NDSTLT Develops Mobile Production Flight Pack

Author: Dan Skendzel

Mobile Production

When an existing Tricaster video production switcher, used for remote productions, came to its end-of-life, the Notre Dame Studios and Teaching & Learning Technologies engineering team went to work envisioning what its replacement could be.  Use-cases for events such as remote coaches shows remained in scope, as were quick response press conferences from locations without direct connectivity to the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center.  A new use case however, delivering an end-to-end game production for Notre Dame Rugby, was thrown into the mix.  

Recent upgrades to Stinson Rugby Field included adding video production capabilities to produce future Notre Dame Rugby matches.  Remote controlled cameras mounted in three locations at the field along with microphones for natural sound are now able to be connected by fiber to a new Tricaster based mobile production fight pack developed by NDSTLT engineers so that two to three member crews can produce live game feeds for broadcast.  

The new unit features several key design components. Housed in a Videolink TC2GO Airpack II rolling case, the flight pack is designed around the Tricaster 410+ switcher utilizing NewTek’s NDI video standard. Paired with BirdDog’s Eyes A200 PTZ cameras and Dante audio, this workflow provides incredible remote flexibility for control, along with the ability to customize specific audio and video paths for an enhanced user and viewer experience.   

On March 25, 2022 the team gave the unit a test run for the Fighting Irish 7’s rugby tournament.  The University of Notre Dame Men's Rugby Program plays at the highest level of collegiate rugby in the United States and the Fighting Irish 7’s event leads to the qualifier for a spot in the National Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s tournament in New Orleans, LA May 28-30, 2022. While the weather didn’t cooperate, it gave the NDSTLT engineering team the unique opportunity to test the durability of cameras and their flexibility shooting in dramatic lighting conditions with the occasional snow band blowing through. Two Notre Dame students were at the helm, one switching the show on the Tricaster, and one doing remote control of the two BirdDog cameras for a full day of rugby matches.   “While we do have some changes coming for the fall rugby season,” said Shawn DeWeerd, NDSTLT video engineer and lead designer of the system. “I am extremely proud of how the students handled learning and adapting to a REMI style show with a unique and complex workflow.” 

Future Rugby game productions, including the entire Fall 2022 home rugby season, will be student-led using the new flight pack from the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center.   NDSTLT operates a student production program in conjunction with Fighting Irish Media that trains students on live game production, post-production, video engineering and more.  Find out more about the student production program here.