NFL Network Shows Flexibility via Game Creek Video, NEP Superbee
It’s been a busy week for Rod Conti, NFL Network, director of remote studio operations, and the rest of the staff at the network. And for good reason as the network has broadcast more than 190 broadcast hours across multiple platforms during the past week and operated from multiple stages throughout the city. And tonight it shifts gears again as it moves the Game Creek Video Clipper production unit from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to the Art Galleria for the broadcast of the NFL Honors ceremony.
“We are a member of the NFL, not an outside entity so there is a lot of coordination with the league and the departments and we are at the centerpiece of their venues,” says Conti. “We respect the [NFL] shield and it has a higher standard that we have to keep to.”
The vast majority of the NFL Network programming has taken place on a stage in the Convention Center. The stage has two sets that face each other and allow talent and crew members to quickly adjust cameras, lighting, and take new positions that give the broadcast a totally different look. The central location also makes it easy to cover press conferences as the NFL Network also covers those events for the league and is involved with the NFL Events on set design and scenic.
“We like our sets exposed versus having a background so that people can partake in our production,” says Conti of the wide open look that typifies NFL Network sets throughout the city.
Another major location is a stage at a riverfront gazebo in Woldenberg Park. The original hope was to use that as the main location but concerns over unpredictable weather conditions led to the decision to use the gazebo as a secondary location.
NFL Network is relying heavily on Game Creek Video for its productions across the city while NEP’s Superbee unit serves as the main transmission and engineering hub. All feeds from the Game Creek Video trucks are received in Superbee via Level 3 circuits and then sent out to Culver City, CA or Atlanta where network master control is handled.
Glory is on hand at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for all the action on Saturday and Sunday, and both Pride and Clipper are located at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for various press conferences and media events. Clipper will move to the Art Galleria on Saturday night to produce the NFL Honors broadcast). And Game Creek Northstar is at the Gazebo in Woldenberg Park, the primary outside site used by the network. A Satlink satellite uplink truck is located at each of the two hotels used by the Ravens and 49ers.
Conti says his hope for next year is to have additional file sharing.
“[The production team] are hungry sharks and everyone wants more content,” he says. “So next year we need to expand on the file sharing.”
Along with the possibility of file sharing there is also the probability that the sets will get bigger as that has been the pattern. And with the Super Bowl taking place in the New York City metropolitan area next year big things are expected from both the NFL Network and Fox Sports, the network that will broadcast the game.
“We are also going to be looking at smaller cameras like the Gopros as directors and producers are getting comfortable with those,” says Conti. “It adds another element to field operations.”