SNY Gets Creative With Audio, Camera, and Talent Placement Around Citi Field

Since debuting in 2006, SNY has consistently pushed the envelope in technological innovation. With enhanced audio, an upgraded camera complement, and expanded pregame show for every primetime game, the network continues to do so.

On April 1, the New York Mets take the field for their season home opener. The broadcast will feature an expanded pre- and post-game show from a custom-built stage outside the entrance to Citi Field. SNY will feature a one-hour pregame show for every primetime game throughout the season, with Mets First Pitch Presented by Cadillac originating from SNY’s street-level midtown Manhattan studios.

“The extended pregame will feature a variety of elements, including more instructional segments; analysis from Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Bob Ojeda; more of Terry Collins’s pregame presser,” says Curt Gowdy Jr., SVP/executive producer, SNY. “We’re also going to have exclusive one-on-ones with our talent with Mets players, opposing players, managers, and GMs. We’ll be very interactive with social media. We will also be proactive with viewer-fan phone calls with our talent and certainly extend our player-profile features as well.”

Sounds of the Game
Enhanced audio will continue to be a hallmark of the SNY broadcast. In past seasons, the network has experimented with placing wireless microphones in the base paths and on players. This season, SNY is eyeing the outfield walls.

“We think we do a pretty good job as it is with our game sound effects and our in-game interviews when the players come out of the game, which is sort of a signature of SNY,” says Gowdy. “We’re also going to experiment with some more added microphones in different parts around the ballpark, especially in the outfield.”

Sound captured from microphones placed in the base paths or on outfield walls will be played back live, through a mix. Any sound captured from microphones worn by players and coaches must be played back on tape, due to league regulations.

Creative Camerawork
SNY will deploy a 14-camera complement for every broadcast, upgrading its eight game-coverage cameras to Sony 2500s. The complement also includes an Inertia Unlimited X-Mo v641 and Sony HDC-3300 super-slow-motion camera.

“Bill Webb, our director, likes to move [the X-Mo] around, and I welcome that,” says Gowdy. “It’s really best suited down low. We’ve had great success with it at low first and low third, down-the-line positions looking down the first-base line, looking down the third-base line. We’ve also used it in the outfield. We have found its greatest visual impact closer to home plate.”

SNY hopes to also enhance its RF handheld and blimp coverage. Rounding out the camera complement are four Fletcher robotic cameras, which SNY plans to test out behind home plate.

“We’ve had two custom-built boxes that have been built up against the wall behind home plate — in front of the wall, in front of the screen, very low on the ground on either side behind home plate — that give the viewer a really intimate look,” says Gowdy. “We’ll be using those a lot in our robotic coverage this year.”

SNY will incorporate SMT Visual Data Intelligence’s freeze cam, Sportvision pitch speeds and virtual signage, True Vision graphics, and ScorePAD’s MLB stats interface. Elias Sports Bureau provides thousands of game-day–ready graphics and research that interfaces with SNY’s Chyron HyperX3 graphics system, and Bloomberg Sports will provide additional analytical information.

In the Booth — Wherever It May Be
Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling return to the broadcast booth, accompanied by field reporter Kevin Burkhardt. However, Burkhardt won’t be the only on-air personality reporting from around Citi Field.

“When we bring Ron or Keith down into a lower angle like behind home plate or in the first-base camera well or in the third-base camera well, it gives them a different perspective of the game,” says Gowdy. “They’ve said it on the air: the game is much quicker, they have a different perspective, they have a different way of analyzing the game down low. We just think it brings another unique perspective to our game analysis.”

This season, SNY will continue to broadcast entire games from the Pepsi Porch, located in right field, and possibly expand to different locations.

Live From New York
In July, Citi Field will host the 2013 All-Star Game. SNY plans to work in conjunction with the New York Mets to support the game by promoting fan voting, hosting hall-of-famers in the broadcast booth, and covering the festivities through its news division in the days leading up to the game.

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