Although the centerpiece of Stretch's offering is its own live streaming platform, the company's involvement with their customers' productions goes far deeper. For each client, Stretch's experts custom-design an end-to-end production workflow to meet their specific requirements while maximizing both resources and quality.
"We treat every customer individually and separately, as they each have their own needs, budgets, goals, and varying levels of technical expertise," said J.D. Fox, Operations and Production Manager at Stretch Internet. "We don't take a cookie cutter approach. We design the workflow starting with where to put the cameras and producers within the venue, and make all the equipment recommendations right down to the cables, trying to be as thorough as possible.”
While some of Stretch's clients use dedicated encoding hardware, the majority of their projects use a camera-to-computer workflow with software-based streaming production tools such as Telestream Wirecast. A key component of those workflows is a capture device to bring HDMI or SDI-based video and audio signals into the computer. "Particularly in the college sports space, everyone has a laptop lying around and everyone has a camera," said Fox. "But they still need an interface device to bridge the two."
The IEEE-1394 standard, also known as FireWire, had previously enabled camera connectivity with many computers, but Stretch started searching for alternatives when 1394-compatible products became less common. Ease of use and reliability were obvious requirements, and with their clients using an evolving mix of Mac and Windows computers alongside a wide variety of cameras, flexible compatibility was also important. "FireWire was dying as a connectivity standard, so we were looking for what was going to work next, and what was going to work universally," recalled Fox. "Magewell had the right product at the right time."