Ensworth High School’s football team is in for a challenging autumn.

The Nashville, TN Ensworth Tigers, led by coach Ricky Bowers, are heavily favored to win their third consecutive D-II Private School State Championship. Fueled by a fierce rivalry with the south’s oldest boys’ school, Montgomery Bell Academy, the pressure is on!


Luckily for the Tigers, they have no shortage of die hard fans in their stadium as well as around the country, and this year the cheers will be intensely magnified thanks to the very generous donation of a video board and the installation of a completely HD broadcast workflow from Blackmagic Design.

HD Broadcasting and Friday Night Football
With the recent donation of a 28’X16’ video board, Jason Robinson, the school’s technology support specialist, was already well on his way toward revolutionizing the game day experience for fans. But he needed to develop an affordable supporting broadcast infrastructure that would let him stream the games on the Internet, as well as stream live feeds and graphics on the video board.

Jason used a combination of Blackmagic Design products to develop the school’s HD broadcast workflow, including the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, Smart Videohub router, numerous ATEM Camera Converters, HyperDeck Studio SSD video recorder, SmartView Duo SDI monitors, Intensity Pro and Intensity Extreme capture and playback devices and a number of optical fiber and Mini Converter SDI to HDMIs and HDMI to SDIs. Located in the Ensworth press box in a 12 space rack, the Blackmagic Design HD workflow allows Jason, and four student helpers manning the cameras and ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, to broadcast in 1080i to local television channels, stream live on the Internet and feed graphics and footage to the video board.

“In the past, if we were building this system, we would have had to drop $30,000 on just a video switcher. But now with Blackmagic Design, we created a complete broadcast quality HD workflow for a fraction of the cost. Even more important, we can mix and match the Blackmagic Design gear to meet different broadcasting needs. The flexibility Blackmagic Design allows us cannot be matched,” said Jason.

Two HD-SDI cameras on top of the press box, a camera in the end zone and a camera roaming the sideline feed into the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher via ATEM Camera Converters, which can connect systems via optical fiber from up to 28 miles away. The video board, located 800 feet from Jason’s press box setup, is connected via fiber optic cable links and the ATEM Camera converters to the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher as well, creating a complete fiber roundtrip to and from the cameras, ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, Smart Videohub and video board.

IMG 1376The ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher comes in a two rack unit size and includes eight total inputs of SDI, HDMI and component video, and three auxiliary outputs, with a built in multi view for monitoring. The ATEM Camera Converters allow bi-directional video, audio, talkback and tally signals, as well as the ability to convert a camera’s SDI or HDMI video output to optical fiber.

During each game, Jason uses the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher’s 8 inputs and outputs to switch between camera feeds and move video and graphics where needed. Graphics, such as logos, stats and advertisements, are designed in Adobe Photoshop and then sent to the video board directly from the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher.

Beyond the live experience, games are also streamed on the Internet via Livestream for fans around the country. Jason uses a combination of the Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro and Thunderbolt based Intensity Extreme for capture and playback, Smart Videohub to route feeds and media and HyperDeck Studio for recording and playback. Monitoring is done with SmartView Duo monitors, with Blackmagic Design Mini Converters used throughout.

Using the HyperDeck Studio, the student production team records the entire football game with cuts, commentary, graphics and instant replay. Afterwards, the team renders files down to H.264 in order to stream the game over Internet. And, thanks to the compact setup, it’s easy for the team to similarly broadcast away games!

“We started installation of the system in July and were up and running by the first kickoff in August. The system has worked great so far, and was easy to learn for my student crew,” said Jason.

Portability Provides Options for a Jumbo, HD Future
Ensworth High School takes great pride in fitness, sports and especially its varsity football team, but the school’s new production equipment and high definition broadcast workflow will benefit many more of its students. Jason anticipates that soon the basketball and hockey teams will shine in the bright lights of the video board as well. And, with the portable Blackmagic Design equipment, it’s possible that many other teams and clubs could broadcast their activities to the fans as well.