Hammerking Productions Taps AJA Kumo For Multi-Signal Routing During “King of Hammers” Event

Every year in February the world’s top ULTRA4 racers converge in Johnson Valley, CA to compete in a week-long series of off-road races spanning more than 200 miles of rocky desert terrain. Called “The King of Hammers,” the race draws in more than 60,000 spectators and is broadcast live to audiences via the ULTRA4 racing website and Livestream.com, with highlights streamed to YouTube and Facebook Live.

Hammerking Productions, which runs the week-long production, typically captures and streams more than seven hours of footage a day to fans on-site and online. It also produces a compilation show covering the race series for NBC Sports.  With this year’s production involving multiple camera sources and destinations, the Hammerking team selected AJA Video Systems’ Kumo 6464 compact router for SDI signal distribution.

The Kumo 6464 delivers 64 inputs and 64 outputs of 3G-SDI video and audio in a compact 4RU profile. It features web-based network control and supports any SDI-based signal up to 3G-SDI including HD and 4K/UltraHD. Kumo 6464 is built to the same quality video standards as all AJA Kumo products and ideal for productions where size, routing capacity and longer cable runs are key.

The Kumo 6464 delivers 64 inputs and 64 outputs of 3G-SDI video and audio in a compact 4 rack units.

The Kumo 6464 delivers 64 inputs and 64 outputs of 3G-SDI video and audio in a compact 4 rack units.

The Kumo 6464 router was used extensively this year, as Hammerking Productions deployed more than 22 cameras to capture a range of race angles in the highest quality HD (1920 by 1080p). Ten remote cameras were stationed throughout the desert floor, each 30km apart; two drone cameras and a camera-equipped helicopter flew over the course; and a handful of local cable-in cameras were stationed near the start/finish, in the event that safety shots might be needed should a microwave signal transmission issue arise.

Transmitted via microwave, remote and drone camera signals were fed to a production truck housing 13 screens, the Kumo 6464 router and a host of other production gear. Stationed at the start/finish line, an OB truck was used to stream each race in real-time, as well as to broadcast race highlights packages online. Content could also be viewed on-site via a 30-foot JumboTron, 20-foot JumboTrons near the race start/finish lines, and TVs located near the lakebed and in vendor tents/trucks.

Drone camera signals were converted from HDMI to SDI, input to KUMO 6464, and then followed the same path as the remote cameras.

Drone camera signals were converted from HDMI to SDI, input to KUMO 6464, and then followed the same path as the remote cameras.

Virtually all of the video production outputs ran through the AJA Kumo 6464 router. Remote camera feeds were first passed through an H.264 encoder over a microwave network and received by the router. Signals were then decoded by an H.264 decoder and routed through Kumo 6464 and output through a 16-channel multiviewer.

The team also used Kumo 6464 for video switching to a NewTek TriCaster and replay system. Remote camera feeds came out of the TriCaster back through Kumo 6464, and were split off to local video, then input into Livestream Studio, and Facebook Live. Drone camera signals were converted from HDMI to SDI, input to Kumo 6464, and then followed the same path as the remote cameras. Additional inputs into Kumo 6464 were used for replay and to display maps, graphics and other visuals from PCs and Macs.

Helicopter camera footage was also recorded to an AJA Ki Pro Mini recorder, and when the helicopter landed, it was ingested into the live show. Content was then archived for marketing materials and the compilation show for NBC Sports.

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