance expectations when integrated with EVS and Adobe.”

The new Foxtel 4K Channel (Channel 444) broadcasts in 4K resolution and at twice the frame rate of Foxtel’s HD channels – allowing for high-quality smooth reproduction of fast-moving live sports action. This results in an increase in throughput of live capture video streams by 4x, necessitating an update to the existing production storage and network architecture. 

FOX SPORTS had to substantially upgrade for the 4K live workflow, which requires ultra-high-speed storage capabilities both for the outside broadcast vans and inside the central production facility. Up to 30 cameras in the sporting venues will capture footage in both 4K and HD, which will be produced in the outside broadcast vans using EVS live production servers together with Dell EMC’s all-Flash Isilon F800 IP-based storage. Video editors producing highlights and other packages use Adobe Premier Pro working with 4K and HD clips directly connected to the Isilon F800. Further post-production and content repackaging takes place in real-time back at the FOX SPORTS HQ. Clips from the OB Van can also be replicated back to FOX SPORTS using Dell EMC Isilon’s SyncIQ technology – taking advantage of the high-bandwidth IP data network provided from the venue by Telstra Broadcast Services. These clips can then be edited into packages for news and hosted programs, and broadcast on Foxtel plus OTT delivery to mobile and web platforms.

“Deploying high-density all-Flash Isilon storage into our 4K OB Vans is the next step in our Live IP production evolution,” said Marc Segar, Director of Technology, NEP Australia. “NEP Australia has been on a path of innovation and production workflow efficiency for the past 2 years, since successfully implementing the Andrews’ Hubs for remote live production in Sydney and Melbourne.” 

A critical success factor for the Isilon F800’s all-flash architecture is its ability to absorb both the high throughput and high concurrency associated with the project. This capability, delivered in a convenient 4RU form factor, allowed the F800 systems to be deployed into the OB vans supplied by NEP as well as substantially reducing the Data Centre rack space, power and cooling needed at FOX SPORTS HQ. 

Dell EMC has been working with FOX SPORTS since 2012, deploying Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS storage solutions for its content creation and distribution workflows.

“This solution signals a transition to next-generation all-IP 4K content creation and delivery workflows in Australia and internationally,” said Charles Sevior, CTO Unstructured Data Solutions, Dell EMC. “We take great pride in having our innovative, Isilon all-flash storage solution play an important part in the production infrastructure that will enable FOX SPORTS and NEP to provide cricket fans worldwide with a significantly differentiated service and truly immersive viewing experience.” 

 

For more, contact Charles.Sevior@emc.com  

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