Cornell University Relies on AJA for Powerful Live Streams

For Cornell University Athletics’ multimedia and production arm, downtime is unusual. Between streaming regular matches for 16 sports to ESPN+ and the international Ivy League Network on Stretch Internet, as well as ancillary content to its social media channels, the department keeps a packed schedule. To manage the workload and bring Big Red fans high-quality video coverage of their favorite sports, it uses AJA HELO H.264 streaming and recording devices in a range of streaming configurations, including direct RTMP streaming to ESPN+ and Stretch Internet.

The HELOs support nearly every live sports production at Cornell, from basketball to gymnastics, with two units located in a central control room on campus and the third reserved for a flypack. Camera feeds at each sports venue are connected to a flypack that travels to each game and can receive up to eight feeds. The signals are transmitted via NDI across the network to the control room, and dependent upon the number of productions and timing, are fed through a video production system or a laptop running Wirecast, switched and distributed to HELO for delivery to ESPN+ for national viewers and to live sports streaming provider Stretch Internet for audiences outside the U.S.

Most weekends, the team is juggling multiple simultaneous streams, in which case it will reserve its HELOs for standalone RTMP streaming to ESPN+.

“HELO gives us a ton of flexibility in setting up live streams, so even on busy weekends, we know that we’re always covered, regardless of the number of streams we have to produce. Being able to offload streams to HELO also reduces the strain on our video production systems and streaming software,” shared John Lukach, assistant director of athletics for multimedia and production, Cornell University Athletics. “Having the ability to stream RTMP is also huge and it’s crazy that such a little device can produce a feed that matches ESPN+ standards. It’s also incredibly easy to use; just call into transmission, as you would with a normal production, to get the RTMP address, type it into the HELO web UI, push a button, and you’re streaming; it’s that simple.”

As Lukach uses the device, he continues to find new applications.

“I’ve also found the HELOs useful when talent needs to see a live feed of the game on site; we can easily loop it out via the cable straight to the monitor, or if coaches want a recording post-game for reviewing plays, I can just record the feed and hand them an SD card with the recording right after the match,” he added. “We continue to invest in HELOs because they’re versatile, portable and easy to use, and look forward to adding more to our arsenal of gear.”