From Basketball to Soccer, Willamette University live streams sporting events to athlete friends and families
Willamette University is a small liberal arts school located in Salem, Oregon where Christopher Sabato, the Assistant Director of Athletics for Media, organizes live broadcasts for the sports teams. From outdoor soccer matches to indoor basketball games, Sabato shares with us his techniques for live broadcasting these events and how the students families watch from out of state.
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At Willamette University, the majority of the student population comes from out of state making it important to the Athletics Department that these families are able to watch the live sports broadcasts online. Using a selection of live streaming hardware and software which includes PTZOptics cameras, Wirecast, Magewell capture cards, xKeys controllers and more, Christopher regularly produces high quality live broadcasts the schools sports fans enjoy all season long. At the end of the day, it’s all about the fans that cannot make it to every game who are now able to watch live and enjoy the broadcasts from the comfort of their homes.
For outdoor broadcasts during the soccer season, Christopher uses a PTZOptics 20X-SDI camera housed in an outdoor enclosure to capture all the action using a PTZ joystick controller. The Dotworkz outdoor camera enclosure is designed for permanent outdoor use and includes two weather sealed cable ports which Sabato uses for HD-SDI video and RJ45 converted to DB9 to be used for camera control with the HuddleCamHD joystick. The camera captures all the action from high above the field mounted on top of a SkyHawk TriPod mount made by US Sports Video. This giant tripod allows Christopher to follow the direction of game play from high above the athletes on field. “I don’t have a big production crew. So everything has been designed to be operated by myself or one other work study student,” says Christopher.
During basketball season, Christopher uses 5 cameras to produce a professional video broadcast with the PTZOptics cameras, Wirecast 7, HDMI & HD-SDI Magewell capture cards and the xKeys 24-button controller. The broadcast quality looks like it could be available on ESPN and Christopher has used a few IP networking techniques to pull in the live scoreboard timer he explained for us: “I have a clock camera setup using NDI and Newtek’s Connect Pro with effectively zero latency.” Using a clock camera as you can see in the picture above, Christopher is able to take the video feed and crop just the timer and shot clock for his game title in Wirecast. With a little Wirecast magic, he’s able to layer the live shot clock and game time onto his virtual scoreboard title.
During every live broadcast, Christopher tries his best to include a play by play announcer audio feed, saying, “It’s our goal to have play by play in all our sports broadcasts.” Once the game starts a dedicated play by play announcer will handle all audio including ad spots, bumpers and pre-recorded interviews. The Technical Director can play video overlays, with no audio, to match what the PxP is sending. The Technical Director mixer is sending an aux out to a Galaxy Audio Anyspot wireless receiver. The play by play audio workflow is explained below along with the entire video/audio system outline.
Willamette University Basketball Setup
Lexington Legends Minor League Baseball
The 2nd generation PTZOptics cameras now include support for 60 frames per second at resolutions up to 1920x1080p. In the sports streaming market it is very important to support high frame rates in order to capture fast moving objects. In many cases, video production crews are increasing efficiency by deploying remotely controlled PTZ cameras in strategic locations where they no longer need to employ a camera operator.
Our first case study features a Minor League Baseball team, the Lexington Legends, and their video production crew PrepSpin. PrepSpin uses PTZOptics cameras with a wireless Ubiquiti router system which can cover the entire ball-park. PrepSpin proudly uses vMix to live stream their sports productions using a custom Windows-based computer with a built-in PCIe capture card with four HD-SDI inputs.
The pictures below show the back of their live streaming computer which is where each PTZOptics camera is connected for a 3G SDI cable for video. The IP Joystick (SKU: PT-JOY) is then used for camera control over the network. To simplify the cabling in a sporting venue PrepSpin uses the wireless routers to connect their wireless system to the video production network.
Interesting “Fan Cam” Setup
PrepSpin also uses their wireless network to send video to vMix via a vMix Call input using an Android cell phone with WebRTC. Using the WiFi throughout the ball-park PrepSpin can send high quality video from a mobile cell phone to show behind the scenes camera angles.
Learn more about live streaming sports
In this week’s live show, we speak with PrepSpin CEO William Warfield all about live sports streaming. PrepSpin is a digital sports network dedicated to live streaming high school, college and professional level sports. William uses vMix to live stream all kinds of different sporting events including: Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Soccer and much more. This live stream reviews Warfield’s live streaming system setup customized for each sport that produces. Warfield let’s us in on some trade secrets including a wireless “Fan Cam” he uses with vMix call and Ubiquiti wireless antennas and access points.
In this video, we talk about live streaming sports with PTZ cameras and manned cameras to create professional video productions. William uses vMix call with wireless routers to create a wireless video production camera they can use with the fans throughout the ballpark. Since it’s Baseball season, William has given us some great footage of the cameras from the Lexington Legends but we are hoping to get more sports test footage as soon as the Football and Soccer season comes around. Enjoy a fun show and don’t miss the post show Q&A where we answer your live questions.
Live Streaming Sports
Warfield explains how live streaming sports became a reality for him after he decided to quit his current job and start PrepSpin. Today he works with high schools, colleges and professional level sports teams providing video production and live content distribution for sporting events year round. Warfield explains that high school sports is where his heart is because he is helping students get into college and reach the attention of college recruiters. Warfield tells us that coaches and recruiters may only see 1-2% of the games a prospective high school athlete will play in a given season. PrepSpin uses vMix to not only live stream sporting events for viewers around the world but also to provide high definition quality game footage which can be emailed and sent out to coaches around the world.
Live Sports Technology Setup
Warfield was nice enough to let us into his “Press Box” for the Lexington Legends Minor League Baseball team where he is using multiple PTZ cameras to remotely operate and control the camera system. Each camera is using HD-SDI cabling connected to the “Stream Tank” which is a custom built live streaming computer running vMix. These custom built computers are running the latest i7 intel processors and 1080 NVDIA graphics cards as Warfield explains.
The streaming system technology configuration for wireless PTZ cameras is displayed here to show how easy it is to have wireless PTZ camera control through a sporting event. This is ideal for large area spaces such as the Minor League Baseball Stadium William is working with. The wireless Ubuiquti access points and antennas were already part of the live streaming setup for use with vMix Call. The Fan Cam explained later in this video uses the WiFi access points to connect to vMix via vMix Call and send live video & audio from almost anywhere in the stadium.
Also included in the WiFi/wireless camera setup is the PTZOptics IP joystick which provides seamless control of the camera’s pan, tilt and zoom functionality over the network.
Post Show Q&A – Live Streaming Sports
In the post show, we had so much to cover in regards to the live streaming of sports with William Warfield of PrepSpin. We dig into the custom PC builds PrepSpin creates to run vMix with multiple cameras, live streaming, recording and much more. We also review the “Long Range” Ubiquiti wireless access points which are the “LR” versions from Ubiquiti. William explains how to use the Ubiquiti routers to provide wireless PTZ camera controls and set up multiple wireless access points as repeaters for large stadium deployments.
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