Fans at X Games Get the Tricaster Treatment

Fans of extreme winter sports making the trek to Aspen, CO, for the ESPN Winter X Games 14 this weekend will have an in-venue video experience powered, for the first time, by two NewTek Tricaster integrated switcher and production unit. “Instead of having a production truck,” says Philip Nelson,  SVP, strategic development, for NewTek, “they are using a TriCaster, our 3PLAY replay system, and Live Text for character generation.”

Kate Nelligan, X Games live event programming producer for ESPN, says the NewTek TriCaster and 3PLAY allow ESPN to produce more live exclusive content for each venue, bringing the fans even closer to the action.

With TriCaster, ESPN can simultaneously produce, live-stream, broadcast, and project HD and SD network-style productions. A single operator or small team can create sophisticated productions while switching between multiple cameras, virtual inputs, and live virtual sets, while automatically inserting clips, titles, and motion graphics with multichannel effects. Feeds can also be fed out to ESPN360, where viewers around the country can tune in and catch an event online.

Three people work on each Tricaster, with the two units serving video out to video boards at three venues. The system includes the two Tricasters, two 3PLAY systems, the Live Text character generator, and an SDI router. The Tricasters’ three inputs handle three incoming sources: one from the SDI router (which will have a variety of sources available through it, including line cuts from the TV feed); one from an ENG camera used to interview athletes after a run or for other unique content; and the third from the 3PLAY system. An iVGA scan converter is also used to deliver social-networking content to the scoreboards, converting it from PC-friendly resolution to scoreboard-friendly resolution.

The NewTek 3PLAY plays a key role, delivering synchronized, continuous recording and display of up to three video streams. The system connects to any switcher and supports the output of either a single stream or all three streams to the switcher for complete flexibility in live production. Replays are easily organized in separate lists using color coding to distinguish teams, players, game periods, event types, and highlights. 3PLAY supports 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio.

“This isn’t so much about cost savings but rather doing more productions for more venues,” says Nelson. “This gives a more high-tech look to what is usually image magnification.”

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