Fox Sports Posts the 2018 FIFA World Cup from L. A.

It’s estimated that well over three billion people will watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Championship on TV this year, with one billion predicted for the final match alone. FOX Sports, the sole English language broadcaster, wants to get this job done right-but also on budget.

With the help of Telestream, FOX Sports has developed a new post production workflow to help bring the 2018 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament to U. S. audiences, and to help them watch the bottom line. Instead of sending multiple post production crews over to Moscow from 14 June to 15 July to put together promos, half-time packages and post-game highlights, they’ll be bringing only the needed video material back to their headquarters in West Los Angeles so they can do the heavy post production work over here.

Ken Haren, marketing director at Telestream, told me in an exclusive interview, the company was tasked with getting all the video assets that were going to be shot in Putin’s paradise back to the Adobe Premier edit bays at the FOX Sports headquarters in west L. A.

“Of course, there will still be on-camera talent with access to the 60 camera feeds per event over there that they can use for live replays and timely analysis packages,” Haren said, “but it was the cost of bringing all the high rez video content back to the U. S. that had the FOX Operations and Engineering team scrambling for a solution. Not only can satellite transport get very expensive, but it also comes with a severe latency delay cost.”

The solution that will be rolled out later this June is will split the content into two IP-delivery paths; one broadcast-quality digital video, the other editing-quality proxies.

At its heart is Telestream’s Lightspeed Live Capture system, which takes a real time baseband HD and UHD video signal and encodes it into a low-rez HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) proxy for each channel that is being processed.

Telestream Lightspeed Live Capture provides baseband encoding of real time HD and UHD into production-grade mezzanine video file formats <br />(click to enlarge)

Telestream Lightspeed Live Capture provides baseband encoding of real time HD and UHD into production-grade mezzanine video file formats
(click to enlarge)

The files are then sent by an Aspera FASPStream transfer system (FASP stands for Fast and Secure Protocol) API (Application Programming Interface) that supports data into or from a custom process running in memory. Meanwhile, another video can be in handled on a separate machine (stream-to-stream), or with a standard Aspera transfer server (stream-to-file).

Tests show that the transfer results in a latency delay of less than 20 seconds, usually around 14 seconds, faster than most satellite delivery.

These low-rez proxies are streamed to the Amazon cloud and then down to FOX Sports on Pico Blvd. in L. A., where the producers can watch all 60 of the camera feeds.

When producers see something they like, they mark in/out points in the proxy, and this kicks the second delivery path into action. Telestream’s Vantage media processing platform retrieves the desired high-rez AVC-Intra version of the footage at 220 Mb/s and delivers it to the FOX Sports edit bay timelines or storage in Los Angeles. This transfer comes over unmanaged, commodity internet networks, which is much cheaper than bouncing it up to an orbiting satellite and back earthward for distribution.

The selection process that awarded Russia the 2018 FIFA World Cup venue was fraught with controversy.

The selection process that awarded Russia the 2018 FIFA World Cup venue was fraught with controversy.

“This gives the west coast editors AVC-I files that are ready to edit without tying up their storage or SDI resources,” Haren explained, “and the high-rez file can keep growing as it is fed from Russia.”

Can this be seen in UHD? Yes, but only if you have a Hisense TV set.

“FOX Sports has a marketing deal with Hisense, the worldwide TV sponsor of the FIFA Games,” Haren said, “and if you have the FOX Sports app connected to a Hisense smart TV you will be able to see all action of the broadcast soccer games streaming in UHD resolution with HDR-10 metadata.”

This arrangement may be a harbinger of future remote production workflows. Broadcasters could use such a solution to cover live sports from anywhere in the world.

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