LiveSports Uses Panasonic’s AK-UB300 4K Box Cameras for New Remote Production Model
LiveSports LLC has recently implemented six of Panasonic’s AK-UB300 4K box cameras as the linchpin of a new remote production paradigm for coverage of professional tennis tours (ATP and WTA) on behalf of its client, IMG Gaming. Beginning early this year, LiveSports switched out its previous generation of Panasonic AJ-HPX370 P2 HD camcorders for the UB300 4K multi-purpose cameras mounted on robotic motion control heads.
“IMG Gaming had asked us to start producing in 4K in anticipation of eventual 4K broadcasts,” says LiveSports’ president Jef Kethley. “We chose the UB300s based on native 4K acquisition, the ability to paint the cameras over IP, compact ergonomics and our years of successful collaboration with Panasonic.
“Also, the UB300 fully supports our established workflow,” says Kethley. “We use a mixture of converters to take the 4K output and convert it into NewTek’s NDI IP video over the network. Once the cameras are recognized as a video source, they are accessible to our NewTek IPSeries Video Mix Engine switcher on our network. Having the video in the NDI realm from the cameras allows us to have much more flexibility to route them to multiple devices in the truck.”
Kethley describes a grueling schedule on a 45-week tour that chases hot weather and regularly serves up a succession of daily matches lasting from 9 a.m. till 11 p.m. “Since installing the UB300s, we no longer have any camera operators court-side cooking in the sun. We very quickly went to fully remote production from our production buses at the venues,” says Kethley. “For the recent Chicago, Binghamton and Lexington tour legs, we were more remote than ever, running the production and controlling some of the cameras from our Network Operations Center (NOC) in Texas. That is truly remote production.”
“It’s hard to overestimate the savings in travel costs, not to mention the reduced wear and tear on our crew. The big thing to us is making it easier for the crew.”
While LiveSports feeds outlets such as ESPN and the Tennis Channel by way of satellite truck uplinks, its main audience is internet-based, with live video transmitted from a dedicated servers to overseas gaming houses throughout Europe and Asia. (Tennis is one of the world’s most popular sports for on-line betting, only outpaced by professional soccer.)
“The UB300s deliver stellar performance,” Kethley said. “Our newfound ability to produce in 4K satisfies the needs of our largest client, gives us a wider range of events to potentially cover, and enables us to future-proof our work.”