CP Communications Covers Multi-Venue CrossFit Games with Hybrid Broadcast and Production System

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for complex live event productions, exhibited the full power of IP streaming and bonded cellular networking for live sports production at the 13th CrossFit Games, which represents the world championship event for the athletic competition. Contracted by Carr-Hughes Productions, CP Communications provided all content acquisition, networking and delivery services across all areas at the multi-venue, 20-acre Alliant Energy Center complex in Madison, Wisconsin. The complex includes an exhibition center, vendor pavilions, a sponsor’s row, a beer garden and an outdoor competition area – North Park Stadium – built specifically for this event.

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CP Communications established a base at the exhibition center outside the Alliant Energy Center, and built a fiber infrastructure from its 40-foot CP-1 Digital Communications Trailer to cover the entire competitive course. The fiber infrastructure also delivered the live event production feeds that were distributed throughout the complex, allowing fans, participants and sponsors to watch the events in real-time. The 13th CrossFit Games took place August 1-4, with a focus on aerobic, weightlifting and gymnastics for the nearly 200 male and female participants.

The fiber infrastructure was based around four, 48-strand fiber trunks to a demarcation point, where anywhere from 24 to 60 fiber strands were run to the various competition and spectator areas. The fiber network accommodated all audio, data, and video acquisition, transport and distribution services required between these locations and CP-1, which served as CP Communications’ production workspace in the broadcast compound. MultiDyne VF-9000 high-density video fiber transmission frames and MD-3000 fiber transceivers were used at all locations to move and process signals between any point, with a Dante® network deployed to support audio and intercom on the same fiber backbone.

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CP Communications’ technical personnel covered the event outside using multiple cameras (a mix of wireless RF handhelds, PTZ and POV cameras, and hard cameras on scissor lifts), with Mobile Viewpoint Airlinks used to encode and deliver signals over a bonded cellular network.

“We employed six bonded cellular rigs to cover events outside the Alliant Energy Center campus, including the ruck race and the swimming events downtown,” said Kurt Heitmann, CEO, CP Communications. “All of our wireless audio, communications and video systems worked seamlessly both inside the coliseum and outside at North Park Stadium, including our traditional CODFM wireless cameras. This flexibility is yet another example of our leadership and expertise in building customized, hybrid systems to ensure reliable event coverage across multiple sites. While we remain RF specialists, we can simplify the overall infrastructure and ensure 100 percent coverage by leveraging the power and flexibility of IP and bonded cellular networking.”

The CrossFit organization also served as the World Feed host broadcaster, providing a completely IP-based world feed to various websites and social media services (including YouTube and Facebook) in multiple languages. CP Communications engineers monitored the all fiber, IP and bonded cellular feeds on board CP-1 — including the acquired signals coming back to the trailer, and the world feed transmissions going out.

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“We provided H264 video from the Airlinks and managed the bitrate with a ceiling of 16 Megabits per channel,” said Heitmann. “Using the Mobile Viewpoint LinkMatrix, a cloud-based management portal, we could easily make adjustments and troubleshoot on the fly. We are able to adjust parameters like bitrate in real-time to ensure continuous high-quality performance from the bonded cellular transmitters.”

CP Communications also took advantage of the public internet by deploying a Unity Intercom system for team-wide communications.

“We communicated with our entire team over a standard public network, which enabled us to react quicker to technical issues and even use Wi-Fi hotspots as necessary,” said Heitmann. “The Unity system is a cellular system that also matches with our bonded cellular cameras. It gives us the freedom to move as needed and still keep the lines of communication open, which is vital to the success of a project of this enormity.”

CP Communications Appoints James Monroe as Director of Sales

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, has appointed former atmospheric scientist and TV meteorologist James Monroe to its newly created Director of Sales, North America position.

CP_JamesMonroeBased in the Chicago area, Monroe will report to Ken Dillard, Vice President of Sales, North America, and focus on sales and business development for CP Communications’ broadcast news, sports, live event and sports production, and distribution solutions utilizing cellular acquisition tools from Mobile Viewpoint. Monroe’s responsibilities include an emphasis on expanding visibility and market share for the company’s Red House Streaming and Mobile Viewpoint portfolios of content acquisition solutions, which offers a range of IP, cloud and bonded cellular technologies and services.

Monroe brings a rare blend of technical expertise and communications skills to his new role. He spent nearly three decades in the weather industry, including seven as an on-air meteorologist at TV stations in Salt Lake City (KSTU-TV) and Rochester, New York (WROC-TV). He has also served as Special Projects Weather Forecaster for the United States Air Force, supervising the delivery of weather forecasts, warnings and advisories to the U.S. Military and NATO forces, along with supporting NASA missions and various civilian agencies.

Over the past 15 years, Monroe has transitioned into the broadcast supplier space, taking on sales and engineering roles of increasing responsibility. Following positions at WSI Corporation and The Weather Company (an IBM Business) that merged his meteorology experience with customer-facing sales and account management duties, Monroe held successful, senior-level sales roles at Vizrt and TVU Networks.

Monroe’s diverse experiences have equipped him with a strong knowledge of modern broadcast and production workflows, and an insightful awareness of the role that customer intimacy plays in the sales journey.

“My many years of television experience both behind the scenes and on the supplier side has taught me the value that this industry places on relationships,” he said. “CP Communications understands the importance of a consultative sales approach, and how treating customer relations as partnerships will ultimately drive revenue. The fact that CP Communications is on the leading edge of IP and cloud-based delivery only strengthens my opportunity for success. Through our representation of Mobile Viewpoint networking products and our homegrown STREAM family of content acquisition systems, we can offer solutions that are ideally engineered to fit the standards and workflows of today’s broadcast and production environments.”

Monroe adds that he sees an opportunity to expand CP Communications’ presence into new markets where IP and bonded cellular technologies can provide critical connectivity and communications services, including public safety and law enforcement.

“James brings a very unique industry perspective along with a customer-centric work ethic and long-standing industry relationships to CP Communications that will bring our innovative solutions and services to a much larger audience,” said Dillard. “We are proud to welcome him to the growing CP Communications team.”

CP Communications Strengthens Broadcast and Commercial AV Teams with Two Appointments

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, has appointed two broadcast and AV veterans to newly developed positions in alignment with the company’s broader growth strategy. Effective immediately, Rhett Van Buskirk and Sean Sweeney join CP Communications in Senior Account Executive roles for the broadcast and commercial AV markets, respectively. Both report to Ken Dillard, Vice President of Sales, North America.

Van Buskirk brings nearly four decades of broadcast engineering expertise to his new role, including extensive experience as a freelance technical engineer and systems architect in live sports and event production. A five-time Technical Emmy award winner for sports, he has worked on the Olympics, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl, US Open (Tennis), World Series and Academy Awards in various technical engineering roles.

Prior to joining CP Communications, Van Buskirk spent 15 years with Bexel as Senior Systems Engineer, where, among other initiatives, he coordinated with clients on the planning, design and development of large-scale, flypack control rooms. He most recently served as Director of Engineering, Broadcast Systems (East) for VER, where he specialized in flypack systems for live entertainment, E-gaming and sporting events.

Van Buskirk will focus on sales and service for CP Communications’ core RF market, while developing the at-home production and streaming opportunities that CP Communications supports under its Red House Streaming portfolio. CP Communications’ Red House Streaming business focuses on IP, cloud and bonded cellular technologies and services, including the company’s new STREAM family of content acquisition solutions.

CP_Rhett_VanBuskirk“We have reached an exciting crossroads in the broadcast and production industry as more events and organizations move aggressively toward streaming, and adopt more IP and cloud-based workflows,” said Van Buskirk. “This has accelerated the rise of the at-home production model, which opens more opportunities to reduce production costs and monetize content. I’m excited to work with existing CP Communications clients and develop business with new clients, emphasizing how our new STREAM family can help them achieve their production goals.”

Sean Sweeney’s appointment is instrumental to CP Communications’ growth strategy for the commercial AV market. Sweeney brings two decades of sales, management and production experience in the corporate, retail and hospitality verticals, and has held Director-level positions for international AV and event technology companies within New York City, Miami Beach, Boston, Latin America, Puerto Rico, and The Caribbean. In addition to managing AV systems and services across meeting and event space, private venues, convention centers, and hotel ballrooms, he built a reputation as a profitable sales and operations leader. His experience includes managing large productions on hotel properties including Broadway-related shows, SAG Award events, professional musical performances, and VIP celebrity events with sports and entertainment stars.

Sweeney believes that with the establishment of its Red House Streaming solutions and a professional control room at its Florida headquarters, CP Communications is well-equipped to capture AV-related production business that increasingly requires broadcast-quality content while maintaining reasonable production budgets.

CP_Sean_Sweeney“CP Communications already services a very high-end broadcast market, and clearly offers the technology and production services to serve large corporate events, for example,” said Sweeney. “The AV industry values service and creativity foremost, with technology decisions often following once the right structure is in place. CP Communications is strongly positioned to succeed in this market based on the unique mix of high-end services and technology platforms they offer.”

Rhett and Sean will attend InfoComm 2019 to meet with new and existing customers. As a first-time exhibitor at Booth 4877, CP is excited to have them represent the company and bring their experience to a new segment of the media marketplace. InfoComm takes place June 12-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

“Rhett and Sean bring a broad depth of knowledge and experience in their respective spaces to CP Communications,” said Dillard. “Rhett’s expertise as a technician, engineer, and onsite team leader make him an invaluable resource for our customers needing everything from custom flypacks to full mobile production services. Sean’s expertise will help us meet the needs of AV clients large and small with high-quality, innovative and unique technology solutions and services. We welcome both of them to our team.”

 

CP Communications Launches STREAM Family of Content Acquisition Solutions at 2019 NAB Show

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, will unveil its Red House Streaming brand of STREAM content acquisition packages at the 2019 NAB Show. The launch positions CP Communications as a leader in self-service content acquisition and streaming solutions for broadcasters, content creators and other media professionals with three distinct packages that cover single-camera shoots to larger multi-camera productions. CP Communications will demonstrate all three STREAM packages at the Mobile Viewpoint booth (C3307) as an official NAB Show co-exhibitor.

CP Communications has led the industry in RF-based live content acquisition for almost three decades, specializing in video and audio coverage for many of the world’s largest sports events. The company has increasingly adopted IP and bonded cellular technologies for content acquisition in recent years, in alignment with the industry’s shift toward IP and cloud-based workflows.

“The Red House Streaming brand is a natural evolution for CP Communications, due in large part to a convergence of many technologies and workflows in the broader marketplace,” said Jerry Gepner, COO, CP Communications. “Our STREAM solutions are a direct response to the changing content creation and distribution requirements taking shape around the industry as IP technology and cellular services become foundational in broadcast and production.”

The complete range of STREAM solutions to be introduced at NAB, all of which leverage Mobile Viewpoint solutions for multichannel signal encoding, include:

  • CamSTREAM: A single- or dual-camera acquisition system with streaming support over Ethernet, WiFi and bonded cellular service. CamSTREAM is an ideal plug-and-play, broadcast-quality solution for unattended operations including corporate events, distance learning, worship services, and modest TV studio productions.
  • MultiCam STREAM: A scalable multi-camera acquisition camera system for live-streamed and at-home productions, MultiCam STREAM elevates productions with support for four cameras, 32 audio channels and data (including return tally and four-wire intercom) in the base configuration. All camera feeds are simultaneously ingested into the system, and can be decoded and delivered to service providers as individual SDI feeds or a multiplexed single stream.
  • Production STREAM: Multi-camera flypack acquisition system for on-site and remote productions with larger I/O signal requirements. All-in-one system integrates Simplylive video switching and Dante-enabled audio mixing from Presonus to support more traditional broadcast and production workflows, with tally and four-wire intercom support.

The Red House Streaming brand represents CP Communications’ strategic direction as both a supplier and service provider, with options to rent or purchase any of the three STREAM packages. CP Communications’ remote production teams will also use the STREAM systems for content acquisition and live event services, including at-home productions that originate from the company’s new St. Petersburg, Florida studio.

Gepner adds that the STREAM packages eliminate the need for customers to assemble systems across multiple vendors and service providers. Simple to deploy and control, the packages can be set up in a matter of minutes, without a significant monetary investment in system design and specification, integration and commissioning.

“By offering packaged solutions that are flexible and often scalable, we enable our customers to produce more content at lower prices and without time-consuming engineering challenges,” said Gepner. “The STREAM family is aimed to serve virtually any content acquisition and live production need, and will be especially attractive for businesses that lack the in-house resources to put together a purpose-built solution.”

CP Communications will demonstrate all three packages operating off four live Sony cameras in the Mobile Viewpoint booth throughout the 2019 NAB Show, which takes place April 8-11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

CP Communications Establishes New Tampa-Area Headquarters

CP Communications has relocated its Elmsford, NY and Orlando, FL offices to a new 31,000-square-foot facility in St. Petersburg outside of Tampa. The facility will serve as CP Communications’ official headquarters for business and technical operations, housing four 53-foot production trucks, a NOC, and a 5,000-square-foot production studio.

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CP Communications will retain its Fishkill, New York location, which will continue to house staff, field shops, engineering and local production facilities. The St. Petersburg facility reflects the broadcast industry’s transition from traditional RF signal transport technologies to IP, cloud and bonded cellular techniques. This includes further development of its new Red House Streaming solutions line, a family of production systems tailored for live-streamed events.

CEO Kurt Heitmann calls the 24/7 production studio the crown jewel of the new facility. CP Communications will equip the studio with its new Red House Streaming STREAM product line of IP Acquisition tools. These systems and a complete IP-based production workflow, including a high-density bank of Mobile Viewpoint playout and streaming servers, will allow CP to deliver a cost-effective yet high-end production solution to clients. In addition to providing a round-the-clock facility to produce live-streamed events, the studio will offer excellent value for sports and corporate events where limited on-location production resources are required.

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“The Tampa area is among the fastest-growing technology and business hubs in the country, and we discovered that St. Petersburg had plenty of flexible industrial space to fit our needs,” said Heitmann. “We simply outgrew our Elmsford, NY facility, and we now have the engineering and production space needed to grow our business. In addition to housing our mobile units, we can bring remote sources from live events into our facility, and cut live to on-air content. We will also accommodate global monitoring capabilities of remote productions from our NOC, as well as live voiceovers, editing and many other production tasks.”

Heitmann adds that the St. Petersburg facility will serve as a developmental base for future Red House Streaming solutions, which the company will officially unveil at the 2019 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center). CP Communications will co-exhibit with partner Mobile Viewpoint at Booth C3307, with product launch details to come.

CP Communications Appoints Jerry Gepner as COO

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, has appointed Jerry Gepner as Chief Operating Officer. Reporting to CEO Kurt Heitmann, Gepner will drive strategic and business development efforts to help transform the company into a broader media-centric solutions provider that goes beyond its core broadcast focus.

CP Communications has long been an industry leader in RF content acquisition for live production. The company provides services and solutions for many of world’s largest annual sports and live broadcast events, including the World Series, Super Bowl and the U.S. Open, the annual open championship of golf.

Gepner’s appointment comes at a time of aggressive growth for CP Communications, including an increased focus on IP, cloud solutions and bonded cellular technologies for content acquisition and streaming using its Red House Streaming solutions. Gepner will oversee the continued development of the Red House Streaming solutions offering, including the addition of new services and technologies that serve a broader array of platforms and customers.

gerry_gepner“The broadcast and production industry’s acceleration towards an IP infrastructure has opened new business models and opportunities for content producers and distributors, as well as suppliers and service providers,” said Gepner. “CP Communications has provided content acquisition services for broadcasters at the premier level for three decades, and is well-positioned to spread its expertise into adjacent markets. My background in senior management, finance, technology, and services, including a strong awareness of marketplace dynamics, offers the tools we need to collaboratively grow the CP Communications business with our employees, customers and partners.”

Gepner brings extensive experience to his new role, with proven success in creating and implementing transformative strategies for mid-sized technology businesses. He has held diverse executive-level positions of increasing responsibility with industry suppliers, broadcast networks and service providers over nearly three decades. This includes several years as EVP Field Operations and Engineering for FOX Sports, and CEO of The Vitec Group’s Services Division. He most recently served as CEO of Tekserve and T2 Computing, which were acquired by Axispoint, Inc. in 2017.

Gepner is also a successful entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Sportvision, the Silicon Valley company that created products ubiquitous in televised sports today. Sportvision, acquired by SMT in 2016, created innovations that include First & Ten®, the virtual first down line used in American football, Racef/x®, the GPS-based auto tracking and data systems for NASCAR, and the Emmy-winning K-Zone® for baseball broadcasts. He is also a five-time Emmy Award winner for technical excellence in sports production.

“Jerry’s impressive track record demonstrates the rare ability to transform niche businesses, opening them to a broader marketplace, leveraging new technologies, business strategies, and organizational structures to build something new and exciting,” said Heitmann. “We’re pleased to welcome him to CP Communications in this important role as he helps to lead the company into its next era of growth and profitability.”

CP Communications Develops New Technology Partnership with Simplylive

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, announces a new partnership with Simplylive, a specialist in automated live production, streaming and recording solutions. The announcement coincides with the official launch of CP Communications’ Red House Streaming business unit, which specializes in IP-based acquisition, production and distribution solutions and services for content creators.

Simplylive’s ViBox all-in-one production technology will power video switching, graphics, instant replay, audio mixing and more for Red House Streaming’s ProductionSTREAM system. ProductionSTREAM, one of three Red House Streaming self-serve systems for small to mid-sized productions, is a compact studio-in-a-box solution for multi-camera content creation.

ProductionSTREAM will support up to 12 video sources with software-based switching, and cleanly integrate with Red House Streaming’s Mobile Viewpoint solutions for IP and bonded cellular networking and distribution. The complete solution provides content creators with an intuitive, touchscreen-driven platform that will help customers focus on storytelling over technical operation, according to Ken Dillard, Vice President of North American Sales, Red House Streaming.

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“Our partnership with Simplylive will provide content creators with an affordable yet high-end solution for IP-based live productions,” said Dillard. “Simplylive’s flexible and intuitive touchscreen technology will provide content creators with all the necessary tools to create professional multi-camera content in a portable package, with great simplicity and exceptional quality.”

Gregory Macchia, VP Sales and Operations, Americas for Simplylive, notes that the partnership solves a growing problem for content creators tasked with filling multiple distribution platforms on limited budgets.

“The broadcast and production industry is hungry for more content, but the budgets are getting smaller and more difficult to justify,” said Macchia. “The Red House Streaming and Simplylive partnership offers a professional solution to create high-level productions while limiting operational costs. Our affordable and flexible approach will help users establish new production models to serve diverse audience sizes and new revenue streams across many delivery platforms.”

ProductionSTREAM will be available to rent or purchase, and can be coupled with live content acquisition and streaming services from CP Communications and Red House Streaming as required. CP Communications specializes in live RF services for major broadcasters, sports leagues and teams, and event and production companies, while RedHouse Streaming offers the same services for IP and bonded cellular applications. Red House Streaming will also act as a distribution arm for Simplylive and sell ViBox systems separate from ProductionSTREAM.

“CP Communications’ years of experience with the most demanding productions establishes a foundation for Red House Streaming to support multi-camera productions with simple, complete and easy to use packages,” said Kurt Heitmann, CEO, CP Communications. “We see tremendous value and opportunity for our customers working in the wide-ranging sports and live event market, among other live production verticals.”

Along with ProductionSTREAM, Red House Streaming will offer CamSTREAM for single-camera productions; and Multi-CamSTREAM for live production that need to deliver one to four feeds to production facilities as discreet, individual streams.