Remote Production Special Report: Broadcasters Continue To Find New Ways To Get the Job Done

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 Edition of the SVG SportsTech Journal. To read the entire journal, click HERE.

The pandemic accelerated the move toward producing events either entirely or mostly from offsite. The result is that leading production companies and broadcasters are looking to reshape their future plans. This special report features an overview of some of the key stories we reported on that point to the future of remote-production operations in the U.S. and beyond.

NASCAR’s new production facility will open for the 2024 season and will allow the production team to produce race coverage from North Carolina.

NASCAR Productions To Build State-of-the-Art 58,000-Sq.-Ft. Facility in Concord, NC

In 2024, NASCAR Productions will have a new home in Charlotte, NC. While the race-day production control rooms will be in Charlotte, much of the hardware will be located in an NEP data center in Dallas.

“This gives us the flexibility to decide how much [of an onsite presence] we want to have from week to week,” says Steve Stum, VP, operations and technical production, NASCAR Productions. “If we want to have more people onsite for a bigger weekend like the Daytona 500, we’re still going to connect to that equipment at the data center, and people can be onsite. Or, if it’s a weekend when we don’t want to send as many resources out to the track and we want to keep people at home, we can make that decision, too. We also are looking at how we can best utilize equipment. Instead of building out an entire equipment room ourselves, we are looking to be more efficient: rather than having 50 EVS [servers] in here not doing anything for weeks at a time, we can spin them up at [NEP’s data center] when we need them and not have to pay for them when we aren’t using them.”

To read more, click HERE.

The ‘Mini BOC’ served as the hub for the commentary booths running in Stamford’s Off-Tube Factory.

NBC Olympics’ Dave Mazza on Producing Beijing Olympics from Stamford, the Challenges of 1080p HDR, and Navigating the Pandemic

For the Beijing Olympics, NBC Olympics produced the vast majority of its content from its headquarters in Stamford, CT. Four mobile units pulled up outside of the facility and were home to various productions.

“We have four full venue coverage trucks here at the dock,” said Dave Mazza, SVP and CTO, NBC Olympics. “Even though we had five remote venue controls for Tokyo — for Golf, Beach Volleyball, Basketball, Indoor Volleyball, and Sky Sports — they were almost totally self- contained. But this time, at the dock, we have trucks doing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Alpine [venue], half of the Extreme venue, Long Track Speed Skating, and Sliding. And one of our small Simply Live control rooms is doing Short Track. All of those venues hit the Prime- time show and utilize various studios and elements in SPOC, so they were much more complex this time. Inside SPOC, we also had a lot more facilities and moving pieces. In all, for [Beijing 2022], we have nine control rooms [four trucks and five PCRs], plus another three control rooms for Golf [Channel] operating here.”

To read more, click HERE.

The NBC Sports production team onsite at the Open Championship was connected closely with the team in Stamford.

The Open Championship: NBC’s Onsite Efforts Complemented by Stamford Team

It was once again a global effort for NBC Sports at the St. Andrews Old Course for the 150th Open Championship last week. An onsite team of 225 comple- mented by around 100 people working from NBC Sports facilities in Stamford, CT, and a Hawk-Eye operator in Oklahoma produced shows delivered to NBC Sports, Golf Channel, and Peacock viewers.

“Utilizing NEP Connect onsite 10-gig circuits, we are able to connect our dual Nim- bra chassis into the larger Sky UK Nimbra network,” said Allison McAllister, VP, golf operations, NBC Sports. “This connects at Sky Osterley to an expansive Sky/NBCU 100-G network that rides across the Atlantic and connects to the NBC Sports Stamford operation. We leveraged 38 transmission feeds to produce and distribute tournament coverage, four Featured Groups per day, Featured Holes, and remote produce our Live Form coverage from Stamford. We also used LiveU technology to bring in the sites and sound of St. Andrews directly to the tournament production.”

To read more, click HERE.

New remote production workflows have allowed the Tennis Channel to produce pickleball tournaments in a cost-effective manner.

Tennis Channel Embraces REMI for Pickleball, Remote Studio Operations

Pickleball events have allowed the Tennis Channel production team to continue to refine its REMI operations, and the diverse 10-Gbps Cisco Meraki circuits between the Riviera and the Tennis Channel Expo facility in Santa Monica, CA, will ensure that all signals are delivered at top quality. As for tennis itself? Tennis Channel is in full REMI mode covering the National Bank Open in Canada with a studio desk that also hits all the ATP Masters 1000 and major tennis events around the world.

“We have the opportunity to do things a little bit different with pickleball and experiment a little bit more because we have a blank slate,” says Bob Whyley, SVP, production/executive producer, Tennis Channel. “And, with REMI, we’re able to put on an amazing production at a cost that is a lot less.”

To read more, click HERE.

Katie Harrington of Sky Sports inside the TWiz technical area at the U.S. Open.

U.S. Open: Sky Sports Discusses Evolution of Remote Production

The Sky Sports production team for the U.S. Open Championship was back onsite in a big way with a team of 35 covering all the action and using the Telegenic TWiz OB as a launch point for 36 camera feeds that are sent to a pro- duction gallery in London where the final product is cut and distributed to UK viewers.

“We did the Ryder Cup [last fall] in a very similar way to how we’re doing the U.S. Open this week,” said Katie Harrison, golf production manager, Sky Sports. “Here in TWiz we have a Simply Live system and an assistant producer back at Sky can choose which 36 feeds and camera angles they want to use for the program cut.”

To read more, click HERE.

The Pac-12 Networks produced more than half of its football games last year from its facility in San Francisco.

Pac-12 Networks Tackles Busy Fall With Hybrid Onsite/At-Home Production

Pac-12 Networks’ plan for this football season features an even balance of production models. Sixteen games will be full onsite truck productions; the remaining 21 will feature various degrees of the network’s multi- cam/at-home hybrid workflow. Even on full truck shows, the network integrates its scorebug and handles some replay operations from its San Francisco headquarters, while the rest of the show is done onsite.

“As a network, we have always balanced goals around producing high-quality coverage of our amazing teams and schools with delivering as much revenue as possible back to our members for them to invest in creating a successful environment for student-athletes,” says Ryan Currier, SVP, engineering and products, Pac-12 Networks. “That continues to be a driving force behind initiatives like at-home production and motivates us to continually seek opportunities to innovate in order to deliver on that commitment.”

To read more, click HERE.

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