HAUPPAUGE, NY—OTEK TV recently used MultiDyne production equipment to provide streaming coverage of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Art Aldrich, a partner at consultancy OTEK TV, which specializes in corporate video production and live streaming, said the company has used MultiDyne products for some corporate virtual golf productions in the past and is switching to fiber this year of the company’s SilverBullet series. optical connectivity solutions to simplify its live production workflow when covering the race while maintaining the cinematic look and feel that characterizes its production work.
“There are many logistical issues to consider when streaming live from a golf course, including satellite uplinks, and fiber is clearly the best route to those uplinks,” Aldrich said. “I was introduced to MultiDyne’s SilverBullet series, which are very compact interlocking devices for single link transport from a camera. Then I realized this would be perfect for this crazy month-long job I have in Alaska every year.”
As Aldrich explains, the live streaming element is just as important as his video production work for Iditarod. In a good year, about 100 dog teams compete in the race, and registered fans want to see them all finish. Teams finish at different times over the course of a week.
Aldrich used GoPro cameras with HDMI to SDI converters ahead of this year’s race, with an SDI cable back to the control room. “That was a weak link because there are so many bits in the signal path,” he said. “I decided to upgrade to SDI cameras and convert them to fiber. We ran a tactical fiber optic cable and dropped SilverBullets on both sides. They are easy to connect, light, reliable and cold-resistant.”
Weatherproof reliability was especially important as temperatures can reach 50 below Fahrenheit without considering wind chill. Aldrich notes that every cable and connection in his previous setup was a point of failure due to the brittleness of that gear in such extremely cold weather. There’s also the added benefit of the SilverBullets being unaffected by distance, he added.
“These are locking units that plug right into the camera cable,” he said. “It’s a connection to power and a connection to fiber, with no restrictions on distance. We’re already hitting a limit of about 300 feet with SDI coax, and the SilverBullet just makes it all easy. It shoots and delivers and is easy to use.”
Aldrich adds that the SilverBullet includes small LED indicators that provide much-needed confidence monitoring in very cold weather.
“When we set up the gear we need to protect our hands from the cold as the weather can cause permanent skin burns if exposed for too long,” he said. “Having these little LEDs confirming we’re connected and not having to fiddle with the settings is a huge bonus. And we have Master Control engineers at City Hall to verify that our signals are getting there, which they always do with MultiDyne.”