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Inside the MLB All-Star Compound: Game Creek, NEP, and Dome Hit High-Tech Homer in Miami

14/07/2017

Inside the MLB All-Star Compound: Game Creek, NEP, and Dome Hit High-Tech Homer in Miami The three truck vendors served up state-of-the-art facilities for MLBN, Fox, and ESPN, respectively By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 11:17 am

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This year's MLB All-Star compound at Miami's Marlins Park comprised the primary truck dock and three parking lots across NW 14th Ave.. To connect the satellite compounds with the ballpark's truck dock, Filmwerks erected massive ModTruss cable bridges running over the active street. In all, more than 15 production trucks were deployed to serve the needs of ESPN, Fox Sports, MLB Network and its world feed, NHK (in its own Sapphire mobile unit), and other broadcasters. Here's a look at the respective efforts of Game Creek (Fox and MLBN), NEP (ESPN), and Dome (MLBN World Feed) in Miami this week, as well as CAT Entertainment Services, which powered it all.

Game Creek Debuts Yogi

Game Creek Video rolled its brand-new Yogi mobile unit for its MLB All-Star Game debut. Yogi (A and B units), purpose-built for YES Network and Fox's All-Star and World Series productions, is a 4K-capable truck built around an IP router and replaces Game Creek's FX units as the home to Fox's All-Star Game production.

This year marked the debut of both Yogi as Fox's primary truck and Riley Helsen as the truck's engineering manager at MLB All-Star.

The biggest advantage with Yogi is the benefit of an IP routing core, which has allowed us to connect the pregame and other game trucks with Yogi more effectively, says Riley Helsen, engineering manager, Game Creek Video. We deployed a set of seven Evertz remote IP gateways at the pregame trucks that allows [seamless] video sharing between the game trucks and pregame trucks. That's reduced copper count, and it's also made it a lot easier to get [high-speed] bandwidth back and forth over fiber. It was a very quick setup, but it has allowed us to do a lot more.

Helsen also says Game Creek boosted Fox's Calrec Hydra2 network at All-Star this year. A total of five Hydra boxes were deployed: three at the mix positions, one each at the booth and the studio set. So that is an entire audio network is running on Hydra2.

Yogi's debut marks the end of an era, the FX trucks having served Fox at All-Star for 11 years. Fox will now use Yogi for both All-Star and the World Series (replacing Game Creek Victory for the latter), and the was able not only to get comfortable with Yogi in Miami but also to experiment with new technologies, such as the Sony HDC-4800.

This will be the first time we can start preparing at All-Star with the same truck that's actually going to do the World Series, says Bryan Rule, engineering director, Game Creek Video. Also high frame rate is really important this year with two 4800's and three [Sony HDC-4300's], and I expect that to continue for [MLB Postseason]. That's the beauty of the All-Star Game for Fox: they push some technological boundaries to see what will work at the World Series.

Next to Yogi in Fox's compound at Marlins Park sat Game Creek's Edit 2, which essentially served as a C unit for the production. Across NW 14th Ave. in the E3 lot, Game Creek Video's Maverick and B4 mobile units served Fox's onsite studio productions, including the pregame show and The Herd on Monday and Tuesday.

From the beginning, we tried to create as integrated a compound as possible and bring Yogi, Edit 2, Maverick, and B4 together as an interconnected four-unit system, Helsen explains. Logistically, that can be tough when there is 1,000 ft. of distance between your pregame and game trucks, but it has been really successful.

Game Creek Video's Riverhawk and Edit 3 trucks, which serve the weekly MLB Network Showcase package, were also on hand serving the league-owned network's All-Star Futures Game, Media Day, and pre/postgame-show productions. Game Creek Apollo was at American Airlines Arena for Tuesday's Red Carpet Show production.

NEP's EN1 Drives Multi-Pronged Production for ESPN

NEP's powerful EN1 mobile units returned to the MLB All-Star festivities for the fourth consecutive year, serving ESPN's needs for the Home Run Derby, Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter onsite pregame programming, and Monday's All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (live-to-tape), as well as ESPN Deportes' increased onsite presence.

NEP provided its EN1 five-truck fleet for the Home Run Derby and other ESPN productions in Miami.

The five-truck EN1 fleet, which serves as home to ESPN Monday Night Football each fall, was designed specifically for multifaceted productions like All-Star. This year, NEP maintained three dedicated control rooms: two in the A unit for the Home Run Derby and pre/postgame programming and another in the D unit for ESPN Deportes, which had Beisbol Esta Noche, and ESPN2's Naci n ESPN onsite.

We have seen a lot of growth over the last several years, and the Deportes portion was much bigger this year, says EN1 EIC Bruce Hogenboom. These trucks are designed to handle that, though. Every [feed] comes to the B unit, and then we're able to support all the different control rooms from here - almost as a fixed facility would. But, unlike with a fixed facility, at the end of the day, we can roll away.

Now in his 15th year working ESPN's MLB All-Star/Home Run Derby show, Hogenboom knows first-hand just much the production has grown over the years.

The biggest change has been all the other shows that have come out on the road that we are supporting now, he explains. It used to be that when Baseball Tonight or SportsCenter came out, they would be in a completely separate truck, and there was very little interaction between [the Derby
LINK: http://www.sportsvideo.org/2017/07/14/inside-the-mlb-all-star-compound...
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