HDTV Projection In-House Creates An Electric Crowd
An Exciting Philadelphia Livestreaming First
Success! On Friday, April 1st I produced and directed the first ever MMA Livestreaming at Live! Casino, Philadelphia. In fact, in may have actually been the first ever MMA PPV at any Philly casino, still checking into that. With that said tho, again it was quite an achievement and one I look back favorably on.
As for the production, I ran a 3 camera shoot using matching Sony X70 & it’s smaller counterpart the AX-100, along with an older Z5U to capture fighters entrances (something looked favorably on among fans & fighters). All 3 cameras ran 35 foot HDMI runs into a Tricaster Mini, with the casino A/V and IT staff coordinating my ability to then project onto their in-house HDTV monitors which definitely helped the in-house crowd see the action.
An Electric Crowd
It was a great event and evening, with the Covid pandemic ending, mask mandate lifted, I could tell the crowd was looking for entertainment, and to finally ‘get out’. They sure did and the TV production did not disappoint. In fact, it over-delivered. That crowd was electric! As a director on a smaller budget, both running the show but also monitoring the livestream (as well as audio levels and camera shots) I was laser focused on the show, bringing up graphics, fighter names, and switching camera shots.
I come from a horse racing background, at Harrahs Chester, so I’m using to 8, 10, 12 minutes to post. MMA definitely brings their fighters out one after another without much in between time. Something I needed to adapt to on the fly. I had my fighter names in a folder structure built for organization, and quickly realized I needed to adjust it for speed (something I adjusted for Saturday). Also, the preliminary fights were amateur, with only three 2 minute rounds. Mix in a first round KO and you can see how things can fly by pretty fast.
Directing First Ever MMA Event
Once things settled and I got into my rhythm, things got rolling. The joy of knowing I have a successful stream up, and good crew on camera, and could sit back, look up, and watch the actual fight for 5-10 seconds, was surreal. It truly was a lights out feeling of success. They took a 10 minute break about halfway thru, and when that break hit, with the crowd full of energy, stepping out for barside drinks and discussion, I could tell they loved it. The energy was on another level.
As for the streaming side, it was done using Vimeo Live. Fairly simple with an credit card merchant API built in. One thing I learned, that I wasn’t aware of in the livestreaming industry, is that ‘re-streaming’ or copyright theft is a thing. The promotion, Art Of War Cagefighting, had numerous posts and comments on their Facebook page offering the stream for as little as $1? I suppose in the MMA/boxing world that theft is a thing, albeit with decreased quality. I had seen on Linkedin where livestream provider Dacast, offers a protection service to ones stream, seemingly in real time. Something I’ll look into.
Second Night Of Livestreaming Also A Success
Night #2 was a mixed dose of pressure. Re-living up to the success of night one, yet, knowing everything is mostly ready to go. I took home all my hardware but was allowed to leave some HDMI and Ethernet cabling runs underneath the cage, along with audio headsets and mixer. With that said, setup was quick & I was already opened for internet access in the venue, along with connectivity to their projection TV’s. Setup went quick and once again was ready to go.
I had show pieces such as graphics ready to go for speed, and got a more polished directing of the show. Not switching cameras quite as often, bringing up fighter names for the next bout, putting card girls up for the crowd, I was definitely more in control.
CBS3 camera attends MMA event
Speaking of which, I had a cool setup for the announcers. Using NDI, I was able to use a Samsung tablet, and install the NDI Camera app as a quick, easy peasy yet small 4th camera. Cool feature to it is the announcers could view themselves in the camera shot in real time, as the tablet front facing camera was being used. (Rear camera was actually blocked by the Otterbox I had purchased for it, a wise investment for something like this).
Saturday went off pretty much without incident. The energy was still there, crowd was enthusiastic, and Live! Casino staff was helpful. Philadelphia’s own CBS3 had a camera operator in attendance, seems their doing a piece on a local MMA fighter. It’s a growing sport both regionally and nationally. One that has alot of promise for younger upstart league’s and opportunities to livestream them.
It was a great production, definitely an achievement for me and one that I’m very proud of. They had video challenges in the past, including a crew who got neither the livestream nor in-house projection up. To succeed at both, and do so on another level, well I was rockin & rollin. Definitely set the bar high for local livestreaming.
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