There are several ways to produce instant replays, and those systems designed for sports replays are always best for the task. NewTek provided us with a brand new 3Play 4800 to record the isolated outputs of each of the three racecourse cameras on dedicated hard drives. The system, controller and screen layout was so intuitive and simple; NewTek sales engineer James Miller trained a local 18-year old high school student how to master the device in less than 30 minutes. The output could be switched at the 3Play, thus requiring only one production switcher input.
Not only was the device handy for replays, but also it proved to be a powerful tool to produce a daily highlight reel without doing more than drag-and-drop. The race event lasted two days, and there was ample room on the hard drives to record continuous isolated HD feeds without looping. On the second day, wouldn’t you know, it appeared the races might be delayed by rain. Before I thought to ask, the replay operator had already prepared a highlight reel from the previous day, complete with special-effect transitions, ready to air. The rain delay was short, and viewers at home were treated to an exciting highlight reel that looked like we had planned it and spent a couple of hours preparing it. We knew better, and smiled among ourselves.
Later that afternoon, one of the leading powerboats spun out spectacularly. Nobody was hurt, but one camera caught the action front and center, and our student operator was replaying it back and forth in slow motion immediately before I asked for it. Several other boats developed mechanical problems as the race went on, and we showed immediate replays of each, much to the delight of our announcers and viewers.