Latest Case Study
Under the Hood at NASCAR Media Group
September 27, 2012
NASCAR® TEAMED UP WITH PRIMESTREAM TO DEVELOP A COMPLETE END-TO-END BROADCAST IT.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
NASCAR racing is one of the most viewed professional sports in the United States, hosting 17 of the 20 highest attended sporting events. To satisfy a fan base always clamoring for new content, the NASCAR Media Group needed to find a way to effectively catalogue and monetize an archive of over 70,000 hours of film and video footage spanning sixty years of racing history.
NASCAR teamed up with Primestream to develop a complete end-to-end broadcast IT platform, based on FORK, that could perform with the precision and speed associated with the NASCAR name. “Our mandate was to protect the archive,” Witmayer remarks, “while also increasing profitability on the production side, which is our primary revenue generator.”
WORTHY OF NASCAR
“We value our brand very highly and don’t leverage it easily, says Chris Witmayer. We don’t do anything that could sacrifice the value of the brand. That translates down to which vendor partners we choose to represent us.”
Chris Witmayer, Director of Broadcast Post Production
and New Media Technology
A SOLUTION THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF
NASCAR turned to Primestream because a prior attempt to build a system to digitize their archival and production assets had not been successful. The initial approach did not make it easy to monetize their content because it required tapes to be ingested multiple times and was not able to support the 1,000 hours of new content produced monthly in addition to the archival material.
THE SOFTWARE SOLUTION
With FORK, Witmayer solved his archiving challenges with a complete platform that could also be expanded into a full 24/7 broadcasting solution. Unlike expensive, closed-loop systems, FORK is software-only, compatible with PCs and Macs, and can be scaled and even custom- configured to suit a client’s unique requirements. “We can scale it up, integrate it with other systems,” Witmayer explains. “FORK doesn’t care – it’ll run on whatever we put it on. That was helpful in making our decision.
THE BACKUP PLAN
Archiving with FORK began in April 2010 with an average of 2600 hours of content ingested each month. By August, almost 1.8 petabytes of high-resolution media were ingested to
NASCAR’s 3.2PB LTO library. Primestream’s consulting team wrote custom logging forms for entering event, car, and driver-specific metadata, as well as an Automated Timecode Scanner that can ingest tapes even if they have timecode breaks. Another custom workflow automatically archives all the media on NASCAR’s storage area network (SAN). When a file is three days old, FORK sends it to an archive, and on the 14th day, it verifies the backup and deletes the footage. “FORK automatically maintains our content, keeping our SAN clean
and robust, and that helps in the management of our facility.” Primestream and NASCAR share an affinity for innovative technologies: they almost seem like they were meant for each
other. NASCAR has garnered several Emmy Awards for Editing and Quick Turnaround and Primestream continues to support that talent. Witmayer agrees,“Every time we turn around FORK is helping us with solutions to old problems and helping us expand into new directions. It’s the glue that’s holding this operation together.
While many NASCAR programs have a narrow production schedule (they’ve garnered several Emmy Awards for Editing and Quick Turnaround), when Showtime decided to start Inside NASCAR – after their popular Inside the NFL program – Witmayer was tasked with quickly turning around a 900-square foot studio capable of supporting a live-to-tape program.
“Inside NASCAR is a good example of something that was added in the 11th hour, and was not part of the facility’s original FORK design,” says Witmayer, adding “Because FORK was already in place, adding additional ingest channels to record live camera outputs from the studio wasn’t even a problem. We recorded right off the studio floor and had our editors edit it instantly. When it was time to go to air, we’d just boot it up in FORK and send it out over the satellite to Showtime® in New York.”
A WINNING TEAM
Primestream and NASCAR share an affinity for innovative technologies: On one hand you have a robust, customizable and cost-effective solution for increasing video assets control,
operational efficiencies, and expanding business platforms, and on the other you have some of the fastest and most powerful machines in the world. They almost seem like they were meant for each other. Witmayer agrees,“Every time we turn around FORK is helping us with solutions to old problems and helping us expand into new directions. It’s the glue that’s holding this operation together.”
UNDER THE HOOD
AT NASCAR NEW MEDIA GROUP:
900-square feet of studio production space
4 Floors of production
96 Races per year
3.2 PB tape library
800 TB Storage SAN
185 Full-time employees
156 Worldwide coverage
72 Fiber clients
56 Final Cut Studio suites
16 High definition ingest ports
2 High definition live assist
...And 1 FORK Production Suite in the driver’s seat.
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