Fox Sports Is Ready for First Pitch at World Series

Fox Sports throws out the first pitch on its World Series coverage tonight in Kansas City, and, not surprisingly, the network has once again emptied its war chest when it comes to production technology. During its ALDS and ALCS coverage over the past three weeks, Fox deployed a host of high-tech production elements that will enter an even bigger spotlight at the 111th World Series, including the newly deployed MōVI three-axis gyro-stabilized RF handheld camera and a half dozen high-speed cameras running at various frames per second.

“There are a few things that stand out for World Series baseball every year,” says John Entz, president, Fox Sports Production/executive producer. “The first is the Phantom [ultra-slo-mo] camera that delivers those cinematic beautiful shots tight around home: swinging misses, swinging broken bats like the Hunter Pence shot a few years ago.

“The other thing that has been really cool has been the MōVI camera,” he continues. “It’s delivered some really interesting shots. After a guy hits a home run, it follows him all the way into the dugout and then along the dugout as he celebrates with his teammates. It’s a really cool, unique visual difference that we have been able to capture this year.”

After deploying the MōVI gimbal system at the MLS All-Star Game in March, Fox introduced the camera to the diamond at the MLB All-Star Game this summer. For the World Series, in addition to post-homer shots, the RF handheld system will be used on the field for instructions and close to the baselines during inning breaks.

Host Kevin Burkhardt (center) and (from left) analysts Raúl Ibañez, Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose, and Frank Thomas will be in the onsite studio in Kansas City and New York.

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez (second from left) will serve as a Fox Sports analyst during World Series onsite studio shows in Kansas City and New York.

Never one to skimp on slo-mo, Fox is deploying a high-speed–camera complement that includes a Vision Research Phantom system provided by Inertia Unlimited (shooting at 3,000 fps at low first and low third), two Inertia Unlimited X-Mo systems (shooting at 400 fps at mid first base and tight centerfield), three Sony HDC-4300 8X slo-mo cameras (two in tight center and one at mid third), and a Vision Research 4K Flex (shooting at 1,000 fps) using an AJA Corvid 4K scaler for hyper-zoom functionality.

Also included in the 39-camera complement at the World Series will be up to three Inertia Unlimited Dirtcams (branded Diamond Cams in the Fox telecast) in front of home plate, behind first base, and in front of second base. The ultra-mini camera sticks up only 0.1 in. above the dirt and can pan to show the runner leading off and plays in the infield.

Fox will also deploy 20-plus standard HD cameras and eight robos, and a blimp in Kansas City and a fixed-wing plane in New York will provide aerial shots.

Sony-owned Hawkeye Technology pitch-tracking will provide graphics from centerfield and third-base perspectives. Hawkeye, first used by Fox at July’s MLB All-Star Game, tracks pitch speed and break data and creates a 3D strike zone over home plate and indicates where the pitch passed through.

As has become customary at the World Series, Fox Sports has rolled out onsite studios for pre/postgame coverage. Host Kevin Burkhardt is joined for all pre/postgame shows by analysts Frank Thomas, Pete Rose, Raúl Ibañez, and recently added Alex Rodriguez, who makes his on-air debut as a commentator for Fox during the Series.

Fox Sports longtime baseball A1 Joe Carpenter and his team are outfitting both parks with more than 80 microphones to capture 5.1 Dolby surround. CLICK HERE for more on Fox’s MLB Postseason audio coverage.

As for mobile units, Fox Sports has NEP EN2 in Kansas City and, in New York, Game Creek Video’s Dynasty and Edit 1 for game coverage and Game Creek’s Freedom for coverage of the onsite studio.

Watch for SVG’s live, in-depth coverage of the 111th World Series from Citi Field later this week.

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