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Radio Stations Webcast Super Bowl to Facebook Live with Matrox

Matrox radio row

Local radio stations are finding it easier and less costly to expand the scope of the content they broadcast to fans. At one time, few stations would have considered crossing the audio boundary into video. Today, acquisition, encoding, streaming and recording have been simplified and automated by affordable devices and software like the Matrox Monarch HD encoder. They put webcasting of multi-camera, broadcast-quality video interviews to Facebook Live and other accessible video hosting platforms, fully integrated with recording for video-on-demand, within reach of even small-scale stations.

For the past 20 years, sister radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM News & Talk and KRWR 92.1 FM The Team Sports Radio, based in east Texas, have covered the Super Bowl annually from the event's host city. Media outlets from around the country converge and set up for one week in a venue dedicated to the press, all of whom broadcast live coverage simultaneously from one location. Called Radio Row, this promotional event leads up to the Super Bowl match on the Sunday to give all attending media a chance to interview current and former football players, sports commentators and celebrities.

Ready for Radio Row

After their initial years of traditional audio coverage, KTBB and KRWR were among the first radio stations to bring video equipment to the Super Bowl convention centre. Paul Gleiser, owner and operator of KTBB and KRWR, was especially interested in moving to a live platform in order to capture his interviews in a new way, and produce a more visually engaging experience for his audience.

In their first years of working with video, KTBB and KRWR recorded video interviews from a single camera and then uploaded the content to their websites and YouTube channels for VOD viewing. In preparation for the 51st Super Bowl in 2017, the stations upgraded to a multi-camera interview set-up that would switch between the guest and host, while streaming live to a social media platform.

Matrox NRG stadium

Paul Gleiser researched video switcher and encoder options and, in the period just before the event, came across a hardware bundle from a photo and video equipment retailer combining the Matrox Monarch HD encoder device and a Roland V-1HD video switcher. With this equipment, KTBB and KRWR could simultaneously stream and record, and reach social media followers through Facebook Live. Paul said, “Streaming a live multi-camera shoot and recording it at the same time was exactly what we were trying to do.”

Two-Camera Configuration

The Monarch encoder and V-1HD switcher were scheduled to reach Paul's team in Tyler only 10 days before the match. As soon as the gear arrived, he contacted Matrox’s support team to plan the set-up for the event. “Matrox’s technical support team helped us transition from the single- to dual-camera platform and also followed up to make sure everything was going well, which is fairly unusual for a tech company,” said Paul. “I was impressed.”

Installation of the two-camera configuration, featuring one camera focused on the guest and the second towards the host, was not complicated. HDMI outputs from both cameras, plus the feed from a laptop used to generate lower-third graphics, were connected to the Roland V-1HD switcher. Another HDMI cable connected the switcher to the Monarch HD.

An audio mixer was used to capture sound from two microphones positioned near the guest and host. An analogue connection was then made from the mixer to the Monarch HD’s analogue stereo input via 1/8” jack. Streaming and recording destinations, as well as encoding parameters such as resolution and bitrate, were then straightforward for Paul’s team to configure via the web-based Monarch Command Centre.

Webcasting

The two stations' live, multi-angled video interviews are now streamed in 720p directly to Facebook Live via RTMP, with laptop-generated title graphics superimposed onto the webcast in real time, displaying the interviewee’s name, the interview topic, sponsor information and so on.

Matrox monarch hd

The VOD content is simultaneously recorded in higher-quality 1080p on to an SD card inserted in the Monarch HD. Interviews are captured as a single live shot by switching between the two cameras and, once encoded, are immediately available for editing without having to transcode. This makes post-production turnaround quick and direct, involving simple trimming in Adobe Premiere Pro at the beginning and end of each interview. Interviews are then uploaded to the stations’ YouTube channels, with the YouTube links embedded within their respective websites.

Encouraged by their experience of using Monarch HD at Super Bowl LI, the stations have since used their set-up to cover various high-profile corporate functions and political events, including live video coverage of the 2016 US Presidential Election. Paul Gleiser already plans to use Monarch HD to cover next year’s Super Bowl and is looking ahead to the potential of the complete system they have built up. He said, “With the two video cameras that we already own, the switcher and the Monarch HD, we could probably go live anywhere. It significantly changes the outlook for us.”  www.matrox.com