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Streaming Salsa: Producing the 2012 World Latin Dance Finals Webcast

How Mobeon used Telestream Wirecast Pro and Matrox VS4 to stream the 2012 World Latin Dance Cup Finals
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The 3rd Annual World Latin Dance Cup Finals drew more than 600 competitors from more than 40 countries, all hoping to be chosen champions of Latin dancing. At the finals—held December 13-15, 2012 at the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC)—the dancers performed energetic, expressive Latin dances before a packed auditorium.

With global interest in this colorful, electrifying and passionate competition, Albert Torres Productions, the event organizer, asked Mobeon to produce a live, multicamera webcast of the finals for the third straight year. Each year, Mobeon—a live broadcast production company and new media consultancy in Santa Monica, Calif.—sent a video crew to the MACC, set up a few HD cameras, and produced all aspects of the high-quality annual webcast, which was streamed in standard definition.

Mobeon CEO Mark Alamares decided they would use Telestream's Wirecast Pro live streaming production software for the 2012 World Latin Dance Cup Finals as they had done the previous year. For the 2011 finals, when the Mobeon crew brought two Sony HD camera signals into Wirecast via FireWire ports on an Apple MacBook Pro, they were extremely pleased with the quality of the webcast and the positive viewer response.

World Latin Dance Cup Finals 2012
Still images by Ricardo Tellez

Streaming Plus ISO Record

For The 2012 World Latin Dance Cup Finals, Alamares says, "I wanted to raise the production bar even higher. Besides going from two to three HD cameras, I also wanted to ISO record each camera's HD signal while switching between them for the live program stream, which was delivered in standard definition."

ISO recording would allow Albert Torres—a world-renowned Latin music and dance promoter—to repurpose the raw 1080p HD footage into a documentary, among other video projects.

While searching online for an advanced solution that could meet his production requirements including ISO record, Alamares came across November 2012 news of a joint, integrated solution from Telestream and Matrox. It enabled multi-camera recording by pairing Telestream Wirecast live streaming production software for Windows with the Matrox VS4 four-channel video capture card.

When the VS4 card is installed, companion plug-in software called Matrox ISO Record automatically installs within Wirecast. After the software is configured for ISO record, the video signals from each of up to four cameras are captured onto a hard drive at that native video quality level.

CDN-friendly

Wirecast lets operators switch between these camera inputs, roll-in video clips, add graphics, titles, and transitions, and even chromakey video against a greenscreen for virtual sets, among a wide array of production features.

While Mobeon and Albert Torres Productions used Ustream, Wirecast users can also stream live via YouTube and Justin.tv as well as content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai and Limelight. Mobeon obtained a hard-wired Internet connection from the MACC and the adjacent DoubleTree Hilton hotel that delivered between 1 and 1.5 Mbps.

Mobeon was able to put together a complete multicamera streaming system including Wirecast Pro with the Matrox VS4 card for under $4,000. Users can install the card (in a PCI-express slot inside the computer) along with the Matrox drivers and Wirecast Pro software. Wirecast users can enlist the help of manufacturer-certified systems builders to install and configure their systems for them for an additional cost. Once this setup is done, users need only to plug in their cameras and start streaming.

"This price-point is a real game changer," says Alamares. "It puts the ability to stream very high-quality, HD multicamera shows within reach of many who previously couldn't afford to do it. This price advantage helped us deliver the uncompromised production quality the World Latin Dance Cup Finals demanded while staying within a very tight production budget."

World Latin Dance Cup Finals 2012