SportzSuite allows users to create and deploy graphics anywhere
While sports venues lie dormant in the dark without the energy of fans, the same can be said about many broadcast control rooms around the country. Linear networks like ESPN and esports powerhouses like Activision Blizzard are all doing their jobs from home but one task of this new workflow, remote scoreboard graphics integration, is still a bit daunting. To alleviate the pressure, Sportzcast is making this job simpler with the new SportzSuite product that gives graphics designers the ability to create and distribute templates through the cloud and production crews the chance to access and seamlessly deploy packages with any broadcast equipment.
“SportzSuite enables the graphics creator or designer to layout a scorebug exactly how they want in a simplistic way, so you don’t need expert skills in Photoshop because it’s a drag and drop tool and shows up immediately on your screen,” says Mike Connell, president, Sportzcast. “After you create and save it, it’s available around the world so you’re able to send it out into a cloud-based environment. Live data from any scoreboard with custom graphics is instantly available anywhere.
For those interested in trying SportzSuite, CLICK HERE to access the free software and tutorial.
Building on the Foundation: ScoreBot Gives Way to Newest Product Launch
Originally planned for traditional broadcast and now tooled for live streamed applications, the SportzSuite is building off of another tentpole product at the foundation of the company’s arsenal, ScoreBot. And with these litany of devices inside numerous production facilities in the United States, the hybrid approach of pre-existing controllers and new virtual controllers permit SportzSuite to flourish wherever these teams or production sites are located.
“Currently, we have about 5,000 ScoreBots in venues around the world that are reporting real-time data with no latency and we’re able to access the information,” he says. “This new product continues upon that, but now its cloud-based and is capable of delivering information to any production system anywhere in real-time. If there’s someone that’s starting a remote production, you need to understand how you’re creating these graphics and delivering this data.”
Shrinking the Distance: Cloud-Based Workflow Overcomes the Production Challenge
Despite the prioritization of health and safety, these current remote circumstances is causing an obstacle with keeping the flow synchronized and on-time. During the handful of live events that are taking place, employees need to not only stay on the same page with their colleagues, but also maintain symmetry with the game itself. In addition, the issue of latency and the potential of there being a timed delay in the broadcast is also prevalent.
To mind this production gap, SportzSuite keeps both production teams and their graphics artists on a harmonious timeline with the help of the cloud and allowing users to disperse these graphics via plug-ins that are compatible with a multitude of broadcast devices, including NewTek’s lineup of TriCaster production switchers, Telestream’s Wirecast, vMix and many more. In terms of latency, the product is flexible when digesting the real-time data by linking with the latent or non-latent video footage.
“We’ve found that when you’re running a remote production, there’s so many sources coming at you at different time,” continues Connell. “It’s a seamless integration since we’re providing the graphics as NDI, PNGs, HTML, or whatever form that the target device needs. It’s also allowed us to delay this information, so it matches up with the video that’s coming in. We consider scoring information as the reference timeline of a remote production, so if the game and game clock are correct, everything else will align with it.”
By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor
Monday, May 18, 2020 – 11:39 am
The Power of Remote Graphics: SportzSuite Assists in Live Sports Production’s Potential Future
Prior to the lengthy sports shutdown, SportzSuite has been utilized by a wide variety of collegiate programs. In the higher ranks of Division I athletics, prominent institutions like the University of Georgia are using it to relay scoring data from venues across campus to their centralized control room. In the lower tiers, other colleges and universities are injecting custom scorebugs into static cameras that capture tennis, baseball, and softball games.
When sports do return, many productions will continue with this at-home style. While still a year away, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, taking place in Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena from June 3-6, 2021, will leverage SportzSuite to let judges remotely enter their scores while watching the competition on a screen in another location. Furthermore, some boxing events are transitioning to web-based score entry as well.
As the coronavirus pandemic persists, live sports production will continue to slowly shift their sites to these at-home workflows, and as long as professionals get the job done from the familiar confines of their respective homes, remote graphics integration will still be high up on their list of priorities.
“Graphics designers are able to stay in their office at home or wherever location because they’re able to create templates like they’re sitting within a production truck, so colleagues are able to immediately access their project with any updates,” concludes Connell. “It’s going to be a really easy way to incorporate [the product] since everyone’s working and collaborating in real-time.”