A typical working day for the NDR* outside broadcasting unit - non linear recording and editing

A report from Kristina Kirk

Kristina Kirk is first technician for the NDR in the domain outside broadcasting for television. Apart from her activities as video operator and editor she is responsible for the non linear workflow during outside broadcasts. That includes planning and implementation of the hard disk recording workflow as well as planning, setting up and operating the AVID editing vehicles.

The NDR outside broadcast unit comprises of several small and 3 large outside broadcast vehicles in which miscellaneous live shows and also productions are first recorded but then edited and finally cut for broadcasting at the NDR in Hamburg- Lokstedt.

At these so called multi-camera productions the master output from the vision mixer as well as the signal from several cameras are recorded.

The problem that occured with the introduction of non linear editing was that recordings made by the outside broadcast vehicles were always on tape. Popular formats like DigiBeta or IMX have to be copied 1:1 into AVID or FinalCutPro.

To avoid this expensive and time consuming data transfer the NDR now records via Proavio RS8FS file based RAID systems.

Proavio RS8FS in the NDR OB vehicle, Photo: B. König

Absatz b

12. April 2010 – Heiligengeistfeld Hamburg

After a nightshift the tent „Fliegenden Bauten “** at  Heiligengeistfeld in Hamburg has been turned into a suitable television production location by the colleagues from lighting and stage. At 13:00h Ü3 (OB vehicle No. 3) from the NDR rolls into its position.

In the evening several artists under the banner „Hamburg Sounds“ will perform in front of an audience. The production that has already been running for a longer period of time once a month for the Hamburg radio station NDR 90.3 has also been broadcast in NDR television a few times. Artist such as Stefan Gwildis, Orange Blue, Mary Roos, Roger Cicero, Hugo-Egon Balder und Max Mutzke have performed in front of an audience in the „Fliegenden Bauten“.

For the upcoming television production a second crew has laid the camera, audio and video cable on Friday in the „Fliegenden Bauten“ ready for the upcoming weekend event, so the only thing left to do is to connect the short cable ends with the OB vehicle.
After the setup of cameras, microphones and monitors the rehearsal is able to begin at 16:00h on stage.

Each of the six camera operators get their instructions and positions for the forthcoming recording so as to ensure good coverage of the coming event.
At approx. 18:30h the rehearsal for camera and sound as also the soundcheck for the artists is complete. Then follows a short blocking rehearsal for the presenters of the show who will accompany the audience throughout the evening. At 19:00h a short break for all - while in the meantime the doors are open for admission.

At 19:45h the last minute preparations are in full swing in the OB vehicle.

At exactly 20:00h the recording of the master output as well as the individual camera signals onto the RAID system starts in the video vehicle.

At approx. 22:30h: the end of a successful shoot. The audience after a well perceived performance go home contented.

Now it´s time for the crew of the NDR to dismantle and pack the cameras,
microphones, lights, stage equipment, monitors and cables into vehicles.

The recordings are taken to the interim archive of the NDR at Lokstedt.
The case with the hard disks waits here for an appointment to get the final cut.

On the 27th of April the editing of „Hamburg Sounds“ can begin. From the two and a half hour recording from the „Fliegenden Bauten“ a 60 minute television version will be fashioned at NDR in Lokstedt. To this all the recorded camera signals are viewed parallel in FinalCutPro in multiclip mode and several scenes receive a completely new mix.

The final program version will be shown on NDR television on Friday, 13th of August 2010.

On completion the hard disks will be released and then await their next recording assignment for the NDR OB vehicle.

15.04.2010 Kristina Kirk
Copyright 2010 NDR



*Northern Germanys Public Broadcaster
** transl: "Flying Buildings"

The advantages of using this system for the NDR are:
• higher data transfer rate from 4 Gig/sec
• higher data storage by using SATA hard disks with e.g. 8x1TB
• Dual Port allows connection to 2 PCs
• OS-independent connection to PC and MAC
• easy installation
• easy integration into established networks
• easy configuration via web-interface
• easy swap of hard disks
• safe guard through miscellaneous RAID-levels (at NDR RAID 5 )
• 2 separate redundant power supply units

An Atto Celerity 42ES is used as Dual Fiber Channel card in the recording PCs.

OB vehicle No.3 at the "Fliegenden Bauten", Photo: K. Kirk

Soundcheck Stefan Gwildis and band, Photo: K. Kirk

Control Room NDR Ü3, Photo: K. Kirk

VTR Vehicle NDR Ü3, Photo: K. Kirk

Editing Suite at NDR, Photo: B. Pogarell