SegevSport drives mobile production on-air graphics with Bluefish444, Sonnet and Vizrt

SegevSport is a real-time graphics service provider based in Israel, utilising data to create on-air graphics for sports, election coverage, game shows, news and any other broadcast program requiring graphics driven by data. As they provide a service rather than a product, SegevSport operators travel around the world to work with the local broadcasters for each live event.

SegevSport covers over 1,000 matches every year for a variety of sports, including football, tennis, water polo and volleyball, with basketball being one of their main events. SegevSport provided game day graphics and data for the FIBA qualification matches played in Guam, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and France. Locally, SegevSport contracts to Israel’s Sports Channel to cover around 400 matches per year across a number of sports.

Their primary software tool is the custom-developed SportsArt, of which they have multiple versions to cater for individual sports due to differing data requirements such as player counts, rules and special timers; an example of custom data being the shot clock in basketball. Each variant of SportsArt acts as the intermediary between the databases recalling data such as player statistics for current and previous years, current match statistics, and scoreboard information, and the corresponding render engine that drives the graphics. The on-air graphics and game data are then played out via SDI to overlay onto the broadcast feed from the OB van to the local station for broadcast.

SegevSport were looking to update their mobile production kits with a solution that would be both practical for their travelling staff and meet their requirements for quality and reliability. As SegevSport had been integrating their SportsArt software with Vizrt’s Viz Engine renderer for many years, it was vital that any new hardware upgrade retain compatibility with the Viz engine and improve the efficiency of their sports graphics workflow.

SegevSport initially evaluated high-powered laptops connected via Thunderbolt to a stand-alone mobile I/O appliance. However, due to the large number of mobile production kits required, they sought out a more compact, easy-to-use and configurable solution.

They decided to purchase Thunderbolt-compatible i7 laptops with NVIDIA GPUs, along with Sonnet’s Echo Express SE 1 Thunderbolt 3 external chassis’, with the final and most important component being an SDI video I/O card that would integrate with the Sonnet chassis, and interface with Viz Engine.

Avshi Segev, CEO of SegevSport, has known Bluefish444 for some time, and having used Bluefish competitor products for some years with the Viz Engine, wanted to give Bluefish a go. Avshi decided on the Epoch | 4K Supernova S+ to integrate into their workflow, and after some initial testing, found that it worked well as a Thunderbolt-compatible SDI I/O device in their Sonnet chassis’, and it integrated seamlessly with their Viz Engine licences.

“I’ve known Craige for four or five years now, and I’ve always wanted to see how Bluefish would work with our systems,” comments Avshi. “Now that we had the opportunity to get a card to test, we found it worked great for our needs at an affordable price.”

SegevSport requires a reference signal, live inputs and fill and key playout from the Viz Engine for on-air graphics. The Supernova S+ has been a good fit supporting up to 1080p60, and with Bluefish’s 12-bit processing, ensures the maximum quality is always achieved when the signal is sent to the broadcast station.

After their successful testing, SegevSport fitted out the rest of their mobile production kits with Supernova S+ video cards and have used them continuously during the broadcast of live sports during the second half of 2019. Each of their staff take two full mobile systems to each event, with the second set as backup in case of redundancy but have yet the need to call upon their reserve Bluefish cards.

Avshi comments on their experience so far, “we like the cards very much. They have worked flawlessly, and we have not had a single event where we’ve had a card failure. The cards are very reliable, easy-to-use with our software and they do exactly what we need them to, when we need them to.”

Another reason for SegevSport deciding to work with the Epoch cards was the freely available Bluefish Software Development Kit (SDK). Within only a small amount of investigation time, SegevSport developers were able to integrate with the Bluefish SDK and thus plan for future projects. SegevSport found their experience with Bluefish technical support super-efficient, with quick responses and useful assistance to get their custom-developed software up and running with their Supernova S+ cards.

Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource