In April of 2020, Questeño Daniel Gonzales, who currently lives in Denver, heard that a huge media project he was part of was nominated for a Sports Emmy. Because of COVID-19, nothing much was normal, so there wasn’t an in-person awards ceremony. It was finally announced in August, without much fanfare, that his team has won.
Fast forward one year, to September 2021. Daniel was decked out in his Colorado Rockies shirt and his wife, Ann, and their children (also Rockies fans), were leaving their house for a baseball game. A UPS truck rolled up and delivered a parcel. Inside was the very heavy, very unexpected Sports Emmy Award!
Daniel is employed at Levels Beyond, Inc. as the client solutions executive. He describes the company as “a market leader in media orchestration enabling content creators to dynamically fulfill their media supply chain needs—at scale and with unprecedented efficiency.” Daniel spent years with his team and other industry experts perfecting technology that led to their award. With Fox Sports, Telestream, and Aspera, they won the 2020 Sports Emmy for their coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Paris, France, in the category of Outstanding Technical Team Studio.
The technical description of their achievement is dizzying. Levels Beyond came up with Live@Home by partnering with other technologies, which enabled huge amounts of data to be transferred across the world. An event such as the Super Bowl or World Cup would require 600-700 team members at the scene to cover the event. Travelling is hard and adds millions to production costs. With Live@Home, 44 distinct camera feeds making up two petabytes (two million gigabytes) of information were transferred around the world, fully automated, requiring half the personnel.
Daniel and his team’s innovations changed the way media can be delivered to audiences. Can you imagine what life within the pandemic this past year would have been like if this technology had not been pioneered over a year earlier? These innovations enable consumers and professionals alike to do more—remotely. Daniel now works from home, the new industry standard across the globe.
Fox Sports: “In 2016… Fox Sports wanted to manage its coverage of Super Bowl LI in a new way, so they asked Daniel’s employer, ‘Why would a cloud workflow NOT work?’ Fox Sports and Levels Beyond teamed up again in 2017 for the FIFA Confederations Cup… in Russia… 5,500 miles away from the home base of Los Angeles. Then came FIFA Men’s World Cup 2018,” and working with Aspera to move video files to the cloud. Levels Beyond and Fox Sports spent eight months preparing for the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Moscow, setting a new standard for live sporting events.
By the time of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Paris the team and the technology were both ready, with systems perfected, and they began gaining attention from around the world—not just from sports fans, but anyone in broadcasting that knows what a miracle it is to produce such an event.
Daniel’s Facebook post about the award:
Thank you everyone for the kind words. We pulled off one of the most complicated challenges ever attempted in the media world. Industry colleagues can attest moving full quality 4K video from place to place is no easy lift, we just complicated it by doing it in real time for live games being played over 5,000 miles away. While we started out small with the World Series and Super Bowl, we blew this up for World Cup 2018 and put a bow on it in 2019. The award was certainly a surprise, and I am humbled and honored to have been nominated, let alone win the thing. This is not a solo award though, this one is shared and was only made possible with the unwavering support and encouragement of my wife Ann and the kids and tireless contributions of quite possibly the best team of colleagues, turned family. Thanks for sharing in the many 3 am calls, uprooting life for weeks to nap in an Airbnb, live at a foreign conference center turned broadcast facility, and pushing through the jet lag. Thank you to JR Carr, Taylor Medlin, Marshall Bauernfeind, Matthew Lane, Jason Dvorkin and Art Raymond.
How did Daniel get to where he is? He is the son of Charlie and Lucille A. Gonzales of Questa and graduated from Questa High School in 2003. He then attended the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix. His goal was to be a sound engineer in the music industry. When he moved to Denver to complete his audio internship, he was hired by the studio as an audio engineer. Most of the work he did was for commercials and movies, including feature films like The Hunger Games series and Disney’s Race To Witch Mountain.
In the changing media market, an innovative start-up, Levels Beyond, began to explore the question, “How can we automate the process, make it faster, more economical, without adding staff?” and recruited Daniel to change careers and become a member of the team.
And that is what launched the innovations that have changed the field of broadcasting forever. Charlie Gonzales, Daniel’s father, calls this “another Questa High School success story.” Congratulations to Daniel and your team: you have made Questa proud!