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Pitt Studios

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Pitt Studios
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Pitt Studios is an innovative joint venture between the University of Pittsburgh Athletics and Film departments. The athletics department will work to produce content for both the ESPN ACC Network and the on-site athletic venues. Additionally, the production control rooms will provide content and learning opportunities for the University's growing Film and Media Studies Program.

Pitt Studios is a 6,000 square foot space located within Petersen Events Center. The studio includes three production control rooms, two of which feature back benches that can function as self-contained or shared production environments for additional personnel. The project includes a multi-set studio with fiber connections to all major venues on campus.

The Industry

The demand for collegiate sports content has seen growth due to technological and production advancements. Online platforms allow personalized access to viewers, this - coupled with the reduced cost of live event production - has allowed universities to create more content and distribute it directly to their viewers. The launch of ESPN's ACC Network will take full advantage of these factors and provide a distribution platform for ACC schools.

Rapid change in video standards, communication protocols, and graphic interfaces presents a significant challenge to building a production facility that will accommodate constant technological advancements.

The vision of Pitt Studios goes beyond fulfilling the ACC Network requirements and the needs of the university's online athletic presence. Students are now able to shadow events and run dark productions (simulate a broadcast) with the latest technology and equipment. This allows students and operators to get hands on experience with production workflow before being thrust into Live Production. Confidence built in these "shadow events" will carry over as these students become the next generation of operators.

Pitt Studios required a design capable of withstanding near future trends within the broadcast space such as High Dynamic Range, 4K-UHD and ST 2110. Wanting to future proof their space, Pitt Studios invested in a solution ready to support these new formats and standards.

Along with technological advancements, Pitt Studios also had to factor in the ability to be completely flexible. From live sports and studio shows, to film and video productions, operators will be relied upon to understand the workflow for each type of production. Pitt Studios was pressed to find a flexible replay solution that could provide functions as simple as standard capture and reliable clip playback. This workflow however, needed technology that could be easily scaled to run fast paced replay for major sporting events.

The Challenge:

Pitt Studios required a versatile solution that combined all facility resources to support large scale events, as well as seamlessly being configured to simultaneously support multiple smaller events.

Scalable end-to-end solution for numerous athletic venues and events

Future-proof design that included High Dynamic Range, 4K-UHD and ST 2110

Flexible replay solution that could provide functions as simple as standard capture and reliable clip playback for live sports, studio shows, film and video productions

Technology Solution:

Modular IP design to allow for dynamic resource management and maximum flexibility, while providing support for future standards

10G DreamCatcher™ 3080IPX-10G streaming network for instant access to any content on the network

Content management and high throughput transcoding using the DC-MEDIA-SUITE platform

Continuous loop recording across multiple DC-260ES capture nodes

Logging and auxiliary operator surfaces provided by the compact DC-LITE-CLIENT systems

EQX router for diverse signal ingest, including HD/3G/SD and UHD

The Challenge

The University of Pittsburgh, much like other ACC venues, needed to provide a scalable end-to-end solution for numerous athletic venues and events. Pitt Studios required a versatile solution that would combine all facility resources to support the largest events as well as seamlessly scale down to support multiple, smaller events simultaneously.

The Solution

To accommodate the varied production needs of the facility, Evertz' MAGNUM routing and scheduling interface was deployed. MAGNUM allows the studio engineers to configure shows days or even weeks prior to the event by scheduling the routing services for each event and allocating resources according to that day's schedule.

DreamCatcher™ has the ability to scale to fit the needs of each production, taking advantage of the combined resources across the facility. In the case of a single large event, Pitt Studios is able to pool resources across all three control rooms to provide a single large scale production. All of the facilities' DC-200ES capture servers provide continuous loop recording of any ingest channel. Through Evertz' 3080IPX-10G core each DC-PLAYOUT server and operator station has instant access to any recorded content on the network. In cases where multiple smaller events are taking place, the DreamCatcher™ workstations can be assigned and allocated based on the needs of each live production. This flexible resource allocation design provides cost savings as resources are no longer fixed per room or user.