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“Truth from the booth” This month we cover tally systems and confidence audio monitoring for sports broadcasting with Chris Exelby, TSL Professional Products So just what are the most common questions arising from that trade show booth? Q. Because sports broadcast tends to originate from OB vehicles, having the capability to connect a tally system between trucks is vital. How do you connect your TallyMan controllers together to create an integrated, seamless tally system? A. When two OB trucks are engaged in the live broadcast of a major sports event, one truck will act as the main production centre, while the other may be handling additional camera feeds and audio, for example. The TallyMan system is a fully IP Ethernet-based interface that can address a sister controller located in each truck. This way, the tally information becomes available in both trucks from either side. The vision mixer provides tally and router status information to the controller. The router provides the cross- point status. Using this data, TallyMan is able to send tallies out to the cameras and provide tally and mnemonic information to the displays from either truck. This setup also works with a Wi-Fi connection to the router as well. Q. Beyond basic tally status and UMD information, what other features and operations make a tally system ideal for live sports coverage? A. Clear labeling of the different incoming feeds is very important when it comes to implementing tally systems for live sports coverage. For example, if you have a multi-viewer, the text identification coming from many tally systems are restricted to simple alpha-numeric information. With TallyMan, you can change that ID tag to spell out anything you like. This feature allows the production team to streamline camera assignments beyond CAM1, CAM2, CAM3, to the name of the camera operator or the location of a remote camera, enabling instant recognition of a special placement. Another major feature for a tally system is the ability to control routers. With TallyMan we have either an Ethernet connection or a serial connection that allows it to receive information from routers from any major manufacturer. The unit can control the router from either a TSL virtual control panel, a software-type application running on PC, or our new hardware control panels, which we are about to launch. These offer 16 assignable push buttons for selecting one of the routers and assigning a source to a destination. The TallyMan software and hardware control panels obviate the need to use the control panels supplied by the router manufacturer. The ability to control other pieces of equipment within the system is another important element of a quality tally system. Since all relevant equipment is connected through an IP router, all the various pieces of equipment can talk to TallyMan and exchange the cross-point information or tally status. A good example of this control power is the coverage of The 24 Hours of Le Mans motor-racing event, with its 13.629-km (8.469 mi)-long Circuit de la Sarthe racing course. This event features multiple camera locations that are scattered around the course, none of which are in line of sight with any other camera operator or member of the production team. Typically, if a camera operator sees a driver about to overtake first place or, worse, an impending crash, he or she will call the director to tell him to cut to the shot. By this time, however, the action has already happened and the viewer at home will only catch the tail-end or aftermath of the event. With TallyMan, a special button can be mounted on the camera so that the operator can send a signal to cut his camera to the live feed. In this way the coverage can be opportunistic rather than reactive. These types of commands can also trigger a teleprompter or open an audio channel—whatever is necessary to streamline the production workflow. Q. How important is it for a tally system to interface with different manufacturers’ routers? A. Say, for instance, there is an OB van outfitted with a particular router and its 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE