Game Creek Video’s Pride and Glory Ready for NFL Network Season
The NFL Network’s expanded slate of Thursday night games will be produced out of Pride and Glory, two new 53-foot double expando trucks from Game Creek Video that will make their unified NFL debut in Green Bay next week. Pride will be home to the NFL Network pre-game show while game production will take place in Glory. And both units will not only handle NFL games but also the combine, NFL draft, and the Hall of Fame games in 2013.
“Pride and Glory are cut from the same cloth although Glory has a full time B unit,” says Jason Taubman, Game Creek Video, engineer.
Taubman says the engineering philosophy for the trucks takes the “evolutionary approach,” taking the design of Victory, which hit the streets last year, and pushing it forward a little bit.
“There is now a fiber tether between Pride and Glory so that they can merge the infrastructure and work together as one unit,” he explains. “There are 16 strands of fiber connecting the two trucks so we don’t need three days to run 100 pieces of copper. We can be up and running within a couple of hours of dropping the trailer. It’s plug and play.”
Also easing with that integration is an RTS tri-bus expansion for the Adam intercom that results in 64 intercom channels that allow everyone in the three units to communicate.
“It allows intercom frames to be expanded so that one can span into another truck or location and hook up with fiber to form one large frame,” says Taubman. “Before we used VoIP which works fine but it can all a tiny bit of delay that can lead to echoes.”
The NFL Network show will be a big one, with 10 cameras used during the pre-game show and 14 Sony 2500 cameras for the games as well as two Inertia Unlimited XMos high-speed cameras, two Super Mos, a Skycam, blimp cameras, and a number of robotics. A Grass Valley Kayenne production switcher with 4 mix effects is at the center of the operations.
“There will be close to 40 cameras used on it every week so it’s a really large scale production with some terrific people working on it,” adds Pat Sullivan, Game Creek Video, president.
One unique production change is that the 12 EVS operators (all working on the latest XT3 servers) will be located in the Glory B unit while the equipment will be in the A unit.
“That allows all of the EVS operators to be in one place and also allows the producer and director to be within arms reach of the graphics and editorial folks so they can interact,” adds Taubman.
Audio will be handled by two Calrec Apollo boards and helping future proof the trucks is a 3Gbps Evertz router that can support 1080p/60 or 3D needs in the future. The video router is 567×1152 and the audio is 2560×2560 embedded, 1536×1536 MADI, 576×576 AES, and 384×384 analog for a total of 5056×5056.
“Baseband video may go away and we may be moving IP packets around,” says Taubman. “But it’s not ready for primetime yet.”
The 3Gbps pipes open up a host of new distribution options but the bottleneck is that only the cameras can currently pass 3Gbps signals as the EVS replay servers compress the signal down to 200 Mbps.
The two new trucks cap off a busy summer for Game Creek Video that also saw upgrades to both Freedom and Patriot. Both now have flat-screen monitors with multi-viewers as well as command control monitoring so that Game Creek staffers in New Hampshire can remotely ensure the trucks are operating as expected. Patriot also received an upgrade via a Calrec Blue Fin console with 96 faders and new phone systems.
“We’re starting to leverage our command and control monitoring infrastructure to move video around from truck to truck or from the truck to plant locations,” adds Taubman. “Some of our clients are waking up to that possibility.”
Up next for Game Creek Video are two trucks that will be delivered to the Comcast Houston network in October.
“There’s a lot of opportunity out there,” says Sullivan of a business environment that has improved greatly since 2008. ““Ratings have shot up over the last three or four years and we have found our clients are looking for ways to enhance their production. Ratings are up, advertising revenues are up, rights fees are through the roof, and the our clients want to do these games right. It’s a good environment for our industry.”