Breakthrough in history of surfing webcasts
Press release from Well Above
According to Association of Surfing Professionals CTO Mano Ziul the Chyron MicroX CG and Lyric 7.1 software its technology partner StarComm recently purchased from Magna Systems represents a breakthrough in the history of surfing webcasts history and a new age in surfing information graphics.
Ziul explained the background to the momentous change, “In my role as Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) CTO and co-founder of Beach & Byte Systems I am responsible for ASP scoring and the data management systems and have been for over 20 years. We started doing webcasts back in 1994 with text only streams, then audio in 1995 and video in 1996. They were good times when we used to hang our lives on 64K ISDN lines or occasionally have the luxury of 128kbps lines. It was quite a production that included having to ‘swim’ 600 metre lines to the reef in Tahiti to get the live webcast going. Year after year we have provided webcasts from all the ASP World Tour events, regardless of where they were held. We use ADSLs, T1s, E1s, DSLs and 3Gs – whatever is available, we always make it work. Sometimes we have to heavily compress the stream but we always get a result.”
Ziul’s technology partner in the webcasts is OB production specialists StarComm whose owner Joel Medeiros Ziul credits with the idea of moving ASP to a broadcast graphics package. He said, “This is not only a first but a breakthrough in surfing webcasts history made possible by Joel and his vision for a leap forwards and upwards in webcast video production quality. As a result of using the Chyron MicroX, all the graphics we've seen before and the way they operate will change for good. The quality of the graphics and the integration with scoring system will set a precedent to be followed by all other events.”
The Chyron MicroX is a single-channel character generator with high-end features beyond standard, entry-level systems. MicroX systems are especially suited to automation environments which require text and graphics playout without clips. The MicroX can be easily tailored to facility needs, with premium Lyric optional upgrades.
Commenting on the move into a broadcast graphics system for the ASP webcasts Joel Medeiros said, “We purchased the MicroX CG last months and are very impressed with it. We went to Magna Systems as we’d decided to aim high and purchase a renowned broadcast graphics machine. After discussions with Magna Systems we settled on the Chyron as it’s synonymous with quality and reliability in broadcast production. From StarComm’s point of view we wanted to be able to relate to a product that has a lot of history within the broadcast market and outside live broadcast productions. The MicroX suits our needs perfectly and is very portable which is great for flyaway pack systems or small OB set-ups. We are taking it with us to South Africa and Tahiti next week and are very excited about using it to help take our graphics to the next level.”
Ziul continued, “I am developing additional programming on the scoring system to generate the files that are necessary for the graphics updates and I am also working on the Lyric 7.1 offline version to build the graphic wireframe. This then goes to the graphics person to do the look and it is all good to go.”
Chyron’s Lyric 7.1 graphics software package includes feature sets which continue to transform graphics creation, playout and workflow.
All ASP data uses an OBDC source database files that are linked to the Lyric 7.1. The scoring system keeps the files up to date ensuring Lyric 7.1 always utilises the latest and most accurate information available.
Ziul added, “It gets even better. Whereas before we used to type in data and mistakes were common now we are actually starting a new age in surfing information graphics. The system as whole involves hardware and software. We install custom data entry terminals to collect each judge’s score and then compile the results, stats and information sheets into different files that will get read by the Chyron MicroX. We use machine code language between the terminals to increase speed and high level visual applications at the user end.”
The new ASP broadcast graphics system runs in three separate parts – the judges’ data collection; the tabulation, heat draw and advancements and the interface for the Chyron MicroX.
Ziul said, “All three parts work together and they have three different operators. The first concentrates on the head-judge and always makes sure that all data is entered correctly. The second is the scoring data manager who makes sure that all data gets tabulated correctly, that the rules are properly adhered to and that the system is working properly. Thirdly we have the Chyron operator who is using all the graphics and collecting the latest information.”
ASP also has local systems, that run in all ASP regional offices and in the ASP international office. The local systems generate update files that are then loaded into the stats system during and after every heat. The stats are then compiled on the fly and made available for the scoring systems and the Chyron MicroX CG.
Joel Medeiros concluded, “Over the last 25 years ASP has had thousands of heats every year which is an enormous amount of information. In the years to come we will be able to be even more creative with interactive graphics which we intend to develop using our Chyron MicroX CG. Surfing is the kind of sport where simply watching the surfers is not enough for the spectators. They need to know what is happening in the water, what the heat flow is and each surfer’s strategy – all simultaneously. Using our new Chyron MicroX will certainly help us do all of that and in full broadcast quality – something we have on our wish list for a very long time. David Clemesha and the team at Magna Systems have been great in identifying the MicroX as the right product for the right solution. David and his team are very knowledgeable and great to work with. They always put in extra effort whenever its needed and we are very happy with their excellent customer service and support.”
Magna Systems Product Specialist David Clemesha said, “We are delighted that the Chyron MicroX and Lyric 7.1 are being used in such a unique and innovative way by the ASP. This deal comes as a result of meetings and demonstrations at this year’s NAB so it’s very pleasing to see it come to fruition so soon after the show.”