Broadcast Pix Mixes it Up for Mixed Martial Arts
Feature Productions, a live production company based in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, is using Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 video control centers as part of two portable production flypacks for live coverage of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) matches and other events. The company had been renting a Slate-equipped flypack since 2009, but began using its own flypack in late May.
In southern Alberta, Feature Productions has gained a reputation for MMA video production and now works with four different MMA affiliations. According to co-owner Chris Cooke, the company was originally hired to provide image magnification (I-MAG) – featuring live coverage, instant replays, graphics, and commercials – to on-site audiences. However, event promoters took notice of the HD productions and began offering them to broadcasters. Some matches are also streamed to GoFightLive, an online pay-per-view service.
Although Cooke and co-owner Steve Prankard designed and built the first flypack three years ago, pairing the Slate with Sony cameras and a Yamaha audio board, the system was purchased through an investor. Earlier this year, Feature Productions purchased the new flypack, which is also anchored by a Slate but features JVC cameras and some logistical improvements. “We did our research and we decided Broadcast Pix was the best for us,” says Cooke.
Important selling points were Slate’s built-in clip store, CG, multi-viewer, and other Fluent workflow tools, which improve production efficiencies and minimize additional components in the flypacks. For example, Cooke rarely uses a USB stick to transfer files. Instead, he relies on Fluent Watch-Folders, which allow him to insert commercials and other elements into a program over the network, even in the middle of a live production. “That’s a great aspect of the Broadcast Pix,” he explains. “It’s a pretty quick process and it’s so easy during a show.”
Cooke estimates that 80 percent of the company’s business is live production. Beyond MMA, Feature Productions produces corporate events, conferences, and Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) coverage. Currently in the second year of a three-year contract, Feature Productions also handles video scoreboard productions for the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge. Home of the Western Hockey League (WHL) Lethbridge Hurricanes and host to a number of concerts and other events, the venue features a control room built around a Broadcast Pix Granite 2000.
“We’re comfortable with Broadcast Pix, and it has a very good track record with us. We’re very confident with its reliability,” Cooke says. “Our clients love the results, and that’s the true test.”