PORTLAND, Ore. — Broadcasting a live sporting event was once a massive full-on production project that took loads of money and people to put together.
Now, though, with the advent of cheap video technology, it’s relatively easy to stream the latest action on the field or court to viewers around the world.
The Next Gen Network is a perfect example of that. NGN co-founder Kevin Minderhout spoke at a “Broadercasting” event put on by Portland video processing upstart Elemental Technologies at Jeld-Wen Field Thursday evening and shed some light on how him and a buddy found a way to share ultimate frisbee with the online world.
Minderhout, who founded the professional ultimate frisbee Next Gen Tour, wanted a way to allow people to watch the sport he loved. Back in 2011, however, nothing existed to enable this.
“The best media available in 2011 was one guy standing in the end zone filming from a ladder about two feet high,” Minderhout explained. “Then he’d put the footage out on the internet two weeks later.”
Minderhout knew there was room for improvement, so he and his partner Josh Wardle started using two Panasonic AG-HMC40 cameras to film game footage and then edited the video in the back of a touring ultimate frisbee bus in just two days.
“Ultimate hadn’t seen that before, but we got it done,” Minderhout said.
From there, the duo partnered with the governing body of USA Ultimate and started filming games — this time, though, they streamed live games online. For the back-end technology, Minderhout and Wardle would bring a 4G-enabled modem, an Elemental video encoding box and a bunch of cables.
And just like that, they had something similar to what ESPN does, but for far less money and labor.
“We were able to do 80-to-90 percent of what a national broadcaster does at 5-to-10 percent of the cost,” Minderhout said.
Minderhout added that he received lots of interest from other niche sports wondering how they could implement something similar. You can check out NGN and all its highlight videos here.