Sunday, August 25, 2013

Is anyone still out there?

After going through an ordeal just to remember how to get IN to this blog, I simply wanted to promote the docu-series on Ryan Murphy that CanesVision has produced!  If you haven't seen it yet, you need to!  A total of six episodes will be in this series, number 4 slated to go out at 11 AM tomorrow.

To catch up on all of the videos, skate to CarolinaHurricanes.com/openice.  Also, stay connected with @NHLCanes & @CVHD on Twitter!

Happy watching!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meeting McCreery

Today some of us in CanesVision had the pleasure to meet Scotty McCreery, winner of American Idol 2011.  Our hometown hero, hailing from Garner, NC, was in town today for the American Idol Live tour.  Scotty is a great guy and was great to work with today.  Special thanks to the show producers and to Scotty for giving us a few minutes of the day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Carter Finley Videoboard Update


The actual videoboard puzzle pieces started going up today!  I was able to get over and get some good photo and video if you're interested!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Carter Finley Videoboard Update

It's been nearly two months since the last update here... Time flies when you're having fun ;)

Here are some shots and descriptions of the progress on the CF north-end videoboard.




Monday, April 25, 2011

WWE

A few pictures of my brief walk around the arena today with WWE in the house.


View from "The Office"



From the floor.



TV Truck


In loading dock, looking toward the arena bowl.

Carter Finley Stadium


For the Wolfpack Nation (and geek nation), there's a nifty new item to follow.

After much speculation, Carter-Finley Stadium is getting a new videoboard.

By the time I got around to getting a shot of it, the entire old videoboard was deconstructed. I will do my best to keep things updated on here as to the progress. For now, here's a picture of what it looks like as of this morning.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Streaming

CanesVision is streaming pre-season games for 2010!





Friday, March 12, 2010

In need of a geek break?

A contemporary of mine with the Pittsburgh Penguins has started a sports/media/technology blog over at http://www.backteching.com/. Bookmark it and follow along as he shares some about the Penguins' transition into their new building and control room, as well as other technology updates from around professional sports.

Take a look around, and tell him CVHD sent you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's been a while

Hello, everyone.

I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  Things have just been a little crazy.  Two times in the past month, we've had 5-day marathons of events, one of which just ended last night.

Since last I wrote, we have gotten full-swing into hockey season, concluded our football season with the Wolfpack (though we're not completely done with football yet....), and have begun our basketball season with NC State.

For those looking for equipment perspectives, I hope to continue on the series I started about the equipment reviews soon, as well.

Quick issues we're having: 
  • Cam Mate iris control for the robotic camera is very touchy, and the gear has a tendency to "slip off" the iris ring of the lens if it is tweaked too quickly.  Gentle adjustments keep it happy, so we deal with it as best we can.  The overall camera is working out quite nicely, with the broadcast trucks loving the angle, as well.
  • We had a Gefen DVI/Fiber extender go out to one of our multiviewer monitors.  It's under warranty and was sent out for replace/repair.  We had a spare or two, but at $1000/pair, we want to be sure it's replaced!
  • One of the Centrio cards has lost it's mind, as far as the monitors it's displaying to.  One of the monitors is showing a crazy resolution and I'm working on getting tech support to call me back.  We just noticed this one last night, so this is an ongoing issue that I hope to resolve before Saturday's hockey game.
  • The other night, our primary Daktronics scoreboard control computer went screwy in-game and left us with a mostly-black board during game play.  There were a few issues in the 30-seconds leading up to this, including data freezing up, sequences "pausing" and then finally the computer locking up.  We've since streamlined the way we switch to the backup system so that we aren't left with empty boards for too long.  Of course, I'll be fine if we never have to use that protocol, but... you never know with live production!
As for game-night operations, things are going much more smoothly.  We're getting into a pretty good rythm and our game-night staff is getting used to the new setup fairly well.

December holds twelve events for us (compared to a modest fourteen events in November), including our final football event of the year on Dec. 12th (NCHSAA Championships....  3 football games, one day) and NC State's first Commencement in HD.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quick Post with Pictures

You know things are busy when I do not even have ten minutes to post even a quick update about how things are going here. I wanted to post something quick to get back into it.



Here are some pictures from pre-season.  I know it's been a while now, but this is what I've got, so you'll have to deal with it.



View from the back of the Control Room looking at the Monitor Wall


The Director and Technical Director


Producer's position, overlooking the ice


Audio Room


Video Shading and Engineering


A closer view of the monitor wall from behind EVS replay


Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Official Logo?




Happy Barcode Day.  Didn't have much time, but had to make one of these when I saw it on Google today ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Conspicuously Absent

I know things have been quiet around here, but it's been a long week.  The earliest our team left work this week was around 11 PM, and that was after the hockey game on Friday!  I hope to have a few more thoughts composed in the near future.

Even though Opening Night is now history, we still have quite a bit of work to get everything the way it will eventually run.  So, another long day on Monday (hopefully not 2 AM again...),

Bear with us through this time, and I'll have more to share, I promise.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Initial Equipment Review: Part 2

I decided to tackle something that I know very little about (a) because it will hopefully be a shorter post for me to write and (b) it will hopefully be a shorter post for you to read ;)  Please note that some of the links I are close to what we've got... I don't know the exact model numbers or specs, sorry!

Cameras
We have four Ikegami HD cameras and Canon lenses for our show.  All the specifics?  I'm not sure :)  I know that the CCUs give us a greater amount of control than we've had in the past.  They look incredible!  It's pretty amazing that we can see pretty much from goal line to goal line with these things ;)  We have the typical broadcast setup of two build-ups/studio configs (one wide game follow, one iso),

In addition to the Ikis, we have a Panasonic P2 ENG camera that we can convert for our show.  This past Friday, we had our cameraman between the benches.  He'll probably be there again this Friday, as we do not get first pick of this spot during the regular season.  The nice thing about this camera is that for ENG work, it uses the P2 cards, just like the handhelds we bought last year.  This really helps our workflow because there are no tapes :)  Everything is file-based, and we can bring the clips right in to edit with them.

We had a few issues with them, including setting the auto iris in too narrow of a range.  Some of it is still trying to get used to them.  The cameras are, after all, the least used piece of equipment, as we only really get to use them on game nights (save the P2 cameras we use for shoots/ENG).

Another thing that I didn't expect was the "bend" in the image.  It's not severe, but you can certainly notice (zoomed way out) that the boards on the opposite side have a bend in them.  It's almost as if it has a wide-angle lens on it.  Which, I guess makes sense ;)  It's a wide-screen image!  I guess I wasn't expecting it... AND, you can't really notice it that much at even a small amount of zoom.

For those of you actually keeping score, you realize that I haven't mentioned the robotic camera yet.  If so, kudos to you.  And, you really need to get a life outside of reading this blog ;)

The camera itself is a tiny body Panasonic.  Again, I do not know many specifics.  As I write this, Cam Mate is currently re-designing our setup.  The company primarily deals with cameras on jibs, with the longest runs being around 80 feet or so.  The run that needed to be made in our case is closer to the 500-foot range.  There isn't enough power getting down the line to completely control the camera and get a solid signal.  We have tested the camera with several different cable lengths, as well.  We actually got a cable made for a jib (roughly 40 feet or so, I believe), and everything worked perfectly.  So, we know it works and we're working with Cam Mate to get it resolved.  We've been excited about this camera for some time, but we have serial number 0001 of the camera controller... it's going to take some time to sort it out.  We have several people working on this - from our engineer to DSI to Cam Mate - to have it up and running as soon as possible.

Audio
The last thing I think I will tackle for the day is our audio console.  We have a Yamaha M7CL, which is the little brother of the board in the production side of things.  So far, no complaints other than I'm not used to a digital board ;)  I'm fairly well versed in the analog side of things... the menu structure of digital boards never makes much sense to me :)  I'm learning, though!  We are also still trying to get the levels set for in-game.  Unfortunately, there's not much way to do it except... well, in-game.  So, for that, I'm thankful for pre-season :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Initial Equipment Review: Part 1

I wanted to give an initial impression opinion of the equipment that we have in the new digs.  Some is more glamorous than others, and not all of it is glowing.  Please note, these are my personal opinions from my point of view.  I may not have the best grasp of everything I'm reviewing, but I'll tell you what I think about what I know ;)  This is more intended for those within my readership that are looking at making purchases like this in the future, who want to know more about something from an end-user's perspective, or even for those who spec'd and installed the stuff in our room :)

For the Caniacs reading along, I'm sorry :)  It's going to be really boring!

This will most likely take a few posts, simply because I don't have time to write out an ultra long-form post.  If you're interested, please stick with me.  I hope it's helpful in some regard!

Again, the following opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff and/or management of the Carolina Hurricanes, NC State Wolfpack or the RBC Center.

Video Switcher
First, it's easy for me to start with the Ross switcher because that's what I use on game nights as the technical director.  So far, I'm loving it!  We previously had a Grass Valley 2200 with an external [Pinnacle] DVExtreme for the special effects (replays, Bubblevision, Bobblehead cam, etc.).  Now, all effects that I'm using are built into the switcher itself.

Side note: I am using one of our existing and upgraded graphics machines to run our replays for football, but that was more function over form: I needed to have those done before I even trained on the switcher, so it made sense to work them the way I already knew how :)

Some effects are contained within the switcher, including an NC State logo wipe transition and an Under Review graphic for football.  For hockey, I have been able to [somewhat] recreate the BubbleVision, Bobblehead cam and MirrorVision effects from the old Pinnacle DVExtreme, with hopes to do more coming up in the regular season.  I can see the potential of the machine, but just have to learn more about how to make it work :)

Our setup is kind of unique on the switcher.  As installed, the switcher had MLEs 1, 2 & 3 (moving farthest to nearest), with four keyers per MLE.  MLEs 1 & 2 had the effects board set up on them and MLE 3 (the closest one) was a simple preview/program bus (though it still had the four keyers).  With the old 2-ME GVG (which  had ME 1 closest and ME 2 farthest) was set up so that the DVE was actually used as one of the two keys on ME 1 and used aux outputs from the switcher to feed ME 2 out to it for replays, etc.  (One of several issues with this setup was that our cameras would not tally if they were run through the DVE, so if there was ever a side-by-side graphic, the director had to be very dilberate on letting the cameras know they were online.)

All that to say, we were used to having our effects on the bus closest to us, and asked if the configuration could be changed accordingly.  One of the cool features of the Ross is that you can actually reassign MLEs and even the aux busses) across the MLEs (meaning, instead of having MLE 1, 2, 3 you could have MLE 2, 3, 1 if you wish).  However, the "squeeze and tease" [S&T] card (as the effects card is called) is hardware and installed for whichever MLE is on a particular row: i.e.--if it is on "row 2", it will always be on row 2 even if you remap the MLEs.

Coming full circle, what's unique about our setup is that, as originally configured, no S&T was installed on the closest MLE.  To get the effects down on the closer MLE, they actually abolished MLE 1, so we have MLEs 2, 3 & 4 (farthest to nearest), with S&T installed on 3 & 4 (two closest MLEs).  MLE 2 is now a straight preview/program bus.  Crazy, huh?

I will say that the Custom Controls are amazing.  I'm sure that many switchers out there do this these days, but I'm coming from one that did not.  The most automation the GVG 2200 had was an "auto trans" button ;)  Being able to completely reset my key setup, recall memories [e-mems] and even preform transitions all within a single button is amazing.  For instance, my "Under Review" graphic for football is a single button that loads a still in the background, sets and positions three fly keys (MLE 2 & 3 so the boxes can be switched to the best look at the home/away coaches and our Camera 1 that will always get the "white hat") and even a chroma keyed overlay.  All this is set up and even put into MLE 4 preview, ready to take.  All that, and it's just one button ;)  I know, it's probably child's play to a veteran TD, but it's cool for me to make it work and I'm proud of it, dangit!

On a side note, running our football replays through another machine (like we did before) was actually addressed by Image Video who installed our tally display system.  We actually have an MLE that was to be sent to the machine tallied any time the graphics machine is keyed.  Meaning, if we run replays through the box, the replay machines can tally even though they are not technically "on air" (because the graphics machine is what is actually online).  We have some adjustments to make to have this work appropriately (due to the MLE-shuffle described above), but the basic workflow is in place.  Hopefully it's just a few tweaks along the way.

I'll try to give an objective "grade" for everything.  Again, my own opinion, and you would probably get various ratings even from my colleagues who use the same equipment every day.

For the switcher, I would give it a solid A for an initial opinion rating.

Multiviewer
We have a Harris Centrio for our primary multiviewer, and an Predator II for our backup in case the Centrio really takes a dive.  Our producer actually views the Predator in-game, as it shows the ten most essential sources (cameras, graphics, etc.) plus preview and program.  Plus, it helps us know that the Predator is there in case the director and TD need it.

The ease of designing in the Centrio Layout Designer is a plus.  You can make source windows, UMDs, audio meters and more and link them all into a window.  Once in a window, you can change the input and the UMD follows (passes through router naming) as well as the tally (being driven by Image Video).  The one thing I haven't gotten to follow is the audio meters.  I'm not sure if it's a software limitation or something that I'm doing wrong, but I always seem to have to change the source on the meters independently.

We have several different states for our elements, as well.  The PIP borders will tally green for preview (interchangeable for preset, by the way), red for on-air.  We also have a secondary tally "dot" that we can place that will illuminate for sources that are being recorded in our EVS (helpful since we do not have an AP that calls for replays and such).  In addition, the window (collective name for PIP, UMD, etc.) will alarm by flashing red/yellow if video signal is lost.

Helpful tip:  When several items are in a window, you can only edit the window's properties (border, tally, alarm state, source, etc.).  We were told that if we wanted to change a property such as the PIP border color or something, that we had to "break" the window (meaning you lose all of your window formatting).  Something I learned is that you can simply "unlock" the window and then edit individual parts contained in the window (PIP, UMD, tally, etc.).

We actually did have one of the Centrio cards completely lock up on us and I had one of our engineers re-seat the card to get it to reset.  The system is a little clunky in that if something goes awry, you have to plug a USB mouse directly into the Centrio card in the frame to do some diagnostic work (such as restarting the multiviewer or even the whole card).  In this case, that didn't even work and it needed a full reboot.

One Centrio card feeds two monitors, fed via DVI running 1920x1080 resolution each.  In practice they are essentially a really large dual-screen side-by-side computer display.  There is a limitation of 32 inputs per card.  Those inputs can be replicated as many times as you wish on those cards, but the two displays have to share the 32 sources.  We actually ran into an issue with this already, as the technical director and video shader share a card.  Perhaps this wasn't the best idea, as the video shader and TD both like to see lots of sources.  Maybe it would have been a better mix these two up and place them with a lower-stressed display.  Since none of us had really been exposed to this type of virtual environment, we didn't have a clue what the layout would be.  We'll figure it out soon enough.

I haven't worked much with the Predator system, but it was set up to give us the essentials in case of a catastrophic Centrio failure.  The Navigator software for the Predator is a bit less intuitive than the Centrio's Layout Designer.  However, we do have several quad-split displays that are also able to be driven by the Navigator, so that's an added bonus.

Initial opinion rating: A- (only minus for the stability issue, which hopefully will not be a recurring problem.)

I trust that all of these will not be this drawn out ;)  In the future, I want to hit EVS replay, cameras, com system, Daktronics and more.  I also hope that I haven't just alienated my readership ;)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rolling Along

Tonight's football game went pretty well for us.  Which is good for me.  While things went alright for us last night, I was not personally in as high of spirits as I was after our very first event in the control room, and tonight helped me feel a little better.

It's not that things went eternally wrong last night, it more just us trying to get used to things.  Plus, following a hockey game and keeping up with it is a lot different than working a football game...  It's faster and more demanding from the crew, to say the least.

That said, tonight was much more laid back (at least from my perspective).  I'm getting used to the buttons I'm supposed to hit (though I'll be the first to admit I wasn't perfect).  Of course, a big Wolfpack win helped the morale, too ;)

I hope to have a more in-depth post, mostly good for curing insomnia.  Perhaps I can gather those thoughts tomorrow as best I can.

For today, I'm done :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One down...

I had every intention of writing yesterday or today letting everyone know that we were amping up for our first HD event.  But, I'm sure most of you knew that was coming.

So, now it's over :)  If you were at the game, I hope you enjoyed what you saw.  I know there were a few glitches and unsightlies, but hey, it's pre-season!  If you weren't at the game, everything went perfect and we're up for an award ;)

This was the first real stress test for the control room and we've got some issues to work out, certainly.  There are several issues just with the Megatron computers getting things synced up.  Other issues circle around our graphics computers.   And then there's our cameras...  There are plenty of things to keep us busy.  It's funny, though...  it seems like we have quite a bit of work just to get us back to the point we thought we should be at at the beginning of this night ;)

Such is the nature of the beast.

I did ask one of our interns to take some pictures of the production...  here's some of the better ones I got...

 

Nice...

Maybe some day I'll get some pics in-game.  Until then, keep imagining ;)

Now, it's time to shake it all off and focus on a football game tomorrow.  After that, the Caniac Carnival and back to the long hours next week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Holy schnikes

It's going to be a photo finish!  Who will win?  CanesVision, or the clock?!

The first pre-season game will be bare-bones, to say the least.  We're working major overtime to make sure things are in working order for the fans.

Tonight was a big to-do at the arena for all the part time employees (for all departments).  It always comes at the most opportune time for us...  Anyway, this year we had nearly all of our employees present to go over the old, revised and new procedures for our game-day operations.  I'm hoping that the learning curve - at least from the procedures side - will not be too great for everyone.  The learning curve for equipment will probably drive a few to drink ;)

Anyway, if I'm not sleeping, driving or working.... I'm usually updating the blog ;)  Hope we can make it all worth while for everyone by Friday night!  For now... good night.