The Boston Red Sox accomplished what hadn’t been done in a very long time during this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs.
Fox Sports, meanwhile, did something they hadn’t done before: They broadcast many of the playoff games, including all four in Boston’s World Series sweep, with the help of Power Mac G5 computers equipped with Final Cut Pro HD and AJA Video’s Kona 2 video card.
The switch to the new hardware was made right before the playoffs started. The all-Mac line-up enabled the Fox production team to smoothly field video during the games and edit it into bumpers and highlight packages that could be tossed into the live coverage without dropping the ball.
“They were cutting pieces and turning them around in minutes,” Ted Schilowitz, Worldwide Product Manager for Desktop Video Engines at AJA Video told MacCentral. The team created highlight clips for use as the broadcast went to commercial breaks, as in-game replays, in pitch location and at-bat recaps and where needed elsewhere, explained Schilowitz.
Some of the clips, such as the pitcher and batter recaps, required effects, and Fox Sports Vice President of Field Operations Jerry Steinberg told MacCentral that the set-up he chose fit the bill because “we needed something fast that had the right effects tools.”
In addition, because Fox made High Definition (HD) broadcasts of the games available to viewers who could receive them, Steinberg said he selected the Kona 2 card. Schilowitz added: “The native format of Final Cut Pro HD was also critical to the workflow. They were picking up 720p feeds, laying them into Final Cut Pro and feeding them to the play-out machine for broadcast.”
While Steinberg hasn’t yet decided what his department will use during next year’s baseball season and playoffs, he did say that the G5, Kona 2 video card and Final Cut Pro HD will race into action for the upcoming NASCAR season.