LAKELAND, FLA.—Southeastern University has implemented several dramatic infrastructure improvements over the last two years. Upon adding football to our athletic program, we built a new stadium and transitioned the TV studio and control room that serve our communication department to an end-to-end HD production workflow.
The Zeplay slo-mo instant replay server from Tightrope Media Systems was among the finishing touches, and perhaps the most significant component to our sports production workflow. Zeplay is purpose-built to generate instant replays and highlights of game action. We purchased Zeplay specifically for football, but we’ll likely use it for basketball, wrestling and other sports as well in the future.
SEU broadcast students run the Zeplay system during live sporting events.MAXIMIZING SPACE
Zeplaybrings value to any facility, spacious or space-challenged. Since our new control room was built with spare capacity, we input a different HD camera signal into all four input channels of the Zeplay and then feed the four output channels directly into the production chain individually.
In tight spaces, Zeplay’s value is amplified through a built-in switcher and multiviewer for use as a standalone system. The built-in multiviewer, which allows the replay operator to closely monitor eight camera angles—four in, four out— for selection helps us maximize our space and eliminates the need to use a separate multiviewer for replays, while the builtin switcher frees up switcher resources when needed.
We discovered Zeplay at the NAB Show, comparing it to other instant replay systems. Zeplay was half the price with twice the functionality, a quicker learning curve and better ease of use. While I had watched demos of several leading replay systems at NAB, Zeplay had the simplest, most intuitive operation. Twenty minutes into the demo, I felt confident I could run it in a live production situation.
User-friendly operation and a minimal learning curve were especially important, as broadcast students run the system during live events. Running in demo mode, our professors can teach students everything they need to know about Zeplay in less than a day, and students can continue to practice using the system on their own until they are comfortable with it before going live on game day.
Once live on the systems, our students can quickly learn advanced features, including the production of highlight packages at halftime and following the game. We are just starting to tap into all of the features that Zeplay offers, such as tagging, but our operators can cleanly tag content based on players, teams and other criteria, so that in the future we can search our archives for specific clips to incorporate into highlight packages.
Producing great-looking, entertaining sportscasts is a priority for us, but giving our broadcasting students practical, handson experience is equally important. We also wanted a replay system that our students would be likely to encounter as they look for jobs in the industry upon graduation from SEU. Since Zeplay is widely installed, it fit the bill.
It is clear that for our specific criteria, Zeplay was the best fit for affordability, performance, reliability, quick setup and ongoing ease of use. All of the capital improvements we’ve made, and especially Zeplay, have enhanced the fan experience on gameday. I can’t imagine using any other system.
Ian Fritzsche is the director of media services at SEU. He can be reached at email@example.com.
For more information, please contact Tightrope Media Systems at 866-866-4118 or visit www.trms.com.