The University of Mississippi recently was looking to upgrade its video production system, which is used for game-day entertainment at its Rebels football, basketball and baseball home events. The new HD system is based around the Slate integrated production system from Broadcast Pix. The 2M/E 5032hh system provides feeds to the stadium’s JumboTron, in-house suite monitors, webcast and various clean feed outputs to record decks simultaneously.
Programming at the 60,000-seat Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is produced and distributed by TeleSouth Communications. With its 2M/Es, the Slate 5032hh enables TeleSouth to produce and output two different shows simultaneously. “This is especially vital for baseball, since NCAA rules do not permit us to have live video running on the video board while the batter is in the box because it can be a distraction,” said Shane Sanford director of Internet services and graphic design at TeleSouth. “While we just display a static headshot of the batter along with his statistics, we’d like to still be able to show live video and replays on the TV screens in the concourse and skybox areas at the venues, as well as on our lucrative game webcasts seen at OleMissSports.com.”
TeleSouth runs the sportscast with a crew of three: a producer/graphics operator, a technical director switching the show and a shader controlling the cameras. If needed, a slow-motion operator runs the four-channel BUF Technology controller controlling Fast Forward Video recorders.
Tony Mastantuono, product manager at Broadcast Pix, explained how their integrated system includes a 2M/E HD switcher, an HD character generator, a multiviewer and format converter. With a traditional setup, “you have operator for each of those stations, so they are saving on the equipment cost and the operational cost,” he said.
“In buying that one piece of equipment, we were able to eliminate two production control positions, saving greatly on labor costs,” Sanford said. “From a budgetary standpoint, with this new Slate switcher, we get over $350,000 worth of HD functionality for less than a $100,000 — and eliminate a third position.”
Mastantuono explained how Ole Miss is using the 2ME switcher in a 4M/E environment. “They feed the JumboTron scoreboard with 1M/E, the record decks and webcast with the other M/E, and various monitors around the stadium are fed from aux outputs. So, four different purposes are all fed from our system; it’s the difference between a 2M/E switcher and a 2 M/E integrated system,” Mastantuono said.
“They are all using our CG Connect system, which ties into our Inscriber Telemotion software (that runs on the 5032hh) to link their Stat Crew statistical program. CG Connect grabs player and game data from an XML file from the sports statistics service and inserts the data into Inscriber graphics for display on video boards, Internet and other applications. It also queries Stat Crew for new XML files and updates the data automatically,” he said.
“CG Connect has helped us out a ton and it will help out even more come baseball season,” Sanford said. “For example, we’re now able to have very sophisticated score strips running at the top or bottom of the screen. With CG Connect, our production values have gone through the roof. We’re able to do very polished, ESPN-style broadcasts while cutting our production and labor costs substantially.”
The Ole Miss setup shows how an integrated production system can save staffing costs yet still create a great on-air look.