IBC2015 Q&A: Steve Romain, Director, Global Sports Marketing & Business Development, Ross Video

Ross Video expects a very busy IBC in Amsterdam this month, with plenty of product announcements and enhancements ready in time for the start of the show. In addition to releasing version 4.0 of its Acuity production switcher, the company has announced several partnerships: a news-workflow partnership with VSN; a Ross Creative Services–Rocket Surgery deal involving Xpression; a design partnership with Sixty of Oslo, Norway; and a partnership with Sportvision for graphics rendering on NASCAR. SVG sat down with Ross Video’s Steve Romain, director, Global Sports Marketing & Business Development, to discuss the latest enhancements to Acuity switchers, the products the company will be exhibiting at IBC2015, and how it has seen its Ross Mobile Productions outfit evolve since its launch over the past year.

Steve Romain

Steve Romain

What is Ross Video’s biggest news at IBC2015 for the live-sports-production market?
Ross Video has a diverse product line, and we are excited about new products and feature releases at IBC. And we may also have a last-minute surprise.

The biggest news thus far is the release of V4.0 for the Acuity production switcher. Acuity is the most powerful production switcher in the market and is quickly becoming the switcher of choice in the live-sports-production market. The main reasons for its growing popularity are simple straightforward programming, third-party–device control, and flat-out production power.

The release of V4.0 includes powerful new split M/Es with multifeed, control of two full M/Es per M/E with independent key and transition selection, 3D DVE warp effects, and advanced warp effects with four configurable lighting sources. As always, V4.0 is free to end users and is sure to add to the growing number of facilities that look to Ross Video and the Acuity production switcher for their live sports productions.

How has Ross Mobile Productions evolved since it launched more than a year ago, and how do you see its place in the sports-production market developing?
RMP has evolved in the last year by adding a fleet of cost-effective, full-service, remote-production vehicles. Our fleet has grown to six production vehicles, delivering consistent, high-quality video and audio content from sports and other live events. With our tight product integration, we ensure a predictable production experience and outstanding results — all the time, every time.

As costs tighten and the demand for more live sports-event coverage grows, the demand for a cost-effective, network-quality production continues to increase. RMP fits the bill by providing a state-of-the-art, consistent mobile-production experience.

Ross has products in so many portions of the live-production ecosystem. Where are you seeing the most growth and greatest opportunity right now? What do you expect to generate the most interest at IBC?
Our graphics system XPression has provided us explosive growth. We have listened closely to our customer base and have added feature sets and new products based on the XPression platform that provide dynamic production values. In the XPression family, we expect that our virtual set using “Trackless” technology will generate considerable interest to our client base.

The venue–control-room market has exploded in recent years with stadiums and arenas creating state-of-the-art facilities like never before. How is Ross Video catering to this market (as it has for many years)?
Ross Video, while being a production-switcher company at heart and now with many other product lines (XPression, DashBoard, Robotics, Inception Live, etc.), has the tools to offer a turnkey solution to the venue–control-room market. [With] live video switching, graphic playback, real-time rendering, data integration, rundown/script preparation, and custom–user-interface control, we have the solution that fits your needs and your budget. We offer the products needed to create compelling images and the services to get the most out of your production. Ross Rocket Surgery–Creative Services works with end users to help make their vision come to life. From creating exceptional-looking 2D and 3D graphics to dynamic XPression template creation, to onsite deployment, training, and support, Ross Rocket Surgery will be there every step of the way to help design the most cutting-edge graphics and custom control system in the industry. Our designers and trainers are experienced in this market and know what it takes to turn these state-of-the-art facilities into money-making machines and, at the same time, give the fans what they deserve: the absolute best in sports production.

The launch of products like Carbonite and other affordable yet robust items across the production ecosystem seems to have been a hit with colleges, venues, smaller trucks, and smaller sports operations in recent years. Do you consider this midsize to small segment of the sports industry to be a growing market? How are you catering to it?
This portion of the sports industry is definitely a growth area within EMEA. The EMEA region is just in the beginning phases in terms of game-day fan engagement and off-field entertainment. The likes of the midsize Carbonite range have been a big hit here, and we expect that to grow with our IBC introduction of the Carbonite Black series of switchers. This exciting feature-packed product will allow us to reach additional clients who will be looking for a power-packed, feature-rich product. In North America, where we have a larger market penetration, Carbonite Black will also be of great interest.

As a company, we are able to offer a solution-led, consultancy approach to clients and partners who in turn allow them to future-proof their workflow and fan-engagement strategy.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve supported some of the biggest stadiums, teams, and leagues in Europe, such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris St. Germain, Spartak Moscow, Croke Park (GAA), and Twickenham (RFU). We’re consistently developing new products and solutions for this market and working closely with key clients to find out what they want to see developed in this space.

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