Italy’s NVP chooses Grass Valley’s AMPP platform for Lega Pro’s live football match productions

NVP’s Innovation Hub employs Grass Valley® AMPP® and traditional broadcast systems to concurrently manage the diverse production requirements of multiple Italian football league matches and championships.

When NVP designed its new IP-based facility, The Innovation Hub in Milan, Italy, the objective was to create a live video production environment with the agility and flexibility to cater to the unique demands of any live event.

With high-profile clients such as Sky Italia, RAI TV, Mediaset, OBS, and EBU, NVP required equipment that would ensure their facility could cost-effectively match the right live production approach to the needs of any mission-critical project.

 

According to Grass Valley, this recent project’s key updates are:

  • Lega Pro Challenge: NVP faced a monumental challenge when approached by Lega Pro, the Serie C Italian national football league, for live production. With a tight schedule, high volume, and diverse production needs, NVP turned to GV AMPP for a scalable and agile solution.
  • AMPP’s Crucial Role: GV AMPP proved very useful, enabling NVP to swiftly implement cloud-based facilities to handle Lega Pro’s high-volume live matches.
  • Diverse Production Strategies: NVP employed different production strategies for various leagues, with GV AMPP’s cloud-based approach proving cost-effective for Lega Pro’s live remote production.
  • Cost Efficiency: GV AMPP’s pay-as-you-go SaaS model ensures cost efficiency.
  • Future Expansion: NVP plans to replicate the Innovation Hub in additional locations and expand the Milan facility with new broadcast studios, with GV AMPP remaining a core technology.

 

Redefining the State-of-the-Art

The Innovation Hub consists of traditional UHD/4K live video production galleries primarily equipped with dedicated Grass Valley broadcast systems. The facility’s underlying infrastructure is based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard, which is gaining popularity for offering the broadcast industry greater flexibility and efficiency following the transition from traditional SDI to IP-based video signal transmission.

Recently, NVP added cloud-based galleries using Grass Valley’s scalable Agile Media Processing Platform (GV AMPP). As a cloud-native Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), GV AMPP seamlessly integrates all the end-to-end capabilities necessary to produce and distribute live video productions on a single platform. This cloud environment simplifies live remote production and makes it more cost-effective.

Capitalizing on new opportunities

NVP also sought efficiency and bandwidth to capitalize on any new live production opportunities that might arise. This was the case with Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico, the Serie C (tier three) Italian national football league, better known as Lega Pro.

When Lega Pro first approached NVP for live production of its matches, The Innovation Hub’s dedicated production control galleries were already busy producing live matches for Italy’s top two tiers of professional football, the Serie A and Serie B leagues.

NVP found the question of whether to take on tier three Lega Pro events challenging for several reasons. First, the league’s schedule called for 1,100 matches over a 10-month period, often with 30 matches over a single weekend. Secondly, additional production capabilities would be urgently needed to accommodate this work in time. And, finally, NVP needed to handle the diverse production and distribution needs of all three leagues simultaneously.

Without GV AMPP, NVP would not have been able to take on the Lega Pro workload.

GV AMPP to the Rescue

“When the Lega Pro opportunity first presented itself, NVP only had two to three weeks to ramp up production capabilities before the first match. Since its high-end galleries were dedicated to the top-tier football leagues and other ongoing business, NVP needed to quickly implement all the necessary facilities from scratch to handle Lega Pro’s high volume of live matches,” said Frank Kerrin, Director of Technology for Video Progetti, Srl.

Video Progetti, Srl handled the design, installation, and systems integration for The Innovation Hub, including the live production galleries, the OB trucks, and the entire GV AMPP ecosystem. Kerrin added, “NVP determined that to meet the tight schedule and high volume of live matches, Lega Pro production and distribution would need to be handled entirely in the cloud. Grass Valley AMPP is the only live production solution on the market with the agility to handle high-caliber live broadcast quality video productions entirely in the cloud. More importantly, GV AMPP could be deployed and scaled very quickly, and with a minimal learning curve.”

Different Approaches for Different Leagues

The different production requirements and budgets for the three leagues call for completely different production strategies. Serie A and Serie B football action is typically covered by multiple cameras, sometimes up to 30 depending upon the prestige of the event. These higher-tier events are handled with a 4K HDR OB van or, for Serie B, in the Innovation Hub’s high-end production galleries with remote production.

In contrast, Lega Pro matches are typically only covered by two cameras and have relatively lower budgets than Serie A and B. GV AMPP is ideal for enabling this live remote production cost-effectively without sacrificing broadcast quality.

The 1-2-3’s of Italian Football

NVP has been producing live Serie A and UEFA events for Mediaset and Sky Italia for many years, including the first Championship match produced entirely in native 4K HDR HLG quality. To handle this demanding account, NVP utilizes high-end OB vans equipped primarily with Grass Valley systems. These include Grass Valley LDX 86 4K-capable broadcast camera systems, GV Kahuna® FormatFusion4 video mixers, and GV Sirius 850 routers.

GV AMPP Complements Broadcast Hardware

Serie A and Serie B matches also greatly benefit from the firepower of the facility’s larger UHD/4K production galleries. These are equipped with Grass Valley Kahuna 9600 production switchers with 3 M/E Maverik control panels, as well as GV Kaleido™ multiviewers, and manned by a crew of three or four operators.

However, it’s also possible for Serie B matches to be produced using a hybrid approach. This combines the use of dedicated production hardware, including on-premises servers and switchers, with AMPP’s cloud-native video processing ecosystem.

Considering the high volume and lower budgets of tier three Lega Pro events, these simpler matches are well-served by GV AMPP’s fully remote, cloud-based production configuration. The cloud makes it easy to scale Lega Pro production up or down.

At NVP, 12 smaller Lega Pro galleries have been set up as client workstations that can directly access GV AMPP. Up to eight of these galleries can produce simultaneous games, while the remaining four are set up for the next events.

Camera signals flow into GV AMPP servers (on the AWS cloud) as SRT signals via HAIVISION from various remote stadiums. They flow within the facility over relatively lower-cost NDI networks. Then the live output is streamed to a global audience by Sky Italia and available as video on demand.

GV AMPP’s Cost Efficiency at Play

These GV AMPP Lega Pro galleries are configured to allow a single operator to handle all production tasks, including the video and audio mixing, slomo, and live graphics. The operators use GV Live Producer Pro software with a Streamdeck hot-keys panel for switching the incoming SRT feeds. They also have a 16-input audio mixer panel, multiviewer, the Singular platform for HTML5 live graphics, and GV LiveTouch X (4 input/1 output) for replays.

GV AMPP customers only incur cloud costs while actively using cloud compute resources. When no events are taking place and the galleries sit idle, these cloud service costs are suspended. This pay-as-you-go SaaS arrangement makes GV AMPP an extremely cost-effective approach for Lega Pro.

Controlling costs is vital to making the Lega Pro work worthwhile.

Committing to GV AMPP’s Unique Platform

“GV AMPP was able to provide all the elements needed for Lega Pro on the same platform. It also made it possible to meet the customer’s tight deadlines,” Kerrin said. “Other competing solutions on the market did not have all the required building blocks. The fact that GV AMPP has all the applications needed for reliable live production, while being fast and easy to deploy, makes it pretty unique on the market.”

The Innovation Hub, located in Milan’s Cologno Monzese district, is also home to NVP sister company HyWay Media. This innovative startup helps content owners build memorable experiences and unlock the power of streaming. Hyway Media also simplifies the video lifecycle from production through video transcoding, as well as digital asset management, distribution, and OTT development.

HyWay Media supports sister company NVP’s work on the Italian pro soccer accounts by using GV AMPP to playout multiple channels of their programming. They also manage the OTT platform distribution. HyWay Media is an asset to media and entertainment companies, particularly sports content producers, as they’ve developed new tools that give users a technological advantage in OTT streaming.

NVP plans to replicate The Innovation Hub in additional locations, including Rome, Naples, and Messina. They also plan to further expand the Milan facility with the addition of new broadcast studios. GV AMPP will continue to be a core technology within each facility.

According to Ivan Pintabona, CTO of NVP, “Our Innovation Hub was designed to scale up to meet the most demanding production requirements, as well as allow for the most appropriate approach for every production level. This design is what enables us to handle challenges like the diverse live production requirements for multiple Italian national football league matches simultaneously.”

Grass Valley AMPP is the only live production solution on the market with the agility to handle high-caliber live broadcast quality video productions entirely in the cloud.

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