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.

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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.

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.

Midtown Video Brings New TV Studio to Life for Technology Leader Citrix

Provides concierge-level service, including design, installation, systems integration, and training, on-time and on-budget

Midtown Video worked hand-in-hand with Citrix Technology Specialist Fabien Bourdon to design and build a new 4K-capable TV studio and control room for Citrix Corporation, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

With its innovative mission of empowerment, Citrix powers a better way to work by delivering the experience, security, and choices that people and organizations need to unlock innovation, engage customers, and be productive-anytime, anywhere. The company’s vision is that work is no longer a place, it’s an increasingly dynamic activity that people expect to be as adaptable as they are. Citrix powers digital workspaces that combine freedom and security, whether people are working on-site, on the road, or in the cloud.

The new Citrix Studio is now producing a wide range of e-learning programs, training videos, and other corporate communications. Bourdon anticipates that the studio will produce hundreds of videos annually.

The Right Vendor at the Right Time

“The biggest challenge of this ambitious undertaking was to select the best studio equipment and configuration possible from thousands of options, and interface the systems to operate as a single, seamless workflow,” said Bourdon. “From day one, the Midtown team fully understood how we wanted the studio to work and guided us to those solutions that achieved our goals on-time and on-budget. Their specialized knowledge and technical expertise were invaluable.”

Unlike the previous studio that Citrix used, which was a makeshift facility in a small, converted conference room, the new Citrix Studio and its adjacent control room are dedicated spaces on the second floor of one of the five buildings on the Citrix “Cypress Creek” corporate center campus.

Since this location is only a quarter mile from the Ft. Lauderdale airport, acoustics engineering design played a key role in isolating the studio from the noise and vibrations of this busy hub. During studio construction, which was part of a broader renovation of the entire floor, Midtown Video engineers—including Design Engineer/VP of Operations Fernando Iglesias, Video Systems Engineer Hernan Polo, and Lead Installer Robert Chirino—provided a wide range

of services ranging from design, installation, systems integration, and training. They also worked with the architects at Global Architecture Projects, Inc., and building contractors, such as BluFin Construction, on matters involving air conditioning, in-wall conduits, flooring, soundproofing, outlets and other infrastructure to ensure a highly ergonomic studio environment.

Creative and Operational Flexibility

“To keep our productions visually fresh and dynamic, we wanted the ability to transform the look, color schemes, branding, visual displays and other set design elements on a regular basis,” said Bourdon. “Instead of physical sets, our studio features virtual sets keyed into an 18 x 18-foot green cyclorama, as well as an on-set videowall that can display any 4K imagery.” Midtown Video supervised the design and construction of the cyc, which was brought up via elevator to the second-floor studio in four pieces and then assembled in place.

One corner of the studio also features a small talk show set with three 65-inch 4K LCD monitors mounted vertically on the wall. A Digi-Bird DB-VR C4H video processor helps configure the composition of the imagery across the multi-screen displays.

In the middle of the studio, camera operators can freely move a Sony HXC FB 80 studio camera around the studio on pedestal. The color temperatures, hues and brightness of spotlights, key and fill lights on the overhead grid can be adjusted remotely from the adjacent control room using a DMX-compliant lighting controller.

The control room is separated from the studio by a window consisting of two panes of glass 8-inches apart to dampen noise from that workspace. Inside the control room, an 18-foot custom console (by Whitlock Furniture) supports a NewTek TriCaster TC-1 4K/HD-SDI production switcher, and an Allen & Heath audio mixer.

Midtown Video configured the Citrix Studio from August 2018 through early December 2018, culminating with personalized, hands-on equipment training of key Citrix staff. Throughout the planning stage, which actually began in 2016, Bourdon said that Midtown Video had remained flexible, patient, and involved as the company’s plans changed several times, including the site and layout of the studio.

“While this technology is rapidly changing,” Bourdon said, “We’re enabling virtual training and improving the experience to our students. We’re excited to see where technology is going to take Citrix Education. I feel confident that this studio will serve our needs for years to come due to the hard work, diligence, and painstaking attention to detail that Midtown Video provided.”

About Citrix

Citrix is powering a better way to work with unified workspace, networking, and analytics solutions that help organizations unlock innovation, engage customers, and boost productivity, without sacrificing security. With Citrix, users get a seamless work experience, and IT has a unified platform to secure, manage, and monitor diverse technologies in complex cloud environments. Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations, including 99 percent of the Fortune 100 and 98 percent of the Fortune 500. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

 

Video Wall for Sales Center

Urbana Real Estate Sales Center in Doral, FL recently upgraded their video wall. Midtown Video removed the existing system and replaced it with a completely up-to-date, thin bezel, connected experience.

The technology update provided by Midtown Video includes a 3×3 Video Wall, using Samsung’s extremely thin (1.7mm) Bezel 55” Monitors.  The system is controlled wirelessly using Crestron and the Client’s iPad.  Video is distributed over IP using Crestron’s highly flexible NVX AV-over-IP solution.  This combination allows the user to select between connected PC’s and wirelessly streamed sources to impress their clientele.

 


Before

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.

Thaler Media, Western Amateur Championship

Thaler Media pulled off historic live coverage of the 2018 WAC with remote IP production and streaming.

While the Western Amateur Championship has taken place annually since 1899, this year marks the first time this storied golf tournament has been covered live. Many golf greats, including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Ben Crenshaw, and Curtis Strange, won the coveted Western Amateur title early in their careers.

Historic Moment

It all changed with the 2018 Western Amateur Championship—held July 30 through August 4, 2018 at the Sunset Ridge Country Club, in Northfield, Il, near Chicago—when Lowell Thaler, president of Thaler Media in North Palm Beach, FL made broadcast history by producing live HD coverage of the event’s “Sweet 16,” quarter-finals, semi-finals and championship matches on Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4.

Working closely with his client, the Western Golf Association (WGA), Thaler streamed 12 hours of live coverage to Golf Channel’s digital platforms, including golfchannel.com and their mobile app. The feed was also carried on the WGA’s Facebook page and website, thewesternamateur.com.

“We were able to produce this event very affordably—at perhaps a tenth the cost—compared to the overhead typically associated with a live broadcast-quality HDTV show by leaning heavily on NewTek gear, NDI networking, and LiveU’s transmission system,” Thaler said.

“We managed to shave costs without compromising high-end production standards, such as expert shot composition, picture and sound quality,” Thaler added.

What’s more, Thaler produced the entire show from a studio a time-zone away, in his home town of North Palm Beach, FL, using what can best be described as a remote IP streaming production approach.

“It’s been logistically and financially challenging to send large crews, HD trucks, and/or elaborate fly packs to remote production sites,” Thaler explained, “But this IP streaming production strategy is now a robust, viable alternative.”

Sunset Ridge

The only production personnel that Thaler sent to the Chicago area golf course were Producer Laurie White, Editor Eric Wagnon, four camera operators and a sound mixer. Three of the cameramen moved freely around the golf course, following the players from hole to hole to get the perfect shot.

Since there was no production control facility or mobile video unit on-site to switch and output the program feed, each of the camera operators wore a backpack containing a LiveU LU600 HEVC and LU500 IP-based transmission system. These modems with HEVC HD video relayed their respective camera video and audio signals via an IP pathway to a LiveU LU2000 multi-output server situated at a master control facility 1,300 miles away in South Florida.

Much of the golf action was covered by multiple cameras, and occasionally, cameramen could be seen in the live shot trying to capture it from a different angle, which gave the production a fresh, dynamic look. This was state-of-the-art photography; not the shaky-cams or web-cams all too common on streaming platforms. All of the camera work was done in remarkably steady handheld mode, with excellent shot composition, using high-end Sony F55 cinema-grade cameras.

A small remote talk show set was set-up inside the Sunset Ridge clubhouse. The program’s co-anchors—David Marr III and Scott Walker—sat at the desk to deliver color commentary and game analysis.

A virtual set filled the greenscreens behind them and in front of their desk, making it appear as if they were enmeshed within a virtual studio that was far larger than the actual physical space. This was one of the virtual sets that Thaler had chosen from the NewTek virtual set collection that came with the TC1.

Master Control

The master control facility, which consisted of a two-room suite, can be described as a completely non-traditional, ad hoc broadcast setting. This South Florida site was crewed by nine people, including the producer, director, TD, audio mixer, live graphics and replay teams.

One of the master control rooms served as a main studio where a third anchor, Craig Dolch, sat in front of a green screen to provide additional commentary. A different but complementary NewTek virtual set was keyed into that background to distinguish it from the first. After Dolch concluded his commentary, he would toss it back to the anchor team at the Chicago clubhouse.

The other room at Master Control housed a NewTek TriCaster® TC1 IP production switcher. As a frame-accurate 4K UHD/60p-capable switcher with an all IP architecture, the TC1 is a 16 input, 4-M/E switcher with multi-bus mix/effects, animated titles and transitions, chromakey, built-in video servers, clip players, graphics channels, a virtual set system, and more. The TC1’s virtual set generation and editing capabilities were maximized on this production.

The production control workflow also included a NewTek 3Play® 3P1 replay system, which allowed a replay operator and replay producer to provide SLOMO replays, and playback of aerial footage captured by the camera on a drone flying over the golf course throughout the broadcasts.

A NewTek Live Text CG system running on a laptop provided lower third supers and other on-screen graphics. And a NewTek Live Panel audio mixing control panel was used to combine all of the audio sources—including camera audio and natural/ambient sound—into the final program audio mix.

Remote IP Operations

“Using a simple, streamlined, get-it-done approach, we were able to cover an event that was never covered live before,” said Thaler. “The key was the way we were moving signals between the two sites in real-time, so that the Chicago and Florida production teams could work together seamlessly as if they were both at the same site.”

This included the use of the four Skype channels on the NewTek Talk Show to send our TC1’s program output as a ‘return’ feed to provide essential reference monitoring to the Chicago team. This mix-minus audio feed was then split to each of the anchor’s headsets, essentially serving as an IFB. TalkShow also enabled Skype interviews with guests to be fed back to the TC1 in master control.

The end-to-end LiveU transmission system was critical technology tying the two remote groups together because this was the method for relaying the camera “iso’s” and audio back to special LiveU LU2000 server in the control room.

This Linux server relayed the camera signals via NDI® for video over IP networking to the TC1 switcher where the TriCaster operator could mix these live camera inputs with all the other production elements, including features, such as historical vignettes and player profile clips.

Midtown Video

Lowell Thaler gives a special shout-out to Midtown Video, his Miami-based equipment supplier, systems integrator, and a dependable source of production services and expertise. In addition to providing video and audio production equipment as turnkey solutions, Midtown Video also contributed several NewTek/LiveU-savvy technicians to Thaler’s crew to ensure that the live productions ran smoothly.

“Golf tournaments present logistical challenges to traditional broadcasts because there are essentially miles of wiring and cabling that have to be run to support acquisition,” said Fernando Iglesias, Midtown Video’s VP of Operations. “It wouldn’t be feasible or cost-effective to do these cable runs, or to deploy a high-end HD production truck, for an event like this.”

“But with the LiveU transmission system, the broadcast cameras connect directly to backpacks so that the cameramen can move freely around the golf course without any need for long-distance, labor-intensive fiber runs,” Iglesias explained. “Combined with the NewTek production and NDI networking systems, this IP-based approach is extremely cost-effective compared to traditional HD-SDI broadcast.”

Midtown Video also provided technical support needed to turn one of the LU600 HEVC units into a “data bridge” so that the Chicago crew would have a solid Wi-Fi hot spot on the golf course. This enabled them to have dedicated bandwidth to ensure they could reliably send a Skype program return feed to the Chicago team—a critical transmission connection—and not rely on the venue’s existing Internet bandwidth.

“While it’s true that NewTek and LiveU products are game-changers that are making high-end broadcast production accessible at a much lower price point, it’s still important to have the support of a supplier like Midtown Video that really understands how to implement unique workflows that achieve the production’s creative and technical goals,” said Debby Miller, co-president of Midtown Video.

Paradigm Shift

According to George Klippel, Sales Director, Channels for LiveU, Inc., “Many of the products and technologies that enabled this live streaming production were either not yet available or ready for primetime, just a few years ago. Today, by pairing LiveU and NewTek technology, Thaler Media was able to produce a broadcast quality product as if they were on-site with a full production unit and crew, all while considerably reducing the costs and streamlining the workflow.”

For Lowell Thaler, the success of this remote IP streaming production is a proof of concept for a vision he’s had for a long time. He plans to apply this proven methodology to a wide range of future events that would otherwise never be feasible or cost-effective to produce or broadcast live.

“Our 2018 Western Amateur live stream has proven to skeptics that live shows and events that have never been broadcast before can now be produced and streamed, with high-end broadcast quality, very affordably, reliably, and successfully, and for video producers like me, that opens many doors of opportunity.”

Equipment List:

NewTek TriCaster TC1 multi-camera production system
NDI® for video over IP networking
NewTek 3Play® 3P1 instant replay system
NewTek Talk Show 4000
LiveU LU600 HEVC and LU500; six units in all
LiveU LU2000 server
NewTek virtual sets; green screens
5 Sony F55 cameras
NewTek LivePanel audio mixing control panel
NewTek Live Text CG live graphics system
Drone system for aerials

University of Miami Baseball Stadium

The University of Miami Baseball team is using a new pitching analysis system that could catapult the team to Omaha for the College World Series, a goal of their beloved coach Jim Morris, set to retire after 25 winning years. University of Miami Baseball home games are played on campus at the 5,000 seat Alex Rodriquez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida.

To enhance the system with high-image quality cameras worthy of in-game coverage, UM called on Midtown Video’s CTO Jesse Miller. He specified four HD Panasonic Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras with 30x optical zoom lens. Every movement of every pitch is recorded from at least two angles, offering a comprehensive and detailed view of the pitcher’s technique. Video images can then be studied for coaching and player review sessions.

The cameras are contained in tinted ‘CoolDome’ active cooling enclosures for outdoor protection.  They are controlled remotely from the press box with a sub-compact joystick controller and quad-split monitor system. While the dugout and home plate cameras are close enough for copper, fiber optic systems from AJA and SerialComm extend signal and control to the outfield camera.

Since 1973, UM has been of one college baseball’s elite with 25 College World Series appearances, four National Championships, and 29 NCAA Regional titles. UM Athletic director Blake James calls Morris “a legend”. In his final year as coach, Morris hopes to get one more national trophy.

Midtown Video is a leading video and audio systems integrator located around the corner from the U and a South Florida technology innovator for more than 30 years. One of the founding partners is a proud ‘Canes fan and UM graduate.