Big South Conference captures action for live streaming with Sony camcorders

College athletics’ Big South Conference, made up of 11 colleges and universities, is using Sony HD camcorders to acquire content that is streamed live and then archived for later on-demand viewing. The conference, which hosts more than 700 sporting events each year, chose to install a Sony camcorder at each school, due to the high image quality they provide. The improved quality of the equipment (going from SD to HD) makes for better viewing over the Internet.

The Big South started live streaming in 2005, and the volume has gradually increased. In fact, 2011 marked the second consecutive year the conference is handling more than 700 live streams.

The conference’s various athletic departments — spread across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia — have purchased Sony HXR-NX5U NXCAM camcorders (using AVCHD compression) to shoot the majority of their home sporting events, from football, men’s and women’s basketball to men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, baseball and softball. The events are then streamed centrally though the conference site.

Each school can use the cameras for recording other on-campus events, as long as the conference streaming requirements are met. According to the Big South, the goal of the camera upgrade was to establish a uniform video production platform across the conference. The results to date are significant leaps in image quality and production flexibility. The cameras are also used for in-house monitors and are sometimes called upon for official replays.

The conference plans to purchase additional Sony camcorders for each school to use at the start of the next school year, but one institution, High Point University, has already bought an additional camera.