Installation Trends: Streamlined Sportscasting
May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, Daniel Keller
Stadium broadcasting systems shrink in size as they grow in capabilities.
IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID
Needless to say, digital's ability to reduce the bottom line in this manner is something that appeals to organizations such as the Rangers. “For a sports franchise, there are really only two ways to make more money: either find new ways to generate revenue or cut down on overhead. These technologies actually address both sides of that equation,” Siegel says.
“In Major League Baseball in particular, most of the teams' production staffs have always been stretched to the limit,” says Ken Scott, ABS director of broadcast engineering. “They've got barely enough people to handle inhouse production, let alone full production for broadcast. Nowadays, Major League Baseball is taking the feed from all its parks and putting it directly over the Web as well, which stretches production resources even further. So the biggest challenge is to try and do even more with the people they currently have. That's why these types of products are so appealing, because they can have one or two people handle a production that used to require at least four or five sets of hands.”
At the Rangers' stadium, practical experience seems to bear this out.
“The new system has really streamlined operations and reduced the number of hands-on we need,” Morgan says. “Our operators can perform multiple functions, and the control room environment is far less hectic. In theory, you could run the whole production with just one person, though for us, that's not really practical.”
The system has also reduced or eliminated a number of video-format compatibility issues, which was among the most time-consuming problems for stadium production facility staff to overcome.
“With any video clip we wanted to use, we'd have to take time before the game to do format conversions and import it for use during the production,” Morgan says. “The Slate can handle playback of multiple formats, so we only need to drag and drop a clip to play it back. It not only saves us time in preproduction, it also enables us to be a bit more spontaneous in selecting clips during a live production.”
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