At the ripe old age of 23, Nick Guerriero has already developed video-production systems for two colleges. As assistant director of sports information at Manhattanville College, he has helped the athletic department in Purchase, NY, become one of few Division III programs to Web-stream more than 100 games this year using radio and video, including 69 video broadcasts on GoValiants.TV.
Guerriero, who works under head SID Steve Sheridan, cut his teeth at St. Francis College, a Division I school in Brooklyn, NY, where, as an undergraduate, he developed the Web-streaming system that is now in place at Manhattanville.
“When I was brought over to Manhattanville, the only time they had done video was through the IT department, using a single camera and no graphics,” Guerriero explains. “They were just plugging a camera into a PC and using Windows Media Player. When I came in, I developed a system using Wirecast, which basically has everything you’d see on a regular television broadcast, but it’s not high-end.”
Webcasts Through Wirecast
Wirecast, a live-broadcast application from Telestream, allows Guerriero to incorporate graphics, scoreboards, overlays, and clock management and even to run commercials through the Web stream. The system requires nothing more than a computer with an Internet connection and is often run by Guerriero’s student assistant, Kelli Hyjek, a junior on the Manhattanville women’s basketball team.
“We also partner with our student radio station, WMVL, for audio on all of our contests,” Guerriero explains. “We produce audio for all of our men’s hockey games as well as road basketball games and baseball games. Last year, our baseball team got to the NCAA tournament so we got to broadcast the NCAA tournament as well.”
Overall, GoValiants.TV will stream games in 12 Manhattanville sports this year: men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball.
Power of Three
On any given game, Guerriero’s team deploys three cameras — a clock camera and two action cams — run by a three-person crew. Additional student assistants are brought in as camera operators, but a single person can run graphics, switch among the cameras, and add in the commercials through the Wirecast system.
“We use a Mac computer with the Wirecast system to serve as our mobile-production unit,” Guerriero explains. “From there, everything is FireWired into a Canopus converter. We plug a mini DV connecter into one of the cameras and a half-moon DV cable into the other camera. That goes into a composite video cable, which then goes into the Canopus. Our clock camera is connected with a USB.”
To add the audio to the stream, Guerriero uses a JK audio mixer and plugs the cables into the Mac’s headphone jack, and everything syncs up and is ready to go. To stream the games, Manhattanville signed a contract with the Pack Network, a streaming provider with which Guerriero worked at St. Francis, to host the streaming server from which the games originate.
A Pack Mentality
Through a revenue-sharing agreement, the Pack Network supplied Manhattanville with equipment and streaming support, and the school charges viewers $6.95 per game, or $69.95 for all broadcasts for the year. If Manhattanville earns $5,000 from those streams over two years, then the contract is paid, and the school will not owe any additional fees to the Pack Network. After earning more than $4,000 in the first year of the contract, over the course of 60 video broadcasts, Guerriero is not worried about hitting the $5,000 mark.
“We’re nationally ranked in Division III hockey, and when three-fourths of your kids are from Canada, their parents rely on us to make sure we get a good broadcast out there,” he explains. “For other sports, where the students are local, it’s challenging to get parents to watch the streams. For lacrosse, we’ll only get one or two people watching because their parents will come to the game instead of paying $6 to watch it online. For those games, we spend more money to hire student assistants than we make in revenue, so that’s one of our challenges.”
Another big challenge is working out of Manhattanville’s facilities. In the soccer-stadium press box, two speakers are located right below the camera positions, cutting off some of the action angles. In the basketball arena, the scoreboard is located behind one of the baskets, so Guerriero has trouble getting a clock cam to focus on the scoreboard. For those contests, he uses a manual clock and score system.
The hockey venue provides even more complex challenges.
“For our hockey contests, we play at Rye Playland, which used to be the practice facility of the New York Rangers,” Guerriero says. “It’s a county-run facility, so everything has netting around it. There is mesh netting around our press box, so the hardest part is following the puck. You pretty much see black netting and white ice, so that’s one of the biggest challenges that we’ve dealt with.”
Still, working with a talented team and a supportive administration, he has found ways to solve those challenges and to create more content year after year.