This Friday night, Morgan County High School’s digital media program is producing live sports like never before.
During the Friday night games of the Sweet South Shootout 2021, digital media students from Morgan County High School (MCHSLive.com) work with students from the UGA’s Carmical Sports Media Institute to produce their first “REMI” show.
The true definition of REMI – the remote integration model – has the content captured at a remote location and the production is done in a main studio. REMI productions are nothing new in the world of sports broadcasting. They have been the backbone of many productions since 2015, but the COVID-19 pandemic has positioned REMI productions as the go-to model for many shows as broadcasters adapt to new rules and protocols.
For many sports, only the home broadcast team could be on site. This meant that visiting crews had to be creative in their production methods, and REMI shows were the answer. MCHSLive.com does it a little differently.
MCHSLive.com will prepare all visuals on the game’s site while students from the Carmical Sports Media Institute will be on the Athens campus to add play-by-play and color commentary to the broadcast.
In May, Tom White, Director of MCHSLive.com, and Professor Vicki Michaelis, Director of the Carmical Sports Media Institute, spent time with the Atlanta Hawks broadcast team as they produced the Hawks vs. Knicks game. of New York in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Hawks broadcasters Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins were in a silent, empty State Farm Arena while the team was at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The broadcast team had producers on hand to help with stats, graphics, and other needs, but the rest of the broadcast – audio and camera operations – was handled over 800 miles away. Rathbun armed with a 50 inch TV and Wilkins using the arena dashboard jumbotron called out the game as if they were actually there. The only sounds in the arena were the voices of Rathbun and Wilkins.
The REMI model made sports broadcasts possible at a time when travel was limited and organizational rules made many traditional tools obsolete. The REMI workflow is not without its drawbacks. Rathbun explained that REMI is difficult for “sports where you don’t know where the ball is going – football and baseball – but easier for hockey and basketball” and that when you call a game “All [I] could see what was on the monitor – the same for the fan watching at home. He said that the REMI productions are “perfect in every way” for high schools.
In August, Steve Dyer, Technical Director of White and the NFHS Network, began discussing ways in which REMI productions might be possible at the high school level. Dyer explained that REMI’s goal is “to help schools improve the quality of their productions and to continue closing the gap towards a ‘Monday Night Football’ production” and that innovation like “this will continue with the ability to include more sophisticated graphics and instant highlight packages as technology and bandwidth availability continue to improve.
Michael Prendergast of Spalk.tv said, “The NFHS Network and Spalk have teamed up to help bring REMI productions to high schools across the country. Spalk is a virtual commentary studio, which allows sports commentators to call the game on a laptop from anywhere with an internet connection.
The partnership was originally focused on automated broadcasts over the NFHS network using Pixellot camera systems. After several discussions, Dyer, Prendergast and White started working to create a workflow for non-Pixellot broadcasts to use Spalk.tv to create REMI productions.
For high school sports, an app like Spalk.tv is perfect because, as Prendergast states, REMI productions have “less travel time for voice artists” and “more comments for fans”.
For the past four years, MCHSLive.com and the students of Carmical have worked on producing shows for a variety of MCHS sports. These broadcasts required the entire production team, often made up of more than a dozen students, to travel from Athens to the match.
REMI will now allow the broadcast team to stay in Athens for games that do not require a major production team on site. The REMI productions will also make road games another avenue for UGA students to gain experience.
For Professor Michaelis, the REMI model is a perfect fit for his students, as it is essential to “be able to add a remote broadcasting experience to the skills of our students. Even before the pandemic, networks broadcast events remotely to save costs. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend. It will help put our students first. “
After weeks of experimenting with the workflow, the real test of the broadcast system takes place on Friday night for two of the 2021 Sweet South Shootout games at Morgan County High School.
MCHS students will film the action and add graphics of the MCHS competition hall while Carmical Sports Media Institute students add their live, full-color commentary from their Grady School of Journalism on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. .
The teams will produce the games between the Greenbrier Boys and Woodland (Stockbridge) at 7 pm and the Morgan County Boys vs Alcovy Boys at 8:30 pm These games and 12 other games can be watched live on MCHSLive. .com.
The full version and application of the REMI model is expected in 2022. This version will allow the more than 7,000 schools affiliated with the NFHS network to incorporate on-air talent into their shows despite the location of the game and the talent.