Renewed Vision Powers Healthcare Event Streaming

ASHEVILLE, N.C.—The “Lead Through Change” conference—which focused on changes in the U.S. healthcare system—was held here in November and attracted a large gathering of professionals from a wide range of healthcare fields.

Attendees came to hear a number of high-profile speakers—including former U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and William Frist, Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association and New York Times best-selling author Dr. John Maxwell—encourage and inspire them to take a greater leadership role in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment.

We planned well in advance to stream the conference to the web, and what began as a simple live event stream soon turned into a fairly complex television production. Broadcast Media International, a content delivery network, was brought in to produce the webcast and I was asked to handle live production.

MAKING THE CONFERENCE MORE AVAILABLE
While planning for the eight-hour conference program coverage, a major healthcare organization asked if we could delay the webcast by one hour for their central time zone viewers. At that point I decided to add an additional item to our equipment complement—a video file server that would be dedicated to handling this secondary, time-shifted web stream.

I had had some previous experience with Renewed Vision’s server and elected to go with the company’s four-channel ProVideoServer system for this application for several reasons. First, it was by far the most cost-effective of the four broadcast video servers I was considering. I was familiar with the PVS system in a playout-only application and had used its live-synchronization feature that allows users to advance or delay the playout of two or more video streams to ensure synchronous frame-accurate playback.

I had never tried a one-hour time shift before, so I decided to do some advance testing of the system. Based on the tests, I felt confident it would work reliably for the approaching mission-critical application.

On the day of the event, we set up the PVS to create a partition that reserved sufficient storage space to accommodate the anticipated eight full hours of video. While one PVS input channel ingested the live 1080i high-definition program feed for eight hours, a second PVS was used to output the program with a one-hour delay.

Another slightly unconventional element in our PVS configuration was the use of a MacBook Pro laptop, rather than the desktop machine typically chosen for this purpose. We interfaced the MacBook Pro with a Blackmagic Design Ultra Studio 3D with two I/Os to bring the video signal into the laptop. By using PVS software, I was able to set up all user-defined criteria and had full and easy control of the PVS system.

The conference production included primary and secondary web streams, and that the PVS worked reliably throughout this long event is a testament to the server’s capability. We had a 90 percent engagement factor and the project was deemed very successful.

Aaron Hawthorne is production manager at Broadcast Media International. He may be contacted at ahawthorne{at}broadcastmediainternational{dot}com.