When CBS Sports sought programming for the recently rebranded CBS Sports Network that would extend the network’s reach beyond the college space, televising Tim Brando’s radio show seemed a perfect fit. The show would grant Brando, a CBS Sports personality, more exposure while providing the network with an answer to ESPN2’s successful radio-as-TV program, Mike & Mike in the Morning.
The only problem: CBS Studios is located on New York City’s West Side. Tim Brando is in Shreveport, LA.
With 1,419 miles and nine states separating the production team from the talent, the setup appears less than ideal. However, VidyoCast technology and a cloud-based production approach have effectively rendered the distance irrelevant.
“We tested a bunch of other products to do this, and nothing came close,” says Walter Raps, chief technical officer, CBS Sports Network. “For the production team, for the most part, the studio could be in the next room. That’s how easy this has been.”
The Tim Brando Show is broadcast in HD from a custom-built space in Blade Studios in Shreveport. The space was originally configured for audio production, so CBS Sports brought in LED lighting, four robotic Sony BRC-H700 cameras, audio board, sound effects and playback system, and intercom.
Using the VidyoCast technology, the four cameras are plugged into a switcher that routs the feed to four encoders in Shreveport. The signal is sent over IP line, through the cloud, into decoders in CBS Sports Network’s studios in New York.
Vidyocast’s Web interface allows the New York-based production crew to see the individual camera feeds, move the cameras, and adjust color in near real time. Pan, tilt, zoom, and focus are controlled from New York, with only a 200- to 250-ms delay on the entire path.
The video feed is accompanied by 32 channels of audio, which can be sent as a full stereo mix or as individual feeds. Recording feeds separately allows the team in New York to multitask.
“Many times, while we’re airing a preproduced piece, we’ll be setting up an interview with somebody for the next day,” Raps explains. “We’ll record those feeds back, bring all the audio back unmixed, and then mix it here [in New York].”
The Tim Brando Show, now in its tenth year as a radio show, debuted on CBS Sports Network on Sept. 1. It airs weekdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and as part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network.