VidBlasterX pushes boundaries in marathon live production

10MILA is an annually held orienteering relay race over 10 legs, with over half of the competition run with a head torch at night. The event also includes a youth relay over 4 legs and a women’s relay over 5 legs.

1000 teams with a total of almost 10000 runners take part with the majority of these aged between 15 and 45. The world’s elite attend and the 10MILA and Finnish Jukkola events are the most highly prized races that you can win apart from the championship titles.

Production of 10MILA is somewhat of a challenge in that this is a 24h non stop production, streamed in 3 different languages, with cameras and large LED screens both on the arena and in several other places.

To drastically simplify connections, NDI was chosen to transport video and audio from the entire site to the control room and back to the LED screens. After extensive research VidBlasterX Broadcast was selected as vision mixer, being the only product capable of handling the required amount of NDI streams reliably.

A total of 16 cameras were used including CCU cameras covering the arena part, commentary cameras, a wireless drone camera, ATV and running cameras. Camera coverage in the forest was achieved with 6 custom built IP-based camera backpacks using a combination of local network coverage topped with 4G. About 5 km of fiber cable was laid for network backbone through the forest. There was a studio position on location and a flash position for interviews at the arena. Reporters were posted at the arena and in the forest. GPS tracking of the runners was recorded and available for live broadcast. Replays and live editing was done on an EVS system, graphic overlays with live timing and results in Caspar CG. The output from both EVS and Caspar CG was sent to the vision mixer over NDI.

Two audio mixers with multiple stageboxes and Dante enabled commentary boxes were used for audio production and intercom feeds. All audio was distributed using Dante. One of the audio mixers was controlled by AFV (reading the status of the VidBlasterX switcher), creating an ambience sound mix.

For each of the 3 language feeds two commentators used a custom touch panel to control their feed by choosing between the main production feed, their own commentator cam or a PiP with their com cam overlayed on top of the main production feed. The same touchscreen also controlled on/off for their headsets as well as a mic for interviews.

VidBlasterX ingested a record total of 20 NDI sources and generated another 4 NDI streams for output as well as 1 local (DeckLink) output to a recorder. The software handled vision mixing, effects like PiP and keying scores generated by Caspar CG and created all multiviews. It also continuously monitored all video streams to ensure no frame loss was detected anywhere in the video chain. Using its API, VidBlasterX was remote controlled by several operators. This included AFV for the audio mixer, an Aux bus for PiP source selection, an Aux bus for output to a vision engineer and of course the main switcher itself. All audio input and output through ASIO (64x64 channels) to/from Dante.

"VidBlasterX performed flawlessly and for sure we'll be using a similar setup for next year's 10MILA" - Peter Löfås (head of production)

A recording of the live stream is available in English, Swedish and Finnish. For more information, free download and links to communities and documentation please visit the VidBlasterX website. Head of production Peter Löfås, phone +46703112688, email Technical director Wilsson Brothers AB, Vimmerby, Sweden, phone +46703033515, email VidBlasterX v5.41 was used on a Windows 10 PC with an AMD Threadripper 1950x CPU. Broadcast resolution 720p50. NewTek NDI is a royalty free standard to connect video equipment across a network and is natively supported by VidBlasterX. Photo credits Johan Lundberg & Antti Örn.

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