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Sound Devices Continues NBA Partnership

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Since February 2012, Sound Devices has worked on the production of professional basketball games for the National Basketball Association. Continuing through to the 2012-2013 season, the company’s PIX 240i and PIX 260i Production Video Recorders are still the NBA's choice for broadcast and online video productions.
Headquartered in Secaucus, NJ, NBA Entertainment uses and archives audio and video feeds from every game played across the country, repurposing the footage for, NBA TV and the NBA YouTube channel.
Starting with the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, Sound Devices participated in a PIX 240 demonstration/test to see how the portable audio/video recorders would improve the league’s production workflow.
Sound Devices made available numerous PIX 240 recorders—not only for the game footage itself, but also for player and coach interviews leading up to it.
Cameras, including those from Vision Research (Phantom) and Panasonic, were located in four positions on the court, run by camera operators outfitted with special PIX 240 waist mounts designed by Sound Devices. Long BNC cables were run from the floor box around the court to the producer’s position. This gave the producers access to the video feed and time code from the sidelines.
The display on the PIX 240 gave NBA producers real-time access to the content being captured, enabling the production team to make logs based on time code values, which could then easily be transferred back to post. After each quarter of the game, SSD drives from the PIX 240s were run back to the remote edit trailer that was set up specifically for the event. Sound Devices high-speed Thunderbolt™ I/O dock, PIX-DOCK, was then used to transfer the video files into the edit environment. This streamlined the workflow off the court, allowing the editors to start working on the material from the previous quarter while the next quarter was still being played.
The Sound Devices setup was a major improvement over the NBA’s previous tape-based workflow, as previously editors would load tapes into a deck when they came back to the edit suite after each quarter.
The editors would then have to shuttle through the tape to find the required shots and then individually capture each one before moving the files over to the editing environment.
The time code on all units were synched and notes were taken in real time for reference points, saving time in accessing specific shots and then having access to all of the different angles for that particular shot.
After its initial success with Sound Devices PIX lineup during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, the NBA continued to employ several PIX 240s and (at the time) a prototype of Sound Devices rack-mounted PIX 260 file-based audio/video recorder for the 2012 NBA Finals.
Again, four cameras were located on the court, with an additional high-center camera above the playing area, all connected to PIX 240s. A sixth camera was used with the PIX 260 prototype, to specifically record the international video feed coming into network trailers, along with 16 tracks of SDI-embedded audio, including 12 separate international audio feeds.
For specialty shots, the crew was able to access the high-speed camera feeds for slow-motion, captured by the PIX recorders. This gave editors three extra camera angles from which to choose.
Similar to the NBA All-Star Game, SSDs were brought back to post after each quarter and the editors were able to log time code-synched footage with the PIX recorders.
The edit suite for the Finals consisted of several travel-ready Final Cut editing systems. The NBA also utilised PROMISE SANLink adapters for the 2012 NBA Finals, connected via Thunderbolt, in order to directly connect the laptops to the XSAN Storage for the edit system, which enabled the production team to utilise both PIX and SANLink to immediately transfer the files from the SSD’s so they were instantly available to the editors. This enabled files to be utilised a few minutes after the start of the next quarter.
As a result of the speed and enhanced production workflows, Sound Devices' new PIX 240i’s and PIX 260i’s returned to the court for full deployment throughout the 2012-2013 NBA season, including the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, as well as international events such the NBA China Games.
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