Sports

The Kirk Gibson affair

VCC team performs smart-phone remote for Dodgers legend in a first with FSN

Kirk Gibson from his smartphone in LA interacts in real-time via VCC services with John Keating and Craig Monroe at the ballpark

View Fox Sports Detroit video (C) Fox Sports Nets 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but our team did something incredible last week, and as my grandfather used to say, my buttons are bursting.

On Friday, VCC did a live remote with former LA Dodger (and Detroit Tiger) sports legend, Kirk Gibson from his smartphone in LA to the truck at Commerica Park in Detroit. Kirk was in LA to throw out the first pitch for the Dodgers, but needed to participate in the pre-game show in Detroit with the Tigers.

Just a couple of weeks ago, executives from Fox Sports Networks did a “virtual tour” with our team and were looking for an opportunity to give us a try. I want to avoid characterizing FSN’s satisfaction, because that’s really up to them, but I believe it’s the first time they’ve experienced the power of this system – contribution from anyone, virtually anywhere. Good quality video/audio AND a real-time low-latency return video/audio feed from the truck. Kirk did a good natured banter with his peers at the ballpark, and because of the video return, was able to see what they were wearing, and even announced over some b-roll. It was flawless and we think that it may have been a first.

So this would be pretty cool, all by itself, but FSN had just made the request on Monday for a Wednesday rehearsal. Luckily, VCC’s tech team led by Will Milne and Alex Maisey had recently created and released our new Call Manager Pro product and put it into service for Major League Baseball. CMP permits us to route video calls through what we’re calling an end-point, effectively making VCC kind of a virtual video call switchboard.

Our tech, Matt Graf quickly got the parts needed together and assisted by the remaining engineers, prepared a field kit for VCC’s head of production, Tom Porpilglia to take to the ballpark. Tom volunteered to be our eyes and ears on-site and had the system, along with a back-up working just 30 minutes after arriving at the truck. The FSN team was incredibly helpful. Our own Jonni Galleti performed the Call Production function, quality controlling both the practice calls and the final air signal with Kirk.

It was a team effort, and I want to thank everyone who helped to execute it so quickly, but also extend thanks to Tom Delehanty who did the magical initial introductions that started it all and to Jackie Lennon, for her work on the virtual tour demo.

Tom Wolzien and I could not be prouder.

Larry