Telos Infinity® IP Intercom Helps Progressive American Flat Track Save Time and Money
Progressive American Flat Track (AFT) is the world’s fastest-growing motorsport. AFT attracts more than 300,000 viewers per event attending live races or watching via telecasts or live streams.
The Challenge: Thousands of Files Daily in Various Configurations
Live event comms are critical for sophisticated live television productions. AFT’s comms were consistently hard to set up with an overly complicated software interface. Additionally, some device settings were only available on the hardware itself, and there were multiple areas in the signal flow to set input and output gain, making for difficult troubleshooting. Integration into any of AFT’s current equipment also presented challenges. With AFT utilizing a rack full of Blackmagic Design ATEM hardware, they needed an intercom system that could handle integration with enough play levels to make comms crystal clear in the control room and in the field.
In 2017, AFT had outgrown their comms setup and purchased a digital intercom system; however, they experienced even more problems as settings in the software weren’t available on actual devices; they were next to impossible to set up on the current network infrastructure; and they didn’t integrate with Blackmagic ATEM Talkback Converters.
The Solution: Telos Infinity IP Intercom Platform for IP-based live event comms
At NAB 2019, AFT visited the Telos Alliance booth and experienced the Telos Infinity IP Intercom. Working together, AFT gave the Telos Infinity a test drive at a one-off live event. Impressed with Telos Infinity’s easy set-up and Telos Alliance’s hands-on support, AFT now uses six Telos Infinity master panels, two Telos Alliance xNodes to tie in camera comms with analog ins and outs for two-way radio intercoms. Now, the announcers booth, pit talent and race control have full communication from the field back to the production control room, ensuring a smooth event broadcast.
AFT’s broadcast liaison to race control is always located in the grandstand tower–sometimes more than a half-mile away from the control room in a production truck. Because Telos Infinity is IP-based, AFT can piggy-back off the camera’s fiber network back to the SFP ports of the dedicated intercom network switch. All comms via UHF two-way radios, fiber party-lines, and announcer consoles can now be tied into the Telos network.
The Race Control Kit now has two fiber media converters–one being an NDI to HDMI decoder for multiview video feed for the Race Director and another strictly for the broadcast Liason’s Infinity Beltpack. When he keys up his Beltpack, it goes into the xNode out and into a UHF base station transmitter so anyone in the paddock, TV control room, or on track can hear him.
The Benefit: Telos Infinity for Live Event Comms Saves Time and Money
In short order, AFT began pushing the capability of Infinity’s Dashboard and Software and created multiple partylines, IFB mixes, and really began to dial in the settings and features of the Infinity system.
The Yamaha Atlanta Super TT at Atlanta Motor Speedway race was one of the first quick turnaround live to tape events where AFT was able to save a significant amount of time in post-production thanks to the capability of Infinity’s xNode and Link Licenses, which gave them the ability to communicate with the off-premises Control Room and Announcer booth. By using Telos Infinity IP Intercom, AFT can go live to tape with less than a 24-hour delay with confidence.
Since they first began with Telos Infinity in 2019, AFT’s needs have changed, partly due to the pandemic. During COVID, for example, AFT was able to VPN into the production truck with the ability to control everything but the intercom. Luckily, Telos Alliance was at the ready with a new solution for that in Telos Infinity VIP Virtual Intercom Platform. AFT has plans to implement the new Telos Infinity VIP Virtual Intercom panels next year. That way the AFT team cannot only have a virtual key panel in its competition trailers, but also if a vital team member is not able to be at track, they can still communicate with the trackside team and help from home without requiring interconnectivity on the LAN.
Zach Prescott, Production Manager for AFT states, “In terms of service, training, and support I have received from Telos Alliance, I have saved countless hours of troubleshooting, configuring, and setting up the Infinity system over tradition live event comms. When we are in the most mission critical times of our live broadcast, the Infinity system simply works, and it’s now easier than ever to make changes on the fly. The time saved with this system is constantly money back in our pockets, and I could not have made a better decision than to go with the Telos Infinity IP Intercom system for our live event comms.