BSN Scatters Final Four Video Throughout Indianapolis
This weekend, the city of Indianapolis will come alive with video boards, and Big Screen Network Productions (BSN) will power them all. The company, which has been providing video-board shows to the NCAA winter championships for four years, will power not only the octagonal center-hung scoreboard inside Lucas Oil Stadium but also the video boards at the ancillary events, including a three-day music festival at White River State Park and the Bracket Town fan event at the Indiana Convention Center.
“We’re kind of all over the place,” says BSN President Paul Kalil.
Eight Is Enough
The most important place Kalil’s group has set up shop is Lucas Oil Stadium. Inside the football home of the Indianapolis Colts, GoVision is constructing an octagonal LED center-hung scoreboard, the largest portable center-hung board ever assembled. That will provide some new opportunities for the BSN production team, which will have eight screens to work with, in addition to the two existing end-zone boards.
“We have to make sure we design our graphics to fit all eight of the boards, plus the two that the Colts use for football, at the same time,” says BSN EVP Bob Becker.
Four of the eight screens will display game statistics, while the other four will showcase the live game action that Becker’s team of 25 produces.
“We have four of our own cameras, and then we take CBS cameras as well,” he says. “We’ll have a total of eight game-coverage cameras, and then we’ll also take CBS’s program feed, so we’ll have as many as we can get.”
State of the Art
Lucas Oil Stadium is not yet two years old, so its control room is sparkling new, featuring EVS replay servers, two Chyron Duet graphics engines, and a Grass Valley switcher.
“It’s definitely a pleasure rolling into a stadium that’s so state-of-the-art,” Becker says. “Having all the bells and whistles really allows us to do the show we want to do and to be really creative in the ways that we do it.”
New for this year in BSN’s productions are some 3D animations based on the NCAA style guide.
“We’ve taken the style guide and integrated that into our look,” Kalil says. “We bring the print and banner graphics that are in and around the city to life as moving objects. We’re trying to integrate everything together using 3D modeling, and it’s worked out pretty well.”
Keep It Moving
Before arriving in Indianapolis, the BSN team spent a considerable amount of time preproducing elements to run on the boards during Friday night’s all-star game, various sponsor events throughout the weekend, Saturday’s two Final Four games, and Monday’s championship game.
“When you break it all down, there’s no empty timeout segment, pre-game opening, or halftime segment where we don’t do something,” Kalil says. “Whether it’s something like a Great Moments in Final Four History segment or NCAA initiative segment, we’re supporting our presentation with music videos, player profiles, logos, animations, hundreds of segments that we have done.”
BSN also shoots all the players for moving headshots and allows each to pre-record messages to the crowd. For each tease, headshot, music video, open, and logo, the company must create four iterations: one for each team playing on Saturday night. After the winners emerge, the production team will spend all of Sunday customizing new teases and opens for Monday night’s championship game.
“The greatest challenge is getting all the material that we create done in time,” Becker says. “You can’t really create anything customized for the championship ahead of time, because you don’t know who’s in it until the end of Saturday night. So you spend all day Sunday creating elements for Monday. That’s the challenge.”
Welcome to Switzerland
Butler may be treating Lucas Oil Stadium as a home court, but BSN cannot be partisan.
“We had this situation last year with Michigan State,” Kalil says. “It’s has to be a level playing field for everybody. Our intention is not to give one team a home-field advantage.”
Adds Becker, “We are Switzerland. We stay neutral to everybody.”
Outside the Stadium
Elsewhere in the city of Indianapolis, BSN is providing plenty of video content to fans who will not step foot inside the stadium.
“At White River State Park, for The Big Dance concert, we have a high-definition production truck and video screen,” Kalil explains. “We’re doing everything from on-site projections of the concert and the activities at the park to feeding CBS a couple of the concert feeds. Also, with Coca-Cola, we’re doing a worldwide live stream of the event on Facebook and other outlets, so that’s quite complex.”
On-site at the three-day music festival is a high-definition mobile-production truck from Mansion Mobile, and all of the content produced will be in HD.
BSN will also support the video elements in the Bracket Town event in the convention center adjacent to the stadium, and all of the venues will share elements back and forth.
“Segments are primarily driven for the stadium, but there is a lot of integration,” Kalil explains. “Segments run at the park, in the stadium, and at Bracket Town. We have to make sure that the video pieces tie the city into one event. We use a multi-pronged approach to make the men’s Final Four one event.”