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Tutorial: How to Up Your Live Sports Streaming Game with PTZ and NDI

PTZOptics cameras with built-in NDI support paired with the NewTek TriCaster TC1 can help you take your live-switched sports streaming work to the next level.

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In this tutorial, I’ll show you how the newest gear from NewTek and PTZOptics can take your sports production game to the next level.

At the 2017 NAB show, NewTek introduced the 4K 60P TriCaster TC1 with NDI support (Figure 1, below). NDI is NewTek's open-source network device interface protocol.

Figure 1. NewTek TriCaster TC1

PTZOptics cameras (Figure 2, below) support it. What this means is that you can easily connect their cameras to the TC1 with just an ethernet cable for control and signal.

Figure 2. PTZOptics cameras

I took the TC1 and some PTZOptics cameras to a local high school football practice to test out a setup. PTZOptics offers a variety of cameras to fit your needs. Since I was shooting from a long distance, I chose PTZOptics 20x models with 20X zoom for following the action. With a power-over-ethernet switch, I could run these cameras with just one cable.

Key Features of PTZOptics Cameras for Sports Shooters

In most sporting arenas, PTZOptics cameras are permanently mounted with a wall, ceiling, or pull mount. In fact, many customers choose to use an outdoor camera housing for permanently installed outdoor locations. For this demo, I'm using a trusty tripod (Figure 3, below).

Figure 3. PTZOptics 20x-SDI on tripod

The fast pace of sports requires high frame rates for smooth motion. I've used NDI to set the camera frame rates to 59.94 and the shutter speeds to 1/120 (Figure 4, below).

Figure 4. Choosing settings for the PTZOptics 20x

As you can see in Figure 5 (below), the video quality is just as good as traditional over-the-shoulder broadcast cameras. But I can remotely control all my PTZ cams from a single location.

Figure 5. High school football captured with the PTZOptics 20x

For a wide shot of the field and stadium, I set up the Z-cam variable lens (Figure 6, below).

Figure 6. Applying variable-lens settings on the PTZOptics 20x

This little giant offers an epic 122-degree field of view (Figure 7, below). These 3G SDI Z-cams are ideal for close-up locations as well, such as the stadium hallway entrance from the team's locker room, or in my case the top of the announcer's booth above the crowd.

Figure 7. The PTZOptics 20X’s 122-degree field of view is great for wide shots of a football field

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