Bexel’s Custom Audio-Effects Package Boosts NFL Network’s Game Telecasts
Bexel’s custom wireless audio-effects package brought a whole new element to the sounds of NFL Network’s Thursday-night telecasts this season. The system, which debuted at the Chicago Bears-San Francisco 49ers game in mid November, was used at a total of eight games.
“We created a wireless audio-effects package that could be as compact as possible for easy transport from game to game and could take fans watching at home deeper into the game,” says Lee Estroff, Bexel’s director of broadcast technical sales. “The setup we designed is a custom 18-space rack system that consists of 10 wireless microphones including six wireless parabolics, two wireless microphones for the bill of the umpire’s cap, a wireless Cablecam microphone, and a backup.”
In addition, Bexel was able to design a small custom kill switch, allowing the audio to be muted by the umpire and/or “Green Hat” position, which is located on the sideline.
Says Rod Allen, senior project manager at Bexel, “The wireless parabolic system is designed to provide on-field ambiance during the games. Quarterback calls, player hits, and even coin-toss selections are all part of the viewing experience.”
Consisting of four cases, the 18-space–rack case and antenna case are housed on the field’s sidelines, while the headphone case and cable case live up at the truck.
The rack case features custom-designed wheels, allowing the case to roll over grass, turf, and pavement, making for easy transport. Once the rack’s lids are removed, the user can access an antenna mass located at the back of the case and can set them up right on the back of the rack itself. The antenna case, which was custom-built by Master Cases, holds all of the antennas needed to get the wireless system up and running. Master Cases also designed foam draw inserts for the wireless gear, which gives the equipment a safe home while it is in transit.
“When you’re striking the kit at midnight in the rain and see that there’s an empty space in the foam, you know something’s missing,” adds Estroff. In addition, a UPS located at the bottom of the case keeps the wireless up in the event of a power failure.
“Although the customer can rent these individual pieces of gear separately from a variety of vendors, we package it together to make the setup and teardown easier and make the workflow smoother for the crew so they don’t have to put all the pieces together when they get on site,” explains Estroff.
In addition to the NFL Network package, Bexel has also designed custom racks for ESPN and Turner Sports coverage of NBA games.