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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.

Running the DreamCatcher System

When I arrived in the studio at 6 p.m., one hour before game time, the room was already buzzing with activity. The mobile camera operators were busy both inside and outside the soccer stadium, gathering b-roll of fans arriving, and the director was coaching the operators on getting the necessary shots. I spent the game sitting beside Ross Goodman, a UT student who’d been operating the Evertz system for about a year, after previously serving as a camera operator for some of these same games.

At my arrival, Goodman was capturing, clipping, and cataloging everything for easy retrieval. While soccer isn’t as fast-paced as some other sports, there are still critical moments that can’t be missed due to inattention or distraction. Anyone who’s spent time in a broadcast studio knows that distractions have no place when the red light is on. There’s no instant replay on your broadcast when it’s live and you miss a shot or cue.

After footage is clipped down for length, files are named and tagged for later retrieval (Figure 4, below). After Goodman got a few fan shots together, he dragged them from one column of the interface onto the far right column to build a named playlist. When the broadcast began at 7 p.m., the playlist simply had to be started from the DreamCatcher and switched on for the program feed.

Figure 4. Clips tagged for later retrieval

Music, live commentary, graphics, and fonts (for titles) were mixed and layered in as needed at the director’s discretion. In addition to the dedicated DC-RCP10 hardware control surface, the operator can use a full standard keyboard for text entry and some navigation. Plus the 7" screen on the control surface is touch-enabled (Figure 5, below).

Figure 5. The DreamCatcher control surface features a touch-enabled 7" screen

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 departmentwide 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.