Fox Sports Detroit To Take Viewers Into the Truck During Tigers Telecast
Fox Sports Detroit will take the phrase “behind the scenes” to a whole new level on Friday, televising the Tigers-White Sox game in a split-screen format with the game action on one side and a live look inside the Mobile TV Group’s 26HDX mobile unit on the other.
“This is going to allow viewers to eavesdrop into what the process is like, and, hopefully, people find it interesting and fun,” says Fox Sports Detroit Executive Producer John Tuohey. “At the top of the telecast, we will explain to people that they will see two images for most of the game — one with the game itself and another that takes them through the various crew positions.”
Behind the Scenes, One by One
Each inning’s coverage will focus on a different area of the production crew: producer, director, graphics, audio, Fox Box operator, replay room, replay operator, video room (showing all sources of video available), stage manager, at least one camera location, and the announcers booth.
Host John Keating will introduce each segment, which will last anywhere from a full inning to a half inning. Roving reporter Shannon Hogan will also preview several production positions throughout the telecast.
“We think the producer and director will be the two positions that people find most interesting,” says Tuohey. “So we will devote the top of the game and the end of the game to those positions.”
Covering the Coverage
For its behind-the-scenes coverage, FS Detroit will deploy several miniature HD POV cameras throughout the EIC Peter Wehner’s truck, including cameras covering the replay area and front bench. In addition, a handheld camera will roam throughout the truck.
The regional sports network (RSN) will tap into its own intercom system to provide viewers with live audio of crew communications. A handful of wireless microphones will also be on hand for certain areas, such as graphics and the Fox Box.
The RSN will have an additional EVS server and EVS operator for the telecast.
“The EVS position is such a key storyteller within the game,” says Tuohey. “With an extra EVS there, we can communicate with that operator and let him explain how he does his job. If he [will be] running a music video at the end of the game, then we can check in with him, and he can tell us how he’s editing it together as the game goes on.”
16:9 Makes the Difference
FS Detroit is a purely HD operation, having upgraded a few years back. All Tigers telecasts are delivered in HD, and, according to Tuohey, this experiment would not even be possible in the old standard-definition 4:3 frame.
“We are only [able to do this because] the HD is in the 16:9 frame,” he says. “When you split the 16:9 screen, it is very watchable. It would even work if we split it into a two-thirds and one-third kind of thing. But the split screen in the older 4:3 seemed to take up so much space.”
More To Come
Tonight’s game will be just the first chapter in an on-going series of split-screen coverage on Fox Sports Detroit Plus. The network has plans to provide isolated camera feeds of each Tigers position in a picture-in-picture format later this year.
“It’s an experiment,” Tuohey acknowledges. “We’ve got a couple more of these in the works over the next couple months. The next one will be an iso camera on each of the Tigers nine positions for a half inning. So you would have the game cut, but you would also have a picture-in-picture with Miguel Cabrera at first base.”