ISC to Provide Live Streaming Video of Twenty-One (21) Games from 2006 World Tournament
During the summer of 2001, I was invited by David Blackburn to come to Palmdale, California, to the Best of the West tournament, to see and try “something new” for men’s fastball — live streaming audio, broadcast over the internet. It was the dress rehearsal for a project that David had been developing for the ISC, live streaming audio broadcasts of the ISC World Tournament. I was fortunate to be able to sit in on some of those broadcasts, and see first hand, the new technology that David proposed for use in men’s fastball.
David Blackburn was named to head up the ISC’s “Streaming Media & Broadcast” program, which has become a roaring success, with tens of thousands of listeners now tuned in, via “internet radio” to listen to dozens of games from the ISC World Tournament. More than 100 games have been broadcast during the last 5 ISC World Tournaments. With David’s help, the ISC’s broadcast program was expanded to include the ISC II Tournament of Champions, under the leadership of ISC II commissioner, Blair Setford, starting in 2004. At last year’s tournaments in Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, more than 50 games were carried to some 25,000 listeners worldwide. Emails came in from listeners from as far away as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even a ship stationed off the coast halfway around the world.
For the past two ISC World Tournaments, David has been dabbling, testing, experimenting with the use of live streaming video. The tests included a multi-camera local ABC television broadcast of the championship game at Fargo, ND in 2004, and a single camera feed from the Press Box at the 2005 tournament in Eau Claire, WI. During these early broadcasts, streaming videotechnology was still in its infancy stages. But David was not deterred. Buoyed by the early tests, David continued to work on the project in the off season, enlisting the backing of the ISC, and the technical know-how of people like Greg Panos, a technical wizard from Boeing’s space program.
The other night, David invited me to his meeting with Greg for a sneak preview of the next big leap for men’s fastball — LIVE STREAMING VIDEO, with production capability to rival a TV production truck. Thanks to improved technology, the ability to stream video has grown in leaps and bounds, not to mention portability. The gear, purchased by the ISC, includes a four (4) camera, wireless set up with a master console to control the feed being streamed on line to any of four cameras. If you ever saw the production truck on the NFL’s Monday night football with the producer pointing to which camera he wanted shown on TV, you get the idea. Only here, instead of a gigantic truck full of equipment, with miles of cables running everywhere, David can control the video feed with his mouse, sittting in front of one computer. Cables? There are none. Each of the wireless cameras is a self contained, self powered (lithium batteries) unit, which communicates with David’s computer via a wireless connection. The control panel also gives David the ability to mix in clips, logos, lettering, akin to a production you might see on ESPN. The result will be something closer to TV production quality broadcast.
The video equipment, and David’s vision for its application in the world of men’s fastball is as cutting edge as the audio equipment was back in 2001 when David invited me along to those early test broadcasts. I recall chatting with David back then, while we mused about having streaming TV “someday”. Well, that “someday” has arrived, and ISC World Tournament fans are in for a real treat this year from Kitchener.
The good news for fans, is that we’re not just talking about streaming video for the championship game. David’s crew and the ISC has gotten behind the project in a big way, and plan to televise (live streaming video) 21 games, including the championship games for both the ISC World Tournament and ISC II Tournament of Champions.
Stay tuned. Literally. The schedule is due out any day now.