After nine months of designing, planning, and pitching an extensive broadcasting equipment upgrade project, MacsLive has secured $47,000 of funding.
“MacsLive has always strived to improve every year, and this is by far the greatest leap we have taken in our 19-year history,” President David Schwartzman proclaimed. “With 250% increases in year-over-year viewership in each of the past two seasons, and over 17,000 devices tuned in to YU’s second round NCAA DIII Tournament game in March, we knew that it was time to completely revamp our broadcast. Not only will this upgrade improve the viewing experience for our outstanding fans, but it will also provide MacsLive’s student workers with an incredible hands-on learning experience.”
The primary improvement will be the switch from one HD camera located in the stands, to four Sony a7S III Cameras, three of which will be situated on the track atop the Max Stern Athletic Center, which are capable of live streaming in 4K at 60fps. The cameras will be accompanied by Sony GM zoom lenses, at various focal length ranges, and will be mounted on top-of-the-line Manfrotto fluid video heads. “These Sony cameras just hit the market, and have received tremendous praise already,” Executive Producer Akiva Poppers said. “Our video quality going forward will blow all preconceptions out of the water, and the switch to a multi-camera setup is an absolute game-changer.”
Not all enhancements will be obvious to the casual viewer, but will be critical pieces in our objective of putting together a quality production every time the Macs step onto the court. Large monitors for our Producer and Director will allow those running the stream in our control room to have a clear, organized, and uncrowded setup. A switcher and replay controller operated by our Technical Director will simplify the execution side of our production tremendously. Wireless headsets for our cameramen and crew will allow for complete communication between everyone working behind the scenes. An additional SSD will allow us to save replays for later on in a broadcast, so we will have the ability to put together packages and use in-game highlights for smooth transitions.
Poppers led the project, while MacsLive and Yeshiva alumnus Justin Safier served as technical manager. “In recent years, we have seen an influx of smart, interested, and talented students who have shown a willingness to dedicate their time and energy towards taking MacsLive to the next level,” Poppers commented. “This equipment upgrade is the first major step in our mission to turn that vision into a reality. I am confident that, with the resources we now possess, MacsLive will, in the near future, be able to put on a production which is unparalleled in the DIII basketball arena, and on par with large colleges on the DII level, and even small DI schools.”
“During my time at MacsLive, we focused on improvements geared towards augmented quality and ease of use,” Safier noted. “We’ve followed that philosophy to a tee with this setup.”
The funding was powered by a group of three YU alumni, as Messrs. Lance Hirt, Lior Hod, and Mordy Leifer teamed up to donate $35,000. They dedicated their generous contributions to former Yeshiva Coach and New York City basketball icon, Jonathan Halpert. Hirt and Hod both played for Halpert’s Maccabees in the 1980’s; Lior racked up 1541 points in his time with YU, fourth all-time. Hod’s brothers, Ayal (third on the all-time scoring list) and Asaf, and son, Jordan, were also coached by Halpert.
“Coach Halpert is a role model for our entire family and for many, many others,” Hod told MacsLive. “While he was a great basketball coach, his greatest coaching was off the court, where he guided so many people with incredible wisdom and advice. He has been a friend, father-figure, and coach to the entire Hod family. He taught us to give back, to be kind, the importance of standing up for what is right, to be loyal, the importance of family and community, and to be observant Jews. We are so grateful for all that Coach Halpert, and his amazing wife Aviva, have done for us personally and for Klal Yisrael, and are grateful to HaKadosh Barchu for the opportunity to publicly thank him.”
Yeshiva Vice Provost Dr. Chaim Nissel coordinated a $7,000 contribution towards the project from Neal’s Fund, in memory of Neal Dublinsky A”H. With this, MacsLive will, going forward, not only cover YU athletics, but also work with the Office of Student Life to live stream various student council-related events. Yeshiva’s Admissions Department, which has had a long-standing partnership with MacsLive in the form of our annual Red Sarachek Memorial Basketball Tournament game broadcasts, chipped in $5,000.
“I would like to extend a huge thank you to Lance, Lior, Mordy, Dr. Nissel, and the Admissions Department for their assistance in turning our dream into a reality,” Schwartman said. Additionally, I would be remiss to not thank Yoni Cohen for his constant support and guidance throughout, the Athletics Department for providing us with a storage area and production control room, and ITS and Facilities Services for working with us to ensure that our technical requirements are fulfilled.
The Macs are one of the best DIII basketball teams in the country, with by far the largest online fanbase, so it is fitting that our broadcast be among the best as well. We look forward to putting together a quality production every game, so that YU’s loyal fans all around the globe can feel as if they are inside of the Max Stern Athletic Center.”