Broadcast Pix User Reports
Tampa Bay Rowdies Solidify Home Broadcasts with Broadcast Pix Granite
The Tampa Bay Rowdies has taken broadcasts of its home soccer matches into its own hands for all 13 of its Saturday night home games this season. As a result, it was time for the team to upgrade its SD production facilities at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL and a new HD production facility now includes a four-camera setup, custom animated graphics and a Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 integrated production switcher.
Hi-Tech Enterprises in Clearwater, FL., was the integrator for the project. According to Ed Griswold, Hi-Tech engineer, the new control room was built in about three weeks, and the system was operational in time for the first Rowdies home game on April 12.
Since the Rowdies began calling Al Lang Stadium home in 2010, VideoArt Productions of Palm Harbor, FL, has been providing live coverage of their matches. Established in 1982, VideoArt has produced thousands of hours of live programming, and worked with a number of Florida-based professional sports teams and content providers.
The first three seasons were produced exclusively for a Web audience, but this season’s Rowdies contests are also broadcast on WTTA Tampa Bay. All matches are also streamed to the North American Soccer League’s live streaming site, NASLlive.com, and some are streamed to ESPN3’s Web site.
Art Dryce, president of VideoArt, handled directing, technical directing, graphics, and commercial and replay roll-ins for the first three seasons. With the move to HD production and the added complexities for broadcast television, however, he did not want the new setup to be another one-man control room. Instead, he wanted a system that could support separate positions for a technical director and graphics operator.
The upgraded control room is located in a dedicated area of the stadium’s press box. The typical Rowdies production features two high midfield cameras – one is the main game camera and the second handles tight action follow shots – as well as a sideline camera and end zone camera. The cameras are connected via fiber, which allows for an extremely high quality video signal to the Broadcast Pix system, Dryce said. Productions also include animated graphics, which are stored in the Granite’s built-in clip server, and instant replay. Video Art provides all crew members during production.
The new Granite system replaced a Stream Breeze Pro, which is now tasked with encoding the broadcast (and changing some ad content) for the Web. Griswold says the Broadcast Pix created a “more traditional workflow” for the on-air broadcasts.
Dryce still produces and directs, but Tom Sipos, vice president of VideoArt, handles TD duties for Rowdies broadcasts. A graphics operator shares the system with Sipos, but each work station has its own monitor, populated by Granite’s built-in Fluent-View customizable multi-view. Griswold is also on site to monitor the broadcast signal and provide engineering support.
The graphics operator uses Fluent Rapid CG is used to update the on-screen clock and scoreboard during matches. Ideal for sports coverage, the Fluent Rapid CG option for Broadcast Pix systems streamlines the creation of data-intensive CG graphics. By automatically integrating databases, RSS feeds, cloud-based content and custom actions like scorekeeping into templates, Fluent Rapid CG produces customized graphics with significantly less manual effort.
“The system was easy to learn to use, and is easy to operate during our show,” Dryce says. “It has met the expectations we had for our production flow, capability and quality, and with every game we continue to learn new things. It is a powerful production tool. We’re very impressed.”
Portland Thorns FC Stream Championship Season with Broadcast Pix
Fans of Portland Thorns FC, a professional women’s soccer team and part of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), were able to watch home games during the team’s 2013 championship season live on the Web via HD streaming video. The coverage was produced through a unique sharing of stadium resources anchored by a Broadcast Pix™ Granite™ 1000 integrated production system.
Both Thorns FC and the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer (MLS) team, owned by Peregrine Sports LLC, play at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore. While Thorns FC wanted an online presence for the league’s inaugural season, the club opted not to invest in an entirely new control room.
Instead, built in a space originally designated as an audio booth for the stadium’s main control room, an area was established specifically for streaming Thorns FC matches. Using video output from the existing Granite 1000 production switcher allocated for in-stadium video wall presentations, combined with audio from the radio broadcast, each Web production was managed by a single operator. Dave Spraker of spraker.tv, who served as the integrator for the project, said it was essential to “leverage the existing Broadcast Pix system to do a second show.”
The Web streaming room, built around a 27-inch iMac, receives an output from the Granite 1000 via HD-SDI cable, which is fed into a Magma ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt PCIe expansion box equipped with a Blackmagic Design DeckLink Quad HD capture card. Streaming is handled through Telestream’s Wirecast software. The room also includes dual touchscreens that serve as mirror displays of the main control room’s customized multi-view, which is part of the Granite’s built-in toolset.
In an effort to avoid the expense of an additional control panel, streaming productions are managed using iPixPanel, Broadcast Pix’s iPad-based virtual control interface. Matt Smith, director of broadcasting for the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC, said iPixPanel was a far better solution than keyboard and mouse-based control, especially when trying to TD a soccer match with shared resources. “It was a nice solution to be able to use the iPad,” he added. “That was the way to go.”
The system was installed in February, shortly before the Timbers began preseason and well in advance of Thorns FC’s first home game on April 21. Nine of 11 home games were streamed live to www.portlandthornsfc.com during the season. (The additional home games were televised by Fox Soccer.) The NWSL also partnered with YouTube to provide live and on-demand access to matches online.
Smith thought the Thorns FC streaming video game coverage was among the best in the league. He said Thorns FC had a very successful following on the Web that grew as the season progressed. “We knew there would be great interest in the team,” he recalled, “and we wanted to offer a high definition option for fans who wanted to see Thorns FC games online.”
The simultaneous productions were not entirely different, just tailored to suit the two audiences. The main production, designed for the large video wall in the south end of the stadium, included full-screen graphics, sponsorship messages, and extensive replays. The streaming presentation, however, had much fewer replays, as it was aimed at an online audience solely relying on the video stream to follow the action.
While most of the streaming coverage was simply a line cut of the in-stadium production, the Web director could take any source independently using the iPixPanel and coordinate with the stadium director on headset. For example, the streaming production could take the main game camera during replays or commercials, or switch to a stadium “beauty cam” during halftime. “It worked really well,” Smith said.
Spectrum Productions Supports NASCAR
Awards Banquet with Broadcast Pix Granite 5000
Spectrum Productions, a company which offers full AV production and rental services, used its new Granite™ 5000 2 M/E Video Control Center™ on Nov. 19 to produce the NASCAR 2012 Nationwide / Camping World Truck Series Awards Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla. The ceremony aired on SPEED in late November, and Spectrum was responsible for the the entire ballroom production including staging, scenic, video, and lighting at the venue.
Headquartered in Atlanta, with offices in Miami, Orlando, Charlotte, N.C., and Las Vegas, Nev., Spectrum has been providing AV production services for corporate meetings, conventions, and trade shows, as well as video support for concert tours, for more than 20 years. Preston MacIntyre, president, said the Granite system was purchased in October to help clients create a high-end broadcast look for their stage productions. “We were looking for a way to enhance production values for certain events, elevate their presentations from the PowerPoint look,” he explained.
Several features made Granite an ideal solution for Spectrum. “One thing that seems to be a problem in new switchers is a lot of frame delay,” MacIntyre said. “Delay is a big problem for live events. The Granite has very minimal latency, and that was a factor in selecting it.”
The Granite 5000’s optional 12 SDI outputs were another important feature. MacIntyre noted that corporate events have complex output routing needs. In fact, the number of outputs often exceeds the number of inputs during a corporate event, he said.
During the NASCAR banquet, Spectrum took full advantage of Granite’s built-in workflow tools. The Fluent™ Clip Store, for example, was used to access and playback more than 100 clips – but the production was far from simple. Throughout the show, videos were sent to various screens and combined with other sources and effects. Some cues included dozens of different commands. While the program would have been “really difficult” to execute manually, MacIntyre said Fluent Macros triggered each cue correctly and without a predetermined timeline, which can be problematic during a live show.
“Every single cue was a whole package of cues,” MacIntyre added. “Every step in our run of show was represented by a macro. We used Fluent Macros very, very extensively.”
Granite also helped make setup much easier and cleaner. Compared to setup for the same event last year, the Granite system replaced two switchers, eight computers, four HDCAM tape decks, and four additional playback systems. MacIntyre said all source content originated from the Granite, and the native HD system produced an outstanding look. The Fluent-View™ with Quad Monitor option was an asset during the NASCAR event as well, providing customized multi-view layouts for the TD and other production personnel during the event.
Moving forward, MacIntyre said Spectrum’s Granite system will be used for events where clients want to take their on-screen look to the next level, as well as events that require significant video playback or need to take advantage of the system’s built-in robotic camera control and other automation. “From the client side back through the technical ranks, everyone seems really happy with it,” he said.
Live from the Ryder Cup: PGA.com Commits to Video
By: Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director (Courtesy of SVG)
PGA.com was on hand at the Ryder Cup this week, producing its own coverage of holes 3, 7, 12 and 17 out of Turner Sport’s Crave truck, complete with telstrator, an EVS replay server, graphics playout, and a Broadcast Pix production switcher. The only thing missing? Full control over cameramen as the 30-person production team had access to NBC Sports camera feeds but not the ability to call the shots.
“We did have one of our own RF cameras with [analyst] Craig Sager on different holes but we were at the mercy of NBC’s cameras,” says Matt Mosteller, Turner Sports producer. “So we may have had a swish pan but we tried to keep those limited.”
With only four holes of coverage and no more than four matches occurring at any one time during the first two days the PGA.com production team also had to stack up highlights and recaps to fill time in case one of the groups was delayed. CNN also supplied newsbreaks three times a day that was produced in Atlanta and made available in the Crave production unit.
“We were also feeding t the Ryder Cup Live app which had our on-air feed, radio coverage, and video highlights,” adds Mosteller.
Operating out of a full production trailer and also having access to an RF camera, a first for the PGA.com team, is proof positive of the growing importance of non-traditional broadcast operations.
“We have always been limited by the availability of RF frequencies so to have an RF camera and a reporter on the course is nice and a bonus for us,” says Mosteller. “A few years ago we were operating out of a small trailer but…now we are getting bigger and people are seeing the importance of it,” says Mosteller.
The PGA.com team also was located at the Media Center where they would handle some of the social media aspects of the site (including the 13th Man, where fans could offer their thoughts) and the ability to have fans vote on questions like whether or not Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley should have played on Saturday afternoon (it was a landslide in the affirmative as of Saturday afternoon).
On the social front, Rydercup.com will offer a “Tweet Battle” between Team U.S.A. and Team Europe. A “Social Scoreboard,” online and at the course, will show which team is winning the global social conversation by counting the number of fans using the respective hashtags – #RyderCupUSA or #RyderCupEurope. Fans also can engage throughout the Ryder Cup competition across other social platforms including Facebook, GetGlue, Instagram, Viddy, Pinterest and Goggle+.
PGA.com’s Michael Breed, Billy Kratzert, and Brian Katrek hosted coverage of Ryder Cup action for fans who could not get in front of a TV.
The efforts, says Mosteller, are all designed to get the Internet video production on par with the TV side.
“We’re going to get to the place with Interactive TV offers everything in one place,” he explains. “We all should be connected and that is the future of television. And you’re slowly seeing the devices and needs allow for that [transition].”
For now the vast majority of PGA.com’s viewers tuned in on Friday afternoon.
“That’s our biggest time as the fans are in their offices at work and want to watch on the computer,” says Mosteller. “It’s definitely much greater then…and there is a direct correlation to TV viewership. The more you can get into people’s minds like a marketing promotion they will be in tune for the TV broadcasts.”
Impulse Creative Group Directs GreenWaves III
Multimedia Concert with Broadcast Pix Granite 5000
Impulsive Creative Group, a systems integrator based in North Hollywood, Calif., used a Granite™
5000 Video Control Center ™ for GreenWaves III, a multimedia concert event, on April 11 at UCF Arena in Orlando, Fla. Presented by the University of Central Florida’s Campus Activities Board, GreenWaves is an annual event that promotes “green” sustainability awareness and initiatives.
Impulsive Creative Group Greenwaves Granite 5000
Impulse Creative Group handles production design and show management for live events, as well as system design and installation for commercial and residential environments. While the company has installed a number of Broadcast Pix Video Control Centers in schools, GreenWaves III was the first time the company used a Granite 5000 for a live show. The system was rented from Complete Production Resources in Orlando.
Nate Selvidio, co-owner of Impulse Creative Group, said Granite 5000 was the ideal production system for the concert, which featured a 40-foot, triangle-shaped projection screen on stage. “All the video projection was controlled and masked from the Broadcast Pix, and the side screens were controlled from it, too,”
he explained. “We used DVE effects to position robotic cameras to be in different areas of the on-stage video wall.”
There were 12 sources in use during the show, including robotic and handheld cameras, computer-based graphics, and a Grass Valley iDDR digital playout center. Fluent™ Macros were used for camera recalls and simultaneous playback of multiple sources. “The show was very content heavy, a lot of HD video playback,”
Selvidio said. “Everything was in sync, everything could be controlled through one unit, and video quality was awesome.”
Impulsive Creative Group also handled production for comedian Aziz Ansari, who had his opening U.S. tour date at UCF Arena the night before GreenWaves III. “The show was the same day as load in, so having everything in one box definitely saved a lot of time,”
added Selvidio, who directed both shows. “Setup was fast and easy, everything worked great, and it was awesome having such a reliable and versatile switching system for these two shows.”
New Zealand’s Westpac Stadium Upgrades Control Room
with Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 Video Production System
With the world moving toward widescreen presentations and digital production workflows, officials at Westpac Stadium, a 34,500-seat multi-purpose facility in Wellington, New Zealand, decided to upgrade its video production capabilities with a complete retrofit of its control room. At the heart of the overhaul is a Broadcast Pix™ Granite™
5000 video production system, which feeds video and graphics to two large replay screens installed at the north and south ends of the stadium.
"From day one, we have had a production room with capabilities in excess of what any other ground in New Zealand had. We are just ensuring that we keep up with technology changes and features available for our various clients. We are really happy with our new system, and Broadcast Pix has been absolutely fantastic with support.”
- Craig J. Bain
Westpac maintains a busy schedule of concerts and sporting events, and will host at least seven matches during the Rugby World Cup 2011 later this year. Before the upgrade, the 4:3 video production was stretched to fit the 16:9 replay screens. Through the Granite 5000, productions are produced in HD, then downconverted to widescreen SD for stadium replay (due to a fiber infrastructure that can only support SD). The 2 M/E capability of the Granite 5000 also allows Westpac to display a different presentation on each screen.
Gencom Technology, a global media technology solution provider and systems integrator with two offices in New Zealand, installed the Broadcast Pix system in December. Bernie Huynen of Gencom Technology said the company was tasked with a finding a solution that “could be operated by one operator for small events and up to three or four operators on larger events.”
An on-site demo convinced the Westpac Stadium Trust that the Granite 5000 could handle the operational demands and again exceed the expectations of the clients, hirers, and patrons.
The Granite 5000 replaced an aging 16-input Ross analog switcher, Inscriber CG, and clip server. Using the system’s built-in Fluent ™ Multi-View, Westpac was able to reduce a large bank of CRT monitors to four dedicated 21-inch LCDs for the technical director. One of the monitors, showing all the sources is split to the CCU position, is used for camera shading. For visitors and other personnel, the control room also has three 42-inch LEDs on the wall, which are fed by a separate Harris multi-viewer. In addition, Gencom installed a separate Harris router for additional system redundancy.
Bain is particularly pleased with Fluent Watch-Folders, Granite’s built-in file management system, because he can access new graphics and clips that have been created during a live production. “It’s an amazing feature of the system. We’re loving it,”
he explained. “Watch-Folders allow you to add content while the show is live. You can see it pop up and it’s ready to use.”