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Canadian Football League




Case Study

The Ottawa REDBLACKS are a professional football team currently playing in the Eastern Conference of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The team was founded in 2010 after league expansion and began play in 2014. The REDBLACKS won the Grey Cup Championship in 2016, ending a 40-year Grey Cup title drought for the city of Ottawa.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS play their home games at TD Place Stadium, which is located in Landsdowne Park, referred to by locals as the "Jewel by the Rideau Canal". The 24,000 seat open air Stadium is host to professional football (CFL), concerts and other major events.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS Stadium production team is responsible for all of the live content seen within the stadium during live games. It is the production team's role to give the fans a viewing experience they desire and demand.

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The Challenge:

Design and build a replay network focused on fan experience and post-production clients

  • Provide fans with a comprehensive in-stadium experience that expands on traditional TV broadcasts by delivering more replays at a faster pace.
  • Deliver content to partners and clients in real-time in a variety of codecs and formats.
  • Equip production team with advanced features to provide progressive and dynamic replays that enhance the in-game experience and competition on the field.

The Challenge

The Ottawa REDBLACKS turned to Evertz to assist the club with a trio of issues, ranging from in-stadium fan experience, content delivery to partners and second screen features.

The stadium Production team wanted to provide as many replays per play as fans were accustomed to with a live television broadcast. The demand for in stadium content and the pace of play at CFL football games can often overwhelm even the most experienced replay operators. Replay operators are tasked with providing engaging replays and highlight packages in a very short turnaround time for the ultimate stadium fan experience.

The REDBLACKS were also eager to deliver live game day content as quickly as possible to their post-production clients and interactive social media outlets. Stadium production teams, like the REDBLACKS are required to provide this content in various codecs and file formats to editors, mobile clients and football operations during the live event and immediately following the game. The production team needed a replay system that was able to assist with the extra tasks that are required during broadcast.

Finally, the REDBLACKS had a goal of providing a high level broadcast in terms of replay functionality to their fans during the live event. The REDBLACKS production team had an ambitious goal of providing advance story telling features through the content they provide for fans like digital zooming, side by side split screen views and motion control replays made available to enhance the in-game experience and sometimes help the home team with close calls missed by broadcast cameras alone.

Technology Solution:

Install Evertz' industry-leading DreamCatcher™ DC-ONE platform.

  • Familiar controller design
  • Advanced touch-based interface
  • Capture up to 6x HD/3G inputs
  • Award-winning zooming features
  • Split-screen with custom background graphics
  • Integrated transcoding engine
  • Support for up to 2x operators per system
  • Continuous loop recording with automatic clip protection

In the stadium, I feel that instant replay is the most important thing for our viewer. We don't have a commentator who is telling the stories, so we're telling the stories through instant replay. Using the DC-ONE, we absolutely can tell those stories quicker and do better quality than we've been able to in the past.

– Paul Prose | Director of Event Presentation | Ottawa REDBLACKS Football Club

The Solution

After evaluating several replay systems, the Ottawa REDBLACKS choose the DreamCatcher™ DC-ONE platform as their primary replay solution and content management system. The DC-ONE provides the customer with a robust replay platform currently being utilized at over 50 professional stadiums in North America. The intuitive touch interface and familiar controller design gives novice and experienced replay operators a platform that can easily meet their demands for providing fast and engaging replays and highlight packs for the in stadium audience.

We have a few different replay operators here using the DC-ONE and everyone has been able to hop on and been able to use the system in their own way. Some people just like using the keyboard and controller and some people like using the touch screen more... easy for all.

– Jeff Hay | Gameday Production Technician | Ottawa REDBLACKS Football Club

To meet the REDBLACKS content delivery need for broadcast outlets and social media platforms, the REDBLACKS take advantage of DreamCatcher™ Transcoding Engine. All of the major broadcast codecs are supported. On import, footage is automatically converted into the operators' current project setting for immediate use. For file exporting, the DC-ONE provides many different export profiles allowing operators to export content in any format needed in a very short turnaround time.

Finally, the advanced tools of the DreamCatcher™ server provide the REDBLACKS with a level of production previously unavailable for in stadium productions. Advanced features like mosaic split screen, advanced playlist editing, integrated multi-viewer and award winning zooming provide the replay operator with all of the tools to provide the in stadium viewer with the best and engaging content possible. An added bonus was the impact the REDBLACKS had on the field by providing valuable replays for their coaches to challenge close plays.

Some calls are very close, so being able to actually zoom in to 400% has really been able to either overturn the call or just show fans something that they might have missed.

– Jeff Hay | Gameday Production Technician | Ottawa REDBLACKS Football Club

The Technology

The REDBLACKS quickly discovered the benefits of the DreamCatcher™ platform with DC-ONE's advanced production tools. The streamlined replay system delivered enhanced storytelling capability, which provided immediate confidence to the club, both on the field and in the production booth.

  1. DC-ONE's rugged 3RU chassis supports up to 8x channels of HD/3G, with 1.6TB primary storage
  2. DC-ONE's integrated transcoding engine allows users to ingest and deliver content to any platform quickly
  3. Formats include: ProRes, DNxHD, XDCAM50, DVC Pro, AVC Intra, H.264 and MPEG-2i.
  4. Continuous loop recording with automatic clip protection and graphical metadata insertion tools

We purchased the DC-ONE as a single user, one controller setup. We've used it for four months now, and absolutely in the budget process to expand that in the future.

– Paul Prose | Director of Event Presentation | Ottawa REDBLACKS Football Club

The Future

The DC-ONE allows the Ottawa REDBLACKS to adapt to any live sporting production need. It also provides a simple upgrade path for supporting any future live production needs. No other system provides this level of functionality with an eye to future growth.

Since the initial install in July 2018, the Ottawa REDBLACKS have upgraded their replay system with a second DC-ONE. This provides the Stadium production team with the ability to produce more content and replays for the fans, giving them the best live sporting viewing experience possible.

I'm a huge fan of the DC-ONE personally... it's really changed the way we do replays here at Ottawa REDBLACKS.

– Jeff Hay | Gameday Production Technician | Ottawa REDBLACKS Football Club

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