In live event production, preparing for the unexpected is critical, whether a small codec or frame rate issue throws off the chain or a larger problem arises. Boulder, Colorado-based BCC Live finds opportunity in these challenges. While its roots may be in IT, the company has quickly evolved into a live production powerhouse, helping organizations like IRONMAN, Rock n Roll Marathon, and others deliver broadcast quality coverage of niche sporting events and conferences to global audiences. BCC Live President and Event Technician Dave Downey attributes this success to a smart, passionate team dedicated to tackling the most ambitious broadcast and live stream projects for international clients. To support a broad range of encoding/decoding demands, BCC Live invested in an AJA BRIDGE LIVE IP video workflow bridge.
“AJA BRIDGE LIVE is helping us navigate challenges across the board. With it, we can take in nearly any type of feed and send out whatever end format is required,” shared Downey. “After only a 15-minute demo of the device, we were sold. It’s solved a lot of problems for us.”
Whether broadcasting or running tests, BCC Live deploys BRIDGE LIVE nearly every weekend to support a range of production demands (i.e., 1080i or 1080p, 50 or 60 frames, Secure Reliable Transport, etc.). They also leverage it to intuitively send SCTE markers to customers for triggering breaks. In the case of 70.3 IRONMAN competition broadcasts during which a production company partner runs the ad breaks – like the IRONMAN European races – BCC Live will tap into BRIDGE LIVE’s ability to send SCTE metadata down to the broadcast channels so that the production team can trigger ad breaks.
BCC Live provides soup-to-nuts services spanning production through post – including animation and graphics – so every project is different. At the start of each project, BCC Live ensures all the right people, assets, and equipment are in place as a first step, then builds out custom event graphics. The BCC Live team often receives live event feeds from a production company, then mixes the content, adds graphics, and broadcasts it to millions of viewers via YouTube or other online video platforms. They also package the content into 45-second highlight reels for social media platforms like Instagram. Regardless of where content is produced, anything broadcast or streamed by BCC Live comes into its Boulder studio before distribution to viewing platforms.
Supporting various live production demands
SRT and RTMP are frequently requested by clients, as are SDI and NDI. With BRIDGE LIVE, BBC Live can support many formats with one device. “The fact that BRIDGE LIVE supports so many connectivity types, video codecs, and protocols has significantly reduced the volume of equipment we use. It allows us to go in and build a new profile for any project, so we’re set for the broadcast without a lot of stress,” Downey explained.
Commenting on NDI in particular, he continued, “We love using NDI with BRIDGE LIVE because we don’t have to get up from our seats to send the signal in the studio; I can easily open the signal on my laptop in NDI, do a quality check, pull it into the TriCaster, and make sure everything is how I want. Then, I can patch it and set it up as SDI, so whenever we need it in multiple places, we can use a matrix splitter. This means multiple studios can grab what they need off NDI; it’s a simple way to split off a world feed as we get it.”
Bringing IRONMAN Triathlon Races to a broader audience
Many of BCC Live’s productions for European IRONMAN events start with a live premix feed provided by a production company partner. BCC Live’s Boulder studio receives that feed via BRIDGE LIVE, and it’s pulled into its video mixer via SDI and sent to a few destinations in-studio. BCC Live transmits the feed through its replay machine and sends a split into its TriCaster via SDI, where the team adds HTML5 graphics. They use a green screen background and put the video behind the hosts so it looks like they’re in the location of the event.
BCC Live then sends the feed out via BRIDGE LIVE to YouTube, Facebook, and Outside for viewers to see, as well as to Grabyo, where its client can pull content for social needs. Next, the team spins off a world feed that is sent to LiveU Studio and also transmits a mixed feed to LiveU Studio from the BRIDGE LIVE. In LiveU Studio, they might bring in remote hosts, mix in localized content, and send that off to a relevant network or streaming platform.
Streamlining the workflow
With BRIDGE LIVE, BCC Live has cut its encoding/decoding technology needs in half, according to Downey. The device enables the team to easily grab NDI off the network regardless of the source. “One of the biggest benefits of BRIDGE LIVE is that we can specify every piece of the configuration, like the frame size, and we’re never limited to just two choices,” Downey added. “With some encoders, you’re stuck with the presets. With BRIDGE LIVE, we can specify almost any configuration option on the input and output. As we’ve been working with higher-end broadcasting platforms, we can easily provide the video PID, Audio PID, etc. with BRIDGE LIVE. Plus, we can set the audio to nearly anything we want, which is awesome.”
Having such a broad array of configuration options has been huge for Downey and the team, as has the device’s ability to add metadata and SCTE markers to the stream. Downey said that BRIDGE LIVE will also make it easier to add closed captions in the upstream. Commenting on AJA’s continued development of the device, he shared, “The updates AJA continues to add to the device are hugely helpful. Unlike literally every company that says they’re planning updates and then never delivers, AJA regularly pushes out meaningful updates. The addition of formats in the input and output stream is just one of many great feature additions since we invested in the unit. We also love how updates have allowed us to take progressive and send it back out interlaced and vice versa with just one unit, instead of a huge expensive rack.”
Growth remains a key focus for BCC Live, especially with a major 2028 sporting event planned not too far off. Downey and team are eager to find a way to play a part in the production. He concluded, “Our team broadcasts incredible sporting events like the IRONMAN World Championship to millions of people, and we use the best technology to do it. We’re ready for any challenge.”
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