Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn
 
Upcoming Industry Conferences
Streaming Media West [19-20 Nov 2019]
Esport & Sports Streaming Summit [19-20 Nov 2019]
OTT Leadership Summit [19-20 Nov 2019]
Video Engineering Summit [19-20 Nov 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [19 Nov 2019]
Streaming Media East [5-6 May 2020]
Past Conferences
Streaming Media East [7-8 May 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [7-8 May 2019]
OTT Leadership Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Video Engineering Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Content Delivery Summit [6 May 2019]
Streaming Forum [26 February 2019]

Case Study: University of Tennessee Delivers Live Streamed Instant Replay With Evertz DreamCatcher

The Evertz DreamCatcher replay system has replaced many older alternatives in high-end sports broadcast production. I spent an evening with the University of Tennessee athletics broadcast team to see how they use their 400-series DreamCatchers in conjunction with their SEC Network broadcast of a soccer match between the Vols and Ole Miss.

Instant replay is an integral part of the modern sports broadcasting experience. Partly because of today’s (relatively) low-cost home theater systems, many sports fans find that at-home viewing beats out the experience of being at the stadium—and a significant part of the at-home viewing experience is instant replay. However, if you were watching sports on television before the 1960s, you would have a better appreciation for how much instant replay really makes the game experience for the home viewer.

Credit for the first true instant replay goes to Tony Verna, who was a director for CBS. In 1963, he successfully ran an instant replay of a 1-yard scoring run by Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh during the broadcast of the annual Army-Navy game. In the days before the Super Bowl, the Army-Navy game was considered the most important and most widely viewed game of the year. Just a few years later, Ampex developed a dedicated high-band, color-disc video system for instant replay. The modern instant replay system was born and has continued to evolve over the past 50 years.

Although today’s instant replay solutions serve a similar purpose, they are vastly different from their forebears. The hardware has gone from what has been described as the size of “two Frigidaires” to just a small desktop hardware interface. In this article, we’re going to look at the DreamCatcher system from Canadian manufacturer Evertz. The DreamCatcher replay system has replaced many older alternatives in high-end sports broadcast production. I spent an evening with the University of Tennessee athletics broadcast team to see how they use their 400-series DreamCatchers in conjunction with their SEC Network broadcast of a soccer match between the Vols and Ole Miss (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. The UT athletics SEC Network studio

UT’s DreamCatcher Setup and Workflow

UT’s DreamCatcher is set up as two operator positions that are linked together so each operator can see what the other is monitoring. The system can display five inputs and records on a continuous loop for up to 24 hours. The broadcast department records a wide range of sports, including volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, and tennis. With six or more cameras in use during any given event, being able to monitor multiple angles for replay shots is critical to getting the best view of a big play (Figure 2, below).

Figure 2. Running the DreamCatcher

The thumbnail views of the various available camera angles are displayed across the top of the interface (Figure 3, below). UT’s setup designates which angle each system is viewing with a red or yellow stroke around each angle. This minimizes the possibility of both operators getting the same angle and missing a better shot from a different camera. These color designations are also used as names for each system when they’re being cued up to switch to during a broadcast.

Figure 3. The DreamCatcher thumbnail view

SEC/ESPN network director Tom Githens explains the two-operator setup. “In our workflow and normal broadcast workflow, there are lead replay and R/O (replay only) replay operators,” Githens says. “Your lead operators build packages and ‘rollouts’ for in-game storytelling and bumps going to and from breaks; R/O operators focus on dialing back looks and rolling replays, which isn’t to say your lead operators cannot accomplish this, but typically, they are used in a pinch.”