Broadcast Pix User Reports
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.”
Broadcast Pix Powers ‘American Idol’ Contestant Hometown Live Event
Village of Mount Prospect Uses Its New Slate 1000 for Finale Viewing Party
Usually, the Television Services Department of the Village of Mount Prospect, Ill. (MPTV), uses its Broadcast Pix™ Slate 1000 video production system to produce live coverage of village board meetings and other local programming. But on May 26, 2010, the system became the cornerstone of a live American Idol finale viewing party on the Village Green outside Village Hall, where an estimated 5,000 people came to watch hometown hero Lee DeWyze win the competition.
According to Howard Kleinstein, cable production coordinator, Mount Prospect rented a 9×12-foot Jumbotron so the crowd could watch the live finale. For two hours prior to the broadcast, MPTV showcased footage from past show performances, as well as footage from DeWyze’s homecoming parade from earlier in the month, using the Slate’s Fluent Clip Store and a DVD player.
During the American Idol finale, the MPTV team displayed the show feed on the large screen, mixed with live images from its two Sony DSR-400 ENG camcorders on location. When the broadcast went to commercial, Kleinstein used Fluent Clips and Fluent Graphics to display video PSAs about MPTV programming, as well as graphics promoting local sponsors and coming events.
In an effort to minimize cable runs for the viewing party – the control room has no windows and is located on the third floor of Village Hall adjacent to the Village Board Room (similar to council chambers) – Kleinstein created a temporary control room on the main floor of the facility. The Slate 1000 was moved to a folding table and cables were run to the Village Green through an open window. A small LCD screen running Fluent Multi-View served as the program, preview, and source monitors.
Originally, Kleinstein thought he would be using the Comcast cable feed to screen the finale for the crowd. However, about an hour before pre-show programming was scheduled to begin, he was given an HD-SDI network feed from a satellite truck that was on location for the network. Kleinstein was able to convert the HD-SDI signal to composite, letterbox it for the 4:3 Jumbotron, and seamlessly combine his different sources (with different aspect ratios). “Without our Broadcast Pix, that would have thrown me for a loop,” he said.
Regular MPTV programming is produced and distributed locally in SD on Comcast and WOW! cable systems, as well as streamed live and on demand on the village’s Web site. Kleinstein hopes to upgrade the MPTV operation to HD in a few years. The Slate 1000, which replaced an old Trinity system from Play, Inc., was purchased from Roscor in Mount Prospect and installed by Television Services Department staff in March.
“We wanted something that was robust enough to be able to do CG work and clips and stills,” he said. “Broadcast Pix was able to do all those things – and be upgraded to HD without getting a whole new box.”
Kleinstein said the American Idol finale viewing party was a very positive way to showcase their village on national television. “The response was extraordinary. People were very happy with it,” he added. “The Broadcast Pix system worked flawlessly. We had no technical difficulties, and even the production team from Hollywood was impressed.”
With Broadcast Pix, Ole Miss Gets Two Productions in One
By Carolyn Braff
March 3, 2009 Courtesy of svconline.com
The University of Mississippi was one of Broadcast Pix’s first clients, having relied on the Studio 2000 switcher for six years. So, when the company came out with a 2-M/E version of its Slate production switcher, Ole Miss was understandably one of the first in line for the upgrade. Aside from new HD capability and an improved feature set, the new switcher allows the university to create two shows at once — in each of three venues.
“When we got our new $6 million high-definition Daktronics video board in the football stadium, we were looking at increasing the production value for our video content,” explains Shane Sanford, director of Internet services and graphic design for Ole Miss Sports Productions. “We also sell our ballgames to our fan base, as well as archive all our content for videos that we produce after the fact, so we were looking to increase our production value for all of those outlets.”
The Broadcast Pix Slate 5032hh 2-M/E HD integrated live-production system includes CG, DVE, still and clip storage, camera control, monitoring, a router, and 16:9 HD capability and will be used to produce both game-day content and feature videos at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for football, Tad Smith Coliseum for basketball, and Oxford-University Stadium for baseball.
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Latin Music Star Juan Luis Guerra Selects Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 to Produce Live Concert in HD for Blu-ray, DVD Distribution
Juan Luis Guerra, a Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning musician from the Dominican Republic (DR), chose the Broadcast Pix Slate™ 1000 live production system to produce a live HD video recording of his Feb. 14, 2009, concert for distribution on Blu-ray and DVD. The concert, which took place at Estadio Olimpico (Olympic Stadium) in downtown Santo Domingo, DR, was part of Guerra’s “La Travesia” tour.
As a singer, songwriter, composer, and guitarist, Guerra has a unique sound that fuses meringue, salsa, bochata, and other Latin musical styles. With more than 20 million records sold worldwide, Guerra is a big draw throughout Latin America—and the 50,000 fans at his Valentine’s Day concert attest to his popularity.
Prior to the concert, Guerra and his son, cinematographer Jean Gabriel Guerra, decided to produce a DVD of the concert, and they turned to Broadcast Pix dealer AVL Tech to package a switcher and cameras for the event. AVL Tech provided the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 HD/SD integrated production system and 18 Panasonic HD cameras, including AG-HPX500 and AG-HVX200A P2 HD camcorders, for the 720p/24 production.
“When they were planning the production, they knew there would be no second chances to capture the excitement of this live event. If there was a technical failure, the show would go on without them,” said Valentin Colon, president of AVL Tech, which offers sales, rentals, service, and AV integration throughout the DR and Caribbean. “With its ability to handle all aspects of this complex remote production, including input from a barrage of HD cameras, the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 proved to be the most reliable means for producing a polished live HD show very economically right at the arena. When the concert ended, the video show was so close to finished, and of such high quality, that it required only minimal post production.”
Designed to satisfy the needs of even the most demanding live video production, the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 integrates the functionality of a video switcher, multi-viewer, Inscriber CG, clip and graphic stores, Fluent™ workflow software, and aspect and format conversion into a single, budget-friendly system that can be run by a single operator.
“Since the Broadcast Pix system satisfied the needs of Juan Luis Guerra’s concert production, other Latin American bands have inquired about it, and are now planning to use it in their upcoming video productions as well,” said Colon. “The Broadcast Pix switcher offers an incomparable value to Latino producers seeking to produce live events in HD video.”
Tours by Sloan Selects Broadcast Pix 2 M/E Slate 5016HD
Live Production System for Live Performances by Donny & Marie Osmond
Tours by Sloan, a live event production company based in Las Vegas, purchased its Slate 5016HD switcher for use during live performances by Donny & Marie Osmond at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The Slate 5016HD was first used for the performance during its engagement at the Hollywood Theatre in the MGM Grand Casino.
During the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo, which has recently been extended to a two year run, the 2 M/E Slate 5016 HD will power video projection out to three LED screens positioned at the back of the stage as well as an ILite Barco 8mm display screen and two additional Panasonic 7700 projectors placed at stage left and right.
Simon Greaves, live event video director for Tours by Sloan, explained that the Slate 5016 comes with a set of features ideal for this particular production. Immediate access to all media including clips and frame stores ranks high, but multi-format capability was of greatest importance to Greaves.
“I’m dealing with 4x3 and 16x9 screens for this show, which can present a challenge when setting outputs with other switchers,” he said. “The Slate 5016 has built-in functionality to instantly crop or stretch an image as needed. I can also select parameters beforehand to specifically designate how I want it to handle each format. I don’t have to worry about images being distorted.”
The Slate 5016 can simultaneously process 1080i, 720p, SD-SDI, HD analog component, analog composite, Y/C, component, DVI and VGA inputs, with both synchronous and asynchronous signals, in both NTSC and PAL, and in both 16:9 and 4:3 formats without distorting aspect ratios. Slate HD models can output both 16:9 and 4:3 formats simultaneously.
According to Greaves, the compact yet powerful design of the Slate 5016 offered additional benefit for the performance at the Flamingo. Two other shows take place at the casino on the same day as the Donny & Marie Show, making for tight quarters backstage. “Slate 5016’s built-in multi-viewer means we can reduce the amount of monitoring, establish a smaller footprint, and blend in beautifully.”
The show’s projection screens are controlled independently using “Fresco” router control software. Fresco, a Mac OS application that controls a variety of video devices, allows for switching screen inputs by creating presets and triggers different looks during the show through a MIDI keyboard.
“We’re definitely pushing this equipment hard and exploiting its output capabilities – putting one image across three screens and the like,” continued Greaves. “What we’re achieving with this system is what most people would with an Encore or Spyder (video layering system). I can create a highly dynamic show on a realistic budget.”
AV Enhancements at the Coliseum
The L.A. Coliseum embarks on a series of technical improvements — with dramatic results.
By Matt Wunsch
Courtsey of www.avtechnologyonline.com of New Bay Media Inc.
One of the ten largest college football stadiums in the country, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is home to the USC Trojans, the six-time Pac 10 champion college football team from the University of Southern California. The Coliseum, with afield synthesis loudspeakersSix Meyer SB-3F sound field synthesis loudspeakers are mounted on each side of the main peristyle, along with six 700-HP subwoofers.capacity of over 92,000, operates under the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, with a governing body comprised of representatives from the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the State of California.
Last spring, the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission approved a series of improvements to the stadium in the form of incremental upgrades over the next five years. The upgrades, which began in May of 2008, include an overhaul of video and audio production services inside the stadium for the purpose of providing enhanced multimedia services to the capacity crowds in attendance.
According to Leo Caudillo, IT director at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the upgrades were finished just a week before the September 13, 2008 Trojans’ home season opener versus Ohio State, which USC won 35-3. Caudillo says the Coliseum was in desperate need of a technology update. “We spent about $1.3 million back in 1997, and that was on an all-analog system. There were an old CRT screens that had issues with cooling, and modules were popping out.”
Caudillo said the core of the AV upgrades includes a new HD/SDI control room system that feeds video and data to two new display screens. The refurbished control room includes a Broadcast Pix Slate HD platform. The Slate HD is an integratedHD/SDI controlproduction platform that includes a switcher, character generator, clip stores, still stores, monitoring, and a file-based server architecture to streamline the production workflow.
“The Slate HD provides a lot of flexibility,” Caudillo says. “It helps with computer integration and allows for multiple levels of control. With it, we are able to have a double broadcast, one to the internet and one to the videoboard. Slate HD includes 32 inputs, 16 of which are used to connect a variety of cameras, audio, and source equipment such as HD and SDI players for replay purposes during games. Six digital video effects, which are built into the Slate HD, allow for the production of multiwindow displays on each screen and the integration of XML data crawls for scores and other text-based information.”
“The DVE’s work very well for providing other game scores and video replays,” according to Caudillo. The dual-format digital production workflow can accommodate the two new display screens installed by Sign Methods of Los Angeles, including a 40-foot by 45-foot Optec LED display board, with 16mm resolution for 4x3 SDI; and a 215-foot LED panel at the west end that can accommodate 16x9 HD video.
“Optec was about $400,000 less than their competitors, and with a better warranty,” says Caudillo. According to Optec, each pixel is a separate replaceable module, so if a pixel fails or is damaged, rather than replacing an entire circuit board/module that usually consists of 64 or 256 pixels, each pixel module snaps in and out individually. This eliminates the typical “tile” effect that results when a large 16 x 16-pixel replacement module stands out from the surrounding modules because it doesn’t match the existing display’s brightness, due to variations in the degradation rate of the original modules versus the replacement module. Inside each pixel, there is an individual circuit controlling each LED lamp. With Optec’s advanced controller system, a technician can control brightness/color shadings down to each LED lamp level. The result is better color mix, contrast, higher virtual resolution, and longer LED life.
Dual outputs from the Broadcast Pix Slate feed the video to PremierViewProHD-LED video scalers from Calibre UK for image re-sizing. The images are transported as DVI signals over fiber to the appropriate display screens. “That scaler, when we run composite cameras during the day, modifies the signal and looks great. You have a beautiful high def signal overall,” says Caudillo.
Production contractors produce the video and audio during games as in the past, but without the lengthy set-up and breakdown times associated with bringing in external equipment. The production team can also log in to Slate remotely to integrate clips and other elements into the integrated server to set up a show, and then preview the show from an external location or inside the venue later after arriving at the stadium.
USC football games use a full production team, including four live camera operators and three control room operators; one director to operate the switcher and monitor the production, one technician to trigger clips and graphics, and one replay specialist working with external video sources.
On the audio end of the upgrade, Caudillo sounds equally enthusiastic about what has been brought in. “The old audio was very unsatisfactory. We had some old horns and subwoofers that were lacking in maintenance. There were bird droppings everywhere. And it was costing us $25,000 a game for equipment rental and labor just to do sound.”
That’s when Meyer Sound came in to supply the new stadium-wide sound system, which is operated from a separate Midas Venice 320 mixing board located in the same control room for USC football games. The showcase piece of the new system is the Meyer SB-3F, a self-powered loudspeaker incorporating a multichannel, highpower, class AB/H power amplifier and sophisticated control circuitry — all housed within the loudspeaker’s cabinet, which dramatically simplifies setup and installation.
The new system, which was budgeted at a total of roughly $725,000, is tied into the Slate HD for integrated audio control during smaller events, such as international soccer games. A single operator can control the entire Slate HD system for smaller events, using robotic cameras for image acquisition and Broadcast Pix’s Audio Follow Video feature to control the Meyer Sound system.