TCU, Burst Build HD Control Room With Students in Mind

Students in the Sports Broadcasting program at Texas Christian University’s Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media take a hands-on approach to producing live and remote sports events for the Horned Frogs, including nationally televised events. This season, those students will work out of a new HD control room designed and built by Burst Communications.

Three EVS XT Nano machines allow three TCU students to serve as replay operators at once.

Burst was awarded the contract to design and built the university’s HD control room, rack room, and a three-camera studio, all located in Moudy South, across campus from the recently renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium.

“One of the things that is important in this facility is that it’s largely staffed by students, and one of its functions is to train students as part of their sports-journalism program,” says Barry Samuels, sales engineer, Burst Communications. “Consequently, we had to make sure that the equipment would lend itself to that environment.”

The design/build included a Grass Valley 2.5M/E Karrera switcher; Harris 72-in/64-out digital router and multiview monitor; Evertz sync-generator system; Image Video tally; Ross Video OpenGear for distribution and conversion; Clear-Com matrix intercom system; Yamaha audio console; and Harris Selenio for audio processing and upmixing. An existing standard-definition Chyron graphics system was upgraded to a two-channel Chyron LEX with clips players on both channels.

Rather than install a single EVS replay machine, TCU and Burst decided on three EVS XT Nano systems with a combined 12 channels of replay that will allow multiple students to gain replay experience during each production.

“We went to the EVS Nano, which is a relatively new two-in/two-out–format replay [system], and we were able to get three of those for roughly the same price as a single fully loaded EVS,” says TCU’s Tony Symanovich. “We give three students the opportunity to sit down and work. [In choosing] the equipment, we also wanted it to be something that they would see in the field.”

Connecting the Campus With Fiber and Flypacks
The new HD control room is connected to TCU’s five athletic venues — Amon G. Carter Stadium (football), Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (basketball), University Recreation Center (volleyball), Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium (soccer), and Lupton Stadium (baseball) — via two existing fiber networks allocated by Burst.

“One thing we did have to do was fusion-splice any connections between our control room and the venue that we’re dealing with,” explains Symanovich. “Originally, they went through a couple patch points, and we had some pretty bad experiences with that, so we decided, a couple years ago, [to go] back and fusion-splice everything. It’s just a home run from whatever venue we’re dealing with to [the control room], and we haven’t had any control issues since then.”

Because each of the venues is triax, Burst constructed a three-case flypack that facilitates the triax-to-fiber conversion. The flypack, which will be deployed to any given event, includes six Ikegami cameras, outfitted with FUJINON 50x lenses and triax-to-fiber converters, that can handle bidirectional feeds between the venue and control room; Telecast Fiber transmission and multiplexing gear; Ross Video and Blackmagic Design conversion and distribution; RTS intercom; and Marshall monitoring.

Students Run the Show
TCU basketball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball will be produced out of the new HD control room and broadcast to either Fox Sports Southwest or the Internet.

“The majority of the productions that will originate from our new HD control room will be student productions,” says Mike Martin, assistant professor of professional practice at TCU. “As a matter of fact, our TV and Internet coverage of TCU sporting events will use production crews staffed entirely by our sports-broadcasting majors. These students will fill every crew position, including producer, director, technical director, audio, replay, graphics, and talent.”

The HD control room will also support the video-board production for football, produced by a combination of professionals and students, and feed content to Amon G. Carter Stadium’s 268 HD displays via Cisco StadiumVision.

In addition to the control room, TCU has also added a studio adjacent to the control room, with plans to create a coaches show. Studio programming will be captured using three Panasonic cameras.

Burst began work at the university in early July and intends to turn the control room over to TCU on Oct. 20.

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