VSquared TV Edits Tour de France Broadcasts with AJA Io® 4K and T-TAP™ on new Mac Pros Running FCPX

September 11, 2014

VSquared is a production company that produces professional cycling programming for clients that include ITV, BBC, Channel 4, British Cycling, UCI and Locog. Most recently, VSquared created over 90 hours of content covering the Tour de France for the UK’s ITV network. For this project, VSquared transitioned from a Final Cut 7 workflow to FCPX on new Mac Pro systems to help meet demanding daily production deadlines.

“Since the new Mac Pro systems require all of the interfacing to be done externally, we used AJA Io 4Ks to provide HD-SDI out for both video and audio monitoring in all of our edit suites,” explained James Venner, senior producer at VSquared. “The Io 4Ks performed flawlessly—they were easy to use and set up with connection to the Mac Pros via Thunderbolt 2, and we had no issues with lip sync on output of audio and video together. Once they were up and running, we didn’t have to think about them again.”

As the production company selected to produce the Tour de France programming for ITV, VSquared was in production on-site for 21 days straight, developing both live and produced segments for broadcast. VSquared had a team of 15 shooters and producers on site during the event in France, and another 15 back in London, where their editing setup and facility is based. For each day of the Tour, the team produced a live show and a highlights show that aired in the evening. The volume of content required very fast turnaround, and the team was usually editing the highlights show while footage from the day’s stage was still being ingested.

“We were routinely editing the final segments of the four-part highlights show while the start of the show was being transmitted to air,” explained editor Peter Wiggins. “The entire system allows us to feed the completed segments of the edited show down to the EVS in under five minutes, which was only made possible due to the computing power of the new Mac Pro. Our render times were reduced to almost nothing, and together with the Io 4Ks, this was a complete failure-proof workflow.”

Interview and ancillary content captured by VSquared shooters on Sony XDCam cameras and official Tour de France race footage came in via satellite from France to London, and was recorded as Apple ProRes 422 files using Softron Movie Recorder software utilizing two AJA Io 4k units for ingest. These files were accessed by each of VSquared’s four edit suites, all equipped with a MacPro and Io 4K for HD-SDI output. Separately, AJA T-TAPs were used for playout from Mac Pro systems in Web editing suites to provide HD-SDI monitoring.

Together with AJA Io 4K, the FCPX workflow on Mac Pros was so successful for the ITV Tour de France broadcasts that VSquared will be using it on all projects moving forward, including upcoming UCI Women’s Road World Cup and the Tour of Spain cycling events. 

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface and conversion solutions, bringing high-quality, cost-effective digital video products to the professional, broadcast and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com

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