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From the Wrestling Ring to the Superdome: Streaming Live Sports with D2 Productions

How D2 Productions carved out a niche in the sports event video live production and streaming market by capitalizing on flexibility and mobility

The explosion of online video has drastically changed the live production landscape. Previously, live events were often limited to airing on one television network. Now, the explosion of online and smaller niche networks has created the availability and demand for more content, especially in the realm of live sports.

As General Partner at full-service video production and streaming media company D2 Productions, I was seeing demand from athletic conferences, leagues, and schools that wanted to air events, but there was either a bottleneck in existing facilities or a void in facilities that were capable of doing the work.

Huge networks were renting 20-year old SD trucks to webcast games, or a team might set up a camcorder hooked up to a streaming encoder to air a match. That's when it dawned on me that there existed an opportunity to create a compact mobile HD unit that was flexible enough to work a variety of events.

Enter Genesis: A Custom-Designed Mobile HD Unit

Genesis (Figure 1, below) is a 24 ft. trailer that incorporates a traditional three-bench main control room and rear video and audio room built around quality equipment suited for a mobile environment.

D2 Productions
Figure 1. The Genesis video production trailer and D2 Productions co-founders Damon Movitz (left) and Dave Walzer (right)

At the backbone of Genesis lie the Blackmagic Design Compact Videohub router and four Videohub Smart Control panels. Router inputs include the
truck's five cameras, the instant replay system and VTRs, six frame sync channels, external I/O panel patch points and various utility signals, such as black and color bars. Router outputs include the switcher sources, replay system and VTRs, frame syncs, transmission feeds and various monitors, including six Blackmagic Design SmartView Duo monitors (Figure 2, below).

D2 Productions
Figure 2. Monitoring video inside Genesis

Using the Videohub Smart Controls, the producer is able to switch the main program monitor feed and a talent ISO feed, the technical director can route the switcher's inputs and camera return video, the replay controller can switch inputs to the replay system as well as the truck's file based recorders and VTRs, and the video operator can cut cameras as he shades. Six SmartView Duos are all fed via Compact Videohub outputs, allowing Genesis to route any video output to any of the monitors as well.