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This 'Magic' Moment

This 'Magic' Moment
  • Orlando, Fl-Every now and then a traditional product is thrust into a non-traditional application and produces results beyond everyone's expectations. Such was the case when the Orlando Magic's sports production team added entertainment value to its traditional scoreboard functions at the team's home arena, the TD Waterhouse Centre.

Coupling the 360 Systems' ImageServer 2000 with Hi Tech's actiV Cart Box controller has provided productivity improvements and some meaningful return-on-investment opportunities for the Orlando Magic basketball organization.
The Orlando Magic sought a quality, cost-effective solution for playing back pre-programmed clips or capturing action shots "on the fly" for immediate playback. Additionally, the organization was interested in generating additional revenue by playing commercials on the scoreboard during appropriate game intermissions.

Jeff Cameron, a systems integrator with Encore Broadcast Solutions, was hired to find an equipment solution to meet these requirements. His server choice was 360 Systems' ImageServer 2000, a multichannel video and graphics server with the capability to play three simultaneous streams of video, graphics with key, and animations.

"Here's what I like about 360's ImageServer 2000-it works," Cameron commented. "It does the job as well, if not better, than a lot of equipment ensembles that sell for five times the price."

Because of its feature set and small footprint, the Magic's team favored the actiV Cart Box controller from Hi Tech Systems, which was capable of controlling all three channels that were available on the server. The actiV Cart Box mimics the operation of the familiar Betacart operator's control panel with access to hundreds of pre-recorded video clips.

"The scoreboard replay system was already in place in the TD Waterhouse Centre, but it didn't lend itself to non-sports applications," said Allan Leon, Hi Tech Systems' U.S. representative. "In other words, if they wanted to play commercials to the scoreboard system-even though those replay systems are servers and can play back individual clips-they are not well-suited for playing commercials or ancillary information to the scoreboard. They don't meet the needs of the customer's application."

Instead, the entire system needed to be upgraded from a tape-based to a server-based system. Coupling the 360 ImageServer with Hi Tech's controller provided productivity improvements and some meaningful return-on-investment opportunities.

This encompassed several different improvements to the scoreboard system. First, the tape-based programming library has been transferred to the server. The controller can now randomly play commercials as needed and at a moment's notice without extensive pre-game planning. It also enables a quick response to last-minute requests to rearrange clips scheduled to play on the scoreboard.

Supporting the replays on the scoreboard was the second application made possible by the 360 Systems/Hi Tech solution, allowing personalization of every replay. Because it can store a whole library of graphic choices and instantaneously call them up to the scoreboard, feed them into the production switcher, and be followed up by the actual replay, this server enables a variety of possibilities.

The architecture of the 360 Systems ImageServer also provides a built-in key/fill feature, enabling the production team to key in additional moving graphics via a completely separate channel and overlay them onto another video clip.

The Magic intends to use the unused third channel of the ImageServer to play information separately out to the stadium monitors located throughout the complex. They can now send out a playlist of event information, commercials, PSAs, and other information directly to these monitors, and all of it is independent of the scoreboard-support activity.

360 Systems...www.360systems.com

Encore Broadcast Solutions...www.encore-encore.com