The Collectv has announced its involvement in the production process of Netflix’s fly-on-the-pitwall F1 documentary series, Formula One: Drive to Survive.
The third season of the Box to Box Films production, covering the dramatic events of the 2020 Grand Prix calendar, will air on Netflix from March 19, a week before the 2021 F1 season commences at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain.
The Collectv has been involved with Formula One since 2012, providing services to both Sky Sports and Whisper for Channel 4.
It has been involved with Formula One: Drive to Survive from the first season and plays a vital role in ensuring all data from Box to Box’s UHD camera crews is safely and securely ingested, backed up, transcoded, and sent on to post production.
Box to Box deploys anywhere between six to nine 4K camera crews at each race, which can generate anywhere between 7TB to 12TB of data between them over the course of the race weekend.
The F1 Broadcast Compound shuts down rapidly after the main race has concluded and gets packed away to move onto the next race in a demanding schedule, so The Collectv has built special systems to handle the throughput in the timeframe required and that adhere strictly to Netflix’s backup criteria.
LTO and near-line storage is used on-site, and one or two types of transport drive, typically G-Technology or Lacie are maintained. Material is transcoded into DNxHD 36 before being sent on drives to The Farm in London for post production (though as the production schedule ramped up towards the end of the 2020 season this was switched to a direct 10GbE connection).
Taking up two racks in Box to Box’s production area, The Collectv’s system was initially based on rack-mounted Dell 7920 workstations, but has recently been re-engineered around HP Z2s to take advantage of their smaller form factor.
“The Z2s give us the power we need for transcoding the material before the compound is shut down and packed up for the next race,” explained Chris Sarson, MD and co-owner at The Collectv.
“They also allow us to transport the equipment in the hold in three large Peli cases rather than having to go cargo all the time, which gives us that much more flexibility when it comes to following the races around the world.”