Blackmagic Aids Streaming Efforts at Georgia Southern University

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At the Georgia Southern University Center for Academic Technology Support, the broadcast department recently teamed up with the school’s athletics department to provide high-definition streaming of home athletic games. We stream baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball games live to the Georgia Southern Eagles’ web site, as well as to mobile viewing devices.

I lead the multimedia division of the Center for Academic Technology Support. When we heard about the new plans for streaming athletic games, we jumped at the chance to upgrade the department’s video capabilities in order to provide professional video and streaming services to fans. We turned to the team at Blackmagic Design to get the project off the ground.

The first step was to install fiber at each of the major stadiums around the campus. Next we developed a workflow for live production and streaming, detailing everything from the cameras we would use to recording and playback options. We elected to use Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck Shuttle solid-state drive recorder and HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcast deck to form the recording and storage backbone of our live production workflow.

We record two versions of each broadcast: one to SSD using the HyperDeck Shuttle and one with HyperDeck Studio Pro. We record every game in its entirety in uncompressed video and use the HyperDecks to store this content. The units serve as our backup systems if there should be a failure of the live stream.

Recorders Facilitate Editing Process

We also edit directly from the SSD media using the HyperDecks. This is really a huge benefit for us, as the solid-state drives are so fast and affordable. Most of our HyperDeck units are connected to our Blackmagic Design ATEM switchers, which we then use for video downconversions, the addition of graphics and general switching.

Another advantage for us that comes with the HyperDeck Studio Pro is that it’s a “dual deck” recorder. The dual recording capability allows us to record continuously. When one drive is filled, the recording process automatically continues on the next SSD. This provides us with a backup in the event we run out of space on one of the drives. I should mention that this does happen, as we record everything in an uncompressed format and the games that we record sometimes run quite long (in some cases, as long as five hours).

No Mechanical Issues, Ever!

We feel that the greatest strength of the HyperDeck units is that there are no moving parts. This is quite a change from the previous recording technologies and eliminates the potential for mechanical issues spoiling our recordings. It also provides us with the solid performance we need to deliver high-quality live streaming.

During peak seasons, we stream anywhere from four to seven games per week, and we sometimes even stream other university events such as musical performances. Our upgrade to HD video streaming included the capability for streaming multiple events simultaneously, and thanks in part to Blackmagic Design, we are able to deliver as many as three games simultaneously.   VE

Arthur Berger is the media development specialist/producer at Georgia Southern University. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and is the winner of two. He has also been nominated this year for Best Live Director and Best Sports Director. Art may be contacted at aberger@georgiasouthern.edu. For additional information, visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.

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