If you thought driving through miles of LA traffic was bad, try running it! The Los Angeles Marathon is home to over 20,000 runners every year who put their bodies through hell to run 26 miles from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica Pier. So what does tech have to do with the most primal sport in history?
As the official sponsor for the LA Marathon this year, Skechers wanted to set up a Jumbotron with a live feed of the finish line. But there was a catch:
“They wanted a larger vendor/rest area than all of the years before. They found a big lot, but it was about 4 blocks away from the actual finish line,” explained Jason Elliot, technical director for this project. “Since this was where all the people would be, they needed a way to get the camera feed from the finish line all the way to the rest area.”
Streaming the video 4 blocks away was no easy task and Go Vision, the Jumbotron’s supplier company, had to deliver the stream with as little latency as possible. Fortunately, the City of Los Angeles jumped in to help. The LA Information Technology Agency offered Go Vision access to the city’s Local Area Network (LAN), which allowed Elliot to do a point-to-point transmission from finish line to the rest zone.
To transmit the feed from camera to jumbo television, Elliot decided to use a Teradek Cube 105 encoder and 305 decoder. From the finish line, a Panasonic HVX200 camera sent a video feed to a Cube 105 encoder over HD-SDI. Elliot ran a hardlined 60ft. Ethernet cable between the Cube and an Ethernet port built into the base of a streetlight post.
At the rest area, another streetlight Ethernet port sent the feed to a Cube 305 decoder, which transmitted a 1080p feed to a 9’x16’ Jumbotron television screen via SDI. This workflow allowed the entire system to operate on the city’s LAN infrastructure, giving viewers at the rest area a live feed of the finish line.
But the most remarkable part was in the network. The LA Information Technology Agency was able to assign IP addresses to each Cube, which meant GoVision could preconfigure settings before the event. In the morning of the marathon, all Elliot had to do was boot up the Cubes, connect the camera, connect to the network and they were ready to stream.
The Cubes allowed for simple point to point transmissions without the need for meters and meters of cables and allowed Skechers to set up their corporate vendor area just 4 blocks away from the finish zone. Also, the easy setup saved Go Vision time and prevented any technical complications on the day of the event.
“I’ve been around wired and wireless technologies for many years and it’s never been as simple as this. To be able to just turn these things on and have them work, I can’t even describe how satisfying that is,” said Elliot.