Behind the Broadcast: Clinton-Massie High School

Clinton-Massie High School (Ohio) is giv­ing fans new ways to watch games using Hudl Focus, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Facebook and YouTube.

Behind the Broadcast: Clinton-Massie High School

Clinton-Massie High School (Ohio) is giv­ing fans new ways to watch games using Hudl Focus, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Facebook and YouTube.

In the first blog of this series, we showed you how Ashville High School’s (Ala.) media depart­ment is using Hudl Focus and OBS to engage their fans and help their stu­dent-ath­letes stand out. But it doesn’t end there — Matt Baker of Clinton-Massie High School has been tak­ing it up a notch with live com­men­tary, adver­tise­ments and cus­tom graphics. 

Broadcasting games isn’t new to Baker. He’s been doing it for more than sev­en years, thanks to his old gym not hav­ing air con­di­tion­ing. But now he’s moti­vat­ed by more than just hot tem­per­a­tures. Baker wants to give fans who can’t attend games a chance to sup­port their favorite ath­letes from afar. 

This fall, he start­ed using Hudl Focus as the video source in his broad­casts, sav­ing him time, effort and man­pow­er. Here’s the full rundown. 

What’s your name and role at Clinton-Massie High School?

My name is Matt Baker and I’m the ath­let­ic direc­tor here.

How long has your school been broad­cast­ing games?

We start­ed with Campus Nation about sev­en years ago. It start­ed as a radio broad­cast and we’ve been using that broad­cast­ing work­flow for the last six years. Now we’re able to broad­cast with Hudl Focus and OBS.

How has using Hudl Focus changed your game day work­flow? 

At first, it was great that we didn’t need to have a stu­dent to record the game. It helped us become more effi­cient in our work­flow. The broad­cast work­flow is real­ly going to help us now that we’re able to use the RTMP feed and put it into OBS. We’ll add com­men­tat­ing, put it togeth­er, and send it out to our Facebook and YouTube channels.

Focus makes it a lot eas­i­er when you can sched­ule every­thing in Hudl and the Focus cam­era picks it up. I use my phone all the time to sched­ule prac­tices for coach­es. The oth­er night, I was sit­ting down, eat­ing din­ner. One of my coach­es had put the incor­rect time in her sched­ule entry so Focus didn’t start. I opened my phone, made a cou­ple of changes, the green light came on and she was good to go.

Did you look into any oth­er smart cam­eras? Why did you choose Hudl Focus?

No, I guess the only one we were real­ly focused on was Hudl Focus since we already have a rela­tion­ship with [Hudl]. We’ve used [it] for foot­ball, girls’ and boys’ bas­ket­ball, and we’ve added vol­ley­ball since then. So real­ly that’s the only smart cam­era we were inter­est­ed in look­ing at.

What ben­e­fits does broad­cast­ing pro­vide your school, ath­letes and fans?

Again, atten­dance is prob­a­bly num­ber one. People being able to attend on a dig­i­tal plat­form makes it very acces­si­ble. The record­abil­i­ty allows peo­ple to review the record­ings of the game [on Facebook and YouTube] at their own leisure. People will tell me, Hey, I didn’t get to see the game, but I was able to go back and scan through a few parts I heard about.”

What does your broad­cast­ing work­flow look like? What soft­ware do you use and do you send it to a livestream plat­form from there?

It’ll be new this year for us now that we can broad­cast with Hudl Focus. Prior to that, we would use Hudl Focus to livestream to YouTube with no com­men­tary. Then, we had a sep­a­rate broad­cast feed where we’d put four angles togeth­er (one from each cor­ner of the gym). We’d use OBS to com­bine those four angles. We’d add audio com­men­tary and fix the laten­cy, and boom, you’re ready to go.

Now that we have that, we’re going to use OBS. We’ll use audio from the RTMP feed and from our broad­cast­ing sound­board. We’ll push it through to Facebook and YouTube at the same time. We’re look­ing for­ward to not hav­ing to man­u­al­ly send to those two plat­forms any­more with this new work­flow. YouTube will be our main avenue, but Facebook will also be able to take that feed and embed it into our timeline.

Why did you decide to broad­cast your Focus video rather than stream­ing it direct­ly to YouTube?

The audio was the main rea­son. We want­ed to add audio com­men­tary to the pic­ture feed.

How did you decide on the broad­cast soft­ware you chose? Were there any oth­ers you looked into?

We also looked into vMix. It’s pret­ty sim­i­lar to OBS, but ulti­mate­ly we went with OBS because it’s free. Plus, there are a lot of plug-ins avail­able. I can add low­er thirds and get any design, back­ground and vir­tu­al set for free. A lot of pri­vate devel­op­ers have put some time and effort into mak­ing plug-ins for OBS because it’s so com­mon and wide­ly used. For vMix, I’d have to pur­chase all those plug-ins, on top of what I’m pay­ing to use the software.

OBS is also very easy to use, I actu­al­ly found vMix to be a lit­tle more cum­ber­some. OBS seems real­ly easy to use to me. It’s very effi­cient in explain­ing what each input is. But you do have to under­stand that if you’re get­ting free soft­ware, there might a lit­tle glitch every once in a while. Because you’re not pay­ing $4,500 for a broad­cast soft­ware, you’ll need to restart your com­put­er or the soft­ware every once in a while to fix a glitch.

Why did you decide to also livestream to YouTube and Facebook?

I think just because they’re so pop­u­lar. I’m actu­al­ly not a huge fan of Facebook, but that’s where a lot of our par­ents are. YouTube cov­ers a larg­er range of peo­ple which is why I grav­i­tate towards that one.

Do you add any­thing to make your broad­cast more dynam­ic? (Live com­men­tary, cus­tom graph­ics, adver­tise­ments, etc.)

We have before, the pro­duc­tion will have to be rein­vent­ed now that we’re using Focus to broad­cast. I want to make sure the view that shows the score­board and clock is seen and a lot of times, that’s in the low­er third.

It’s real­ly easy stuff. Names of pre­sen­ters, announc­ers and coach­es. We might present an award dur­ing a game so we’ll put some graph­ics on that in the broad­cast. We don’t have video embed­ded or any­thing like that.

What are some of the ways you mon­e­tize your broadcast?

We looked at pay­walls for the first time this year because of the lim­it­ed capac­i­ty in our gyms and sta­di­ums. Our high school foot­ball team is excep­tion­al­ly good and we have a lot of peo­ple who come to those games. I thought we should cre­ate a pay­wall (either pay-per-view or sea­son pass­es) and hon­est­ly, out of good­will, I decid­ed to keep it free. I didn’t want to tell peo­ple they can’t come in and then they have to pay.

We did go get spon­sors though. We’ll read sta­t­ic copy or put a logo in the low­er third oppo­site of the score­board to pro­mote them. That’s how we make mon­ey off our streams. And it was pret­ty easy to get start­ed with the low­er third plug-ins. You can actu­al­ly just cre­ate a Google slide and use that as a video input. There are real­ly sim­ple workarounds for it that don’t cost any money.

What was the hard­est part about get­ting set up with a broad­cast software?

Truthfully, it wasn’t that hard to get start­ed. If I didn’t already have the broad­cast under­stand­ing I do, it’d prob­a­bly just be the time it takes to look up the YouTube videos. That’s how I learned 75% of what I do — just type in what I want to learn on YouTube and watch those tuto­r­i­al videos.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a team get­ting start­ed with broadcasting?

Just don’t give up. There are going to be tech­no­log­i­cal glitch­es. Continue to work through those with your tech­nol­o­gy depart­ment — they’re real­ly smart peo­ple. Don’t lose hope if you hit a few roadblocks. 

Also, make sure you do your research to know what type of account you need to have to stream to Facebook and YouTube. There are dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria for both and they change often, so make sure you do your research before you get every­thing set up for a game. 

Ready to stream your Focus video? Check out the broad­cast­ing and livestream­ing guide to see your options and learn how it works.

Don’t have Focus yet? Get in touch.