Harvard To Stream Field Hockey Live With JVC Sports Production Camera
Harvard University Athletics will use its new JVC GY-HM200SP 4KCAM sports production camera with embedded score panel graphics to stream live coverage of its field hockey team on Oct. 15. The camera was purchased earlier this year to simplify production and reduce crew and gear requirements for live, boat-based coverage of the school’s four rowing teams.
With a combination of 14 JVC cameras, three flypacks, and two control rooms, Harvard Athletics handles home game coverage for 32 of its Division 1 teams. Rowing, a popular sport in Ivy League schools, creates logistical challenges for live video production because of the water-based nature of the competition. Harvard Athletics, which has men’s and women’s teams in both lightweight and heavyweight divisions, decided it would be better to produce single-camera coverage from a boat instead of trying to shoot from several locations on shore across the Boston area.
According to Imry Halevi, director of multimedia and production for Harvard Athletics, there are three elements that are essential for video coverage of rowing: clear video, graphics with a clock so viewers can keep track of the race, and audio that provides both commentary and natural sound. Initially, boat personnel included a two-man production team, two commentators, and a captain to drive the boat.
In order to add graphics, the production team needed a laptop and external monitor. The camera signal would be fed to the laptop, where graphics would be added, then sent to a TVUPack uplink backpack. The laptop did not capture or send SDI signals, so converters were required, and power was always a concern. Weather was also a potential issue; rowers continue through rain, but Harvard Athletics would have to cancel coverage during rain because of the laptop and its accessories.
Acquired before the start of rowing season last spring, the GY-HM200SP eliminated the need for a laptop. Instead, the camera receives score and clock information wirelessly from an iPad, which is incorporated into a real-time score overlay on the streamed video output. As a result, the entire production can be handled by one person instead of two.
“We had to figure out the most efficient way to stream rowing. It’s complex and challenging on a boat because of power,” Halevi explained. “We always struggled until this past year when we got the GY-HM200SP. We’d been streaming rowing for four years, but it’s never been like this.”
Harvard Athletics records a clean feed without graphics as well as a copy of the live video stream simultaneously within the camera. Halevi said the camera’s built-in graphics look clean, and JVC offers the option to import custom graphics. He also praised the camera’s consistent video quality in changing weather conditions during a race. “Honestly, it’s never been a concern,” Halevi noted. “We leave the camera on full auto and it takes care of it.”
Beyond its built-in graphics overlay, the GY-HM200SP includes the extensive professional feature set of JVC’s popular GY-HM200. Its built-in streaming engine with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity allows live HD transmission to content delivery networks (CDNs) like Facebook Live and YouTube, in addition to broadcast IP decoders. The integrated 12x zoom lens includes an optical image stabilizer and 24x dynamic zoom in HD mode. Other features include dual XLR audio inputs, integrated handle with hot shoe and dedicated microphone mount, and a variety of 4K, HD, and SD recording modes to economical Class 10 SDHC/SDXC memory cards.