DVSport Software

Company Teams with Communications Specialties for HD Instant Replay in College Football

by   |  September 27th, 2012

For the diehard college football fan, there’s nothing more upsetting than disagreeing with an official’s call. Critical calls can impact the outcome of a game, and giving officials the right tools can make all the difference. Nobody knows this better than DVSport, a Pittsburgh-based software company that specializes in digital video acquisition, analysis, and playback software for the sports market.

The company’s Instant Replay playback software has been widely used by football organizations on both the professional and collegiate level for the past several years. The easy-to-use solution enables replay officials to immediately analyze any reviewable calls on the field. It’s designed to help them make decisions more easily and more quickly, which is important for networks as they try to get closer to a three-hour game.

With more and more college games being broadcast in high definition, DVSport introduced an HD version of its playback software called HD Instant Replay. “High definition playback is a growing business in all sports, especially on the collegiate level. With our DVSport HD Instant Replay software, we’re trying to help officials make the right calls with the best quality picture out there,” said Keith Lowe, COO of DVSport.

The company’s DVSport HD Instant Replay solution delivers simple touch-screen technology with frame-by-frame viewing. It allows the replay official to stop the game with a pager system when he sees a call in question and doesn’t have enough video evidence that the call is correct. The official can manipulate the HD video feed with jog/shuttle controls, fast-forward or rewind, or zoom to identify possession of the ball or inbound/out-of-bounds calls.

The HD version has already made serious inroads on the collegiate level, with the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, and Pac-12 conferences making the switch. According to Lowe, the software is being used in 54 college football stadiums and 9 basketball arenas across the country. But making the upgrade did not come without its challenges. “Many of the stadiums had old copper lines running through them, which wouldn’t work. We couldn’t achieve an HD signal through these lines. So the stadiums had to rip them up and replace them with a new fiber optic infrastructure. This was the only way we would be able to get the HD signal to travel the several hundred feet from the truck bay to the replay booth,” explained Lowe.

To transmit the HD signal over the fiber lines, DVSport installed the Fiberlink 3350 Series from Communications Specialties (CSI), a manufacturer of fiber optic transmission systems for the video and broadcast industry. The Fiberlink 3350 Series consists of the 3350 transmitter and the 3351 receiver, which are housed in the stadium’s truck bay and press box, respectively. The Fiberlink 3350 Series allows you to transmit 3G, HD or SD-SDI as per SMPTE 424M-2006, 292 and 259, with or without embedded audio and data, as well as DVB-ASI over one single mode or multimode fiber. The 3350 transmitter features a re-clocked and equalized SDI loop through and the 3351 receiver features two re-clocked and equalized SDI outputs. Dual fiber runs allow the system to have both a primary line and a backup line. DVSport also installed a converter box on both ends of the runs (one in the truck bay and one in the replay booth) to convert the signal from fiber back to HD-SDI. DVSport also replaced the screens and servers for the signal with primary and secondary servers, and installed panels with new touchscreens.

“We first came across CSI’s Fiberlink line at NAB. We tested it the following year at an Ohio State football game and were very impressed with its performance. It delivers an excellent HD signal, and we found its indicator light for powering and syncing HD and SDI signals a convenient feature that many of the competitors’ products did not have. The light indicates that all the video and audio components are working properly and that the signal is locked, which gives us piece of mind before a game is about to begin,” Lowe explained. “Plus, both the transmitter and receiver are compact and lightweight, making them very easy for us to install.”

“CSI is proud to supply a fiber optic system that will enable the broadcast of such important and globally watched events. As with all our products, we have designed the Fiberlink 3350 Series with consistency, reliability, and dependability in mind,” said John Lopinto, President of CSI.

With more and more collegiate football and basketball games being broadcast in HD, Lowe is encouraging organizations to consider DVSport HD Instant Replay. “With the ability to access replays in high definition, officials are given an advantage over those who don’t have HD capabilities at their stadiums. The technology is available to everyone, but we realize cost is always a factor,” he said.

Ravens Adopt iPad Playbook

by   |  September 4th, 2011

Ravens Adpot DVSport Shuttle For The iPad

Posted by Mike Duffy on blogs.baltimoreravens.com

Just after training camp closed last year, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron wondered if the Ravens could put their several-hundred page playbook on some sort of tablet reader.

A few weeks later, Head Coach John Harbaugh asked the same question.

Now, after almost a year of development, the Ravens’ playbook is completely on a set of iPads that players and coaches constantly tote around.

Early in the transition, the response is positive.

“There are things it’s good for and things that the paper is better for,” said quarterback Joe Flacco. “You can put video on it, which is very convenient. It’s nice to not have to carry around a giant playbook all week.

“I do print some things out so I can mark down the route progressions and things like that, but in all, it’s been an easy transition.”

For the Ravens’ brass, it was a natural evolution in the 21st century.

No longer should everyone have to lug a facsimile of the Yellow Pages and update it with copied inserts that waste astronomical amounts of paper.

Instead, players head into meetings with their uniform black leather iPad case ready to take notes with the included stylus.

The Ravens originally bought 110 iPads, but had to add 10 more once the roster was expanded to 90 players.

And one only had to look at the glowing screens on the team flight home from Atlanta last week to see how eager everyone is to utilize them.

“Our video staff has already got the game loaded on their laptop, so all they have to do is plug in through iTunes and load it up on the plane,” said Nick Fusee, the Ravens’ Director of Information Technology. “It only takes a minute, and the guys like that.”

Fusee was the prime driver of this project. After consulting with several application designers, he decided to stay local with Global Aptitude.

He also tested several tablets before coming to a conclusion on the 64-gigabite iPad II.

Considering that Apple just came out with the iPad II a few months ago, Fusee thinks the Ravens will save considerable printing costs that are incurred with a paper playbook.

“We looked at a lot of different tablets out there, but the iPad seemed to be the one that fit the best. We think we can get a few years out of this one,” said Fusee.

The Ravens’ biggest challenge was security of sensitive information.

But they’ve taken considerable measures to ensure the playbook stays in-house. If a user gets their password wrong three times, the iPad is wiped clean. There are also “time bombs” that can erase a playbook after each game.

What’s more, Megan McLaughlin, Executive Assistant to the Coaching Staff, controls what gets uploaded to the cloud and can remotely delete anything.

“My biggest worry was someone intercepting it through a download,” said Fusee. “We’re using 256-bit encryption, which is Department of Defense level.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also put their playbook on iPads, and Fusee thinks it’s just a matter of time before every club across the league adopts the same technology.

“I had no idea [the Buccaneers] were doing it, but I guarantee that all teams are looking how to do this, and a few years from now, everyone is going to have something like this, whether it’s an iPad or some other device,” said Fusee.

“It’s the right time.”

Even Cardinals’ Opponents Notice Difference With Panasonic Camcorders

by   |  September 21st, 2009

By: Carolyn Braff, Managing Editor | Published: September 21, 2009

At the end of the 2008 season, the Arizona Cardinals’ video department began holding internal tryouts. Under the direction of Video Director Rob Brakel, the Cardinals’ staff introduced two Panasonic AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD camcorders to replace the tape-based digital cameras the team had been using for the past decade. This season, the Cardinals’ staff has made a full transition to the HPX2000, and the resulting image quality is so good, he says, that not only can he see the difference but other teams have commented as well. “The Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns are two teams that have commented on the quality of how our video looks,” Brakel says. “They have said that they notice a big change. When they look at our stuff [over the NFL’s file-based video-exchange network], they notice how much better it looks.”

Brakel’s team is using its two new AJ-HPX2000 ⅔-in. three-CCD P2 HD camcorders in conjunction with an AG-HPG20 P2 portable recorder and the DVSport GameDay editing and data-analysis software package. During practices and games, Brakel’s team shoots one HPX2000 from the 50-yard line, with the other in one end zone. Both camcorders are fixed on tripods and equipped with Fujinon XA17×7.6BRM ENG-style HD lenses. Brakel outfits each five-slot HPX2000 with three 16- or 32-GB P2 cards. “The P2 cards are tremendous for us, especially for practice, because they work so well with our DVSport product,” Brakel explains. “To be able to ingest practice is very easy, and it’s just a matter of minutes to get all the drills into our system and get it up and ready for the coaches.”The Panasonic workflow allows Brakel’s team to shoot directly into the laptops, using Firewire to keep everything digital. The HPX2000 has an IEEE 1394 output that allows the operator to record directly to a hard drive on a laptop while recording simultaneously on P2 cards as a backup. The export process is so efficient, Brakel says, that, after road games, his team is able to prepare post-game video for analysis by players and coaches before they board the plane to head home.“Shooting directly into the laptop saves us a lot of time,” Brakel explains. “Sunday, on our flight home, we had 18 coaches’ and players’ laptops finished, so we had a lot of people watching film on our flight coming home from Jacksonville.” The AJ-HPX2000 records in more than 30 HD and SD formats including 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i, and 576i. With the AVC-Intra codec option board (AJ-YBX200G), the AJ-HPX2000 can deliver 10-bit, 4:2:2 video for outstanding video production and news acquisition. For more information on the HPX2000, visit www.panasonic.com/P2HD.

Buckeyes Boot Up to Get a Leg Up

by   |  January 3rd, 2007

Doug LesmerisesPlain Dealer Reporter

Scottsdale, Ariz.- Football players don’t watch film. All that talk of Ohio State players like Troy Smith or Brandon Mitchell being film rats? Complete lies.[faux-paragraph]It’s not 1977. Jim Tressel isn’t in the back of the room scotch-taping together plays for a film strip. Players watch DVDs or a computer screen. Not film, and hardly ever tape.
 
“But that doesn’t sound right,” OSU center Doug Datish said, protesting the idea of studying DVDs. “You
think of a projector when you think of football film.”
 
That’s the romantic idea of bygone days, Tressel pulling down the screen and flipping off the lights as a projector putters into action in a classroom reeking of sweat and mud. The reality, as it has been for about a decade, is far more complex and accessible, and for the first time this year, far more portable.

After switching this season to a company called DVSport, which works with several college and NFL teams, including the Browns, Ohio State brought along a computer server to prepare for the national title game this week. The Buckeyes’ video setup in Arizona is nearly as sophisticated as the roughly $125,000 system they use during the season. That means nearly instantaneous availability of practice replays on the laptops of the Buckeyes coaches.

“In the past when you went to a bowl, it was kind of a step backward,” said Brian Lowe, the president of DVSport. “You’d have to go back to using tape and shuttle it back and forth and it was more time consuming. Now they can walk off the practice field and into meetings as if they were at home.”

That means a sortable array of plays broken down by every conceivable category available, with the ability
to zoom in on a particular player, at the click of a computer mouse.

“I like to look at the guy I’m going against and see what his tendencies are, how he uses his hands, what
foot does he step with first, does he seem strong on film, what moves would I do that would work on him,” defensive end Jay Richardson said.

Pitt/Big East Football – Replay guru has ties to Pitt program

by   |  July 21st, 2005

By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NEWPORT, RI – The Big East will use instant replay this season for the first time and the man in charge of making sure it is done correctly has ties to Pittsburgh and the Pitt program.

Brian Lowe, a Mt. Lebanon native and former graduate assistant at Pitt under Walt Harris, is the president of the company that has been hired to install the digital replay software in the conference’s eight stadiums and will train the conference’s officials to use it.

Lowe, who is the president of Green Tree-based DVSport, demonstrated the equipment over the weekend for coaches, media and athletic directors who were gathered for Big East media day.

“The response has been great,” Lowe said. “We not only have the Big East, we have the ACC and SEC, so we have some work to do over the next few weeks in
order to get all the equipment up and running. But it is exciting for us and for the
conferences.”
Lowe’s system is quicker than the others used for replay because it has a series of touch screens that allows officials to see a play frame-by-frame without having to rewind and fast forward. The system, which will tap right into the cameras being used for television, will be monitored in the press box by a replay official and a technician.
 
As for the Big East’s replay rules, they are very similar to the NFL’s in terms of what plays are reviewable. The replay must also show indisputable evidence that the call on the field was incorrect or the official’s call will not be overturned.
 
One major difference between the NFL and the Big East is that the coaches in the Big East will not be challenging the rulings. Instead, the replay official will review the plays and can challenge any call he deems worthy of a challenge.
 
There is no limit to the number of a challenges in any game, which some believe could make games last longer. Big East director of officials John Soffey doesn’t think that it will be an issue.

“This isn’t going to be every single close call getting challenged,” Soffey said. “I think the officials will be discerning enough to realize a call that may have a chance to be reversed and one that is way too close to even consider. We want to correct wrongs and we don’t want officials to decide or change the outcome of games. I don’t anticipate that it will take that long or games will be lasting longer as a result of it.”

Lowe said games that are televised will have a better chance to get plays reviewed because there will be eight to 12 camera angles to look at as opposed to only four for non-televised games.

USA Today – The Day in Sports

by   |  July 6th, 2005

Brian Lowe; at the right, explains the use of an Instant Replay system during a conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Hot Springs, VA. The leauge will begin using Instant Replay in the 2005 season.