Tag Archives: WWE

WWE adds iPads, iPhones to production workflow

By Nick Mattingly

Creating TV style productions is a big operation. Lots of equipment, lots of people and lots of time. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is an entertainment company and the largest professional wrestling organization in the world. Since its inception, it has amassed a global audience of over 36 million.

Each year, WWE televises over 100 events via its SmackDown, WWE Raw and Pay-Per-View events. That doesn’t include the hundreds of arena shows that the organization books in venues around the world.

“Putting this show on in one day is no small feat. Our shows begins to load-in typically around 4:00am and everything must be up and ready for production by 2:00pm,” explained Nick Smith, WWE’s director of remote IT and broadcast engineering. “We travel everything from the lighting, PA, screens, backstage sets, television production facilities, generators and satellite transmission facilities, down to catering. Everyone [on our team] knows precisely what to do and how to get it done.”

Now the WWE is experimenting with a new format for the some 300 events it hosts that are currently not captured on video. The goal? To see if using Switcher Studio with a few iPhones and iPads can achieve TV-style results. A key part of testing has been defining workflow using mobile devices while meeting WWE’s high standard of quality. One of the first requirements was moving beyond the four-camera setup. As a result, the Switcher Studio team produced a special version of Switcher that allows unlimited sources. The only limitation is network bandwidth.

Adding more cameras was an untested challenge. To help prevent bottlenecks over the local network, we lowered the resolution and bitrate on preview video feeds. We also hardwired the primary iPad used for switching using Apple dongles. Using the “Director Mode” function in Switcher Studio. WWE then triggered a recording on all devices.

For the first test using Switcher Studio, the WWE had a director and operator at the main iPad. The video from the iPad was output to an external TV monitor using Apple’s AirPlay. This workflow allowed the director to see a live video feed from all sources. They were also able to talk with the camera crew and “direct” the operator when to cut to each camera.

The WWE crew had three camera operators from their TV productions to run iPhones in and around the ring. To ensure the devices had enough power to make it through the four-hour-long event, iPhones were attached to batteries. Meanwhile, two camera operators captured wide shots of the ring. Another camera operator captured performer entrances and crowd reaction shots.

WWE setup a local WiFi network for the event to wirelessly sync cameras. The operator made edits in realtime to generate a line cut. After the event the line cut and a ISO from each angle was sent to the WWE post team in the United Kingdom.

Moving forward, we plan to make further improvements to the post workflow. This will be especially helpful for editors, using tools like Adobe Premiere or Avid Media Composer.

If future tests prove successful, WWE could use this new mobile setup to provide more content to their fans–building new revenue streams along the way.


Nick Mattingly is the CEO/co-founder of Switcher Studio. He has over 10 years of experience in video streaming, online monetization and new technologies. 

Behind the Title: Northern Lights CD/editor Pat Carpenter

NAME: Pat Carpenter

COMPANY: New York-based Northern Lights.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE NORTHERN LIGHTS?
We are a creative agency that handles all aspects of content creation from ideation through completion, and everything in between.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Creative Director/Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
The majority of my career has been editorial for commercials, networks and digital content in both long and short form. I have been extremely fortunate to have a diverse background. In the past couple of years the post industry has gone through a bit of a change, which affects how I work with my clients.

I’m often asked to creatively oversee entire projects from start to finish, which might require concepting, writing, producing, supervising several editors, overseeing music composition or designing a graphic approach to a campaign or spot. All of this is, in addition to my traditional editing responsibilities, is where the title of creative director comes in. It’s a continuation of the editorial process on projects where clients are looking for creative solutions beyond strictly editorial.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
How involved I am in all aspects of a project from designing the overall look and feel of a spot to tweaking copy, auditioning VO talent and suggesting music tracks.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Making something that elicits some sort of emotion from the viewer. In the world of mass consumption and disposable media, where people are inundated with content, if at the end of the day somebody watches something that I had a part in making them feel something that was intended, that’s still the biggest thrill.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Accelerated deadlines. You want to give it your all, and that becomes difficult when it’s due yesterday.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Morning… there’s still hope in the morning!!!

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Playing drums.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
After college I knew liked both production and post, and then it all clicked while playing in bands on NYC’s Lower East Side. Editing always came easiest for me, and I was fortunate enough to have some incredible mentors, so the progression from assistant to editor was natural. If you asked 20-year-old Pat, he’d say I’d be playing drums professionally for a career. The Pat of today is pretty happy to be an editor.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
A WWE campaign called For the Hero in All of Us, which aired on NBC’s two broadcast networks, 17 cable channels and more than 50 digital properties; ID designs for Nickelodeon; and NCAA Confidential, a 60-minute show for CBS Sports that aired before the NCAA Basketball championship.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Most recently, Adult Rappers. It’s an independent documentary that pulls back the curtain on the world of “working class” rappers. The film spotlights independent artists struggling to find a balance between making a living and pursuing their art alongside the never-ending saga of age and relevance. It was a total passion project that seemed to strike a chord with a lot of folks. I’m proud to have edited it.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Phone. PowerBook. Drumsticks.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Twitter and Instagram

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
I really try to bounce around as much as possible. As for artists, I’ve been listening to Todd Snider as of late, but I still find myself hitting sites: http://www.syffal.com, http://www.birp.fm or http://www.musictrajectory.com to see what they have going on.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Play drums and Crossfit for sure, but mostly a little time with my two girls will put it all back in perspective.