Journey’s IP Services Assists NBC Sports Boston With At-Home Production of Quick Slants

Mike Cartisano, NBC Sports Boston’s Assignment Desk Manager, had a problem. The RSN was planning to produce their popular football-oriented program Quick Slants from the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough MA. They wanted to produce it as an at-home production, and Cartisano’s job was to make it happen. But their existing transmission vendors could not provide them with the equipment needed to transmit the multiple synchronized channels of video that the project required. Cartisano had previous experience with Journey, the IP video transmission service, for backhaul transmissions — Major League Lacrosse and University of New Hampshire football both utilized Journey to transmit their games to NBCSB for air.

When Cartisano realized that Journey could also provide synchronized video transmission quickly, easily, and cost-effectively, he decided to give it a try. Cartisano deployed Journey to send two camera paths back to their Burlington MA facility for Quick Slants production. The project was instantly successful due to Journey’s ease of deployment, outstanding video quality, low latency, and synchronized video.

Following on Journey’s performance for Quick Slants, Cartisano decided to use Journey for at-home production of their basketball program Celtics PostUp. The program is produced out of the Auerbach Center, the practice facility for the Boston Celtics. As Cartisano explains, “At the Auerbach Center, Journey is a better solution because we’re limited on space. It would be cumbersome to roll a flypack; but with Journey, we set up our two cameras, we put the Journey rack up on a shelf, and away we go.”

During NFL season, NBCSB produces New England Patriots pregame and postgame shows. In the past, the show had both home and remote components; but this year, the entire show originated from the remote site. After considering all his transmission options, Cartisano placed his confidence in Journey to perform the mission-critical application. “There’s no one in the studio, so if the remote feed doesn’t work, we’ve got nowhere to go,” says Cartisano. “We felt that, because of its technology and managed service, Journey would be a good solution.”

Above and beyond Journey’s technical capabilities, it’s the level of customer service and attention to detail that really hits the mark for NBCSB, especially the convenience and responsiveness of Journey’s 24/7 Network Operations Center. As Cartisano explains, “I like being able to call someone and say, ‘Are you looking at us, does it look good to you?’ It gives me the same service level I get when I’m dealing with a traditional fiber or satellite provider. I get the sense that we can troubleshoot this. There have been times when we weren’t seeing the signal, and Journey engineers were able to remotely track down which end we were having problems on. When it was on our end, we were able to know where to look. We just can’t do that with our other providers.”

For Cartisano, one key advantage is that the Journey technical service team has experience and expertise not only in IP, but also in broadcast engineering, production, and transmission. “I’m out of a transmission background. I am not an IP guy,” he says. “I like the fact I can talk to someone in a language I can understand too.”

While Journey is more cost-effective than most other transmission options, Cartisano admits that performance is the most important driver for them. Journey delivers the performance they need — or else they simply wouldn’t use it. Cartisano sums up Journey this way: “We hire certain vendors because I know that if I say, ‘Here’s what you’ve got to do,’ it’s going to get done. I feel the same way with Journey now.” Based on NBCSB’s experience with Journey, he plans to expand its use on their network, and to make it available to NBC sister companies NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and New England Cable News in the new NBCUniversal Boston Media Center in Needham MA.

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