NHL on NBC Takes Advantage of 4K for Full Slate of Skates
“To have a full season is amazing, and we worked hard with the NHL on a good schedule that will help grow the game,” says NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “The Wednesday Night Rivalry is the signature night for hockey, and it is growing in both ratings and attention.”
Helping expand those efforts for attention will be a new series of half-hour programs that will run before the games and give those who may be less familiar with the rivalry historical insights into why it matters.
“The documentary-style shows will break down why the rivalry is so intense and create a more exciting night of hockey,” adds Flood.
NBC Sports has already broadcast three NHL games during this opening week. A new production tool is the use of 4K cameras on selected games so that the production team can zero in and extract an HD-quality close-up of a key moment.
“It gives a better look at what is happening on the ice, and it’s a toy we liked a lot during the playoffs,” says Flood. “We’ll experiment a little bit with where it is placed, but the high–end-zone look allows us to push in and not lose any quality.”
Beyond the use of 4K on selected games, viewers can expect to see super-slow-motion cameras in use for all primary games.
Last year’s shortened season may have a sprint, but Flood sees this season as a marathon: participation of NHL players in the Sochi Olympics next February required the season to start two weeks early.
“There will be all kinds of challenges. The players will be moving across time zones to play in Russia, and there will be a human toll on the players as they go back and forth,” he says. “Some teams will have up to a dozen players in the Olympics, so it will be a fun storyline to see what happens [when they get back].”
Also adding a level of fun to the season will be six outdoor games, including two at Yankee Stadium, one in Vancouver, and even one at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. For a town better known for its swimming pools and beaches to host an outdoor hockey game may sound like an idea that could, literally, be all wet, but the game will be played at night so there will be no issues from the sun.
“All of those games are different,” Flood notes, “and the camera angles change dramatically, like the height the camera needs to be to see over the boards.”
With the NHL season skating along, the NBC Sports Network finds itself with two top-tier sports properties: the NHL and the Barclays Premier League, the latter dominating weekend mornings.
“Both are tent-pole properties,” he adds. “With shows like Premier League Match of the Day and Goal Zone and NHL Live and Overtime, we serve the audience so they get the best possible programming.