Blackmagic Monitors Ensure Quality Football Coverage

Jason Robinso

NASHVILLE, TENN.— High school football broadcasting is a serious business in many parts of the United States, and coverage of this city’s Ensworth High School games is no exception. Every week I, along with four student volunteers, broadcast and stream the Ensworth Tigers’ football games live to local fans, as well as to alumni around the world. We have a full high-definition production setup that includes five cameras, a 28 x 16-foot video wall, along with broadcastquality HD video switching and monitoring.

The package includes Blackmagic Design’s SmartView Duo SDI monitors for switcher preview and program monitoring, and also for keeping tabs on what has become essential in coverage of every football game—the instant replay video that highlights important referee calls and recall of remarkable touchdowns or unclear plays.

Our production studio and primary broadcasting gear for football game coverage is located in an equipment rack situated in the stadium press box. This package includes two SmartView Duo SDI LCD monitors, Blackmagic Design production switcher, router, HyperDeck SSD video recorder, Intensity Pro and Intensity Extreme capture and playback devices, as well as a number of signal converter units. When we’re not doing football coverage, we use this setup as a mobile production rig.

In order to capture the action on the field from multiple angles, we have two cameras in the broadcast booth, a camera on top of the press box, one in the end zone and another on the sideline. These are all connected to the switcher via fiberoptic links.

Our game coverage is transmitted to local television stations and simultaneously streamed live on the Internet for devoted fans who cannot attend the games. We also provide a feed for fans in the stadium.

As with any live television production, we have to be sure that we’re getting and using the right shots. This is accomplished via the Blackmagic SmartView Duos in conjunction with larger broadcast monitors. One of the SmartView Duos is situated in our main production rack for viewing switcher preview and program feeds. We’ve found that the monitor’s small footprint is a big factor in achieving the sort of mobility that we require.

The second SmartView Duo is used for viewing content from our instant replay machine. With the monitor’s two screens, we’re able to see two outputs at once when tracking instant replays, allowing us see the replays we’re sending to our switcher and those going to other broadcast sources without having to constantly switch back and forth.

The dual screen functionality of the SmartView Duos is handy in other applications too, as a single staff member can view and react to output from the switcher and the instant replay, while other staff can focus on the bigger monitors for the main action.

The SDI loopthrough capabilities of the SmartView Duos have come in very handy too, keeping our equipment count down and saving us time in changing out feed arrangements in connection with viewing recordings after completion of live event coverage.

Jason Robinson is the video technical director at Ensworth High School. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or