Ongoing multi-year project adds Mediasite Video/Audio recording to classrooms at University of Florida

By Carl VanOrmer
Sales-Design Engineer Midtown Video

Mediasite licensed servers enable campus wide usage. College of Business, College of Pharmacy, College of Engineering, IFAS, Eglin Air Force Base, College of Vet Med, and others now able to record classes for absent students and Continuing Education applications.

In Current phase of this project, Eight Rooms consist of 24 Panasonic AW-HE120’s, 8 For-A HVS100 Switchers, 8 Mediasite RL Recorders, 1 Datavideo SE2200 Switcher, 1 Mediasite ML Recorder, 8 Mediasite Mini Recorders and 64 Shure Ceiling Mic’s. I was given the opportunity to provide equipment, design support and ongoing equipment warranty support.

View and share this article on LinkedIn.

 

Check out the Harman Experience Van at Midtown Video

Check out the HARMAN EXPERIENCE VAN at Midtown Video
This is a great opportunity for you to see, hear and experience various Harman solutions for your meeting rooms, video and audio studios, and other networked AV systems.

When: Thursday, May 30, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm
Where: Midtown Video, 4824 SW 74 Ct, Miami

Delicious refreshments and complimentary parking

RSVP Online via this link.

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.

BuzzFeed Selects Midtown Video for CAMP

Buzzfeed’s Chief Commerce Officer and CEO of CAMP, Ben Kaufman selected Midtown Video to collaborate on the technology that brings a summer camp experience to life in the middle of New York City. Many innovative retail stores are using sophisticated video and audio systems to delight their customers while shopping, and CAMP is on the front of this wave. A number of cutting edge sound, video, and special effects were used to create a unique and magical experience in this brand new toy store in the Big Apple. The results? See for yourself in this video clip:

CAMP in NYC

How would you like to go back to summer camp and take your kids for a fun adventure? That’s the premise for this forward-thinking retailer. Midtown Video helped make everything magical about going to camp come to life with AV systems that will alter your world. See it on the evening news:

Buzzfeed, the NYC based internet media and news company, is crashing into the brick and mortar retail business. The company has opened a store at 5th Avenue and 16th Street in New York’s Flatiron district, announced Ben Kaufman, head of BuzzFeed Commerce. The store, Camp, will partner with others to open an experiential store, targeting millennial parents and their children. The launch is timed to coincide with the end of the holiday shopping rush season. Toys, apparel and in store experiences will change out every eight to 12 weeks. Camp is modeled after the concept of Story, founded in 2011 by Rachel Shechtman, an investor and board member of Camp.

The Miami Short Film Festival

THE-MSFF_logo_SquareUnique to South Florida, the Miami Short Film Festival is held annually each fall.

The festival was established in 2002 by William Vela and calls the Paragon Theaters in Coconut Grove home. Serving as the areas only short film festival, MsFF was founded to showcase Miami as a leader in contemporary filmmaking. For two weeks every autumn, thousands flock to Miami to view over 50 films from around the world.

Vela’s relationship with Midtown Video began when he was a client so it was natural that he turn to Midtown and ask for support for his fledging film festival. “ Midtown Video has been great,” shared Vela, “they have provided great customer service and technical support for a couple of years now. They are the go to place for everything from projector rentals to help with servers and downloads.”

Continued Vela, “You can count and rely on the professional staff at Midtown to fix problems. The technical support comes with more than twenty years of experience. With the team at Midtown you get 100% support; weekends and after hours, they are very supportive and always manage to resolve any challenging situation. It is a good, long lasting relationship that I hope to continue growing and building. “

Vela’s goal was to create a connection between established studios, independent filmmakers and the global creative community, as well as to honor achievements in the art of short filmmaking.

A dedicated contributor to the cultural arts, The Miami short Film Festival has introduced its unique programs and programming year-round into theaters, classrooms, businesses, and organizations throughout Miami-Dade County.

 

On Cities Virtual Gathering

On CitiesSanjeev Chatterjee, a Miami-based, award winning documentary media maker and teacher had been working on an international documentary film titled On Cities for several years. A short film by the same name was ready for a public screening and so he began designing a gathering that could allow for audiences to watch the film across borders and discuss the issues in an appropriate format for a film screening for the digital age.

His first step in this ambitious project was to engage the team at Midtown Video for technical support. The second was to begin organizing a film screening in Miami that would combine a panel of experts and city dwellers. Next, he reached out via e-vites for partners in different parts of the world who then agreed to hold parallel screenings and join the conversation using Twitter, Skype, and TelePresence. The plan was to use a multi camera live video production of the main event in Miami and stream it live on the Internet.

Chatterjee served as the Executive Director of the Knight Center for International Media at the School of Communication from 2007-2010 and vice-dean of the School of Communication during that time. He has taught classes in studio and field production, media and society, writing and documentary production at the University of Miami.

The event, On Cities, was held on October 22, 2012, anchored at the Storer Auditorium, University of Miami and was billed as A Virtual Gathering Featuring Non-Verbal Documentary Film About Life in Cities and Audience Engagement focused on a Better Urban Future.  The purpose was to engage viewers around the world in conversations about the future of life in cities and serve as a platform to launch a multilingual film contest that will incentivize digital filmmakers to tell stories about life in cities where they live.On Cities Picture

The event was replicated simultaneously in remote locations around the world where a Host and an audience were able to screen the film and receive Skype video calls enabling them to be in constant contact with the anchor venue via Skype and Twitter. Each site had two screens which displayed the movie, the anchor venue and the Twitter feed.

Attendees at all locations were encouraged to bring their laptop, iPad, tablet, or smartphone and participate in a global conversation focusing on the urban challenges and potential solutions using Skype. Individual audience members at all locations were able to participate continuously using the #oncities hash tag on Twitter.

According to Sanjeev Chatterjee, “Midtown provided all the multicamera video production technology and services to stream the program live.  I was a guest on the .videoshow with Jesse Miller (jtown.tv) last year and have used their services in the past. However, this was really our first collaboration. They also provided Twitter integration which was a great help.” He added, “I feel that through their monthly .videoshow program, they have truly developed genuine expertise in the arena of high end and professional quality webcasts. They have really built their reputation beyond the broadcast realm. I have been consistently impressed and look forward to doing more virtual events with Midtown Video.”
The film and the discussion were segmented into three sections. The past – how and why ancient cities lived and/or died. The present – what are the challenges facing contemporary cities.  And the future – what might cities of the future look like?  Several brief presentations by thinkers and media makers were featured in addition to the film. This virtual conversation provided the ability for 20+ locations around the world to connect and have a common conversation mediated by available technology.

To learn more about On Cities visit the website at http://knight.miami.edu/oncities/, to learn more about multi-camera video production and streaming services contact us, Midtown Video online at https://midtownvideo.com/contact/.

 

University of Miami Video Wall

MarineUM

Longtime client Mike Anderson, Director of Information Technology at the University of Miami had already worked on several projects with the Midtown Video team when he contacted Midtown’s Account Executive, Chari Hill inquiring about Planar’s Clarity Matrix MultiTouch video wall system.

He thought the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami on Key Biscayne would benefit from Google Maps and all of the other amazing features available in this large format, interactive solution.MarineUM Class
Hill contacted Planar asking for an evaluation unit and was told that although none existed in the local market, there was a system in place at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.  Hill learned that they had a Clarity Matrix video wall in a sports bar, but not with the touch feature.  Anderson and Hill both spoke with Tim Soukup, Broadcast Engineer/Video Specialist at Walt Disney World who was more than happy to sing the praises about the beauty and ease of his Clarity Matrix video wall.

Marine UM
After learning that the Clarity Matrix is an ultra-thin bezel LCD media wall system that delivers outstanding visual performance Anderson decided to go ahead with the installation and the results are remarkable. The bright picture and quality image from the video wall is simply stunning. Originally designed as a 3×2 video wall, the school’s finished product is a 3×3 wall using a Planar Clarity Matrix LX with an ERO 46 inch LCD. The high impact interactive display is ideal for public spaces or collaborative environments allowing for Multi-user, multi-touch, up to 32 touch points.  The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

 

NewTek Unveils TriCaster 40

NewTek Unveils TriCaster 40:  The Most Complete HD Multi-Camera Video Production Studio Under $5K

 SAN ANTONIO, August 29, 2012 – NewTek today unveiled TriCaster™ 40—the company’s latest entry in its TriCaster family of live production systems. TriCaster 40 creates a new entry point for broadcasters and producers who need full-resolution, HD, multi-camera live production and streaming capabilities, at a breakthrough price. The easy-to-operate, integrated, desktop system is the first on the market to offer such a comprehensive set of real-time video production capabilities for under $5,000 (US).

”With the TriCaster 40, our goal is to make high quality broadcast video accessible to virtually any creative person and company who quite simply could not have fulfilled their vision before,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, NewTek CTO. “The opportunities for this new breed of media producer continue to expand, as we see exponential growth in online viewing, as reported by the many leading organizations that track media consumption and viewership. In addition, the number of new outlets that are creating and delivering video content is on the rise—from cable channels to major Internet companies. TriCaster 40 not only brings people an unprecedented level of production quality, but also gives them the ability to reach their audience in a way—and at a price—never before possible.”

TriCaster 40 is a turnkey, desktop video production studio that makes it possible for virtually anyone to create live television for delivery to broadcast, Web and projectors. TriCaster 40 simplifies live multi-camera video production and streaming by eliminating complicated setup and cabling between production components, while integrating video switching, graphics, titles, effects, media playback, virtual sets, keying, recording and streaming in one compact, professional solution.

TriCaster 40 Provides:

  • Real-time HD and SD Video Production – Use multiple cameras, video inputs, stored clips, graphics, laptops, iOS devices and more to create and deliver television programming in real time at the native resolution of your video sources, without compromising quality
  • Portability – The small desktop footprint allows you to produce a broadcast-quality show from virtually any location, while its cart-friendly size can make any room a real-time studio
  • Turnkey Operation –No need for complex cabling, multiple integration points, or individual components that require configuration. A 14-channel switcher, with four live camera inputs, multiview monitor, digital disk recorder, program record storage, network inputs, streaming encoder, downstream keyer, graphics, titles and effects, virtual sets, and chroma key are all integrated into system
  • Built-in Live Streaming – Instantly reach a global audience on any screen with worldwide distribution through your choice of CDN
  • Virtual Sets – Transform any location with a few square feet of green screen into an elegant, virtual broadcast studio set using the system chroma key. Each virtual set includes multiple camera angles, distinct set locations, moving backgrounds, active video monitors, real-time reflections, and over-the-shoulder double box effects
  • Network-style Visual Elements – Achieve maximum creative impact with true professional titles and graphics, 200 video transitions and 24 virtual sets

Pricing and Availability
TriCaster 40 is available immediately for a retail price of US$4,995. Prices may vary internationally. Educational pricing options are available. For more information, please call Midtown Video 305.669.1117 or visit our website www.midtownvideo.com.

About NewTek

NewTek is transforming the way people create network-style television content and share it with the world. From sporting events, Web-based talk shows, live entertainment, classrooms, and corporate communications—to virtually any venue where people want to capture and publish live video, we give our customers the power to grow their audiences, brands and businesses, faster than ever before.

Clients include: “The X Factor,” ESPN X Games, New York Giants, NBA Development League, Fox News, BBC, NHL, Nickelodeon, CBS Radio, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, MTV, TWiT.TV, USA TODAY, Department of Homeland Security (DHS),  and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NewTek is privately owned and based in San Antonio, Texas.  NewTek and TriCaster are trademarks of NewTek.

  • All other products or brand names mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Lights, Camera, Action!

The world of television production just got a whole light brighter for the students at the Doral Academy Preparatory School who are now practicing their production skills in a brand new control room and studio designed and installed by Midtown Video. As part of the class curriculum, students are required to produce a video profile, public service announcement, interview, news broadcast, music video and commercial.

Students are producing the school’s morning announcements and student productions, in a control room outfitted with an HD switcher and filming in a studio with Sony’s new HXC 100 Studio Cameras.

Carlos Ferrals, TV production teacher said,” Fernando and the Midtown Video team met with the architects in the planning stages. From the consulting process on, Midtown Video was extremely helpful, and knowledgeable; they are always just a phone call away, they did an outstanding, job!”

 

In addition, the students are using AJA KiPros for a tapeless workflow. They are editing their stories on IMacs in the classrooms and pushing the stored video to the control room where there’s another Apple station for airing the video. Conduits connect the TV control room and studio to the Gym and auditorium with Triax cables.

Added Ferrals, “This hands on experience is the ideal preparing these student for the highly competitive world of television production, They’ll be doing all of this now with state of the art equipment.”