That is an excellent question! And, just to give everyone some background on the equipment, what it is for, why we want it, etc, here is the scoop.
Since PSN started, we have been expanding in leaps and bounds. We started with one camera and one tripod, and the other geeky bits needed to get the video from the camera to magically stream out to the internet and into your phone, computer, or smart TV. Though it was about the most basic setup you can have and still live-stream video, it worked great and we used this setup for most of our first season on the air.
But, nothing that stays the same ever grows, and we wanted to grow rather than stagnate. So, last year we got the idea of adding multiple camera views. You know, just like you see on other sports networks (ESPN doesn’t only use one camera per game, ya know?), including having wireless sideline cameras covering the awesome award winning “in your face” shots.
So we checked into how to do this…EXPENSIVE! The least expensive video switcher we would find was $1000.
That is a lot of cheese! And this was just for the magic box (shown above) that lets you switch from one camera to another, and did NOT even include the actual wireless HDMI camera equipment like the big boys use. But we DID find a reasonably priced $300 wireless HDMI video transmitter and receiver that looked like it just might work AND save $700 or more!
We tried to take the “duct tape and bailing wire” engineering approach along with some good old country boy enthusiasm and make this cheaper wireless video option work! We will strap the transmitter onto a camera with some zip ties, attach this wad to a camera tripod, power it up with a cheap phone charging battery pack and *BAM* we are in business! In your face, Mr. & Mrs. $1000 professional wireless video thingie-do manufactures!
Well, partly wrong anyway. It worked perfectly fine for transmitting and receiving wireless video on a television or screen.
But the wireless HDMI transmitter and receiver we thought just might work as a low budget solution (shown here to the left) apparently didn’t work with the video specifications of our video switcher, and so it wouldn’t allow us to get the wireless video into our internet stream*.
Wow, who knew? Anyone that knows how to work on computers, is supposed to know everything about anything electrical or technical right? Well, sometimes things just don’t quite work out.
But, even though this wireless HDMI equipment didn’t work as we intended, it wasn’t purchased in vain! We have experimented with it to give video to the concession stand at softball and baseball, and we also used it once this year to do the same thing for the football concession stand on the home-side as well. (We are hoping to get the concession stand workers addicted to it and then get free food for the PSN crew in return…but we’re still working on that, so stay tuned right here for updates!)
Any way, the video switcher we originally purchased for wireless camera additions certainly wasn’t wasted either, and we have used it in just about every broadcast since then. If you’ve watched any sporting events on PSN in the last year, and have seen the view switch from one camera angle to another, well that’s the magic video switching box in use. It is pretty awesome, and with it we have been able to have a total of up to four camera views , or as we have been using it for the last two football games, for 3 cameras and the 4th video input is used for that awesome PSNstant Replay that Mr. Kevin Zheng developed (in your FACE Mr. $3500 instant replay equipment maker! This time the cheap duct tape and bailing wire method DID pay off! Instant replay for a total of about $50 in parts and pieces!)
So…the low-budget, piecemealed wireless sideline cameras didn’t work as planned. Which is why you don’t see any PSN cameras on the sidelines (YET!), and why, as a PSN viewer, you don’t see any receivers running towards the camera, or quarterbacks throwing the balls right into your living room.
But…we haven’t given up!
This is why we want the current video camera and wireless video transmitter for which we are now trying to raise money. The camera is professional quality, and isn’t the $200 home level “little Susie has a ballerina recital” cameras we currently use. It is a real, live, professional quality 4K high definition slap-yo-mama and get out of town broadcasting camera. Heck, it even has the word “Professional” in the name!
We have also thrown in the towel of trying to make something work that wasn’t designed for wireless camera usage. Now that order has been restored to the universe and computer man has more thoroughly read up on wireless video transmission and video specifications in general, we think we know what we need. And unfortunately it is the real deal, “costs quite a bit” wireless video transmission system.
Turns out that sometimes you just can’t rig up something, and you just have to spend the money and buy a tool or item or piece or part that seems to be overpriced, but that is also unfortunately about the only option if you would like to accomplish your objectives.
Our objective now is to add sideline video, like we wanted to do a year or so ago, but which didn’t quite work out.
We have very AWESOME platinum sponsors that have selflessly funded PSN: Gilstrap Drugs, Bynum’s Heating & Cooling, Mrs. Melanie Garner State Farm, and Marvin Salter Construction. These wonderful sponsors make it possible for us to purchase spare equipment, maintain our existing equipment, to replace broken equipment (like the $200 headset that just died), and to afford to cover as many events as possible. But, we WANT to add this new equipment and the features it brings…we don’t necessarily NEED to add it…so emptying out the PSN coffers to add this new gear wouldn’t be quite prudent.
Which brings us back to our Go Fund Me campaign. We would dearly love to add this equipment, because we would dearly love to add another new dimension to our broadcasts and show you better views: views that are in the heart of the action, right on the sidelines, on the side of the court, in the dugout, or next to the stage. So we are asking for help doing that. You can purchase a Geneva High School graduation DVD that we have available. Or purchase a Mulkey Graduation DVD. But at $30 each you’ll need to buy 100 of them. Or you could also be an event sponsor. We would only need 30 of those!
Or, just make a small (or large!) donation to our GoFundMe campaign.
And when we have reached our goal, just sit back and watch what you’ve helped us do!
- *For the geeks that just have to know… here in a nutshell is why the cheaper wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver pair wouldn’t work with our video switcher. The input on our video switcher has to be 1080p/59.94, but the wireless receiver’s HDMI output was 1080p/60. The specs of the new device (in graphic below), support both, as well as a myriad of other specs should we need some adaptability in the future.