MLB Postseason 2019: Turner Sports Rolls Into October With Expanded Deployment of High Frame Rate Cameras, Embedded Field Mics

Working out of NEP's new SS8 IP-based mobile production unit, the MLB Postseason on TBS gets a breath of fresh air

After getting things going with their broadcast of the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday, Turner Sports is ready to dive head first into another dramatic October of postseason baseball. TBS has the National League side of the bracket this year, beginning with Thursday’s doubleheader of NLDS matchups between the St. Louis Cardinals-Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals-Los Angeles Dodgers.

Turner Sports’ plans for this year’s coverage included some key expansions to its arsenal of specialty cameras and a more robust deployment of embedded microphones for a more immersive audio experience.

Crews at both series will each leverage a high frame rate camera for slow motion replays. Those cameras will shoot at a range from 900 frames-per-second, 1,200 frames-per-second, and even up to 1,500 frames-per-second. When the postseason moves to the NLCS, those cameras will come together to give that crew two of those cameras to work with. Those cameras will be positioned at low 1st and/or low 3rd with the task of shooting swings, infield plays, reactions, and other cinematic shots.

On the audio front, Turner plans to sprinkle 10 embedded microphones into the field of play. That count complements the tradition microphone map that would be seen in a traditional MLB telecast. There are six microphones placed around the field, one at the pitcher’s mound, another at home plate, and – for the first time on a TBS broadcast, one is each base. Turner has also gotten permission from the league to place microphones on select players. During Game 1 in Atlanta, TBS was airing some recorded segments with Braves’ second baseman Ozzie Albies.

There’s some fresh blood out in the production compound during this MLB Postseason, as well, as Turner is debuting NEP’s newest IP-based mobile production truck, SS8, during the NLDS. NEP’s TS2, SS25, and Chromium will also help with the load of two series and four cities in the Division Series. For the NLCS,  NEP ND7 and SS25 will finish the job.

As is typical for this time of the year, the hardest part of all of this for Turner Sports’ operations crew is not so much deploying this technology, but knowing when and where this productions would even take place.

“One of the biggest challenges we face every season is the exciting and typically dramatic ending to the regular season as we prepare scenarios around possible tiebreaker or play-in games,” says Chris Brown, VP/Sports Production Technology & Operations for Turner Sports. “For this season, we had as many as three possible starting cities for the Wild Card, and it came down to the second to last day of the season before we really knew where we needed to be.  It makes it super exciting for the fans, but hectic planning the logistics behind getting our first game on the air, especially when this year’s National League Wild Card was on Tuesday.”

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