Tampa Bay Rowdies Solidify Home Broadcasts with Broadcast Pix Granite

The Tampa Bay Rowdies has taken broadcasts of its home soccer matches into its own hands for all 13 of its Saturday night home games this season. As a result, it was time for the team to upgrade its SD production facilities at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL and a new HD production facility now includes a four-camera setup, custom animated graphics and a Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 integrated production switcher.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies are broadcasting home games with the help of the Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 production switcher.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies are broadcasting home games with the help of the Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 production switcher.

Hi-Tech Enterprises in Clearwater, FL., was the integrator for the project. According to Ed Griswold, Hi-Tech engineer, the new control room was built in about three weeks, and the system was operational in time for the first Rowdies home game on April 12.

Since the Rowdies began calling Al Lang Stadium home in 2010, VideoArt Productions of Palm Harbor, FL, has been providing live coverage of their matches. Established in 1982, VideoArt has produced thousands of hours of live programming, and worked with a number of Florida-based professional sports teams and content providers.

The first three seasons were produced exclusively for a Web audience, but this season’s Rowdies contests are also broadcast on WTTA Tampa Bay. All matches are also streamed to the North American Soccer League’s live streaming site, NASLlive.com, and some are streamed to ESPN3’s Web site.

Art Dryce, president of VideoArt, handled directing, technical directing, graphics, and commercial and replay roll-ins for the first three seasons. With the move to HD production and the added complexities for broadcast television, however, he did not want the new setup to be another one-man control room. Instead, he wanted a system that could support separate positions for a technical director and graphics operator.

The upgraded control room is located in a dedicated area of the stadium’s press box. The typical Rowdies production features two high midfield cameras – one is the main game camera and the second handles tight action follow shots – as well as a sideline camera and end zone camera. The cameras are connected via fiber, which allows for an extremely high quality video signal to the Broadcast Pix system, Dryce said. Productions also include animated graphics, which are stored in the Granite’s built-in clip server, and instant replay. Video Art provides all crew members during production.

The new Granite system replaced a Stream Breeze Pro, which is now tasked with encoding the broadcast (and changing some ad content) for the Web. Griswold says the Broadcast Pix created a “more traditional workflow” for the on-air broadcasts.

Dryce still produces and directs, but Tom Sipos, vice president of VideoArt, handles TD duties for Rowdies broadcasts. A graphics operator shares the system with Sipos, but each work station has its own monitor, populated by Granite’s built-in Fluent-View customizable multi-view. Griswold is also on site to monitor the broadcast signal and provide engineering support.

The graphics operator uses Fluent Rapid CG is used to update the on-screen clock and scoreboard during matches. Ideal for sports coverage, the Fluent Rapid CG option for Broadcast Pix systems streamlines the creation of data-intensive CG graphics. By automatically integrating databases, RSS feeds, cloud-based content and custom actions like scorekeeping into templates, Fluent Rapid CG produces customized graphics with significantly less manual effort.

“The system was easy to learn to use, and is easy to operate during our show,” Dryce says. “It has met the expectations we had for our production flow, capability and quality, and with every game we continue to learn new things. It is a powerful production tool. We’re very impressed.”