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PEG Station Broadcasts with Broadcast Pix, Part 1

Sep 5, 2013 11:08 AM, With Bennett Liles


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And I would think that the macro capability is really a great way for fairly inexperienced production crew people to look like pros.

Exactly. Yeah, you can just create the configuration that you want—the shot configuration onscreen—and bring that up whether it’s a shot of, you know, a sideline shot of the coach paired with action on the field, that sort of thing. [Timestamp: 7:09]

And I think I saw that it has 8 SDI inputs for cameras and another input. What is that, for a key source?

Yes.

And I think it’s seven channels for file-based inputs like fancy-looking graphics and animations for scores and stats.

Yeah, we use clips that we would bring in—roll in, some people call them—and then computer screens. So you might bring in something coming off of someone’s laptop and other video sources that we might bring. Sometimes we’re working with another community media station and they might have a camera and we’ll put their camera into the system as well. So we try to leverage the capability of it a little bit more. But I think we’re just starting to discover its capabilities. This was our first season and it was sort of a shake-out period of figuring out what’s the best way to use it. What we did find out is that it’s sort of unrelated to the Broadcast Pix, but that we really needed a better remote headset system, so upgrading to that. [Timestamp: 8:10]

Yeah, the intercom communication is something that people tend to overlook until sometimes when you’re right in the middle of something and it’s turning into chaos.

Right. The ease of it is we asked that it be built specifically not for a truck but that can be carried in basically by one person and basically that’s really what we got. I mean you do need some help loading and unloading one box, but fundamentally one person can load this up and set it up very quickly. It doesn’t take up a lot of room. But at the same time, now we’ve thought about it, well we actually, if we have a vehicle—and we’re looking into that—we could actually set it up in the vehicle if we wanted to use it that way without doing a lot of reengineering of the unit. We’re just basically using the vehicle as the venue where we set the equipment up and still roll out the cables and everything else from the vehicle. So we’re seeing that we may be able to combine it. We may want to combine it with a vehicle just because it gives us a little more capability and less setup time, especially if the weather is bad. [Timestamp: 9:12]

And who did you work with on customizing this thing?

In part with Broadcast Pix themselves, some of the folks there, but primarily with the camera company, and then my technical director here, Adam Dusenberry, has a lot of experience with Broadcast Pix over the years, and he and I sat down and really just work-shedded through everything and did some 3D modeling, like how would this actually work if you did like this or that? So they basically—the camera company—took our designs, as it were, and built it out exactly the way we wanted it, especially things like signage and labels, so that you can easily see what you’re doing. That’s one complaint I always have, that you get a piece of equipment and you can’t read what input is what and where you plug cables in. So we built it out to be used—people can plug in cables very quickly. [Timestamp: 10:01]

You mentioned that the sports coverage is heavy on graphics capability and I think on the Broadcast Pix gear that’s a Harris Inscriber CG.

Oh yeah, right, the CG itself. Yes, uh-huh. That’s a product that I’ve worked with over the years in other products, you know, that is a feature in other products as well, but it’s got a good track record, especially in sports, so yeah it’s fairly easy to use and it’s got a great deal of capability. [Timestamp: 10:24]

Yeah. In addition to broadcasting government meetings and such things, you take a remote unit out and a crew with minimal technical experience and you do football.

Mm-hmm.

That’s really jumping into the deep end of the pool.

That’s right.

How do you produce the local football game coverage?

Well, that’s probably the hardest part of all of it. The easiest part is setting the equipment up, but Adam Dusenberry, as I mentioned, has some experience and we decided we would approach all the teams and the athletic director and just make the offer that if you provide the warm bodies—the volunteers—we’ll be there to set up the equipment. But if you can’t, don’t have the interest in providing the volunteers, we can’t guarantee the coverage. So that’s pretty much how we’ve done that, although since the first season we’ve reached out and been a little more proactive showing people what it can do, but we’re really trying to leverage and use the interest that there already is in particular sports to get folks to be involved in the production of those sports and found that certain things like hockey, football, not so much baseball, unfortunately, and a lot of the women’s sports. There’s a lot of competitive teams in Belmont, particularly in the women’s side of the sports, so that’s where a lot of interest is these days. [Timestamp: 11:44]

Well, no problem getting people to tune in to local sports coverage and maybe it will get them to look at some other things that the station offers and maybe the support will carry over into that.

That’s right. Yeah. [Timestamp: 11:55]

Sounds like a lot of fun. Jeff, I appreciate your being here to tell us how you do things there. Jeff Hansell from Belmont Media Center, the PEG station in Belmont, Mass., doing lots of great work up there. We’ll see you in part two.

Thank you.

Thanks for being with us for the SVC Podcast with Jeff Hansell of Belmont Media Center. Show notes can be found on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. Join us for part two when Jeff will discuss the training of volunteer crews on the Broadcast Pix and other gear, next time on the SVC Podcast.



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