FSN West debuts Rinkside during NHL telecast

By Andrew Lippe

FSN West last week introduced an innovative NHL broadcast technique called Rinkside View that is designed to bring viewers closer to the game. “The flaw in the traditional coverage of hockey is that static camera position panning doesn’t truly give you the sense of the speed of the game,” says Tom Feuer, executive producer, at FSN West and FSN Prime Ticket. “That changes when you watch it in 16:9 and in HD.”

With the use of low camera angles, limited commercial breaks, and limited on-air graphics the network followed the lead of other sports, like the NFL, which is using Skycam and CableCam to provide a non-traditional look.

The broadcast was shot using, three HD robotic cameras, an RF handheld camera, and a Thomson LDK 6000 camera. The broadcast aimed to create a live atmosphere. The cameras, one in the Anaheim Ducks net another in the Los Angeles Kings net, and one at center ice, gave the fans at home the natural sounds of the puck, the smashing of the boards, and the sounds of skating and swirling players on the ice.

Feuer told his team to limit their camera cuts to capture the continuous action that is often ignored in a traditional broadcast. “We were not cutting, but panning as if an eyeball was panning,” adds Feuer.

Rinkside View is not FSN’s first taste of innovative broadcasting. They have done special viewing broadcasts similar to Rinkside view with the NBA called Courtside View and with MLB called Dugout View. FSN has taken many risks and has gone so far as to broadcast an NBA game out of Seattle without the use of any on- air graphics.

Rinkside View incorporated many features of previous FSN special broadcasts such as limited commentary and only statistical graphics. Rinkside View’s newest asset was it was the first special broadcast in HD. “When somebody took a slapshot I flinched,” says Feuer. “The quality of the image was that good.”

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