SNY Refreshes Show Open, Graphics Package To Better Serve Mets Fans
Celebrating 10 years as the broadcast home of the New York Mets, SNY has unveiled a new show open and revitalized its graphics package for the upcoming season.
“This graphic overhaul coincides with the optimism surrounding the team,” says Curt Gowdy Jr., SVP, production/executive producer, SNY. “We thought that it would be an opportune time to bring out a brand-new, fresh, contemporary graphic application for our Mets broadcasts.”
SNY’s new graphics package — its third since the network launched in 2006 — debuted this month to coincide with the beginning of the Mets’ spring-training schedule. In addition to the show open, the graphics package includes a reimagined scorebug, lineup cards, and ticker.
“One of the goals was, we wanted the best package in Major League Baseball,” says Rich Amsinger, art director, SNY. “On a regional level, you have to compete; the standard of graphics is really high no matter where you are. Whether you’re at the regional level or at the national level, it has to be good.”
Amsinger’s process to build the show open began with the fans: they were asked what they wanted to see, and a concept was born. The show open would tell the Mets’ story. From the 7 Train ride through Queens to the sights and sounds of Citi Field to great moments in Mets history, Amsinger worked to build a show open that encapsulated what it means to be a Mets fan.
“When we developed that idea of the open,” says Amsinger, “it was really telling a story and, hopefully, giving the fans an experience before the game.”
To build the show open, Amsinger first turned to local production company Favorite Color to “flesh out a lot of the nuts and bolts of the package.” Then, SNY worked with Los Angeles-based DZ Solutions to build a render farm in-house to render the large quantity of graphics in the package.
SNY’s render farm was of particular importance to this project. The show open, barely longer than 20 seconds, took two weeks to complete; without the in-house render farm, the project could have dragged on for months.
For the scorebug, SNY worked with TV Graphics while designing the graphic in-house using ChyronHego tools. To develop the studio Vizrt package and pre/postgame-show packages, Amsinger worked alongside SNY VP of Engineering Alex Blanding, Senior Designer Luis Medrano, Graphics Production Manager Erin Farrar, and Thomas Keeley, an outside Viz designer brought in to work on the project.
The resulting scorebug look is clean and simple, letting the statistics tell the story. Numbers replace dots for balls and strikes; two dots were added to signify outs. Team names are now stacked, not listed side by side. And, when no one is on base, the outline of the field is barely noticeable.
“Our goal was to reduce the amount of artwork and let the information carry the weight of the scorebug itself,” says Amsinger. “We went with a more contemporary look. … It’s very clean. It’s light; there’s some transparency so it’s not so heavy looking at the top left [of the screen].”
SNY also revamped its ticker, working with VDS on the frontend of the system and Ross Video XPressions on the backend. In addition to ChyronHego, Vizrt, VDS, and Ross Video, the network also relied on a variety of tools from Cinema 4D Studio and Adobe After Effects to build the graphics package, which was designed in 16:9 aspect ratio.
After tackling the Mets, Amsinger and Co. will move on to designing graphics packages for its UConn basketball, Atlantic 10 basketball, and New York Jets coverage.
SNY is plenty prepped for the upcoming season behind the scenes as well. After working with Game Creek Video prior to last season to design the new Amazin’ truck, the network crew couldn’t be happier to jump back in the truck this season.
“The first year was sensational for us,” says Gowdy. “[Amazin’] gave us the complement from a technical standpoint to complement our game coverage with the best cameras, the best audio, the best EVS machines. On top of that, we are going to add a few more wrinkles of audio in and around the ballpark to continue to capture the sights and sounds of the game. I think we will continue to stretch it out and continue to expand our coverage using all the latest technology that Game Creek has provided us.”
The network has also added an RF handheld camera to its coverage, which already comprises 14 HD cameras and two super-slo-mo cameras.
From branding to graphics, game coverage to studio and shoulder programming, SNY plans to celebrate 10 years of Mets coverage — and, hopefully, a season that stretches well into the fall.