Fox Sports, Gamecreek Capture MLB All-Star Sights, Sound, and Red Carpet Glamour
By Ken Kerschbaumer
Every year the MLB All-Star Game manages to pull off the feat of not only packing the dugouts with superstars in the form of athletes but the TV compound with superstars in the form of top TV production trucks, crew and engineers. These past few days outside of Yankee Stadium have been no exception as Gamecreek Video, NEP, NCP, NHK and other remote service providers have rolled out the big guns.
“The parking compound is dutifully organized and it looks more like a NASCAR TV compound rather than a regular ballgame with a multitude of trucks,” says Michael Davies, Fox Sports director of field operations. “It’s a site to behold, even on paper.”
Tonight’s game, the big finale of an All-Star weekend that began quietly on Sunday afternoon with ESPN’s coverage of the Future’s Game and celebrity softball game, will be handled by Gamecreek’s top-of-the-line FX HD Production units that have keyed Fox Super Bowl and NASCAR coverage. “Those trucks and their staffs help considerably and contribute to the quality of the broadcast,” says Davies.
FX HD features a 90-input Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso HD production switcher and a 72-input Kayak HD production switcher.
Fox Sports will be in post-season mode tonight with 16 Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras, three Thomson LDK6000 RF cameras (from CP Communications), three HD pan-and-tilt units and two Inertia Unlimited in-ground cameras capturing the action.
In-ground HD cameras have become a mainstay in Fox Sports regional coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels but only the camera at first base will be in HD tonight as Fox Sports awaits approval of the slightly-larger HD camera for use in fair territory.
“It will be an older SDI camera but we think it will provide superior pictures to those in past All-Star games,” says Davies.
While finding an HD first at a sporting event today can be difficult there is, in fact, a first tonight: HD coverage of the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Parade up Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
Gamecreek’s Freedom HD truck, complete with 90-input Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso HD production switcher, will be located on 48th Street off of Sixth Avenue and capture the action with six cameras: two located at the set, two RF cameras, one jib and a Panavision Super Techno 50, the world’s tallest and fastest stereoscopic crane. “The crane will actually head to Shea Stadium right after the parade to get set for the Billy Joel concerts later this week,” says Davies.
An advantage of the parade heading up Sixth Avenue is that transmission services can make use of the Fox News headquarters for transmission to Los Angeles. “We have a 270 Mbps pipe between Fox News and the truck,” says Jerry Steinberg, Fox Sports SVP, field operations.
For network sports operations handling a parade is change of pace from the routine of covering on-the-field action. “We’ll be focusing on a small piece of the parade,” says Davies of a route that covers roughly 20 blocks. “Our TV world will be located between 46th Street and 48th Street.”
And, of course, 130 blocks north at The House That Ruth Built as another chapter in Yankee Stadium lore comes to a close.
To read more about the 2008 MLB All-Star game coverage read “Home Run Derby A Nice Change of Pace For ESPN Baseball” and “Yankee Stadium Gets its Fiber Courtesy of Total RF.”