AJA Raises King of Hammers Broadcast to New Heights

The control room for the 2015 King of Hammers broadcast
JOHNSON VALLEY, CALIF.—More than 60,000 spectators turned up in Johnson Valley, Calif., this year to watch 430 Ultra4Racing teams navigate hundreds of miles of boulder-laden terrain in the biggest King of Hammers off-road race yet. I was enlisted to capture all of the action and share it with fans on-site and online in HD, as well as compile a highlight reel. This year marked my fourth year producing coverage of the event, so I knew my team would need a reliable workflow to carry out the massive endeavor. We relied extensively on an array of AJA equipment, along with other technology.

This year, we used AJA Io XT, KUMO, Ki Pro Mini, Hi5-Plus, HA5-Plus, V2Digital, UDC and HD10MD3 mini-converters. Without all of our AJA tools, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. They allowed us to deliver a very cool, professional and impressive-looking webcast; feed highlight footage to the jumbotrons and social media sites like Instagram and Facebook; and create a high-quality DVD highlight reel.

Our team captured and recorded aerial footage for the event in Apple ProRes 422 using RED and Sony FS-700 cameras, Shotover aerial-stabilized camera systems and AJA Ki Pro Minis in two helicopters. Files were handed over to the editing team and then added to a Final Cut Pro timeline on an iMac, which utilized an Io XT connected via Thunderbolt for ingest and playout, scrubbing and trimming, and final playout through an AJA KUMO router and New-Tek TriCaster 850EX control surface for streaming live to the jumbotrons and webcast. Using this workflow, we were able to load commercials, bumps and pre-edited driver-infused footage into the timeline and send it straight to the show.

Io XT made it simple to take a live feed, record and play it back in one step; I loved that we could do all of that in the middle of nowhere, without needing an extra operator. KUMO was also huge for us, because we were able to route feeds through more than 20 cameras, TVs and jumbotrons.

By the end of the five-day production, we’d brought fans more than 35 hours of action-packed coverage, enduring cold, damp weather throughout. I continue to be impressed by the durability of AJA gear in such harsh conditions. It just keeps working, even in the most undesirable environments, so I never have to worry about replacing my AJA kit; that can’t be said for all of our gear.

As far as AJA’s team, they were fantastic, and we really couldn’t have found a more helpful group in the industry to work with. To check out all the action, watch our highlight reel online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nz2I6fscRc.

Dan Campbell Lloyd is a former pro athlete turned freelance producer who has collaborated with some of the biggest names in extreme sports production – including Red Bull Media House, Matchstick Productions and Freeride Entertainment.

For additional information, contact AJA at 530-274-2048 or visitwww.aja.com.