Live From Daytona 500: Game Creek Video Provides Total Structural Backbone in the Compound
The team traveled 250 miles north from Super Bowl LIV in Miami
So far, February has been marked by major sports events. Fox Sports has been at the center of each production, but right next to it has been Game Creek Video. Besides servicing the needs of the broadcaster’s first Super Bowl since 2017 and helping it relaunch the new XFL, Game Creek is helping Fox Sports through Turn 3 with five onsite mobile units during the 62nd running of the Daytona 500.
“Our normal week-to-week is four, but, for the Daytona 500, we have five trucks here this year,” says Alex Harmon, senior EIC, Game Creek Video. “We’re pretty much responsible for [the equipment] that you see around here.”
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The Fab Five: Game Creek Mobile Units Lead the Way in the Compound
Game Creek Video has five from its massive fleet of trucks in Daytona: Cleatus (A and B units), Robo 1, Edit 1, and GCU Edit 2.
Cleatus A is housing Fox Sports’ pre-race and broadcast teams. For this behemoth of a production, the broadcaster is counting on Game Creek Video to supply the big guns for the 200-lap race. Inside Cleatus A will be multiple Sony CCU units for the 20 HDC-4300’s and two HDC-4800’s and 18 EVS servers with 112 channels of record and 38 channels of playback. The truck is based on a 192×96 Grass Valley K-Frame production system, and audio production is via Calrec Apollo, Artemis, and Brio audio consoles, all on the shared Hydra network.
Cleatus B offers additional firepower. For specialty cameras, Robo 1 is the production nucleus for all 16 Sony HDC-P1 robos. Edit 1 is being used not for onsite editing but for audio captured during the race. The majority of the editing is done at the Fox Sports facility in Charlotte, NC, but Edit 2’s three editing systems begin the process.
Overall, Game Creek’s trucks are a major component of Fox Sports’ connected compound. As the bedrock of productions, the five trucks make up a major cog of the machine.
“[Cleatus A] can supply all of their feeds to [NEP’s] SRT 2, which is the NASCAR truck with shared resources inside,” says Harmon. “We also feed to BSI and SMT’s trucks that are next door as well. Everything for the broadcast comes through us and to every other truck in the compound.”
In terms of staffing, Harmon has been joined by up to 11 other individuals from Game Creek Video, but as the broadcast draws closer, the number has dwindled down to eight.
The Logistical Gap: Transitioning Between Two of Sports’ Treasured Events
Game Creek’s Cleatus is logging mile after mile on the road. From Super Bowl LIV in Miami to NASCAR’s Super Bowl in Daytona, Harmon and his crew needed to act fast to get to Daytona in ample time.
“[My crew] drove up Monday after the Super Bowl,” he says. “Then, we started getting to work on Tuesday morning.”
To effect this quick turnaround, the team needed a plan that came together before the start of 2020.
“Planning started in December with our logistics team up in Hudson, NH [where Game Creek is based],” says Harmon. “We tried to lay out as much gear in December that we knew we would need in Daytona because we lost three days that we would normally have to prep before the [Fox Sports] crew gets here.”
On the Road Again: Game Creek Preps for Vegas, Rest of NASCAR Season
The Daytona 500 is only the start of the marathon known as the NASCAR season. After Sunday’s festivities conclude, Cleatus will head toward Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400. After that, the truck will transform into Peacock One for the second half of the year on NBC Sports, which begins at Chicagoland Speedway on June 21. Before then, though, Game Creek Video is supporting Fox Sports’ efforts on one of the biggest races on the calendar.
“This is NASCAR’s Super Bowl,” Harmon says. “And Fox treats it that way.”