Workflows for the Boys of Summer

San Francisco Giants take a swing at streamlined production systems

Why This Matters

Unlocking Valuable Cove Trove

Home runs sailing out of the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park and splashing into McCovey Cove have long been an iconic baseball highlight. But when Major League Baseball asked the team to compile a list of these “splash” hits, the effort required an arduous dive deep into the team’s archives, with a concentration on homers since the team’s 2000 move to the stadium. (The archives stretch back to the 1920s, the Giants’ early days in New York.) “It was a very painstaking, three-month process to find the clips,” says Paul Hodges, SFG Productions director/executive producer.

The team’s installation of the Avid ISIS and Interplay systems earlier this year will make content much easier to find. “Today it is as simple as having the interns add the word ‘splash’ as they [upload], log and tag the footage,” Hodges says.

But the Giants still have a large archive with a wide variety of tape and digital formats that can’t be easily accessed. To overcome that problem, they are exploring options for an archiving system that would be tied into current Avid workflows. “Once we have the whole library open to us, it will open up many new opportunities,” Hodges notes.

The team is also closely looking at the idea of implementing Avid’s Interplay Sphere cloudbased system for distributed production. While no final decision has been made, the cloudbased system would allow the Giants to seamlessly work with the Avid editing suite and infrastructure in San Francisco while they are in Scottsdale, Ariz., for spring training. —GW

As profressional sports teams
hunt for new revenue, upgraded
HD production and video facilities
inside stadiums have become increasingly
important for both the clubs and major
broadcast vendors, which are reporting signifi
cant increases in their sports arena work.

One notable example of the trend is
the San Francisco Giants Major League
Baseball franchise, which has been working
on a singular upgrade of its facilities
to improve HD video workflows so that
the team can increase content production,
which has doubled in three years.

A major leg of that upgrade was completed
this year when the Giants installed the Avid
ISIS 5000 server and the vendor’s Interplay
production and content management system. For next year, the team is
looking at upgrading its archive system to further streamline workflows.

The upgrades build on a major 2007 investment by the team in a
new HD control room at AT&T Park, which was at the time only the
third MLB facility to go HD, says Paul Hodges, director and executive
producer at SFG Productions.

“It is really a state-of-the-art control room in every sense of the
word,” adds Chris Gargano, SFG Productions senior director of marketing
and entertainment. “It not only fuels [all the content] sent to
the scoreboard, but we use it to produce TV shows, our live streaming
Webcasts” and other content, including radio and TV commercials.

The new HD control room has enabled the team to supply more content
to the main scoreboard during games and to expand its production
for promos, Websites and TV. The production
unit has produced 10 episodes of its
Inside the Clubhouse series for the Comcast
SportsNet Bay Area regional sports channel.
Over the last three years, those efforts have
earned the Giants 10 Emmy nominations
and a 2011 Northern California area Emmy,
for its Inside the Clubhouse: Journey program.

But as the in-house production unit
expanded, it began to face some serious
workflow issues with finding and accessing
clips. “We were logging content
with Excel, which got to be very timeconsuming,”
says Hodges. “Chris [Gargano]
would write a story, and then we would
spend a lot of time looking for a clip.”

To overcome that problem, the Giants
installed the new ISIS server and the Interplay system to tie together
their 13 Avid editing suites for an integrated workflow, a move that has
significantly sped up the process of fi nding clips for the scoreboard
during games and for their TV and Web productions.

Thanks to the new system, editors recently were able to start cutting
a new TV show about former Giants star Will Clark only a couple of
days after shooting wrapped. “With the old system, the editors might
have had to wait two weeks or more before they could start,” says Gargano.
“If we had not made the move to be as advanced technologically
as we are now, we wouldn’t be able to handle the volume we do.”

E-mail comments to
and follow him on Twitter: @GeorgeWinslow