Video Screen Coverage of sports events/Webcasting - After Event Report...

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SIMAnt
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Joined: Jan 9 2002

Each year, my school holds a "founders day" event which combines a Cathedral service and a sports afternoon. This year, a few of us decided that some large screens showing live and replayed video, computer-generated scores and updates from Wimbledon would be a good idea... The output was also streamed across the internet for the benefit of old boys of the school in various corners of the globe... This with a budget of £0 (although some money was used to order video cable in the end). Thought I'd post an after-event report for anyone who is interested.

There were a number of problems we came up with at the planning stage - the afternoon sports events were on a field featuring a cricket pitch, followed by a large slope, followed by a running track, and then events such as Shot, Javelin and High/Long jumps. We decided for maximum effect to put a projector inside the pavillion (where food and drink was being served), and televisions displaying the output at various other locations.

As we had four cameras available to us, positioning of them was initially decided to be the following:

1. Camera pointing at the start/finish line of the running track
2. Camera following runners around the track with a good zoom and smooth tripod
3. Camera covering the cricket
4. Camera covering the jump/thowing events

As luck had it, an extra camera became available to us, which covered a general view of spectators, important guests and anything else interesting.

The control point was elected as being a wooden cricket pavillion which was not in use, primarily because the range of the combination of wireless and wired network cable to connect to the internet for streaming meant that this was the only available location, short of erecting a marquee elsewhere. This led to the camera covering jumping and throwing events being 250 meters away from the control point, and the nearest to us having a run of just under 100 meters. The run from the control point to the large screen was approximately 120 meters. Power was only available from the point at which the screens were located, and needed to feed the control point, and some of the cameras, although mains invertors and car batteries powered the others!

Enough video coax was ordered in advance, and our concerns about loss over long runs of cable turned out to be unfounded. We were fortunate enough to be able to borrow a wireless 2.4GHz video sender, which performed flawlessly across an 80 meter distance. We were also able to borrow long runs of power cable which proved very useful.

Each camera was fed into a preview monitor, and then out into a switching matrix, necessary because our vision mixer had just two inputs. The outputs of two computers were also fed into the same matrix (more on this later). The outputs of the switching matrix were fed into the vision mixer, where there was an output to the preview monitor, as well as the main output to a distribution amplifier to send the final signal to its various destinations. The video side of the setup seemed to work exceptionally well, with no major issues.

Title and replay generation was our next problem - because of the speed with which titles would be required to give the results of events as soon as the scoring had been completed, we needed a custom-written program which took an input, and generated a full screen image, which was output via a TV-Out to the switching matrix. This was written, however the scoring was taking place in the centre of the running track. As we could (for obvious reasons) not run a cable over the running track, a wireless solution was required to connect the machine inputting results as they came in to the machine at the control point physically generating the scores. The distance was out of range of wireless network, and the base station we had was already in use elsewhere. The solution came in the form of packet radio, which performed as required, although it was not ideal. A machine with a Matrox RT2000 was used to capture various pieces of video and add a "replay" title to them and slow clips down for action replays.

After a 6.30am start for the crew, the setup was complete in time for the start of the sports events. The screens were very well received by visitors - there was a large audience inside the pavillion where the big screen was located (also in proximity to the available food and drink... surprisingly!), and there were several viewers of the online stream. Next year, we are hoping to be able to cover the cathedral service (which is in a cathedral approximately a mile away from the school), as well as the sports day.

Hopefully this post may have been of interest to someone - if not ignore!

Best Wishes,

James

cstv
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Joined: Jul 26 2002

WOW! and you managed this with no budget? well done indeed!

mark.

branny
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Joined: Nov 6 2001

Congratulations - It just shows what a little bravery, determination and teamwork can achieve.

How did you manage gaffer taping all the cables onto grass? ......

Do not follow, I may not lead. Do not lead . . . I may not follow.