Customised install of aVS video server allows NHL team to raise production value of its game-day programming

For its live game day production, NHL team Vancouver Canucks is relying on the aVS video server from aQ Broadcast to serve fans with a full range of match day programming. The aVS, at the Vancouver Canucks’ Rogers Arena, is used primarily for playback during games, with its output appearing on the ‘jumbotron’ screen in the centre of the stadium.

The Vancouver Canucks create, shoot and package a range of material at every home game, including sequences of commercials during interval periods as well as short programmes, promos, bumpers and interviews. These are played out using the ad-hoc playlist function onto the ‘jumbotron’ and other screens around the venue. 

The install comprises a four port (each port bi-directional) unit, with 6 TB storage, redundant PSU, SDI video with embedded and AES audio outputs, all in a 1U chassis. It is provided to the Canucks with a range of software options, including playlist and sequence mode player modes, recorder mode, marks and markers, plus sub-clip generation with the option to produce separate or virtual clips. 

In addition to the server’s own GUI, it was supplied with two additional control modes – VDCP and GPI (four inputs). The GPI interface is especially important, as each game is opened with a complex sequence of audio visual/video effects which are driven from the lighting desk. DMX triggers from that controller are used to initiate clip playback on the aVS as part of the opening sequence. 

The arena is used for a range of other large events, including NBA baseball games, concerts and shows, along with smaller meetings, conferences and receptions. The aVS fulfils a range of functions for these events, from the simple display of a company logo to full playback of complex program sequences in a range of video formats, resolutions and wrappings. 

Comments Greg Story, Manager, Media Technology Canucks Sports and Entertainment, “Acquiring our aQ video server helped us eliminate a bottleneck in our game-day clip preparation. The drag/drop aspect from remote Windows workstations is an efficient process for when content producers move their finished clips into the aQ for arena playout. We simply map the aQ’s media folder to our content producer’s workstations and their content is ready for our clip operator to organize into the playlist.” 

Neil Hutchins, CEO, aQ Broadcast says, “Ensuring that you have a reliable system in place for live sports is critical, and the Canucks are just one of many customers utilising our systems for live sport coverage. As with our other customers, we were happy to carry out some custom development to help improve workflow for the Canucks. In this case, as they used the sequence playout mode extensively, we added new features to make building and managing the list much easier for them. 

“Another important function during Canucks’ games is that the aVS is used to record various camera and programme feeds. The sub-clip functionality enables small excerpts to be created whilst recording is still in progress, allowing, for instance, a particular event to be played back during a break or timeout.” 

Canucks Rogers Arena Exterior

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