BUF Provides Instant Replay Solution

The BUF Sport controller

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.–Robert Warren Mobile Television Productions produces a wide range of college and high school sports television programming in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. We produce all of the major high school championship sporting events in this state, including football, basketball, men and women’s soccer, volleyball, lacrosse and cheerleading.

These events air “live” and “on-demand” statewide on Time Warner Cable and we produce our high school games at the same professional broadcast level as our college games.

One of our most important services is instant replay. In the past we ran multiple tape machines with slow motion controllers, but waiting for tape to cue was hardly instant. Disk-based systems offer many advantages, especially speed, but I thought they were just too expensive to justify the cost. Then one day I saw an ad for a little standalone countertop disk based replay system from BUF Technology called “Sport.” Its feature set resembled those of the big expensive systems, but at a much lower price and with just one channel. I thought that this looked pretty good and put the magazine aside. Later, I decided to take a chance and ordered two of the units and they worked great.

Our operators took an immediate liking to the “BUF” as we call it. It’s easy to use and it’s fast. The panel has a logical layout, like a VTR, so anyone can work it with minimal instruction. The operators absolutely love using it. I’ve built my business slowly, and with two sports production trucks, I need to buy two of everything, so it’s important to be able to add equipment incrementally. I added two more the following year. I’ve occasionally rented extras for heavy championship schedules, and recently purchased another two.

One thing we really like about the BUF is that each channel stands alone (although you can connect them together). If you have a big multichannel system with a problem, then you have nothing. These are fast paced games and we can’t stop down to fix something if things go wrong. If a BUF were to go down, you’d lose just that channel and still have the others. The BUF units have been very reliable under a heavy mobile production schedule. Also, the BUF units are very portable. If one truck needs additional replays or video servers for large championship games, it’s easy to move them around.

We also use the BUFs for more than just replays. During one commercial break the handheld cameraperson caught a guy holding a baby with a cute expression. We knew it wouldn’t last and someone said “put that on the BUF.” When we came out of break, we played it from the BUF and it looked as if we were shooting it live. Also, when football teams have run through banners before we’ve gone live, we’ve captured this on the BUF, and later added graphics. Everyone thinks it’s live, because the images are clear as a bell.

The BUF controllers have become one of our favorite production tools.

Robert Warren is the owner of Robert Warren Mobile Television Productions. He may be contacted atrobert@robertwarrenmobiletv.com. For additional information, contact BUF Technology at 858-451-1350 or visitwww.buftek.com.