Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inside the Big Ten Meetings

Three times a year Big Ten football coaches meet to continue to improve the conference making it the best in the country. For a few days in May the football coaches are joined by their athletic directors as well as men's and women's basketball coaches to addres concerns that affect all of their programs. Each entity breaks out and focus on issues of their own sport.

Within the smaller session the football coaches had the opportunity to learn about the advancments in video technology. Along with myself, Rob Porteus of Wisconsin and Phil Bromley of Michigan had the one-time opportunity to speak of the transition to HD for video exchange. Already the Big Ten Network is utilizing HD and relies on video from the team's video department for segments of their "4-Pack" shows. The upcoming 2010 season will be the first for HD replay. The last piece of the puzzle is coaching video.

Currently there are no college or NFL teams operating a full HD network, so there are many questions that need to be answered. What will be the HD format? Will the teams continue to exchange video over the internet at the same speed teams are accustomed to today? How will each school pay for the upgrade? Already teams have begun to transition to HD, but not one have all the necessary components. By early 2011 all the necessary parts will be available and the act of teaching from video will be taken to a new level as the clarity will be significantly improved.

Within the HD presentation was the proposal to mandate the H.264 8MB HD codec. The advantage of this "flavor" is to provide HD quality video in a smaller video file than the current Standard Definition DV25 file. With the smaller video file, less storage will be necessary and the exchange times of video between schools will be quicker.

Currently all Big Ten schools are in different phases of the HD transition. Those with newer facilities already have HD monitors and projectors. However there are still a couple of schools that need to upgrade their software, replace current hardware or are still deciding on the best camera set up for them. While the ideal time frame to convert all schools to HD is following the 2010 season, many of us know that it will be a gradual upgrade for others. The SEC also discussed the topic at their Video Coordinators meeting earlier this week. Their time frame is still two years away, and the knowledge they have on the subject is not as in-depth as that put in by us in the Big Ten.

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