West Virginia Goes Tapeless, HD-Ready With P2

At West Virginia University, the video-production team for the Mountaineer Sports Network (MSN) team just got their Sundays back. Transitioning the workflow from Beta SP to Panasonic P2, the production team is now able to ingest game footage in less than two hours, instead of the nine hours the team used to put in on Sunday afternoons.

“It’s a timesaver, first and foremost,” explains Chris Ostien, senior producer/director at the MSN. “We record seven hours of football footage for every game, and that takes eight or nine hours to put into your video server. But, with the P2 cards, you can bring them back and do different things at different times from different stations, so the entire process is finished in under two hours. Five hours is a lot of time saving on a Sunday.”

To reap that time saving, P2 Mobile recorders are used to capture a live multicamera line cut from the video boards at home games and from the network TV truck on the road. MSN has a centralized EditShare server, so staff can edit wherever an Avid editing station resides, which gives Ostien the flexibility to get footage into the server in a quarter the time it once took.

A Team Effort
In conjunction with the University Relations-Video department, which produces institutional programming, Ostien’s team purchased a variety of acquisition gear: an AJ-HPX2700 P2 HD VariCam, AJ-HPX300 P2 HD camcorders configured for studio use, two AJ-HPX500 P2 HD shoulder-mounted camcorders, and two AJ-HPM110 P2 Mobile HD recorder/players. For coaching analysis, the Mountaineers also have at their disposal AG-HVX200A P2 HD handhelds and an AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD shoulder-mount.

“Panasonic had everything, in terms of acquisition through completion,” Ostien explains. “We send representatives from our office to NAB every year, and we knew we wanted to go tapeless. We also wanted to move the office forward toward HD, and Panasonic was easily the best option for that.”

MSN shares both equipment and personnel with the University Relations-Video department, which comes in handy on football game days, when Ostien needs additional hands on deck.

“We share the equipment, and some employees who are paid by University Relations actually help produce the Athletic Department content,” he says. “They help out with coaches’ shows and feature shoots, and then, on game day, they’re hired as freelancers to work the video board.”

Constant Content
During football season, the HPX500s are used handheld on the sidelines to capture content for the weekly coach’s show, video-board segments, and features for the WVU Website. In addition to the Web, content such as the coach’s show airs on network affiliates across West Virginia as well as on SNY, MASN, and Fox College Sports, so quality pictures are a priority for Ostien.

As the game clock is winding down, the work of the MSN staff is only beginning. Ostien recently used an HPX500 to shoot seven 30-second commercials and a long-form video for the Mountaineer Athletic Club, the school’s booster organization. The commercials run in MSN programs, on the stadium video board, and online. This weekend, when the West Virginia football team travels to take on LSU, the HVX200 handhelds will go along for the bus ride.

“We’ll put the 500s on the equipment trucks and take a 200 with us to do some reporting for our fans,” Ostien says. “We’ll cover our Friday walk-through with two of our radio talent guys, add some B-roll to it, edit it using Adobe Premier, and have it up on MSN SportsNet by Friday evening, so fans can learn about the trip and our preparation. Now we don’t have to take a record deck with us; just a laptop and a camera with a Firewire connection. We can do a whole television report without ever touching a TV truck or a deck.”

MSN has just purchased an additional HPX500 and two AG-HPX370 P2 HD shoulder-mounted camcorders that will be used to stream live video at sporting events at the WVU Coliseum (site of men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and gymnastics) and to feed the arena’s video board.

P2 also plays a key role in coaching analysis. During practices and games, Panasonic cameras work the sidelines to capture footage to P2 cards and laptops, which is then made available through DVSport GameDay analysis software for coaches and players. With P2, practice video can be available for the coaches as soon as they walk off of the field. Game film is also made available for exchange throughout the Big East Conference using the DragonFly Storm video network.

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