5 cam Live Soccer on one V-mix computer, because why not?
Project period: September 2018
Production date: September 26th 2018
Partners: Sporza, Leonid Adamopoulos (director), OA, Video Snackbar
In the Video Snackbar we try to introduce new technologies and media workflows into VRT.
We do this by organizing tests, by exploring the limits of a certain approach or technology and by occasionally banging into the wall.
One of these tests centered around V-mix, an all in one PC-based video mixing software, and the use of video and audio over IP using NDI and Dante protocols.
This test took place on the 26th of November and consisted of a 5 camera live production of a soccer game between Deinze (3rd division) and Club Brugge (1st division) for the Belgian Football Cup tournament.
We wanted to find out wether it’s realistic to produce a live soccer game by use of one pc (on steroids) running V-mix, a bunch of usb control panels, alot of pc screens and video and audio transport over IP using NDI, Dante and a few PoE switches.
As we’re doing soccer, we needed video cutting, audio mixing, replays and on-air graphics.
A commentary position, intercom with the commentator and the cameramen and a contribution of the PGM out to VRT were also necessary.
The operational crew consisted of 1 producer, 5 cameramen, 1 director/videoswitcher, 1 replay assistant, 1 audio engineer, 1 video engineer and 1 IT/Vmix guru, who also did the on-air graphics during the game.
The idea was ambitious, the preparation pure chaos, the vibe excellent and the production ready to go live 30 minutes before kick-off. We managed to produce this soccer match including 4-cam replays and post-match interviews. As the result of the game itself was quite astonishing (Club Brugge, the current champion in 1st division, lost with 0-2 from a third division team!) our PGM out was edited into a 12 minute highlight reel that was aired and discussed extensively that same evening on VRT’s main channel: één.
Without going into all the details, here are some of the learnings of this adventure.
It worked. We converted 5 sdi cams into NDI, sent them to the vmix pc and made a complete soccer production on one machine, including replays and graphics. This opens up alot of productions of tier 2 and 3 sports that are too small for an expensive OB-truck production. Granted, we still have alot of optimizations and fine tuning ahead, but the basic workflow is there.
While technically it is possible to run everything on one PC (as we did), operationally it’s not the best way to go. As all the operators do their prep more or less on their own and simultaneously, they all need access to the software and the mouse and keyboard at the same time. Therefore we will run audio and also graphics on seperate machines next time.
We did this evening game without camera-shading, but with color correction and white balancing. This worked reasonably well and could work in evening or indoor games. Obviously a shadeable camera setup will result in better matched images.
This setup runs on household 220V and fits in a regular room (or a Mercedes Sprinter like vehicle).
We were able to do this production with a reduced crew of people performing combined tasks. Creatives take part in the operational and technical process, operators take creative decisions. And everybody needs to become an IT specialist to some extent. This is an unstoppable evolution in live production and will -in my opninion- rather lead to much more content production, not the same amount of content creation with fewer people.
for much more (detailed) learnings and more info, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org