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Case Study: University of Tennessee Delivers Live Instant Replay

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When additional editing is required beyond basic in/out points, the DreamCatcher includes an NLE-style interface for more advanced cutting. The university opts to use their department-wide standard of Adobe video products instead. This frees up the DreamCatcher to remain a dedicated instant replay system instead of having it serve multiple purposes. At one point during the broadcast, another team member was using Adobe Media Encoder on a separate machine to encode a sequence that had been recorded earlier to include in the halftime segment.

Sharing Files

Sharing files to and from the DreamCatcher is simple. The DreamCatcher can transcode multiple export profiles simultaneously and send the resulting files to a central location for access elsewhere on a network. Conversely, any other system can provide files to the DreamCatcher by placing files on the same drive. Of course, with all of this back and forth, an unorganized pile of files can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Fortunately, with proper tagging and use of bins, all of the shots available can be retrieved easily by any operator using the built-in search functionality.

Catching the Game

At halftime, the score was Ole Miss 1, Tennessee 0. While there wasn’t a lot of scoring in the first half, there was a pretty dramatic goal, as well as a few fouls and minor injuries. Throughout those 45 minutes, Goodman had been building a playlist of these better clips to string together for a short highlight reel to show during halftime.

The DreamCatcher is set up so that playlists can be built within the software with included transitions, such as fades and color transitions. Scrubbing is accomplished with a large scroll wheel on the interface, and in and out points can be set to determine frame-accurate edits of raw footage. This essentially looks like lightning-fast editing on the fly. After the director knew the total length of the reel, he was able to determine when and where the clip would be shown.

The second half of the match resulted in one more goal for Ole Miss and a red card against a Tennessee player. When Goodman was ready to play these clips back, seconds after they happened, he could have it play at a pre-determined rate of speed or vary it with the T-bar. The broadcast frame rate was set to network-spec’d 59.97, so slowing down the action for replay resulted in silky smooth motion at rates down to around 50 percent speed.

After the game clock reached zero and players headed to the locker rooms, the broadcast team’s work continued. Postgame remarks from the on-air commentators were broadcast to viewers; titles rolled and music faded. Since Goodman had been titling clips and playlists throughout the broadcast, the last hours of his shift were a bit easier than they would have been in the past. He had to create highlight reels of the game’s best shots for the university’s YouTube channel. Plus, he had to create what’s called a melt, which is essentially a barely edited compilation of every play or shot of importance throughout the game. This is shared with the opponent’s broadcast team and the SEC Network to be edited down for their own social media and broadcast purposes.

If there’s anything I learned during my few hours on the other side of the screen, it’s that no job inside the control room is unimportant. The instant replay component of a sports broadcast is just as necessary as any other role, especially as more and more professional sports allow officials to review these time-altered shots to determine how plays are called. As the team on the field has to work together and fulfill specific roles in order to function and succeed, so must each person wearing a headset be dedicated and focused on their individual tasks during a broadcast. Without that cooperation and concentration, viewers will be the ones to suffer.

Instant Replay for the Rest of Us

Ranging from $70,000 to $200,000, the Evertz DreamCatcher won’t fit into the budget of every crew that needs a dedicated replay system. Just because you’re broadcasting a local high school football game and not a Division I or NFL game doesn’t mean you can’t have instant replay. Here are three systems available that offer replay for live streamed productions and won’t break the bank.

1. NewTek 3play 425 – $12,000

The 3play from NewTek is designed to integrate with its popular line of Tricaster products. The 3play comes with a hardware controller very similar to the DreamCatcher, minus the integrated touchscreen.

2. Livestream HD51 – $7,000

The instant replay features actually come with the Studio software that runs on the HD51 and other hardware from Livestream. Recording multiple ISO feeds simultaneously allows you to punch in a replay to your stream while continuing your broadcast.

3. vMix Replay – $1,200

vMix Replay is a full instant replay system with four-camera input and two channel output with smooth slow motion, event management and live editing tools. It is available both in software form and as part of a turnkey system in the vMix GO. It can be controlled with ShuttlePRO controllers or standard keyboard and mouse. There are convenient 5-, 10-, and 20-second preset buttons to make replays quick and simple.

This article appears in the January/February 2016 issue of Streaming Media magazine as “Case Study: University of Tennessee Delivers Live Streamed Instant Replay With Evertrz DreamCatcher.”

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