Poker Central Stays Ahead of the Game at the World Series of Poker
With expertise in the production of live events, Poker Central productions captures some of the most exciting moments across the globe, including elite high stakes poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Poker Central delivers poker’s most premier live events around the world via PokerGO, its direct-to-consumer OTT subscription service, as well as through network television distribution. The WSOP is the longest-running, richest and most prestigious poker tournament series which takes place at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas. This year’s event kicked off in May and finished on July 16 and included a number of special events and surprises to celebrate its 50th edition.
We spoke with Shawn Hendrix, Head of Technical Operations at Poker Central about his experience of using Haivision’s video solutions during this year’s event and the impact that this technology has had on the company’s production workflows.
Haivision: What was the primary driver that led you to look for a video solution?
Shawn: Initially Poker Central had planned to cover the WSOP event using a remote production approach. Traditionally, we have brought full production teams into the field to produce poker events which involves hauling and setting up a flypack on site, but we wanted to be able to reduce our field footprint using a remote production model. We worked with Haivision to put together a solution that would do this. However as the scope of the event changed, we had to put these plans on hold, but still wanted to leverage the video solution to speed up our production process. Within our new cutting edge fiber-connected editing suite at the Aria in Las Vegas, we are using Makito video encoders to synchronously backhaul feeds from the WSOP at the Rio so that our team of editors can do near-live editing of the footage for a quick turn-around of deliverables. Previously, this process had been significantly slower as it involved delivering the recording from the field back to the studio and then ingest into our Media Asset Management system.
Haivision: How have Haivision encoding and decoding solutions benefited your production workflows?
Shawn: Well first of all our experience of using the products has been flawless, they are extremely easy to use and very configurable depending on our needs. Aside from that, this workflow is delivering several other significant benefits, the main one being efficiency. Previously, our production process had been significantly slower and long-winded as it involved driving the recording assets from the field back to the studio and then ingesting into our Media Asset Management system before editing could begin. With the Makito video encoders in place, the footage is delivered in real-time, streamlining the production process and allowing our editors to start editing in almost real-time. Cumulatively, the time savings add up to as much as 36 hours which means we can deliver content for distribution faster. Other benefits include low latency for remote production as well as the compact form factor which was important to us as machine room space at our facilities is at a premium. Considering its prime location at the Aria, on the strip in Las Vegas, maximizing every square foot of our production studio is critical and the high-density chassis allows for a very flexible and scalable solution.
Haivision: What has been your experience been like working with Haivision?
Shawn: We knew that Haivision solutions were best in class in terms of performance, low latency and reliability and having built, managed and worked in studios for many years I’ve worked with lots of vendors, so I was pleasantly surprised with how great the support has been from the Haivision team. They have been so easy to work with, very knowledgeable and have bent over backward to help get us up and running quickly. That’s the kind of confidence I need in a company. The equipment has to be good, but the support has to match or be even better and they really understand the critical nature of my business.
Haivision: What does the future look like for Poker Central?
Shawn: We fully intend to leverage this solution for remote production. Poker Central produces several global poker events from London to the Bahamas which are perfect opportunities for us to deploy remote production and streamline our workflows to create even greater efficiencies.
To read more details about how Poker Central leveraged Haivision video solutions to accelerate its production process, you can read the full customer success story here.