Ahead of the 2018 NFL season, AT&T Stadium – the home of The Dallas Cowboys – has installed three new XT4K live production servers from EVS, the leading provider of live production solutions. Sitting alongside several other EVS products already in place, the new servers have been implemented into one of the stadium’s three control rooms, which becomes the main replay hub during Cowboys home games. They will be used to create both HD- and UHD-resolution replays and as the main recording device for all events taking place inside the 100,000-person capacity venue.
Two XT4Ks will be used for the production and output of HD replays inside the stadium while the third will be in a UHD-4K configuration. This server will be used by the Cowboys’ production team to create higher-resolution replays that are zoomed in on using EVS’ Emmy award-winning Epsio Zoom application. Operators using the server’s LSM controller zoom into the replay to produce more in-depth, closer angles of the action inside the stadium.
“Whether it’s part of a controversial play or to give fans a better look at what’s happening on the line of scrimmage, using Epsio Zoom to make the most of higher-resolution content brings a higher level of in-stadium engagement,” said Dwin Towell, the Dallas Cowboys’ director of broadcast engineering. “For the HD replays, we also use reverse camera angles that correspond to each side of the in-stadium display. We do this because if a fan is sitting on one side of the stadium, it’s very jarring to see replays where player movements are going in the opposite direction.”
This attention to detail for fans requires a mirrored angle for every camera put in place by the production team. Replays are created either from 12 live camera feeds from the mobile production units on site or from the team’s 14 in-stadium cameras – four of which are UHD-4K – and played out to both sides of the stadium’s display, a Guinness World Record holder for the World's Largest High-Definition Video Display.
The XT4K servers have replaced existing EVS XT2+ servers which were installed inside the stadium that’s now affectionately known by fans as Jerryworld, when it opened in 2009. As well as to produce live in-stadium replays at the more than 100 live events each year, including the ten Cowboys home games of the NFL season, the servers are used as the production control room’s main recording devices. While the servers record the action, the control room’s upgraded IPDirector production asset management system will be used to manage media throughout the live workflow. The team also has an LSM Connect application in place, which is used to create playlists of the in-game highlights on the fly for playout.
“We’ve always been an EVS house and so when it came time to upgrade our facilities, we knew it would be easy to transition to new solutions and that those systems would quickly improve the functionality inside the control room,” added Dwin. “Using EVS equipment means we always have access to a pool of EVS operators and know the technology will continue working hard, all the time. At the end of the day, we always go for top of the line equipment at the Cowboys’ facilities. And that’s why we went with EVS.”
Operating at the same time as the in-stadium control room, the Dallas Cowboys also uses an EVS server and IPDirector workflow in the production and studio facilities at its world headquarters, The Star in Frisco. Content is transported from AT&T Stadium some 40 miles away, via fiber links, and is ingested by the server. IPDirector is used to instantly access and exchange the content between the servers in The Star and those in the stadium on gameday so that the production teams can master, edit and output even more media to engage with the fans of America’s team.