Emporia High School Students Produce Live Sports with BirdDog Mini and NDI® – BirdDog

Emporia High School Students Produce Live Sports with BirdDog Mini and NDI®

Located in rural Kansas, Emporia High School is home to The Mighty Spartans athletic teams. Live Streaming the games allows Matthew Fowler, Electronic Media Specialist, to teach all aspects of Live Production to his students.

Emporia’s live productions are all set up, produced, and live-streamed by the students themselves through their student-based production group E-Vision. Matthew is the only non-student involved to oversee the production in as much of a hands-off manner as possible.

“In one word our experience in deploying BirdDog Mini has been seamless. When we received the devices from our supplier we literally were able to plug them in and pull up the NewTek monitor software and there it was.”

Matthew is not new to NDI® and has been tracking it’s progress for a long time through various online forums and private NewTek and vMix user groups on Facebook and has been using NDI® technology since last football season.

“We started our journey with NDI during football season by using a new score system (SuiteCG) that outputs NDI to our vMix box,” said Matthew.

For the new season of basketball, Matthew turned to BirdDog Mini, the world’s smallest NDI® Encoder and Decoder to power the production. With so many features in one box it truly was a game changer. Because BirdDog Mini can encode video and audio to NDI® and be powered by PoE the set up is super fast and easy. Typically allowing up to 2 hours to set up “old school” video equipment, the NDI® workflow can be set up for a game in as little as 30 minutes.

“Using the BirdDog Mini units has really helped with the speed at which our students can set up the production. Right now we are using them to send our three camera feeds from our varsity gym back to our control room in the video classroom,” said Matthew. “We are extremely excited to try out the BirdDog Comms program in early 2019 to really streamline the setup time.”

Some of the other advantages of going to an IP workflow using NDI are the ability to use off the shelf networking gear readily available from the local office supplies store or computer shop. In a town like Emporia with a population of around 25,000 people immediate access to SDI cables and SDI switches is near impossible.

“I have a phone full of people I can call at a moments notice to get long runs of Ethernet cable or I can even crimp my own. However if I need some SDI cables I know someone within 2 or 3 hours drive each way but that will mean we don’t go live to air,” said Matthew.

Matthew continued, “We have an old school 4 port SDI capture card in our vMix which we never use anymore. They just are so out-dated once you go to NDI®. In the future we will invest any money in more BirdDog Mini to put more cameras to work which will give us an even more professional production”

BirdDog Mini and NDI® is truly the future for Emporia High School.


The gear

3x Sony PXW-X70
3x BirdDog Mini
1x Low cost PoE network switch
1x Custom built vMix machine
1x Laptop running SuiteCG



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