Live From the Stanley Cup Playoffs: Dome Productions Covers Compound and More at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place
After dropping the first two games in Pittsburgh, the Ottawa Senators returned home on Sunday and, with a Colin Greening backhand in double overtime, notched their first win of the second-round series. Toronto-based Dome Productions was there, more than ready to meet the challenge of covering the lone Canadian team left standing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
For Games 3 (on Sunday) and 4 (on Wednesday) at Scotiabank Place, located just outside Ottawa in Kanata, ON, Dome Productions deployed Trillium HD A and B units and a 15-person French-speaking crew from Montreal to support RDS, Canada’s French-language sports network.
Trillium HD, which hit the road in time for the Edmonton Oilers’ Stanley Cup run in 2006, measures 53 ft. and boasts a Grass Valley Kalypso switcher and Trinix HD video router, EVS XT2 replay servers, Calrec Alpha 5.1 audio console with Bluefin, and a Chyron Duet HyperX3.
As one of the few truck companies to still provide crewing, Dome also staffed the NBC Sports Network show and provided infrastructure support for the arena.
Canada’s Game, En Français
During the regular season, RDS broadcasts the Montreal Canadiens; after the team was eliminated in the first round, the network opted to continue following the Senators for French-speaking Canadian hockey fans.
“We cover almost all the games in the playoffs because we have RDS, RDS 2, [and] RDS Info. We present everything,” says Raymond Goyer, production manager, RDS. “We’re following this series [in Ottawa] with a truck and crew, but the other games — coming from San Jose, Chicago, etc. — [there is] no truck, no crew, nobody on-site. Everything is done at the station.”
Rather than deploy its own cameras for Games 3 and 4, RDS used the CBC home feed and supplemented that with four additional cameras. However, the RDS and CBC shows are far from identical.
“We don’t take a clean feed; we take all different cameras so we can cut our own show,” explains Sylvain LeClerc, technician and engineer, Dome Productions. “Basically, we have our own cameras for when the play-by-play or color [commentators want to] spotlight one player. The major cameras that follow the action are coming from the other trucks.”
After the Ottawa’s Game 3 victory, RDS and Trillium HD remained on-site until Game 4 on Wednesday, when the Penguins defeated the Senators to push the series to 3-1. Should the Senators win tonight and extend the series, both will be back to cover Game 6 on Sunday.
“We will know only on Friday night, maybe at 11 p.m., if we come back on Sunday,” says Goyer. “People are already on stand-by, [waiting for Dome to say,] ‘It’s a go. You’re going to Ottawa on Sunday.’”
NBC Sports Network in the Great White North
Though not the home broadcaster (north of the border, it’s CBC’s show), NBC Sports Network was on-site at Scotiabank Place with a 30-person crew staffed by NBC and Dome Productions. For Games 3 and 4, NBC Sports Network shared many of the CBC cameras in producing its own show; for Games 1 and 2 and again in Game 5, the roles are reversed.
“Everybody shares all sorts of facilities, as far as cameras are concerned,” says Shawn Taylor, technical producer, NBC Sports Network. “Each show will put out their own cameras, and then everybody will share basically whatever their truck allows them to bring in. For the most part, we’ll get up to 25 sources, [including] overheads, in-nets, and everything like that.
“CBC’s the main show here in Canada, and they flip-flop,” he continues. “When CBC or TSN goes to the States, then they become the secondary truck, and NBC becomes essentially the host truck.”
Throughout Round 2, NBC Sports Network is operating out of NEP’s NCP VIII A and B units. Unlike Trillium HD, which broadcasts only the Senators’ home games, NCP VIII travels between Pittsburgh and Ottawa. NCPVIII, a 53-ft. expando, features a Grass Valley Kalypso switcher, Calrec Alpha audio console with Bluefin, EVS XT2 replay servers, and Chyron Duet HyperX3.
Dome Lends a Hand Inside, Too
Within Scotiabank Place, Dome Productions had to run additional fiber in order to accommodate not only the specialty cameras but the sheer number of cameras.
“We’ve added some camera locations that are untraditional because there are so many camera requests,” says Jim Steel, VP, broadcast, Ottawa Senators. “The fact that we have three broadcasters here — CBC, NBC, and RDS — we have locations here that we never use during the regular season.”
At Scotiabank Place, the home-broadcast A and B units pull into the venue, while the remaining mobile units park just outside in the player parking lot. For Games 3 and 4, CBC Mobile Productions’ Encore A and B units occupied the prime indoor real estate, and Trillium HD and NCPVIII were located outdoors.
There isn’t much difference between parking inside the venue or outside in May, when the temperature on Wednesday reached the mid 70s with intermittent rain. However, as Taylor points out, “You want to be on the home show in January. It just takes longer for the trucks to warm up, so we have to plan for that: bring in trucks a few hours earlier so they can be ready.”