EVS: a route out of the suite?
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EVS: a route out of the suite?

EVS, the Belgian manufacturer of a range of video servers and recording products, now boasts over 8,000 operators of its equipment globally.

Its product portfolio includes video servers, slow motion and highlights controllers, live graphics tools and media management systems and is used across a wide variety of entertainment productions as well as sports, for which its use is probably best known.

Indeed, EVS’s ability to quickly repeat and slow down sport’s finest and most contentious moments has made the manufacturer’s name in the broadcast technology market a respected and familiar one.

Prep work for a live show may also see the equipment used to remove pre-edited packages, ingest them and then play them out (ie as a tapeless source).

EVS also develops software, such as Multicam (LSM), which is used with a remote device to control the XT3 video server to produce live editing capabilities such as instant replays and slow-motion:

“The multicam LSM features include instant replay, slow-motion, high-motion, super motion, rough cut, editing, video playlist and content management. Combined with the remote controller, it allows operators to instantly make clips of ingested media, review multiple camera angles and replay them at any speed between -400 and + 400% at a very high quality (HD or SD).”

EVS products are so robust, reactive and flexible that they’ve now become standard technologies at major sporting events such as the football World Cup, MotoGP and Olympic Games.

Life as an EVS operator

“Life as an EVS can be very busy, stressful, unsociable hours but most of all fun and exciting,” says EVS op Richie Scotney, who works for various high profile broadcasters on behalf of his company, Before&Beyond Limited.

“Working in a live environment can be highly pressured,” he adds. “You have to be switched on, adaptable and spontaneous. You will learn pretty quickly to not take anything personal! You could spend hours making a closer for a show that you are very happy with, but in a moment’s notice it may get dropped from the show!”

How can you, as a VT op or editor, make the most of the EVS revolution?

So how can you, as a freelance or permanent VT op or editor, make the most of this technology and add it to the list of branded applications that you’re able to operate?

Since EVS kit is often used on outside broadcast trucks (OBs), being able to rig and de-rig an EVS is an obvious bonus. Possessing this additional skill – including how to set it up on a network with other equipment – will set you apart from most operators.

We at Frame 25 Broadcast Recruitment get lots of questions about this technology so we thought it’s time to collate some answers:

“How do I get to experience and work as an EVS operator?”

Says Richie Scotney (RS): “If you are looking to get work as an EVS op, the experience is key. How do you get experience? If you have none then it would be a good idea to ask a prospective client if you can shadow for free a studio or an OB. Obviously you can’t work for free all the time so one or two should be enough to know the format! Flexibility is key also as an EVS op will mostly in my experience, work unsociable hours. I started to work with EVS through the evolution of technology 10 years ago. I was working for a horse racing channel and my skills and experience developed from there, working for various broadcasters.

“What’s the ideal job to have before getting into EVS operation?”

RS: “The ideal job for anyone wanting to get into EVS would normally be in VT, it’s important to know how a show works and also to gain experience. Directors and Producers are happiest to work with you if they know they can trust you and have worked with you before. You may have to shadow a more experienced operator to prove you can do the job!”

“Where can I get training courses?”

RS: “Larger companies would provide in-house training for their staff.”

“Are most EVS ops freelancers or is it an even split between permanent and freelance?”

RS: “Depends where you work. TV stations will be an even split. Outside broadcasts are mainly staffed by freelancers.”

In summary…

Effective EVS operation involves more than simply pressing buttons to rewind a live feed and play it back slowly for a replay.

To work on live broadcast requires a quick-thinking, trouble-shooting competence and an unflappable nature. If you’re working on a high profile event and you suddenly see footage go out that’s technically wrong (for example, it’s showing a field dominance error), you need to be on the ball to fix it (or at least take it off the air so that it can be fixed ‘offline’).

As with the equipment and software you currently work with, to get the most out of it and to perform at your best you need to know it inside out.

A good EVS operator, therefore, will know how it works in all scenarios – on air, off-air, problem-solving, and so on. Got a question or something to say on the subject? Get in touch here