The PyeongChang Games saw a record 92 nations compete in 15 sports over 16 days in venues across the county. On the face of it, this would be a daunting challenge to support, but it all came down to careful planning and meticulous attention to detail.
Central to the plan was creating a workflow that could manage several different EVS operators, each working for different companies and streaming media to different countries. Each of the five operations had its own Production Control Room, so unlike a regular outside broadcast – such as a live football match – it was the equivalent of setting up and running several complex events simultaneously.
Gravity Media – then branded HyperActive Broadcast – began by drawing up schematics to help shape the workflow. Starting small, focusing on one operator at a time and how best to manage its needs, our technical team gradually built up the picture into a full-scale layout that would cover each operator and result in a seamless broadcast setup.
By exploiting some great new pieces of kit – such as EVS’s IPWeb, which allows clients to access their IPDirector database and transfer and edit content remotely – Gravity Media was able to create a cost-effective solution for multiple clients wanting access to their media.
Once Discovery had given the green light, the Gravity Media logistics team made sure that every piece of equipment headed for PyeongChang was working properly, stress-tested and packaged safely.
We prepared over six tons of kit in all, including 70 x EVS XTAs, 29 x IPDirectors using a million gigabytes of storage, the EVS IPWeb, Ingest Funnel, APP servers, DNS Servers, Cisco 7000 Series, IPD Database Servers and XSquare Database Servers.
On arrival in South Korea in December 2017, the equipment was unpacked and configured for the job. This included multiple ingest funnel machines for each venue, allowing the operators to transmit directly to the International Broadcast Centre. This then allowed their media to be available across the EVS network, allowing authorised crew access to it at any time. This was the most cost-effective solution: instead of having to send people half-way around the world, clients could remote in and manage their media from wherever they wanted.
In February 2018, the Winter Games began. Gravity Media engineers were on hand, supporting multiple Production Control Rooms, assisting the Media Management team, and providing operational assistance.
Discovery was able to broadcast one of the biggest sporting events of the year without a hitch. Viewing figures indicate opening-weekend events were viewed by 212 million people across Europe, watching 373 million hours of video between them.
The project was a huge undertaking, but one that was deemed extremely successful against all measures. Gravity Media was able not only to improve the efficiency of the Winter Games broadcast through using such kit as the EVS IPWeb and funnel machines, but we were also able to help Discovery make significant savings by supplying Gravity Media kit and engineers.