ESPN Adds Content For HD Draftniks

By Carolyn Braff
When the NBA Draft tips off Thursday
night, viewers who tune into ESPNHD will become instant insiders. Two-thirds
of ESPN’s constant-crawl on-screen graphics will be available to both
SD and HD viewers throughout the broadcast, including during commercials,
but only the HD-enabled set will get the content provided in the ESPNHD
right-side column.
“We’re going to provide separate,
unique content that only the HD viewers will be getting,” explains
Dan Steir, senior coordinating producer for ESPN.
The graphical content adds some high
definition intrigue to what is essentially a studio show, produced in
standard definition from Madison Square Garden.
“When you do an SD show in HD you
see pillars on each side of your screen,” Steir explains. “Basically,
we’ve repositioned the picture left and made available the right pillar
space for unique catered content related to the draft picks, much the
way we did for our NFL draft.”
Both SD and HD viewers will see the
narrower left side pillar and horizontal bottom line, but the wider
right side pillar will be visible only on ESPNHD.
“Like anything else, we saw how it
worked for the NFL and we were able to tweak it a little bit,” Steir
says. “We added some subtleties from a content perspective and I think
it’s going to be a neat asset.”
The data to fill that right pillar,
which will range from interactive real-time polling and trade information
to the top remaining international prospects, team-by-team summaries
and player statistics, will be repositioned through ESPN’s master
control in Bristol, Conn., where a technician produces the content.
In an event like the NBA Draft, where
news happens on a schedule (five minutes between picks in the first
round and two minutes in the second), Steir says the constant-crawl
will add some excitement, especially since content will continue to
refresh during commercial breaks.
“The Draft is the type of event where
every five minutes there’s a new headline, so during every commercial
you’ll see the headlines of what’s gone in the last few minutes.”
NEP SS16 will provide the mobile production
facilities for the broadcast, along with a B unit equipped with three
Pinncale Deko character generators, all of which will be engaged in
applications other than the constant-crawl. Two of the Dekos will provide
in-event graphics while the third works the topic bar.
ESPN has also partnered with Glowpoint
to provide in-broadcast video communication with 14 team headquarters,
the draft room of select teams, and several of ESPN’s on-air commentators,
who will offer their thoughts from off site, via satellite.
“Glowpoint has been with us on the
NBA Draft for six years and multiple years on the NFL draft,” Steir
explains. “They have relationships with multiple phone companies to
get the lines and they help coordinate with us. You have to hire people
to take care of what you can’t take care of, and they have been great.”

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