Cornell University Streams with Telestream Wirecast

Telestream’s Wirecast systems help deliver HD-quality live streams of Big Red home games to the Ivy League Digital Network, ESPN3, and Facebook Live.

This includes live streaming 21 of its 37 NCAA Division I sports, which amounts to hundreds of games annually. On busy game days, Cornell Athletics often sends multiple video crews across the campus to cover six or seven simultaneous events, including football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, volleyball, wresting and field hockey.

Cornell’s broadcast operation runs on a tight budget, and relies largely on crews comprised of about 30 student volunteers. Despite these limitations, using Telestream Wirecast, they are able to deliver a 720/60p HD product, encoded using H.264 compression.

“Before Wirecast, we had been using conventional video fly-packs, which are a group of discreet video products packed into a portable road case,” explains John Lukach, Director of Multimedia, Production and Web Communications for the Athletics Department at Cornell University. “These components needed to be set-up and integrated on-site before they could be used in a unified live production workflow. Unlike the fly-packs, Wirecast software integrates the essential video production tools and functionality of all those disparate boxes into a single solution.”

Aside from the laptops equipped with the Wirecast software, the University also uses Wirecast Gear, a turnkey solution designed to make live streaming with Wirecast software faster and easier. It does this by pre-loading Wirecast—along with qualified external third-party devices, like video capture cards built for the rigors of live streaming—onto a Windows 10 Pro appliance.

Wirecast Gear is now regularly deployed to a variety of on-campus venues to cover a wide variety of Cornell Big Red sports.

To move to the soccer, field hockey and wrestling venues, Wirecast Gear is packed into its specially designed travel case, which has room to store a 19-inch monitor and two or three cameras. And once on-site, it can be set up in minutes since it’s fully configured for live streaming. A second travel case is used to transport the audio equipment, including a PV6 6-input audio mixer, microphones, announcers’ headsets and more. This audio equipment feeds the 6-input audio mixer via XLR connections, while the mixer itself interfaces with Wirecast Gear via USB.

In many cases, instant replay footage is ISO-recorded by one of the production cameras, and put onto the Wirecast timeline where it’s ready to go into the live show. In addition to the four camera inputs on Wirecast Gear, additional media assets, such as live graphics from Cornell’s specially designed branding library, can be brought into the live production over network device interface (NDI).

“While Wirecast software streamlined our production process considerably, compared to our fly packs, the set-up could still be somewhat complex for our non-technical crew members. This past summer, I came across Wirecast Gear, and immediately recognized that this was something we needed to add to our production arsenal. Once we got approval from our purchasing department, we bought a new top of the line Wirecast Gear, and it has since become our preferred system for live production streaming,” said Lukach. 

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