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TriCaster® reaches new heights by livestreaming Twin Cities Tower Running Competition

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Original Story by:HiteVision Solutions (HVS)
Vizrt Distributor

Organizers of the Twin Cities Tower Running Competition wanted to offer a chance for fans to tune into an immersive live video stream. To bring the contest to life, the organizers opted for a multi-platform broadcast, powered by Vizrt and NDI® technology, provided by Vizrt Distributor, Hitevision Solutions (HVS).

The interoperability, and comprehensive portfolio of live production products available from Vizrt, and the use of NDI, gave the team confidence to deliver broadcast quality content to thousands of viewers, with a simple internet connection. The organizers were so impressed with the results that they plan to utilize the workflow for all future events.

It was early morning in June as the athletes set forth to participate in the 28th Chengdu-Chongqing Tower Running Open Championships at the Jiefangbei World Financial Center (WFC). The challenge for the 400 competitors was to be the first and fastest to climb over 2,040 stairs and reach the 73rd floor.

Tower running is a niche sport where participants run up the stairs of tall buildings and skyscrapers. After fierce competition, Soh Wai Ching, a player from Malaysia, and one of the world’s best vertical runners, reached the 1,112-foot summit in 10 minutes, and 41 seconds.

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Engaging fans via video

Growing in popularity in the past few years as a unique sport, the organizers of the competition wanted to offer a chance for fans to tune into an immersive live video stream. To bring the contest to life, the organizers opted for a multi-platform broadcast, powered by Vizrt technology, provided by Vizrt Distributor, HiteVision Solutions (HVS).

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However, the live broadcast presented a significant logistical challenge. With only two days available for preparation for wiring, network testing, equipment construction, system signal debugging, camera scheduling and conducting emergency readiness tests, the team needed to ensure the technology chosen would work seamlessly.

Local experts, top tech

HVS engineers immediately got to work, arriving on-site, and deploying Vizrt solutions and accompanying equipment. The HVS expert engineers strategically positioned over ten cameras, including four on the 73rd floor for production, four in the live broadcast room, and six in the middle room, five of which had power over ethernet capabilities.

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Additionally, four units were stationed in Jiefangbei Square. Notably, five Vizrt PTZ cameras and one Sony PDW-680 were installed in the middle room, with their signals transmitted to the 73rd floor using a TriCaster® 2 Elite production system with NDI® protocol.

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On the 73rd-floor live room, four Sony PDW-680 cameras were linked to the TriCaster 2 Elite via SDI connections, while the remaining cameras used the NDI protocol. NDI is a high-quality, low latency, IP video transmission standard that easily connects live video sources between systems, simply.

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Simultaneously, the TriCaster 2 Elite generated a program (PGM) signal for the live video recording and a return signal from the Jiefangbei Square OB van, visible to the host.

Audio from the host was routed through the TriCaster 2 Elite input interface via a mixer captured by the PTZ cameras, embedded in NDI, and sent back to the TriCaster 2 Elite.

During the live broadcast, audio follow and mix modes were used, with the director leveraging the Vizrt 2-Stripe Control Panel to switch between cameras placed on the floors. Simultaneously, the ambient sound and the host commentary were combined in the program signal, ensuring only the host’s voice was audible on screen.

Two Viz Connect Solo converters were deployed in the Iefangbei Square OB truck. One set works in the decoding state, converting the NDI protocol of the PGM signal in the live broadcast room of the 73rd floor into SDI output and connecting it to the OB truck matrix system. The other set of the Viz Connect Solo converters focused on encoding, converting the SDI input of the OB truck reverse to the NDI protocol, and transmitting it back to the live broadcast room on the 73rd floor through optical fiber.

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Crucially, all these elements must work together on the same network, for the live stream to be successful. The interoperability, and comprehensive portfolio of live production products available from Vizrt, and the use of NDI, gave the team confidence they’d be able to deliver broadcast quality content, with a simple internet connection.

The most powerful video production platform available

Catering for the most challenging productions – including 73 story buildings – and perfect for distributed production, TriCaster 2 Elite provides the capability, connectivity, and control needed to showcase the unique and exciting moments of vertical running events like this.

The Viz Connect Solo converters are a fantastic way of connecting devices and converting them to NDI to let TriCaster 2 Elite works its magic and show every moment of the action in Chengdu – from 4K HDMI, 3G-SDI to 12G-SDI with a single Ethernet cable for power, network connectivity, capture, and video transmission.

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Ensuring a successful stream

On the day of the live broadcast, which started at 7 a.m. and lasted for four hours, the reliability of the TriCaster 2 Elite was firmly recognized by the organizers.

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Vizrt’s technologies, and how they work with the NDI protocol, solves the problem of long-distance signal transmission between floors, and supports audio embedding and remote control. The director can adjust the scene of each floor in the live broadcast room too. Compared with the traditional baseband transmission mode, the NDI protocol is the best solution out there. Mr. Li Yan, Operations Manager, Chongqing Sports Bureau and Chongquing Radio and Television Station, remarked

Despite scorching heat during the preliminary preparations, the entire event ran smoothly both in person, and during the live stream. Thousands tuned into watch the competition and cheer on their favorite competitors.

This was the first time the organizers had used an NDI solution coupled with the strength of the TriCaster 2 Elite live production solution. The teams were so impressed with the results that they plan to utilize the workflow for all future events.

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