Cross-Campus Integration for Doral Academy

Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy is an award-winning high school and junior college in Miami, Florida. In August of 2019 the school completed construction on their new 7-story flagship classroom building. As part of the project, Doral Academy tasked Midtown Video with integrating a state-of-the-art video production and education facility as well as a high-end audio sound system and digital audio control room for the new central auditorium, which spans the 6th and 7th floors.

The new facilities are part of a larger plan that enables expert staging in the auditorium, as well as remote video production of live events such as choir recitals, band performances, and school plays. Advanced network cabling across the entire campus allows the school to manage remote systems anywhere on the 15 acres from the central facility.


The auditorium’s audio control room features an Allen & Heath digital console for mixing audio from various sources, including wireless microphones and on-stage junction boxes. The auditorium also received a PA system, speakers, and audio amplification equipment, as well as a Sony laser projector for big-screen video projection. The sophisticated audio design allows talent and musical instruments to be precisely captured for pristine sound pick-up.

The integration of an advanced, new TV studio and control room on the 5th floor of the Doral High School building includes Sony broadcast cameras, Libec camera support, Newtek Switcher, NewTek 3Play replay system, and Allen & Heath digital mixing. The systems integrate directly with the school’s mass media/broadcasting classroom where students learn hands-on every aspect of contemporary television production.

“With the fixed video camera positions that we installed in the auditorium, and high-performance network connectivity to carry camera signals back to the new TV studio control room, Doral High School is now set-up to produce high-quality remote productions from the auditorium, as well as a variety of on-campus venues,” said Fernando Iglesias, VP of Sales for Midtown Video.

Midtown Video is a Miami-based Pro A/V systems integration firm with over 30 years of experience and a solid track record designing and building A/V facilities for educational institutions.

TRANSFORMING COMPLEXITY INTO FLEXIBILITY – UMIAMI Upgrade

University of Miami Athletics Upgrades Video Facilities to Deliver Hurricanes Sports to ESPN’s New ACC Network

How Midtown Video designed and built a centralized, ESPN-compliant HDTV broadcast production facility enabling University of Miami Athletics to Contribute Live “Hurricanes” Games to the ACC Network

When ESPN officially launches its ACC Network (ACCN) on August 22, 2019, this cable/satellite network will broadcast Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sporting events, including the University of Miami’s (UM) Hurricanes NCAA Division I sports. Rather than ESPN pulling up a broadcast truck to the campus, UM will contribute its own live, linear HD production to the network.    

To prepare for this high-profile sports programming opportunity, the Athletics Department at the University of Miami—a private research university serving over 17,000 students, and ACC member—has completed a massive upgrade of its digital broadcasting facilities—in the Hecht Athletics Center on UM’s Coral Gables, FL campus—to meet ESPN’s HDTV production standards and technical specifications.

Seeking to maximize every dollar and piece of gear, UM Athletics turned to Midtown Video –its long-time systems integration vendor in Miami—for the design, installation, systems integration and management of an end-to-end workflow that enables centralized production of games being played in multiple athletics venues across its campus.

“We knew at the start of this project that we would be asking a lot of Midtown Video,” said Drew Thomas, Director of Production Services for the University of Miami. “It doesn’t rain money here at the University of Miami, so we knew we needed to maximize our budget and equipment purchases, without compromising the production quality we’re contractually obligated to provide ESPN.”

With an 18-month lead-time, UM’s Athletics Department worked closely with Midtown Video to build a live, linear HD broadcast control room, a secondary digital streaming control room, an audio mixing suite, and machine room—all of which share access to video and audio production signals and resources. Midtown also devised field production solutions at several campus athletics venues to support live remote, digital, and in-game video board production. University of Miami sports to be featured on the ACC Network include: baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and track and field.

The Midtown solution also featured an innovative use of Audinate Dante IP-based audio routing, digital audio mixing, and internal production communications channels resulting in unprecedented operational flexibility.

“Midtown carefully considered our goals to determine precisely what we needed, and more importantly, to pare down what we didn’t need, while still enabling us to produce a really solid show cost-effectively,” Thomas added.

A First-Rate HDTV Facility is Born

While other ACC university members, such as Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Wake Forest, share the same mission, to build their own video production control rooms, UM was unique in its goals, circumstances, and challenges.

UM already had a digital video production infrastructure in place that it has been using to live stream its beloved Miami Hurricanes games via ESPN3 and ESPN College Extra, as well as social media sites. UM also has a campuswide fiber optic network (with 48, 96, or 144 strands of fiber) in place that connects its Hecht Athletics Center production facility with the many athletics venues where Hurricanes home games and events are held, including:

  • Mark Light Field for men’s baseball
  • The Watsco Center for men’s and women’s basketball
  • Cobb Stadium for women’s soccer and men’s/women’s track and field
  • The Knight Sports Complex for volleyball
  • The Neil Schiff Tennis Center for men’s and women’s tennis

The Midtown Video team—including System Integrator Robert Chirino, AV Specialist Alex Guirola, and Video Systems Engineer Hernan Polo—was led by the company’s Chief Technology Officer Jesse Miller. As an AVIXA-Certified Technology Specialist (CTS), Miller brought a deep understanding of best practices in A/V systems integration, and as a result, recommended select products that offered the greatest price/performance for this specific UM application. He also supervised his team’s installation, third-party systems integration, and testing of the upgraded workflow and infrastructure. Extensive on-site customer training completed Midtown’s turnkey service.

“This workflow needed to be extremely flexible enough for students to setup and run, as well as production professionals,” Miller said. “It also needed to maximize UM’s capital investment. And the bottom line was that the whole installation needed to dependably deliver the polished, uncompromised production quality and standards that ESPN demands.”

The Game Plan

In April 2018, Jesse Miller accompanied a small UM production delegation to the NAB Show and advised them about equipment choices they saw at various vendors’ booths, including the EVS DYVI video switcher and slow-motion instant replay servers. These were among the systems installed in Control Room A, which serves as ground zero for ACCN home athletics events. According to Drew Thomas, Control Room A will primarily be used for live, linear broadcast production associated with ACC Network events.

As a software-defined 32 x 16 channel switcher, Control Room A’s DYVI can scale from 3 to 99 mix/effects (M/E’s), enabling delivery of virtually limitless video effects and visual compositions to enhance live games. A relatively new product, the DYVI is more flexible and scalable than conventional hardware switchers.

There are two 12-channel EVS XT3 live production servers that are rack-mounted in the machine room, with four LSM controllers—two per control room—to control them remotely. Slow motion systems that are tied to these servers allow two operators to generate a steady stream of instant replays. Control Room A also features a 14-monitor videowall, with two rows of 55-inch monitors, powered by a Datapath videowall controller.

In terms of video acquisition, production gear—such as cameras, lenses, mics and cabling—needs to move from one venue to another, and just plug right into the campus fiber network to enable real-time remote production from the control rooms. UM has a total of 13 cameras, including five new Panasonic broadcast cameras, and three new 80X HD Canon field lenses. The camera control units for these camera systems are based in Control Room A, and the cameras can be controlled and shaded remotely over the fiber network.

While Control Room B is devoted to digital broadcasting, Control Room A fills that role whenever there’s no ACCN event. Midtown moved one of UM’s two Panasonic AVS-6000 production switchers to Control Room B, and the other to the Watsco Center for local production of the in-game LED video board. The switcher control panels and other KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) equipment are situated in the control rooms. However, the terminal gear—including an Evertz “288-squared” video/audio house router—is rack-mounted in the nearby machine room.

Shuffling Audio

Networked audio plays a major role in both program sound and technical communications for the University. “Jesse brought a fresh perspective to this project, and as a result, he designed a very innovative, flexible IP-based audio solution that truly streamlines the time and effort it takes to set-up audio routing, mixing, and intercoms for live broadcasts,” said Anthony Listochi, Manager, Production Services for the University of Miami.

With this outside-the-box thinking, Jesse designed a seamless, end-to-end digital audio workflow that includes an Audinate Dante IP-based audio network, Dante-compatible RTS Odin IFB/Intercom system, and Dante-compatible Yamaha CL5 digital audio mixing console. All mic audio is routed to the Yamaha, which is located in an acoustically isolated, 4 x 7-foot “whisper room” near both control rooms. While the Yamaha is available to both control rooms, there’s also a smaller Behringer X32 audio mixer in control room B just to mix digital games.

With its IP-based backbone, Dante enables automatic network discovery whenever a new audio device is added to the network. Specific Dante network configurations, as well as Yamaha board settings, can be memorized for each sports production, and each setup can be instantly recalled prior to the live event, saving considerable pre-production time.

“Prior to Midtown’s solution, I would have had to reconfigure hardware-based audio patch bays, and rewire everything with physical XLR connections, which would have been much more difficult to do,” Listochi added, “Today, all we have to do is move the production equipment into place, and make sure there’s a network connection. It literally takes longer to walk over to a remote venue than to setup and check my patches.”

With the addition of special Dante SDI-cards, the Evertz router can embed, re-embed, and manage the routing of all-digital Dante audio, along with the video signals. When video cameras are routed through this hardware, it enables embedded mic audio from those camera signals to be routed—independent of the video—over the Dante network.

In this way, the Yamaha mixer never has to touch the router to obtain audio sources. And it can also send stereo Dante audio to the Evertz Dante cards so it can be embedded into the program output mixes. This live 720/60p HD program then flows to either a Fujitsu or Haivision Makito encoder, and the resulting transport streams transfer to ESPN’s Bristol, CT operations center.

All-important Audio IFBs

“The beautiful thing about the Dante system is the large number of audio signals that can be transported over a single pair of fiber strands, maximizing the signal trafficking capacity of the fiber network,” Miller said. “And the best example of Dante’s operational flexibility is the communications—or IFB—audio system, which is absolutely essential to putting on a tight show.”

While it’s cumbersome to setup internal production communications routing in hardware systems, the Dante-based RTS Odin Intercom System streamlined the process by allowing for remote extension of intercom endpoints over the Dante network. By implementing the Dante controller and AZ Edit software on fiber networked-laptops, it’s possible to quickly configure specific, isolated comms-mixes.

What makes intercom partyline channels quite complex is that different groups and sub-groups of crew members need to hear only the directions and mic audio relevant to their specific task. For example, producers and directors want separate, push-button channels to communicate with sub-groups of cameramen, audio, graphics and replay operators, as well as on-camera talent and announcers. And, one group’s communications shouldn’t distract other groups assigned to different tasks.

And, ESPN producers and directors stationed on-site and back at the network also need IFB channels to communicate with the UM control room and announcers. Also, each announcer’s headset gets a Mix-Minus feed, which is the program audio minus the announcer’s own voice.

Rock-solid, Reliable Relays

Because these games are nationally televised live broadcasts, the systems integration had to provide many layers of redundancy and automatic failover for uninterrupted uptime.

For example, if the campus fiber network or ESPN connection went down for any reason, ESPN would still be able to broadcast the game audio because UM will send it via a standard phone line concurrent with the live show.

And in the event of a power failure, there are many levels of UPS power, including 1,000-watt UPS backups on each major piece of production gear. There are also 3,000-watt UPS backups on each of the five equipment racks in the machine room, and the house router maintains redundant signal paths and power supplies. Once power is restored, the Dante audio network offers instant, automatic re-linking of device and I/O connections.  

As required by ESPN, UM’s production team has to perform an elaborate pre-production process to test the connections between the Hecht Center and ESPN’s network operations center prior to every live UM sportscast. Between January and March 2019, the UM production team produced five full UM basketball games for live broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPNU from Control Room A. With these successful live productions, the UM production team—including students, staff and professional video freelancers—has proven its ability to deliver ESPN-compliant live shows for the ACC Network from the new facility.  

“The Midtown team collaborated with us every step of the way, conferring with us on every aspect of the project, even working many late nights to ensure we would be ESPN-compliant by the start of basketball season,” Thomas added.

“Jesse pared down our vast equipment options so we wouldn’t be over-burdened or spend money on functionality we didn’t really need,” Thomas added. “The control rooms and other infrastructure that Midtown designed, built, and integrated covered all our bases in the most streamlined, ergonomic, and cost-effective way. They really nailed it.”  

Download the Press Release Here.

LiveU and NewTek Studio (and streaming) event

ARE YOU COMING?
LiveU and NewTek nailed it at NAB 2019. Join us live in the Midtown Video studio or on YouTube for the highlights , or as we are calling it, Fernando and Jesse’s excellent adventure in Las Vegas.

When: Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Where: Midtown Video, 4824 SW 74 Ct, Miami or on our YouTube channel
RSVP Studio Audience
RSVP Watch on YouTube

Delicious refreshments and complimentary parking for studio audience

RSVP Studio Audience

RSVP Youtube

Midtown Video Specifies DYVI switcher at University of Miami Athletics

The University of Miami (UM) – the home of Hurricanes Athletics – is set to become the first university in the US to deploy the software-defined DYVI switcher to produce live sports. The switcher from EVS, the leading provider of live production technology, is used by multiple professional sports teams and will be implemented into the athletics department’s campus production control room as it prepares to undertake its new production role for ESPN’s upcoming ACC Network. Midtown Video played an important role in bringing EVS solutions to the attention of the University so it could prepare for the launch of the ACC Network.

Installed as part of a wider broadcast facility upgrade, DYVI will be instrumental in the creation of both digital and linear programming by the university production team as it begins outputting broadcast TV feeds for the first time. This comes as each of the 14 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference assume responsibility for producing their home-events for the ACC Network which is set to begin broadcasting next year.

To meet the expectation of the highest-quality output for ESPN, the University of Miami knew it would need a switcher that featured at least three MEs and could be reconfigured quickly because it would be used for more than ten sports with overlapping schedules. The built-in flexibility and configurable nature of DYVI means it’s perfectly suited to this kind of production setup and doesn’t need reconfiguration for each sport requirements.

“When the EVS team demonstrated the DYVI switcher to us, I was immediately blown away,” said Drew Thomas, the director of production services for the University. “DYVI could effectively let us put in place 99 MEs if we needed them, so we can jump from a basketball setup to a baseball configuration at the touch of a button.”

With a young team of production operators, the intuitive interface is another feature of DYVI that played a key role in the university’s decision to go with the switcher. “The interface quickly makes sense and provides an excellent user experience,” added Drew. “It easily does what I’ve always wanted other more traditional switchers to do.”

As part of the same control room upgrade, the production team also needed to implement a robust replay solution that would consistently deliver for over 100 sporting events a year. To meet this demand, UM also put in place two XT3 live production servers and four LSM remote controllers. The EVS systems will be used to ingest live feeds from events taking place across the campus into the control room, where operators will create replays of the action, which will be cut into the live output by DYVI.

“The introduction of the ACC Network is a great opportunity to showcase the on-campus sports that the Hurricanes excel at, so we wanted to maximize this opportunity with this facility upgrade,” commented Drew. “The reliable and intuitive nature of EVS technology is going to play such a key part of the creation of our first linear TV broadcast and I’m really excited to get it up and running.”

The University of Miami will complete all aspects of its facility upgrade and begin running full productions by the end of the year. ESPN’s ACC network will begin broadcasting on its dedicated TV channel in 2019, while continuing to also deliver output to its accompanying ACC Network Extra mobile platform.

Live Streaming Iconic artist, Judy Chicago in Miami Design District

February 23, 2019

Iconic artist, author, and advocating feminist, Judy Chicago presented a new site-specific performance exhibition in the Miami Design District Jungle Plaza on February 23, 2019. Entitled A Purple Poem for Miami, Chicago’s smoke performance was an event that took her a full year of preparation. Doors opened to the public at 5:30pm for the ticketed event and Miami was filled with colored smoke and fireworks at 6:15pm on behalf of the Institute of Contemporary Art, The New Tropic, Salon 94, and the Miami Design District.

Midtown Video had the pleasure of live streaming this unique experience for Judy Chicago on ICA’s YouTube page with the help of LiveU and Sony equipment. The technology provided by Midtown included but was not limited to a LiveU 300 encoder, a LiveU 2000 decoder, a Panasonic AWHS-50 Switcher, and a Sony PMW300 camera. Even with limited access to internet in the area, the LiveU 300 encoder, (with attached dual cellular modems from both Verizon and AT&T) was enough to successfully stream a clear performance. For productions that are limited in crew, this combination of compact equipment yields a low cost and yet results in a powerful HD image production system.

Mystery Tattoo on Facebook Live, South Beach, Miami, FL

Miami Ink star Ami James has taken his talents to facebook. James’ tattoo culture website Tattoodo.com, and Drive Studios (both based in Copenhagen) partnered with the social media site to deliver 8 live episodes of “Mystery Tattoo” on the new Facebook Live video platform. Midtown Video provided local production support, broadcasting live on Tattoodo’s facebook page.
Drive Studios designed the shoot with 2 Canon C300’s, a Roland VR50HD Switcher, wireless HD-SDI links for the cameras, and a complement of wireless audio for host Ami James and the Love Hate Tattoo Artists. To maximize upstream bandwidth, Midtown provided a LiveU Solo. The outbound stream was split across multiple network interfaces, including 4G LTE.

This show broke boundaries of interactivity between the viewer and the media. Facebook viewers voted in real time to decide which tattoo designs would be inked on contestants knocked out after each round of competition. Clicking surprise, love, or other face-moji’s, registered a vote for the corresponding tattoo design. Mojo the shop bulldog even makes an appearance to tip the scales of fate in some games. The winning contestant after 3 rounds of elimination earns a free tattoo from Ami, valued up to $1,000.00.

If you want to stream live to Facebook, or any other delivery platform, contact Midtown Video.

Cable Bahamas, Nassau

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cablehotelCable Bahamas Ltd. is a full service telecommunications company providing cable television services and Internet services to over 90% of Bahamians. It has its own submarine 600km fiber optic cable system that continues into the United States circling South Florida providing triple play services to four additional systems. These combined networks make up the Cable Bahamas network.

Programming channels include Cable12, ZNS, the Parliamentary Channel and various local radio stations. In all, Cable Bahamas offers approximately 23 local channels to 72,400 households on 11 islands.

 

When Cable Bahamas was ready to enhance the live news part of their business, they called on Midtown Video to design and install a new television system for live news production, on-air master control and four cable TV channels. Master systems designers Fernando Iglesas and Jesse Miller gave them just what they needed. The package included four HD cameras with pedestals, a live production switcher, master control switch, on-air graphics and a Harris HD integrated playout solution.  Audio and lighting systems topped off the package in keeping with the company’s reputation as the most technologically advanced company of its kind in the Bahamas.

WSVN-TV, Miami, FL

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WSVN-TV, the Sunbeam Fox affiliate in Miami, called on us once again to help keep their news product engaging and exciting. Midtown’s team led by Fernando Iglesias worked with WSVN to install a large LED video wall and LED video ribbon spanning the entire newsplex. WSVN creates more local news programming than any other Florida station. As a mater of fact, they’re the fifth highest news programmer in the U.S.

Patrick McNiff, News Operations Manager, told us they were ready to take their newsplex to the next level.  Iglesias put together the perfect package: a DNF controlled LED wall with 120 PVP S5 panels from CHAUVET Professional that sits at the center of the spacious WSVN newsplex. And an LED video ribbon circles the entire second floor. These enhancements open up new creative opportunities and gives the news department greater flexibility when covering breaking stories. The sharp images of the CHAUVET line brings the viewers a step closer to every story.

We’re glad to have this nightly exposure. Every time you watch the news, you’ll also be seeing an enhanced broadcast television studio design and installation by  Midtown Video.

Island Luck, Nassau, Bahamas

Lights, Camera, Quick Draw!

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Midtown Video installed a new television studio for Island Luck, one of the largest gaming companies in the Bahamas.  Island Luck’s goal was to create a live three-ball Quick Draw game show on their own HD TV channel, ILTV Studio.  With a lot of knowledge and a bit of luck on their side, Midtown Video’s team used its versatility and technical expertise to turn Island Luck’s vision into a reality!

The project involved creating a 30-foot set with specialized lighting.  The main equipment purchased was a NewTek TriCaster 8000, a robust multi-camera video switcher, audio mixer, and so much more with live streaming capability; a combination of Sony Robotic Cameras and Sony Handheld/Studio Cameras, as well as Chauvet Lighting.  Island Luck, with Midtown Video’s assistance, chose Fresnels and Ellipsoidals from Chauvet’s Ovation line.  With three on-set screens built into the design, Island Luck wanted to have total control over set lighting.

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To complete the installation, our team ran cables through multifaceted building structures, customized a neat rack, and engineered audio and video workflow until the system was perfect.  All signals are routable through an AJA KUMO router, giving the system the flexibility to assign different signals to on-set screens.

Our team coordinated its efforts with several contractors, including construction crews, a set design company, and Island Luck’s own management team.  With a one-week deadline, we managed all of the moving pieces seamlessly to get the job done right, on time, and on budget.

Island Luck showed our crew exceptional hospitality during their time in the Bahamas, and we appreciate the extra efforts they took to help us arrange travel logistics.  Bahamian hospitality is alive and well at Island Luck!  And the island’s first televised three-ball Quick Draw game is now live, too!

VISTA Worldlink, Dania Beach, Florida

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VISTA Worldlink is a global leader in transmission services offering satellite, mobile and fixed uplinks, fiber optics and streaming services. Co-located with their production arm Stirling Studios, they deliver cutting edge creative and production capabilities. As a major media solutions company, it was important to them to build and develop their own master control room and Midtown Video was uniquely qualified to make this happen.

Although VISTA was always able to monitor their client’s feeds in their facility, they wanted to bring all signals in and out of one unified location. With technology outdating rapidly, it was important to create a suite that is ahead of the curve today with components that can grow as technology evolves. Joshua Liemer, VISTA Worldlink’s Vice President states, “It was imperative to enhance our gold standard customer service by investing in a state-of-the-art master control facility that provides flexibility. Our service offerings continue to evolve as technology changes, making it necessary to coordinate a variety of broadcast services from satellite distribution, fiber optics and Internet Broadcasting. CEO Roy Liemer likes to call our facility a virtual MCR, because we embrace IP connectivity and our team can control all the equipment within a central location, from the comfort of our coordinators work stations or remotely on-site at a production.” The MCR bridges the traditional service offerings with Internet broadcasting and digital archiving solutions. Building the best facility and maintaining cost was one of VISTA’s goals.

vista2After reviewing the existing master control setup with Midtown’s sales representative Chari Hill, VISTA’s Director of Technical Operations chose a 288×288 Blackmagic router and Solid State Drives for recording in 15 Blackmagic Hyperdeck Studios. They also added a NewTek TriCaster switcher with live streaming capability and Decimator SDI Quad Splitters for viewing along with monitors, converters, and peripheral gear to enhance system stability and redundancy.

Delivering world-class customer service to the sports, entertainment, news, corporate, religious, government and PR industries is a daunting task. How good is VISTA Worldlink? Good enough to internationally distribute all Major League Soccer games and transmit from World Cup in Brazil. They provided multi-camera production services packaged with mobile uplink trucks and international space segment along with offering live shot positions from all 12-host cities throughout Brazil for foreign broadcasters. All services were monitored and coordinated on-site by VISTA’s Major Events Department and remotely by VISTA’s team located within the comfort of their new Master Control Room. Midtown Video was thrilled to be part of the excitement. See what it takes to bring World Cup soccer from Brazil to your living room here: http://VISTAworldlink.com/blog/svg-world-cup-qa-VISTA/

vista3Midtown and VISTA have a lot in common. Both are family owned, have a long history, place a very high value on relationships and supporting their community, and never lose focus on providing unsurpassed customer service. These shared values made the project especially meaningful to both companies. “It was incredibly rewarding to work with such terrific, dedicated people. The VISTA production facility is so impressive, and I’m proud that we were able to meet their high standards”, says Debby Miller, Executive Vice President of Midtown Video.

Thanks to an amazing team effort, VISTA Worldlink now offers the services of a comprehensive Master Control Operation manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.