Small, rugged, and unassuming, GoPro cameras have revolutionized the way we capture POV shots and action sequences. Marrying usability with high-quality video, the cameras have become go-to tools for a wide range of users, from Hollywood bigwigs to solo adventurers. Event producers have also seen the benefit of the minuscule cameras, mounting them on helmets, vehicles, musical instruments, or integrating them into a set or studio space. If there¡¯s one area in which the cameras haven¡¯t been utilized to their full potential, then it has to be the live broadcast sector. With no viable way to transmit video wirelessly from a GoPro, footage has been mostly restricted to after-the-fact highlight reels or non-live productions. That is, until now. Enter the GoPro HEROCast.
First debuted at NAB 2015, HEROCast is the result of a joint effort from GoPro and the wireless broadcast experts at VISLINK. So what is HEROCast? Simply put, it¡¯s a compact wireless transmitter that transforms a GoPro HERO3+ or HERO4 into one of the smallest, most versatile live production camera systems available. The transmitter uses H.264 encoding to deliver a live HD feed (up to 1080i60 or 720p60) with embedded audio to any DVB-T-compatible receiver at distances up to 1,640′. This allows you to take all of those unique and immersive POV angles for which GoPro is famous and bring them into a live production. Imagine watching an X Games event and as a BMX rider launches into a double back flip, switching to a live feed from a helmet-mounted GoPro to see the rider¡¯s dizzying perspective. Pretty cool, right? Well, that¡¯s the power of HEROCast.
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To meet the needs of various users, two versions of the HEROCast transmitter are available: a standard version and a BacPac version. The standard version remains detached from the camera and is tethered via an HDMI cable. This is ideal for body mounting or semi-permanent installations where the transmitter is mounted to a fixed location in a studio.
VISLINK HEROCast BacPac Wireless Transmitter Kit for GoPro
The BacPac version is an all-in-one solution, with the transmitter attaching directly to the back of a HERO4 or HERO3+ Standard Housing. This makes it a more streamlined option and better suited to high-speed action sports where some impact protection and water resistance is required. For added simplicity, the transmitters are powered using a standard GoPro Battery BacPac, which mounts directly on the back of the unit.
The transmitters come packaged in a custom carrying case, complete with all essential accessories, including antennas, HDMI cables, a USB thumb drive with configuration software, two Battery BacPacs, and a wall charger with an international plug set. The only extras you¡¯ll need to start live broadcasting are a GoPro camera itself, any mounting accessories, and a compatible wireless receiver, such as VISLINK¡¯s own PROcevier Portable Receiver Kit, which is built for use in demanding environments.
VISLINK PROceiver Portable Receiver Kit for HEROCast
HEROCast is a professional system built for professional broadcast applications. While POV shots of athletes and racers present an obvious application, the creative possibilities that HEROCast offers are limited only by your imagination. Below are two case studies showcasing different ways that broadcasters used HEROCast to capture dynamic and compelling shots, and bring the audience closer to the action than ever before.
CASE STUDY 1: A ¡°slam dunk¡± for ultimate fan engagement at Ole Miss
The University of Mississippi (better known as ¡°Ole Miss¡±) boasts one of the NCAA¡¯s most popular basketball teams, the Ole Miss Rebels. To celebrate its team, Ole Miss has just opened a state-of-the-art, $96 million basketball venue, The Pavilion at Ole Miss, which features the largest center-hung video board in NCAA basketball. The in-venue team is now putting video content creation into the hands of the fans.
Seth Tanner, director/producer of in-venue productions at Ole Miss explains: ¡°The Ole Miss Rebels have passionate fans that get truly immersed in the game. We wanted them to feel part of the action, and knew that the chance to transmit live, high-quality video, without wires, to the new video board, would give us the engaging video content we needed to make that happen. That¡¯s when we discovered VISLINK.¡±
To provide engaging content and entertain fans during breaks in play, Ole Miss opted to use two shoulder-mounted cameras with VISLINK L1700 transmitters and a GoPro HEROCast on a selfie stick. Live high-quality video from the cameras is received via VISLINK¡¯s PROCeiver and L2174 receivers, and then broadcast live to the video board in The Pavilion.
Because the equipment is lightweight and compact, Tanner and his team can use the shoulder mounts to walk around the stadium wirelessly, shooting footage and catching crowd reactions, while the GoPro HEROCast selfie stick is passed around the crowds, ¡°fan-cam¡± style.
¡°Everyone loves getting their hands on the GoPro HEROCast. Fans want to use it with their friends, see themselves on the big screen and show their support for the Ole Miss Rebels. We¡¯re confident that, because of VISLINK, we now have one of the best in-venue shows in college basketball,¡± says Tanner enthusiastically.
CASE STUDY 2: PGA TOUR enthralls fans with a new angle of approach
The PGA TOUR has long been associated with exhilarating golf. It champions players who are at the top of their game and brings together professionals, amateurs, and enthusiasts from around the globe. As the Waste Management Phoenix Open approached, the PGA TOUR team wanted to offer even more to its fans, by bringing the audience closer to the action than ever before with a solution from the GoPro/VISLINK partnership.
Rick Anderson, Executive Vice President of Global Media explains, ¡°We were excited to partner with GoPro to bring new and engaging perspectives to PGA TOUR fans. We were intrigued to ¡®GoPro¡¯ the game of golf, open up our sport to new audiences and give fans new ways to enjoy the game.¡±
To provide the audience with engaging content during play, high-definition GoPro cameras combined with HEROCast transmitters¡ªpowered by VISLINK¡ªwere deployed across the course and among the crowd. The HEROCasts transmitted live video content to VISLINK receivers, with the footage then streamed live to PGA TOUR fans around the world.
The GoPro/VISLINK collaboration makes it possible to transmit action from some of the most iconic locations, which included the world-famous, arena-like 16th hole at TCP Scottsdale¡¯s Stadium Course.? Dramatic ¡°hole-view¡± camera shots and player-worn ¡°hat cams¡± raised the entertainment even further, along with ¡°crowd cams¡± that put live content creation right into the hands of the fans, bringing ultimate engagement at the event.
¡°This partnership¡ will enable our team to capture unique views of the game and to tell the stories from the TOUR, and about golf lifestyle, in a whole new way,¡± said Todd Ballard, Vice President of Global Sports Entertainment Marketing for GoPro. ¡°The Waste Management Phoenix Open served as a starting point to collect content for our upcoming, season-long initiatives, and was a great opportunity to showcase our integrated broadcast technology.¡±