Sportzcast Creates Scoreboard Data and Graphics for REMI and Cloud
SportzSuite allows users to create and deploy graphics anywhere
While sports venues remain dark without the energy of fans, the same can be said about many broadcast control rooms around the country: linear networks like ESPN and esports powerhouses like Activision Blizzard are doing their jobs from home. One particular task in this new workflow, remote scoreboard graphics integration, remains bit daunting, but Sportzcast is simplifying this job with the new SportzSuite product, which enables graphics designers to create and distribute templates through the cloud and allows production crews to access and seamlessly deploy packages with any broadcast equipment.
“SportzSuite enables the graphics creator or designer to layout a scorebug exactly how they want in a simplistic way, so you don’t need expert skills in Photoshop because it’s a drag and drop tool and shows up immediately on your screen,” says Mike Connell, president, Sportzcast. “After you create and save it, it’s available around the world so you’re able to send it out into a cloud-based environment. Live data from any scoreboard with custom graphics is instantly available anywhere.
Anyone interested in trying SportzSuite can CLICK HERE to access the free software and tutorial.
The Foundation: ScoreBot Leads to Newest Product Launch
Originally planned for traditional broadcast and now tooled for live-streamed applications, SportzSuite is based on another tentpole product in the company’s arsenal, ScoreBot. And, with a variety of these devices inside numerous production facilities in the U.S., the hybrid approach combining preexisting controllers and new virtual controllers permits SportzSuite to flourish wherever production teams are located.
“Currently, we have about 5,000 ScoreBots in venues around the world that are reporting real-time data with no latency and we’re able to access the information,” he says. “This new product continues upon that, but now its cloud-based and is capable of delivering information to any production system anywhere in real-time. If [you’re] starting a remote production, you need to understand how you’re creating these graphics and delivering this data.”
Shrinking the Distance: Cloud-Based Workflow Overcomes the Production Challenge
While prioritizing health and safety, current remote circumstances cause an obstacle in keeping the flow synchronized and on time. During the handful of live events taking place, employees need not only to stay on the same page with colleagues but also to maintain symmetry with the game itself. In addition, the issue of latency and the potential for a timed delay in the broadcast are also prevalent.
Minding this production gap, SportzSuite keeps production teams and their graphics artists on a harmonious timeline with the help of the cloud and allows users to distribute the graphics via plug-ins compatible with a multitude of broadcast systems, including NewTek’s lineup of TriCaster production switchers, Telestream’s Wirecast video-streaming system, and vMix production and streaming software. In terms of latency, the product is flexible when digesting the real-time data by linking with the latent or non-latent video footage.
“We’ve found that, when you’re running a remote production, there’s so many sources coming at you at different time,” says Connell. “It’s a seamless integration since we’re providing the graphic as NDI, PNGs, or whatever form that the target device needs it. It has also allowed us to delay this information, so it matches up with the video that’s coming in. We consider scoring information as the timeline of a remote production, so, if the game and game clock are correct, everything else will align with it.”
The Power of Remote Graphics: SportzSuite Targets Live Sports Production’s Future
Prior to the lengthy sports shutdown, SportzSuite was being used by a wide variety of collegiate programs. In the higher ranks of NCAA Division I athletics, such institutions as the University of Georgia use it to relay scoring data from venues across campus to a centralized control room. In the lower tiers, colleges and universities inject custom scorebugs into static cameras that capture tennis, baseball, and softball games.
When sports do return, many productions will continue with this at-home style. The U.S. Gymnastics Championships, scheduled for June 3-6, 2021, in Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena, will leverage SportzSuite to let judges remotely enter scores while watching the competition on a screen in another location. Furthermore, some boxing events are transitioning to web-based score entry as well.
As the coronavirus pandemic persists, live sports production will continue to shift their sites to these at-home workflows, and, as long as professionals get the job done from the familiar confines of their respective homes, remote graphics integration will still be high on the list of priorities.
“Graphics designers are able to stay in their office at home or wherever location because they’re able to create templates like they’re sitting within a production truck,” notes Connell. “Colleagues are able to immediately access their project with any updates. It’s going to be a really easy way to incorporate [the graphic] since everyone’s working and collaborating in real-time.”