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US Sports Broadcasters WWE® and MLB Switch To Fairlight CC-1

Fairlight’s Crystal Core technology has received a massive endorsement from two US sports broadcasters, both of whom have moved over to the new CC-1 platform to improve their speed of workflow and networking capabilities.

Major League Baseball Productions are installing two CC-1 powered Fairlight Constellation large-format mixing consoles, both with the new Xynergi Centre Section (XCS) and PyxisTrack HD video. The production company has also invested in a Pyxis HD server to network video to the two consoles.

The second sale, to World Wrestling EntertainmentA®, involves five Fairlight Xynergi Media Production Systems, all with PyxisTrack HD video. A Fairlight user since 1997, WWE TV made the transition from the QDC platform to CC-1 as part of a general overhaul inspired by its switch to High Definition.

Chris Argento, VP of Post Production at WWE TV in Stamford, CT, says: “In January 2008 we moved to HD and that fuelled our decision to invest in Xynergi and the CC-1 engine. Previously, we had four Fairlight systems, all with QDC engines, as well as Pyxis in each of our mix rooms and a Medialink server to tie them all together. Fairlight’s reliability and speed have been the biggest factors in staying with the company for our post needs. These attributes, coupled with the onboard HD video track on the CC-1, made the transition a no brainer. We are now able to drag and drop MXF wrapped files from our Grass Valley K-2 server right to the timeline with full HD video and audio.”?

WWE TV produces six hours of domestic broadcast programming every week, which is customized and voiced in foreign languages for over 130 countries worldwide. It also produces 14 live pay per view events each year and releases up to three DVD titles each month.

Argento adds that Fairlight’s interface has always been the driving force for him. “You simply can’t go this fast on anything else when working to picture. I have used many other systems and, quite frankly, they just can’t keep up.”?

Chuck Cavanaugh, audio post mixer at Major League Baseball Productions and another long-time Fairlight user, says speed, new features, versatility and superior sound quality were all key reasons for MLB’s decision to invest in the new Constellation XCS consoles.

“Fairlight has made great strides in advancing the state of the art in digital audio recording, editing, mixing and delivery technologies, and brought them all together in a highly refined and integrated manner,”? Cavanaugh says. “The Xynergi controller is just another tribute to Fairlight’s long-standing role as market leaders in ergonomic designs, while combining ease of use with groundbreaking interfaces. The Fairlight core values of having the fastest, most accurate and flexible editing models have taken another giant leap forward with all the new features now available from the CC-1, and new software developed for the PC host computer. Also, Fairlight always had – and still does have – the best machine control on the market at any price.”?

Based in New York, Major League Baseball Productions is the TV/DVD and home video production facility of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. The company produces long and short form content for the main US networks and for many cable broadcasters. It also produces a wealth of commercials, corporate video, and consumer point of sale packages, as well as various highlight packages shown on MLB stadium Jumbotrons.

In January 2009, MLB will launch its own HD/5.1 cable network, which will reach over 50 million homes and is being billed as the biggest cable TV launch in US history. This, along with its existing network commitments, will make MLB Productions even busier. The company will also soon be moving to the all new facility shared by the MLB Network.

“Our new Constellations with Xynergi are the ideal tools to cope with this increase in workload,”? Cavanaugh says. “The CC-1 engine provides world-class automation and also gives me the ability to deliver simultaneous 5.1 and stereo mixes (thanks to well designed buss and down-mix software), and I’ll be able to monitor it all from mono to 5.1 throughout the process (again, thanks to a robust internal monitoring structure). With these new tools we have increased the speed at which we can move projects through the pipeline, and thanks to Fairlight’s support of multiple A/V file formats, we can now import, export and convert files in a fraction of real time. This is a huge benefit that helps us meet the needs of the facility today and into the future.”?

Fairlight’s CC-1 card is undoubtedly a major improvement on its previous QDC platform, particularly in terms of its green credentials. Physically it has been reduced from the size of a dishwasher to a module that fits in your pocket, while in terms of energy it offers a 98% reduction in overall heat generated and a power reduction from 600 watts to just 12. By supporting a seamless interplay of both HD video and audio and a wide range of file exchange capabilities, Fairlight technology delivers real convergence within one integrated production environment and enhances the workflow in a wide variety of broadcast and post applications.


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