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Video Revamp at Southern Illinois University, Part 2

Aug 3, 2011 1:54 PM, with Bennett Liles


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And we were talking about video pretty much but how do you handle audio in the control room there? How far does your mic capability reach out?
We actually utilize everything that comes from football and basketball via their audio mixers but we only have a small Mackie mixer which is a 12-channel Mackie mixer, but we have an audio patch panel which we can patch all the different feeds from football to us and then all the different feeds from basketball to us via the same mixer. The audio operator in football will actually send me one line that controls all the microphones so we have an national anthem singer, if you have multiple…like the band for example, it’s miced—they’ll all come in on one line to me and I can adjust that level, and Mike Rosby who is our audio operator, he’s on the other end making sure the levels are balanced when they’re coming back to me so I don’t have the band up so loud and the national anthem singer so quiet and then we also have our radio play-by-play feed that comes in on another channel—we just pull it off the tuner. It made the most sense for our men’s basketball and football games, women’s basketball we don’t get a great signal so we take a direct feed from our…our radio play-by-play guy on the courtside area and that just comes up into our control room in one of…in…from one of the boxes that we have on the floor and then of course you have your crowd mic, you’ve got your replay, audio, you have your audio that you want to go to your recording devices, so there’s many different patches that we have but it all just comes in on a small Mackie mixer and for what we needed that was as big as we needed. [Timestamp: 8:2]

Yeah, audio is a big part of that—a lot bigger than most fans realize until the second they don’t have it but this is a huge project with all of the fiber that was installed. How long did this whole upgrade project take from the very beginning until you’re ready to fire it up for football and basketball?
Well, the facility itself took about a year to about a year and a half to completely build football, but as far the installation for video that only took three months for both facilities. It was a project that they got into their room a little later than they wanted, but they spent a lot of hours upgrading and putting all of equipment in so the fact that they were able to run all the fiber and build the control room in just three months was phenomenal—for football and basketball was about a month later and once they finished football, obviously it wasn’t that difficult to finish basketball because all the components were there it was just a matter of running the fiber. But when I was talking to our installers from TF Sports, Ron Stevens and Steve Hutchins, they were telling me that they were going to do whatever it took to get that completed before our first game in enough time for us to train when it came to basketball—football they did everything they could and they got up and running by our first game and I think that just gives a testament to Texas Star for how fantastic of a company they are to work with because they will get your deadline and no matter what happens they’ll meet it on time. [Timestamp: 9:44]

Yeah, that always makes a big difference when you have good communication and everybody’s on the same wavelength about what and when and what order everything has to be done. So did any surprises come along during the installation or any of the initial production where you had to work something differently?
No, actually it was a pretty smooth project install. There were a couple of hurdles that they had to work with from working with the local unions in the area but overall the project was a big success…it was a major success for SIU, for Texas Star and they’ve got this facility upgrade as one of their features that they talk about now that talks about implementing fiber so we’re really happy just to be a part of Texas Star’s pitch if you will and…like I said before they didn’t get into the project for installing video until about May or actually June rather when the control room was finally finished from a brick and mortar standpoint and then June, July, and August when it finally got installed so really nothing out of the ordinary for the install. [Timestamp: 10:48]

So what’s coming up for SIU and the video services team? Have you got anything in the works that you didn’t get to this time and you’ve put on the wish list?
Well, you know, we really wish we could upgrade more but at this point in time we’ve got everything that we need. We’re going to work on more of the webcast side now as we’re going to be focusing on webcast and volleyball games and trying to improve the baseball to softball webcasts but as of right now we’ve got everything that we need and maybe a few years down the road we’ll look to see what we can upgrade but we’re pretty happy with what we have now. [Timestamp: 11:21]

Well, that sounds like you’ve got plenty to work with and a good talent pool from the students on production positions and that must be a really busy place when you’ve got ball games in full swing—thanks for taking time to tell us about it. Chris Hagstrom with video services for athletics at Southern Illinois University.
Bennett, I appreciate the time talking with you and hopefully this gives an idea for somebody that’s out there looking to upgrade their facilities and gives them some insight into what it’s going to take. [Timestamp: 11:47]



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