NBC Sports Coverage of The Players Golf Tourney Powers Up With NEP
By Ken Kerschbaumer
Tiger Woods may not have delivered the anticipated thrills for viewers of The Players championship on Sunday afternoon as Henrik Stenson tore away from the field, but NBC Sports and NEP delivered some new thrills to keep viewers tuned in, including the debut of Inertia Unlimited’s XMo slow-motion camera system at the yearly event held at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, FL. “The U.S. Open varies with different courses every year but this is pretty much the same show,” says Ken Carpenter, technical manager for NEP and NBC Sports, referring to next month’s U.S. Open golf championship to be held in Bethpage, NY. “So the challenge here is to find out where the trouble spots are an add a camera or kill a camera to get better coverage. When you visit a course every four years or so you never have that chance.”
The famous island green on the 17th hole remains the center of the production with more than 10 cameras on hand to capture every angle. Bunker camera, blimp shots, crane shots Nearly 20 microphones are also used to ensure viewers here every splash of miss-hit tee shots and conversations on the tee box as players discuss club and shot selection with their caddies.
Those cameras, and nearly 40 others, pass through NEP Supershooter’s ND3 two-trailer production unit that arrived in Florida within 24 hours of being used for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. In the A truck, for example, the main production team is housed in a 24×12 room separate from another 24×12 room that will house the graphics staff. The B unit includes an audio room with enough depth for Surround Sound and a tape room.
Panasonic LCD panels, coupled with an Evertz MVP multi-image display and monitoring system, can slice-and-dice the LCD monitors as needed. Tape operators need to be able to see up to 50 camera locations at once so they can cut the show properly. Each tape position in the truck has two Panasonic LCD panels stacked in front of it and, with the help of the Evertz unit, the screen can accommodate the feeds.
The tape area has 11 EVS XT2 servers (10 with six channels) plus a DNF Controls ShotBox for replay needs. A couple of Sony SRW decks are also on hand for recording and playback.
The main production area is centered around a Grass Valley Kalypso production switcher with four mix effects, an eight-channel DVEous unit, and a four-channel EVS with a DNF Controls ShotBox. The main production area is also LCD based to ensure the director has a reasonably good-sized HD monitor.
In the audio area a Calrec Alpha console with 72 double-layer faders is at the center of the room. Outboard processing gear from Dolby, Rane, NVision digital audio delays and a large audio router from Grass Valley are also on hand.
New this year was the presence of Live Power, a division of NEP Screenworks that provides power solutions for concert tours, sports broadcasting, film, television, corporate and special events. Live Power delivers CAD drawings for power layouts, daily power logs, and monthly client reviews. It’s client list includes The Golf Channel, WWE, IRL, and, of course, NBC Sports.