NEP Covers the Compound With 26 Trailers at Augusta National
When the Masters golf tournament tees off next week, the truck compound will be NEP’s biggest parking lot outside of Pittsburgh. With 26 trailers rolling into Augusta National to support the domestic feed for CBS, 3D feeds for Augusta National Golf Club and CBS, cable coverage, and specialty coverage for more than 200 countries, Augusta will become NEP’s home for the duration of the tournament.
“It’s an enormous compound,” says Mike Werteen, SVP of sales and client services for NEP. “There may be larger compounds in the television universe, but I don’t know of them.”
Preparation Makes Perfect
With more than two dozen trailers set up on-site just for NEP — other mobile-production companies also have a presence in the compound — a great deal of coordination is required to make sure all the signals get to their proper destination.
“For the CBS component alone, we’re going to have 106 cameras out,” Werteen explains. “With all the fiber distribution that needs to go on in the compound, not only out to the course but also within the compound itself, careful distribution of those signals to all the required paths takes a lot of coordination. The requests are changing consistently, not unlike most productions, but, when they change on this large of a production, it can impact a number of different paths.”
Shipping alone can be a bear. NEP would prefer to load all the necessary gear on the trucks before they hit the road, but, with the specialty equipment required to support the massive 2D and 3D productions, that’s not always possible.
“Augusta National is the most pristine environment that we’ve ever been around,” Werteen says. “We don’t want to be the ones that are impacting anything that is going on anywhere around that course, so we need to make sure that we do our job as efficiently and effectively as possible. When gear comes in, we work quickly to distribute it to each of the mobile units or the point on the course where it needs to get to.”
He credits CBS Sports Senior Engineer Nick Muro for keeping the crazed compound steadily organized throughout the tournament.
“If he wasn’t so organized,” Werteen says, “it would be a problem for everybody.”
At Home in SS10
The core of NEP’s mobile production units on-site will be supporting the CBS television feed.
“That is what the United States will be watching,” Werteen says, adding that “those resources are then also distributed out to 200 other countries.”
NEP’s SS10 truck, which includes A, B, and C, units, is CBS’s main truck for its weekly golf coverage. Built specifically to give CBS’s golf-production team a comfortable home throughout the work season, the truck has a few extra bells and whistles to handle the scale of the Masters.
SS10 will cover the back nine holes, while ND 4, with its A, B, and C units, will handle the front nine. SS23, NCPVIII, and NCPII will lead the specialty coverage, and SS32 will handle the 3D production. Also on-site will be NCPXI, SS20, SS28, and SS9. Four more trailers — ST3, ST22, ST19, and ESU — will provide support and handle distribution.
Life Outside the Masters
In addition to those at the Masters, NEP clients are dealing with the beginning of the MLB season, continuation of NASCAR coverage, and preparations for the NBA and NHL playoffs. To continue supporting all its clients, NEP had to do some juggling to free up 26 trailers to support the Augusta National compound.
“It’s tough [to serve all these clients at once],” Werteen says. “You need to be honest with everybody. We thought we had all the assignments covered for all of our clients, but CBS came back and said they needed an additional truck, so we had to flip the schedule around to make sure that we could accommodate them.”
Another NEP client, Golf Channel, will have a significant presence at the Masters this year, so NEP had to move some units around to increase the facilities that Golf Channel needs.
“You have to put everything into the right perspective,” Werteen says. “From our standpoint, this is one of the premier events that happens on every sports calendar, so we need to make sure that we see it as the premier event that it is. We make sure that we put our best foot forward for the clients that are going to be at Augusta.”