Inside WNBA Bubble, Ross Production Services’ Remote Commentary, Robo Cameras Come Up Big
RPS produced world-feed broadcasts for the league, CBS Sports, RSNs, and others
In this year’s COVID-abbreviated regular season, WNBA teams played a condensed 22-game schedule in a bubble in Bradenton, FL. While ESPN/ABC handled a large chunk of the domestic broadcasts, Ross Production Services was on hand to produce the world feed for 96 WNBA games in less than two months.
The world-feed broadcasts comprised 39 telecasts on CBS Sports Network, one game on CBS, and several more on RSNs and NBA League Pass. In addition, RPS provided dirty and clean feeds for RSNs’ regional telecasts, as well as for streams on Facebook and Twitter.
“The success of the WNBA/RPS partnership was made possible through hard work, dedication, and teamwork in order to achieve both health safety and the high-level consistency of the product each and every broadcast,” says Mitch Rubenstein, President, Ross Production Services. “Combine that with innovation that has become the standard offering we provide for our customers at Ross, and it was a very rewarding and successful two months.”
RPS had two mobile units — FIN4 and FIN5 — onsite for two months with each Sprinter mobile unit supporting one of the two courts at Feld Entertainment Studios in Bradenton.
To limit crew onsite in accordance with COVID-19 safety precautions, announcers called all games remotely from home, and several traditionally manned camera positions were converted to robotics. RPS played a key role in enabling these workflows via the Ross Production Cloud and Ross Video’s Furio Live remote-control camera systems.
RPS shipped Announcer Home Kits to six commentators, including long-time basketball analysts Carolyn Peck and Debbie Antonelli, for remote commentary. Each kit provided an announcer headset, cough box, PGM return, and direct IFB and talkback with the production team in the onsite truck. The Ross Production Cloud enabled ultra-low-latency video and audio between talent with less than a half second of delay total and full remote management of kits. RPS controlled the encode and decode process, secured all video via the production portal, and allowed each talent to log in with unique info.
In addition, to keep WNBA players and personnel safe on the court, RPS used two Ross Furio Live Camera Systems on each court in lieu of traditional handheld cameras. This kept technicians off the court and eliminated the need for camera operators below each basket.
Says Rubenstein, “We were honored to work with the WNBA and its players to help provide a television platform to showcase their skills on the court and advocate for social justice.”
Beyond the Bubble: RPS Stays Busy With Events Across the Country
College GameDay, the ESPN pre-game show which airs before college football games, recently launched a new fan experience called Virtual Pit which offers fans the opportunity to join the show virtually. RPS worked closely with the College GameDay production team and created the Virtual Pit production portal, the key piece of the puzzle that allows hundreds of fans to join live every week.
For the second consecutive year, RPS is packaging events for Paragon Marketing on their High School Football Kickoff Weekend and regular season High School Football Showcase. Through the first six games of the season, RPS has produced games in Knoxville, TN; Brownsburg, IN; Bismarck, ND; Venice, FL; Tiger, GA and Trussville, AL. The announcers are calling the games from the Bristol, CT based studios with the remainder of the full RPS production crew on site. The August 29 game in North Dakota also marked the 48th state that Ross Production Services has produced an event in. The high school regular season package continues through early November.
RPS recently teamed up with BOOMBOX and NCompass to reveal the multiplayer game mode of the upcoming video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. The studio and talent were located in Los Angeles, the master control room was in Connecticut, and production staff produced the event from the comfort of their own homes.
In addition, The Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society, recently partnered with Ross Production Services to produce the virtual Momentum Launch event. The programming included training sessions and panel discussions with youth and adult leaders as well as Scouts from across the country. The event also featured question and answer sessions with prominent Scouters, and there was even a cooking competition and game show. All of this was produced out of Ross Production Services’ flagship mobile unit, RMP6, from the J.W. Marriott Leadership Center at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.