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The most exciting 2 minutes in sport with Mira Replay

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Glorious Goodwood, one of the highlights of the racing year, that quintessentially British race meeting famous for its charm, relaxed chic and those Panama hats.

With action replays, simulcasts and highlights packages broadcasting a major sporting event is a huge undertaking so we thought we’d take a look at how our friends over the pond manage the transmission of their biggest race meet, The Kentucky Derby.

Mira Replay delivers across the board at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby

Most people know Churchill Downs as the home of the Kentucky Derby, one of the longest running and most prestigious thoroughbred horse races in the country. In fact, the Kentucky Derby draws more than 165,000 guests to Churchill Downs on race day. The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year, is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, the Kentucky Derby receives this nickname from the approximate length of time it takes the winner to run from the starting gate to the finish line. The Kentucky Derby is the first race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, where it is followed by the Preakness Stakes race and the Belmont Stakes race.

Everyone who visits this legendary racetrack gets to experience The Big Board — one of the world’s largest video screens. That’s one of the places they’ll find, among other things, a simulcast of each race followed by replays of its most significant moments, from paddock to starting gate to winner’s circle and beyond.

Producing all of that video keeps the Churchill Downs production crew quite busy. We spoke to Colin Trask, simulcast production manager at Churchill Downs, who just completed his 16th Kentucky Derby production. Trask gave us some insight into the venue’s production operation and his team’s use of Mira Replay; Abekas­­’ multi-camera instant replay server for live events and sports broadcasting.

Colin Trask, simulcast production manager at Churchill Downs, just completed his 16th Kentucky Derby production, using the Abekas Mira Replay.

First, please describe your production operation.

We produce the simulcast signal that’s seen throughout Churchill Downs and at other racetracks and casinos throughout the country. Besides displaying the odds and wagering tools for the different race categories, we also show video of the races themselves. That video includes quick replays that run right after the race and, a little later on, long replays that show both pan and head-on views of the final 1/8 mile, a slow-motion gate break, and an ISO of the leading horses as they cross the finish line.

For a long time we’d been working out of a production truck because we used to travel around handling shows for other racetracks. We haven’t done that in several years, though, so it was time to replace the aging truck with a permanent studio full of upgraded equipment.

And adding Mira Replay was part of that upgrade. How are you using it?

Our Mira Replay server has a total of eight inputs and outputs. We’re set up to receive five inputs — the program feed, the ME/clean feed, a tilt pan camera, the winner’s circle camera, and an aux feed that records the edited version of the head-on replay. Right now we’re only using two of the other three I/Os as outputs — one to the production switcher and another for previews. We’re considering networking into our graphics computer, which generates many of the elements that we like to record. The beauty of the Mira Replay machine is that we can easily make changes like that because it’s flexible enough to adapt instantly to whatever configuration we choose.

What can you do with Mira Replay that you couldn’t do before? Is there anything about Mira Replay that’s especially important to your workflow?

One of the great things about Mira Replay is that it records continuously, so we capture everything. Our old machine only recorded when you hit the button, which made it easy to miss things. If the operator got distracted or otherwise missed a significant moment, it was gone forever. But now, if something gets past the operator, or if we decide we want a certain clip after the fact, we can go back and retrieve it. With so much going on in a live workflow, that’s a big advantage. We have to pay close attention to space management on our hard drive as a result, but it’s well worth it. There were numerous times on opening night and the next day — our first live runs with Mira Replay — when we were really glad we had that feature.

Being able to set an end point on all clips that are recording helps keep things streamlined. With Mira Replay we can set the end point on several clips all at once, whereas with the old server we had to set separate in and out points, one at a time, for each clip.

How was it to learn Mira Replay?

We’re set up for a single operator to run the machine almost exclusively through the GUI, as opposed to using the control panel. The server went live on the season’s opening night, a week before the Kentucky Derby. A last-minute switch meant that I had to step in to the operator position instead of the person who had been trained on Mira Replay. Thanks to a lot of support from Mike Kljucaric, the Abekas Product Specialist who answered all my questions, I got comfortable using Mira Replay within the week, so everything went smoothly on Derby day.

Any parting thoughts?

The Mira Replay server was an excellent value. It gives us the perfect combination of flexibility, speed, and performance. We got everything we would have needed from a more expensive machine at a more affordable price.

Abekas broadcast solutions are available in the UK exclusively from BPS

To purchase Abekas products and “Broadcast with Confidence”  visit for more information.

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Welcome Nick Tucker

Lots of good things happening at The Old Fire Station this Summer.

For starters we have a new member of the sales team; we are delighted to welcome Nick Tucker to the BPS fold.
Nick comes to us from ProKit, where he specialised in audio sales. He has a wealth of experience so will be hitting the ground running, we are sure you will all extend him a warm welcome.
As well as heading up all things audio Nick will be the GoTo guy for GoPro (see what I did there?) as our GoPro Product Manager.

To celebrate Nick’s arrival we are offering bundle deals on GoPro cameras and accessories.
Read on for details…

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GoPro HERO4 Black Adventure bundle promotion


  • Floaty Backdoor

  • Battery Backpac

  • Tripod Mount

£341.66 + VAT

(while stocks last)

offer ends 31/07/16


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Pre-order your GoPro Omni

We are taking orders now for the first delivery of Omni to the UK in August.

Be the first to get your hands on this incredible bit of kit and start your VR journey today.

GoPro Omni™
– rig only

pre-order now for August delivery

£1083.33 + VAT


GoPro Omni™
– all inclusive

Full package includes the Omni rig and 6 x GoPro Hero4 Black cameras needed to populate it, Kolor software apps, Autopano Video Pro + Autopano Giga.

pre-order now for August delivery

£3499.99 + VAT

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Capture every second of the action

This summer will be packed with top sporting events. So get set for action behind the camera.

Capturing high speed sports is notoriously tricky. Dramatic wins and losses won’t wait, so the key is to make it snappy. Award winning photographer, Eddie Keogh has been capturing iconic sporting events for 35 years and has immortalised hundreds of defining moments, including eight World Cups. His invaluable expertise and advice can help you too capture game changing images.

Eddie Keogh

Award-winning Canon Explorer, Eddie Keogh is a freelance sports photographer. He worked for UK national newspapers from 1986 until 2005, when he joined Reuters as a contract photographer. Eddie covered his first Olympic Games in Los Angeles, USA, at the age of 21. He has photographed eight football World Cups – and almost every sport ever invented.

Split second

As Eddie says, “the real challenge is getting that one split second that defines a particular sporting event.” So how does he do it?

© Eddie Keogh – Canon EOS-1D Mark IV; the exposure was 1/1250s at f/2.8, ISO 1600.

“This gymnast on the high bar was spinning so fast I just fired away hoping to get an interesting shape. At the end of the day I gave my card to an editor and he told me that he loved the shot of the guy with no head. I had no idea what he was talking about until I saw the picture. Lady luck strikes again.”

© Eddie Keogh – Canon EOS-1D X with an EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens; the exposure was 1/1600s at f/4.5, ISO 400.

“This was the last race of the day at Cheltenham Festival. As the sun was setting, I walked out on the course to find a fence that was facing the sun and placed my camera on a spike in the base of the fence and triggered it with a radio slave.”

Canon plays a part

“I’ve been using the new Canon EOS 1-D X Mark II and the tracking is superb. It’s quicker to focus and holds the focus better than any other Canon camera I’ve used. No matter how fast the action, I can trust its AF system to give me a better chance of getting that key moment.”

Buy Canon EOS
original source: Canon Inspiration
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Will we see you at IBC 2016?

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Not to wish our Summer away, (should it ever turn up in the first place) but it’s that time of year again when we start to plan ahead for our yearly pilgrimage to Amsterdam for the IBC Conference.

This year’s IBC show runs from 8-12 Sept and early bird discounts and complimentary exhibition passes are available until 15 July. Don’t miss your chance of free entry register now

IBC is the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide. Fifteen exhibition halls are complimented by a host of feature areas specially designed t oenhance your experience. An unparalleled platform to meet, address and learn from 55,000+of the most engaged power brokers, press and prospects in international electronic media and entertainment.

Need more convincing? Listed below are what promise to be some of the show highlights.[gap height=”30px”]

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Sir Martin Sorrell to deliver keynote exploring the trends driving rapid change in the world of media

Global advertising and marketing guru Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, will deliver the Keynote address on Friday 9 September at the IBC2016 Conference in Amsterdam.

As one of the most respected global industry leaders, Sir Martin’s views are keenly followed on both business and macro-economic issues. In his IBC Keynote, he will talk about the trends driving rapid change in the world of media, together with the critical role of content, data and technology in the 21st-century marketplace.

Under Sir Martin’s leadership, WPP has become the world’s largest communications services group. It is in the FTSE 100 and employs some 194,000 people (including associates and investments) working across 150 companies in 112 countries. In addition to advertising and media companies, including Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Y&R and MediaCom,
Sir Martin has ramped up WPP’s investments in data analysis and advertising technology through Kantar, to better position WPP with the growing power of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon).

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Dominique Delfont to deliver the IBC2016 keynote address.

Global Managing Director of Havas Media Group and Chairman of Vivendi Content, Dominique’s views on content, data and Organic Marketing have been featured on CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg as well as in The Huffington Post, The Guardian and industry publications around the world. He has been voted as one of the most influential media agency executives on social networks, and in 2013 he was listed in Campaign’s “Top 10 UK Media Suits” at Number 3. As Global Managing Director of Havas, Dominique oversees all brands, clients and commercial activities as well as all research and intelligence for the advertising and marketing group’s 126 markets. Since his appointment in 2012, he has set up a number of initiatives that help the agency and its clients respond to the rapid developments in technology, data, content and media. Dominique will give his view of how the media landscape has changed and what this means for traditional media companies, including his outspoken views on the power of the big digital platforms collectively known as GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – and how important it is for Europeans to continue to develop local content that speaks to their cultures.

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Shahrzad Rafati to reveal a New Kind of Online Video Journalism at IBC Conference

IBC has announced that Shahrzad Rafati, Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV, will deliver a keynote on Saturday 10 September at the forthcoming IBC2016 Conference.

Over the last 11 years BroadbandTV has become a powerful force in online video, and is the world’s largest multi-platform network. Shahrzad will talk about how BBTV is working across platforms and creating novel partnerships to create a new kind of online video journalism network. She will also talk about how the younger YouTube generation interacts with technology and content and what this means for traditional broadcasting.[gap height=”30px”]

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Discover Music as a Catalyst for Growth with Eric Huggers, President and CEO of Vevo.

As the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform, with over 17 million views globally, Vevo is an exciting addition to the IBC2016 Conference.

Erik Huggers, their president and CEO, is known for disrupting content delivery and media services through next generation user experiences and technologies and he will share key research insights into how the online generation listens to and views music and how music has provided an enormous catalyst for growth in streaming media.[gap height=”30px”]

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Be Inspired by the Outdoor Exhibits

Explore unique exhibits and some of the world-leading OB trucks in the Outdoor Exhibition area. Increasing in demand and popularity each year, the Outdoor Exhibition area has moved to P6 outside Hall 12 for 2016![gap height=”30px”]

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Discover New Technology at the IBC Future Zone

The IBC Future Zone is home to exhibitors with cutting edge projects and prototypes liberated by IBC from the world’s leading R&D labs and universities. Exciting and innovative technology will be on display from from Swissaudec, BBC R&D, Sphericam, ETRI and TIE Kinetix.

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Technology in Action Unveiled

From the latest developments in IP to speeding access to news from the cloud and how to defeat ad blockers, the IBC Technology In Action theatre is a goldmine of user-led information.[gap height=”30px”]

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Join the Video on Demand Debate

The ingredients for Netflix and Amazon Prime’s recent success are exclusive content, ownership of data plus delivery, and close control of subscriber bases. Is this vertical integration model the industry blueprint for the future?[gap height=”30px”]

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Thanks for coming/and the winner is…

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The inaugural Media Production Show earlier this month was a huge success. We’d like to extend a huge thank-you to everyone of you that came to visit the BPS stand.

It was BPS’s first foray into exhibiting at a trade show and we were delighted to see so many content creators from the film, TV and digital industries.

With queues to get in reaching around the block on both the Thursday and Friday some 4,986 visitors attended the show across the two days. Huge thanks to all of you who came to visit and support us, it was great to see old friends and meet new.

MBI event director Charlotte Wheeler said:
“The vision of the event, to bring creativity and technology together, resonated with thousands of people and the feedback from visitors, speakers and exhibitors has been phenomenal.[gap height=”30px”]

And the winner is…

During the Media Production Show we ran a daily prize draw competition. On offer on day one was a Sonos Play:1 and the prize on day two was a GoPro HERO Session camera. 100’s of hopefuls threw their business cards into the pot but in the immortal words of Highlander,

“There can be only one” or in this case, 2!

Norah-Anne Barron of Pi Communications was Thursday’s prize draw winner. Sukh and Jono caught up with her this week in Dublin to deliver her prize, a Sonos Play:1. The mini but mighty Play:1 is a compact and surprisingly powerful, smart, wireless speaker for streaming music with deep, crystal-clear sound.[ux_image]

Friday’s prize draw was for a GoPro HERO Session. Small and light, with easy one-button control and rugged, waterproof design. HERO Session is perfect as a second GoPro camera, or for the first-time GoPro user who wants the simplest, grab-and-go capture experience. The winner of that draw is Paulo Biolcati of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Follow the link for the skinny on new GoPro products slated for release this year

If you didn’t make it to this years show we hope to see you next year in a bigger and better venue, Olympia for a bigger and better Media Production Show 2017.