SuperSport is the leading sports provider in Africa and one of the biggest in the
world. Based in South Africa and part of the MultiChoice satellite broadcaster, it
covers major sporting events spanning football, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, motor
sports, cycling, boxing, wrestling and athletics.
As part of our “total coverage’ vision, we have a thriving production arm, which
provides comprehensive coverage of these major regional events. This includes a
large in-house fleet of outside broadcast trucks, designed primarily for live sports
One of the core elements of sports broadcasting is the ability to provide multiple
replays of the key action, including super slow-motion replays, using cameras which
shoot at three times the normal frame rate. To achieve this, outside broadcast
trucks are today equipped with state-of-the-art servers capable of capturing every
camera feed and replaying any channel instantly.
By far the market leader in providing these live production servers is Belgian
company EVS, whose products are used in trucks and studio complexes around the
world. We were already a long-time EVS user, and we’ve now upgraded our outside
broadcast fleet with a large number of EVS’ new generation XT3 servers. Each of
these supports eight channels of HD or six 3D/1080p video channels.
Our largest trucks are fitted with as many as six XT3 servers, enabling us to
capture the output of 20 cameras or more, including super slow motion cameras. In
total, we’ve upgraded seven trucks with XT3s. And we’ll also use one XT3 in our
upgraded training centre, which replicates a real-world outside broadcast unit and
can double up as an extra OB truck.
The upgrade enables us to satisfy our production requirements today – the need for
extra channels and storage capacity now is fundamental – and gives us the ability
to future-proof for 4K recording tomorrow. It gives us the peace of mind of knowing
that we can benefit from the expanded capabilities of the XT3 whenever we want in
The XT3 also integrates seamlessly with key EVS production tools such as the
IPDirector live production asset management suite and XFile3 for easy and efficient
search, retrieval, transcoding and back-up of content from one interface. The EVS
MultiReview solution is a real asset, as it gives our production teams the ability to
browse multiple camera angles simultaneously in low resolution and quickly select
clips for instant replays. Directors really appreciate this bird’s eye view of a live
The XT3 is controlled by the EVS LSM control panel, a familiar and intuitive panel
used by a large number of operators, who have become highly skilled with it. It can
also be used in conjunction with LSM Connect, a tablet-based solution for clips and
OB6, one of our largest trucks, also has the Epsio Live sports graphic tool loaded on
its XT3 server. Fully integrated with the LSM remote control panel, Epsio Live allows
graphic overlays, like the offside line in football, to be added in real time or to
instant replays. This saves on additional kit and operators, and makes replays more
informative without a whole load of complex routing. All of the new functionality,
including Epsio Live, is carried out from the LSM panel, allowing us to introduce new
tools as we need them without extensive retraining.
Critical for us with the upgrade was to ensure we were future-ready. The XT3 gives
us that confidence as it’s equipped with up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and
powerful recording capabilities built in. This gives us huge flexibility and allows us
to benefit from high-performance connections between a truck on site and the
broadcaster’s base operation. This means that post-production tasks like highlights
packages and post-game analysis can be carried out remotely, which is important
as it minimises the number of staff needed on location.
When a broadcaster is called SuperSport, viewers clearly expect the very best in
production values. The EVS XT3 upgrade will allow us to continue to push the
boundaries of what’s possible in sports coverage, adding value, insight and
creativity to the audience viewing experience.