SVG Year in Review: April

The spring of 2012 flew out of the gate as April was packed full of everything from a Final Four in New Orleans to the fairways and greens of Augusta National to the tech-filled Vegas showfloor at NAB – and SVG was there to cover it all.

CBS Sports pulled out all the stops for its 31st consecutive Final Four, deploying a full arsenal of production tools at the Superdome in New Orleans, including robotic cameras on the near sideline at each free-throw line, two Ikegami HDL-50 cameras mounted to Ravensclaw Talon remote heads set up courtside, an on-site studio set between two student sections, and an Actioncam aerial camera system.

There was no shortage of technology vendors on hand in New Orleans: F&F Productions rolled out a sextet of production trucks, SMT provided the statistical data needed for CBS’s graphics bench, CP Communications deployed a variety of wireless and wired communications and production systems for CBS, and Bexel’s BBS1 mobile production truck served as the editing hub for CBS’s annual ‘One Shining Moment.’

Next, it was off to Augusta National Golf Club, where CBS Sports covered the first azalea-less Masters in recent memory (thanks to unseasonably warm weather in Georgia, the iconic flowers were absent this year). NEP rolled out a total of 27 trailers to Augusta for CBS and ESPN’s coverage. Masters Live returned to and, where fans were able to watch more than 90 hours of live coverage over alternative feeds. And golf fans had another chance to see one of America’s greatest sporting venues in epic 3D thanks to the efforts of ESPN 3D. The Cameron-Pace Group once again played a major role in the 3D production.

April also meant the first pitch of the MLB season. After going 16:9 for its 2011 postseason coverage, Turner Sports went all-in for 2012, presenting every MLB on TBS game in 16:9 HD widescreen and letterboxing for SD viewers. Fox Sports rolled out an expanded pregame show and added several primetime telecasts for its 17th season of Saturday Game of the Week. In addition to adding Terry Francona to the booth, ESPN added an RF handheld camera and a NAC Hi-Motion ultra-slow-motion camera to its Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. Several standalone RSNs around the country rolled out their plans for baseball, including NESN, Sportsnet, and SportsTime Ohio. And on the streaming side, MLBAM returned with its product after a very busy month of March driving the backend for March Madness and hundreds of other non-MLB events.

And, of course, there was the whirlwind of technology and aching feet that is the NAB Show in Las Vegas. SVG was out in full force, covering the showfloor and the press conference room. The SVG Live@NAB Blog provided all-encompassing coverage of nearly 200 booths at NAB. With the prodigious amount of broadcast technology news pouring out of Las Vegas, it was easy to get overwhelmed, so SVG provided a four-part overview of the show – Part One: Pre-NAB Weekend, Part Two: Opening Day, Part Three: The Show Rolls On, and Part Four: NAB Comes to a Close. For SVG Editorial Chief Ken Kerschbaumer’s enlightening reflections on the show, CLICK HERE. For a visual perspective of the show, check out SVG’s NAB Photo Galleries from the floor and compound.

April also marked the beginning of both the NHL and NBA postseasons.

The NHL dropped the puck on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as NBC Sports Group offered unprecedented exposure to the NHL’s postseason in the States and CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada fed Canadians up north what they love most: dramatic action on the ice.

As for the NBA Playoffs, ESPN was fortunate in that there L.A. production facility is just a stone’s throw away from the Staples Center, which proved to be a key venue during the playoffs with both the Lakers and Clippers advancing to the playoffs. Turner Sports, along with the leagues’ other broadcast partners, had to think on its feet with just a single day between the end of the regular season and tip off of the post season. Finally, NBA TV entered the playoff scenario for the first time, producing and televising several first-round matchups.

And don’t forget about the biggest day in sports that doesn’t actually happen on a field, court, or rink – the NFL Draft. NFL Network launched its revamped logo and updated graphics package during its annual coverage, while ESPN fibered up big time at Radio City Music Hall.

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