Live from the World Surf League Finals with Wireless Multicam Streaming

Surfing was in full swing in Hawaii for the Billabong Pipe Masters competition, where the World Surf League hosted the grand finals of the 2017 Championship Series. Enthusiasts from all across the world tuned in to witness the event, which reached its last stop at the Banzai Pipeline in Honolulu.

But some areas of the world have little to no access to these broadcasts and competitions, yet want to see their favorite surfers shred the gnar. In December, Brazil decided to change that, especially since their country’s own surfer - Gabriel Medina - made it into Top 10.

The biggest TV network in Brazil, Globo TV, wanted to broadcast the competition - complete with multiple cameras and commentator coverage - on Brazilian national TV and the network’s Facebook Page. They commissioned live production house Betterlive TV to handle the broadcast.

“An hour or so before the start of the tournament, we live streamed the surfers warming up, along with commentary on the scores and stats of each player,” said Antunes Mororo, Executive Director at Betterlive TV. “Viewers want to see surfers in & out of competition, so this was the best way to capture them in their natural flow.”

Surfs Up Setup

Antunes and his crew wanted to produce a multi-camera show complete with switching and overlays. However, they needed a solution that was not only affordable, but could also be used wirelessly to avoid laying cables in the sand. The goal was to be as close to the action as possible, so setting up on the beach was a priority.

Camera Setup:

  • 3x Sony FS5
  • 3x VidiU Pro
  • 1x iPad Pro w/ Live:Air Action app
  • 1x Bond
  • 2x 4G/LTE USB modems

Live:Air Action is a live switching and streaming app for iPads. It offers a suite of professional overlays and actions that are typically found on traditional hardware switchers, and also pulls in feeds from multiple cameras wirelessly. This integrated solution requires the additional cameras to be mounted with VidiU Pros (or other Teradek encoders). After every unit is connected to the same WiFi network, Live:Air Action picks up the feeds and allows you to switch between them.

Bond is a 4G/LTE cellular bonding unit that allows you to combine up to 5x 4G/LTE USB modems into a singular, powerful Internet connection for video streaming. More redundancy translates into a lower chance of a dropout, meaning the stream stays smooth and steady all throughout.

Each of Antunes’ FS5 cameras had a VidiU Pro mounted and connected via HDMI, taking the video feed and streaming it to the Live:Air Action iPad. From Live:Air Action, the program feed was pushed to the Bond, which encoded and sent the stream directly to Canal OFF Facebook Page.

Here’s one of the videos:

Once the stream went live, Antunes used Live:Air Action to add graphics, overlays of player stats, and switch between the 3 different cameras. One camera to cover the hosts for commentary/interviews and 2 cameras pointed to the surfers.

Making Waves with Wireless

Since Antunes needed a way to broadcast from the beach stationed in the sand, a wireless switcher/encoder was the only solution. They also needed a reliable Internet connection to ensure the stream stayed stable through the entire 3-day broadcast.

“Surfing is a sport that interests many people Brazil, so our mission was to make the program as official as possible, even though it was just a Facebook live stream,” explained Antunes. “Since we’ve always used Teradek for our broadcasts, it was the perfect answer to bring to the beach.”

Thanks to Teradek’s integrated system of live solutions, Antunes and his crew were able to produce a flawless broadcast for viewers online. A redundant Internet kept the stream up despite the location, meaning Betterlive didn’t need to rent costly satellite trucks and costly broadcast equipment. Over 200k viewers tuned in to Canal OFF’s Facebook Page for Betterlive’s broadcast.

“The best part of Teradek technology is that everything is very dependable and compact. We can fit it all into a bag and be ready to broadcast at any moment. It gives us a peace of mind that wherever we need to produce a live stream, we could deploy the Teradek setup and start streaming.”


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