NBA All Star Game Weekend Serves Up 13 Hours of Live Streaming on Friday
The NBA All Star Weekend in Dallas gets off to a fast start with a 13 hours of live streaming at NBA.com that will bring fans closer than ever to the NBA’s top athletes, coaches, and All Star Weekend activities. “The Web site, especially on Friday, is everything,” says Chris Brown, NBA Digital, director of technical operations. “The idea is to bring the All Star Weekend experience to fans who can’t make it to Dallas. And on Friday there are all of these events going that, traditionally, the NBA would only be able to deliver a handful of to NBA TV. So now we have an opportunity to bring it all to NBA.com.”
Creating a 13-hour stream of content is an all-hands-on-deck effort for NBA Entertainment both in Dallas and in Atlanta. Driving the effort on site are multimedia producers located in a 24-foot trailer built by Bexel Broadcast Services that has two Apple Final Cut Pro editing suites tied together. Those systems have access to feeds from the Turner broadcast TV trucks via an EVS IP Director allowing producers to pull clips off of the broadcast servers. ENG crews are also capturing footage that can be brought in and dumped into the Apple systems.
“We also have a lot of Flip cameras and will have content from those,” says Brown. Flip Cameras are small handheld consumer grade camera systems literally the size of a deck of playing cards that can capture “HD-quality” images and offload content via a USB port. TNT talent will have the Flip cameras, taking fans behind the scenes with players, executives, and celebrities.
“They are a lot more accepted now and we’re excited about them because they allow us to be less obtrusive with players because they don’t have a big camera in their face,” adds Brown. “They know they’re being recorded but they are a little more open.”
The advantage of operating out of the Bexel trailer, adds Brown, is that the NBA.com operations will be able to literally pack up and move from the American Airlines arena, where events take place on Friday and Saturday, to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, where the All Star Game takes place on Sunday.
“Having two locations made it a little more challenging but it didn’t make sense to have a trailer at both locations because nothing happens at the stadium until Sunday,” explains Brown.
Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, where NBA Digital is headquartered, content will be received via the NBA’s high-speed arena network and satellite. “Depending on the length of the piece and the amount of graphics and animations it may be easier to allow the team in Atlanta to do it,” explains Brown. In Atlanta content will also be readied for distribution to mobile devices.
“The biggest challenge is coordinating the use of our set because we’re doing multiple shows back to back,” says Brown. “We also turned an integration control room in Atlanta into master control rooms for each of the two live streaming players. It’s been awesome to leverage the TurnerSports.com assets.”