NBA Season Tip-Off: YES Network Brings Signature Look, Tools to Hardcourt for Nets Coverage
With a new coach on the Brooklyn Nets’ bench, plenty of veteran All-Stars on its league-high $90-plus million payroll, and star center Brooke Lopez finally (or hopefully) healthy, YES Network has high hopes as the Nets enter their third season at home at Barclays Center. With the team once again expected to compete for an Atlantic Division title, the always tech-savvy regional sports net will once again roll out a variety of signature YES Network production elements for its Nets coverage.
The technology is important for our product both on the air and off the air,” says YES Network Nets producer Frank DiGraci, who passed the 1,000-Nets-telecasts mark at the front bench last season. “We have a history of, and take pride in, being the first to bring certain technology to market. We are always looking for new ways to bring fans closer to the action. While we are not adding anything significant to our Nets productions this season, we will still maintain our status as leader in the RSN space.”
On the Court
Chief among YES’s tech toys is the YES-MO ultra-slo-mo camera system, which has become a staple of both its Yankees and Nets coverage in recent years. In addition, YES will deploy handheld Sony HDC-3300R 3X super-slo-mo cameras over both baskets and a Skycam robotic camera positioned beneath Barclays’ center-hung scoreboard. DiGraci and company will also continue to experiment with shooting through both glass backboards with mini GoPro cameras, a practice introduced during the second half of last season.
Also back is Game Creek Video’s Dynasty as YES’s primary home truck. The 53-ft. expando (with B unit) is built around a Grass Valley Kayenne switcher, Calrec Alpha Bluefin audio console, and Evertz EQX 3G video and EMR audio routers and features Sony HDC-1500 cameras with Canon lenses.
“[We have been] doing the same top-notch show for years,” says DiGraci. “Even during the Nets’ lean years, we always prided ourselves in producing telecasts on par with the national networks. We have always approached every single Nets game as being a ‘big game.’ We have a first-rate, Emmy-winning production crew, excellent technical crew, and the best talent in the NBA. We combine this every night to deliver a telecast that is as entertaining and informative as possible. Our bar is still set very high. The increased attention is nice, but it doesn’t define our show.’
In the Studio
YES’s Nets coverage goes well beyond just the action on the court, however. The network’s production facility in Stamford, CT, will once again serve as home to all studio programming, including pre/postgame and halftime shows. According to VP, Broadcaster Operations, Mike Webb, YES has made some modifications to its studio set for this Nets season that will “give us a different look for our video-matrix wall and open up the floor for some different camera angles.”
Bob Lorenz returns as the RSN’s primary studio host, while Mike Fratello, Donny Marshall, and Jim Spanarkel will be in the studio throughout the season as analysts. Also back for the pregame show is the interactive BK Connect segment, which debuted last season, featuring YES Nets reporter Sarah Kustok and various Nets beat reporters discussing the latest with the team. Brooklyn Nets Senior Reporter Lenn Robbins will also contribute once again.
YES also has plenty planned in terms of team-focused in-depth features.
“We will have in-depth features on all the Nets, including coach Lionel Hollins,” says YES Network Coordinating Producer Jared Boshnack, who produces Yankees and Nets pre/post-game shows. “Speaking of Hollins, we will explore his Portland Trail Blazers NBA championship ties when Brooklyn takes on Portland, for example, and we will air many other topical features throughout the season.”