College Football Kickoff: Pac-12 Networks Bolsters Tech-Heavy Productions With At-Home Workflows, 4K
There’s some buzz that the Pac-12 could be the strongest college football conference in the country this year. Regardless of that fact, Pac-12 Networks is certainly poised to offer up one of the most technologically advanced seasons of college football productions in the industry.
Live game productions will feature everything from 4K replay, to super slow motion cameras, and advanced graphics packages, but where Pac-12 Networks truly separates itself in its conference-wide IP-based multipath network and at-home workflows.
On football Saturdays, Pac-12 Network is able to supplement its telecasts with quick ingest of highlights, advanced replays, and enhanced graphics utilizing LiberoVision and ChryonHego Paint which are housed and staffed at the network’s facility in San Francisco.
“In the beginning it was a cost-efficiency measure, but we have quickly realized that this is an enhancement tool across all levels of production,” says Leon Schweir, SVP, Production at Pac-12 Networks. “It will allow us to pull highlights as quick as we can for studio shows and our digital platforms. Conversely, as we are pulling those highlights in, we’re also here enhancing with full graphics packages for studio and pushing out to site. That to me is huge. Just a couple of years ago, if you wanted to see a breakdown of a play you need to wait a half at least, maybe even until the next game, to get a more detailed breakdown of a play. Now we feel we can get those turned around in 15 or 20 minutes as long as the producer gives us direction of what we’re looking for.”
Pac-12 Networks still deploys a full production truck and crew to each game site through its partnership with MIRA Mobile – which is owned by NEP Broadcasting. So the production compound is still very similar to one you would expect to see at a major college football game. However, select positions – such as the LiberoVision and ChryonHego Paint artists can stay in San Francisco and work multiple games simultaneously and can, thus, churn out more content at a more rapid pace.
Schweir also anticipates a much greater use of 4K for replay and zoom on game telecasts this season, utilizing Canon 4K cameras and Evertz Dreamcatcher replay machines. The network utilized 4K last season but was conservative in its use. Now, he feels viewers can expect much more.
“I [went] into last season with 4K thinking ‘well maybe this is ok,’ ‘maybe we’ll use it here’ or ‘maybe we’ll use it there,’ says Schweir. “After a year of lead production units working with it, they very much are comfortable with it, know what circumstances they want to use it. It’s one of those things where you are going to see much more use this year.”
The Pac-12 Network season kicks off Thursday night as Arizona State hosts UTSA (7 p.m. PT), followed by a Friday night telecast of Weber State at Oregon State (5 p.m. PT). Than football Saturdays begin in ernest with a four-game slate featuring Washington State, Cal, Oregon, and USC.
Attending IBC in Amsterdam? You can go deeper into Pac-12 Networks IP-production workflows as Leon Schweir will give a presentation at SVG Europe’s Sport Production Summit on September 10 at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky hotel in Amsterdam. Register now!