Case Study: Ole Miss Sports Productions Set for Jump to SEC Network Thanks to Ross Video
At the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss Sports Productions executes all marketing aspects of the Ole Miss Athletic Department, from graphic design, videoboard production, and development of live and on-demand content for the official Website to full-scale, behind-the-scenes television coverage of the school’s football and basketball games.
That holds true for about 70 live events a year. More recently, the production group also began working with a major sports network delivering game-day video and graphics for its online streaming service and plans to work with the new SEC Network when it goes on-air this summer.
“We like to think of ourselves as a leading production facility for college sports,” says Shane Stanford, manager, creative services, at Ole Miss Sports Productions. “We’re the first in the nation to move to HD streaming with our in-venue and online productions of Ole Miss sporting events, starting, of course, with our vaunted baseball program.”
As a part of its growth, Ole Miss Sports Productions has relied on Ross Video production switchers. When it became apparent that the existing equipment was not robust enough to handle the demands of producing professional broadcast-HD-quality events and delivering the end product Rebels fans want, Ross Video made sense. The company’s gear enabled the production group to streamline its workflow and open up the in-venue online broadcasts with replays, higher-quality graphics, and more angles of the on-field/on-court action.
“Thanks to Ross, we also began working with a major sports network that simulcasts our feeds to a national online audience,” says Sanford, noting that he first encountered Ross Video at SVG’s College Sports Summit. “Ross introduced us to the sports network, which was already using a Ross XPression graphics package within their workflow for programming from the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference]. Our two-channel Ross XPression CG and Ross Vision Switcher helped us to become the first SEC school to hop on board the network last year.”
With Ross equipment, Ole Miss Sports Productions can do a simulcast from just one Vision Switcher. Since the production group doesn’t have a separate control room for a sports-network broadcast versus an in-venue broadcast, it splits the board and creates a two-channel CG, with one channel doing all the in-house videoboard graphics and the other contributing wipes and graphics for the sports-network package.
“We simulcast everything we’re doing, so about 85% of what we put on the in-house videoboard is the same material we deliver to the sports network’s online streaming feed,” says Sanford. “The other 15% is used for full-screen graphics or a camera dedicated to the sports network’s on-air game announcers, while the in-venue stream shows starting lineups, videos, crowd shots, or other peripherals specific to the Ole Miss stadium or arena audience.”
On one XPression channel, Ole Miss Sports Productions automates the score bug, introductions, animated transitions, full screens, lower thirds, and replay burn bugs for the streaming-broadcast production. The second channel runs an alternative graphics look for the in-house scoreboard display. Ole Miss Productions leverages the XPression Datalinq server to connect Daktronics for clock and score, as well as Stats Crew for statistics.
The ability to streamline workflow, seamlessly moving between in-house videoboards and online streaming to its Website, and feeding an outside sports network will make it easy for the production group to deliver content to the new SEC Sports Network when it starts live broadcasts this year.
Another big reason for an easy transition is that everything produced by Ole Miss Sports Productions is broadcast-quality. The team uses four or five cameras per event and produces full replay, wipes, and graphics in 720p HD, just as it would for a television broadcast. This is critical for the sports network because there are occasions when the sports network’s online feed is switched to one of the live TV channels that the network broadcasts. So the quality of product — from the picture to the graphics to the wipes — has to be broadcast quality at all times.
Says Sanford, “Because of our experience with the Ross technology and the national sports network, we will be able to seamlessly deliver broadcast-quality video productions to the new SEC Sports Network next year when it goes on the air, while continuing to deliver the high-quality in-venue material our fans have demanded.”