NEP Marks 19th Year Facilitating Live Broadcast Coverage of U.S. Open
With the completion of the 2013 U.S. Open golf tournament on June 16, NEP wrapped its 19th year providing mobile broadcasting services for some of the world’s most-watched television and cable networks. In addition to supplying the primary feed for Golf Channel on NBC’s 19 hours of live coverage, NEP enabled production of Golf Channel’s “Live from the U.S. Open” program. The massive NEP mobile compound also provided live feeds for several international broadcast partners.
On site at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Penn., NEP’s U.S. Open broadcasting compound included 11 mobile units from the company’s Supershooters and Corplex brands, for a total of 16 trailers. For Golf Channel on NBC, NEP deployed its ND3 (A, B, C, and D trailers) and ND4 (A, B, and C trailers) units, as well as its ESU unit, which served as a large distribution hub for many broadcasters in the compound. NEP Supershooters’ SS16 and ST10 trucks provided feeds for Golf Channel, and NEP Corplex provided its Chromium, Nickel, Iridium, Zinc, Platinum, and Mercury units for several international feeds. In addition, NEP’s Live Power division supplied two 600kw twin generators, one 200kw twin generator, and two 45kw generators.
At the 2013 U.S. Open, the NEP compound reflected its broadcasting clients’ universal requirements for state-of-the-art technology and tapeless, all-digital recording, editing, and playout workflows. EVS media servers supported 44 digital record channels and 22 playback channels. NEP also provided four Chyron HyperX3 and two Vizrt on-air graphics systems, five Avid®edit suites, and X-Mo/Hyper X-Mo cameras to facilitate the networks’ ultra-slow-motion playback.
As a tournament that travels to a different course every year, the U.S. Open presents interesting challenges for mobile broadcasters. Working together with its clients, NEP begins its planning at least a year in advance to identify the optimal camera locations on the course and to design a broadcast infrastructure that is compatible with the physical layout of the venue. For instance, since this year’s tournament was played at a smaller course, the Merion Golf Club, the broadcasting compound had to be located on the driving range — and the players’ practice area was relocated to another course two miles away. Since its broadcasting clients include coverage of player practice, NEP was able to arrange far in advance to install a 144-strand fiber link spanning the two-mile distance.
“This year’s Open was one of the biggest golf events ever for NEP, requiring us to bring together three of our brands to deploy a massive amount of technology, infrastructure, technical management, and engineering expertise,” said Ken Carpenter, technical manager, NEP. “There are really no other mobile broadcasting companies that can match our depth of resources, staff expertise, and ability to assemble such a complex infrastructure at a venue that changes yearly. That’s why we continue to exceed the expectations of our clients and their viewers, year after year, for one of the golf world’s biggest events.”