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MLB All-Star Roundup: Cutting-Edge Cameras, Sets, and More


MLB All-Star Roundup: Cutting-Edge Cameras, Sets, and More Tech highlights from a variety of vendors new and old By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 12:11 pm

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The MLB All-Star Game show is always a showcase for cutting-edge production tools and new workflows. This year, tech vendors new to All-Star and plenty of All-Star veterans turned out at Marlins Park in Miami with a host of specialty cameras, unique studio-set designs, virtual-graphics tools, and much more to serve the needs of Fox Sports, ESPN, MLB Network, and other broadcasters. Here is a brief look at some of the tech highlights at MLB All-Star 2015.

CLICK HERE for a deeper look at the truck vendors inside the compound.

C360's Hemispherical' 6K Video Gives Fox Fresh Perspective

After first using C360 Technologies' hemispherical camera system at Super Bowl LI, Fox Sports brought in two of the 6K cameras to cover the All-Star Game: one in the American League dugout on the first-base line and another up high behind home plate. The 5 -lb. camera features a single panomorph lens that captures 6K images and allows the production team to zoom into the frame up to 2X without affecting resolution.

The C360 API is integrated into an EVS replay server to not only enable playback but also allow the user to manipulate the clip to capture different parts of the frame after the fact. The user can dive into the image virtually with full pan/tilt/zoom capability and extract a flattened and normalized image for integration into the linear telecast.

C360 is hemispherical video in which we're actually able to control the PTZ digitally in real time or [in replay], said Joe Omko, co-founder/VP/COO, C360. You can move around in that space just like you would with a robo cam, but it's all digital, so you're never losing any of that image. You can actually go back in time using our interface with EVS and reframe a replay if you missed something outside the frame. You can go back and adjust to look at something else or push in further. You have the ability to recraft the replay in a much more dramatic fashion.

Fox deployed C360 within its linear telecast, but the system also has the capability to simultaneously deliver a VR experience.

At the same time this camera is creating live feeds and pushing to EVS, says Evan Wimer, co-founder/chairman/CEO, C360, we can push out a VR experience to OTT for consumption - with one camera is producing everything. In that scenario, you would get the first-person point of view in the dugout as if you're a player on the bench. And we integrated our API with Fox's array of about 40 microphones, and we muxed the game audio with Joe Buck. So you get the full [3D] audio experience.

CP Communications Takes Care of RF Audio, Video

The MLB All-Star festivities are always heavy on RF, and CP Communications was in Miami to handle it, providing a cavalcade of RF cameras, microphones, and more, as well as RF coordination for the entire event and 60,000 ft. of fiber for Fox, MLB Network, and MLBAM.

We had a very successful set of Home Run Derby and All-Star Game shows, says CP Communications President Michael Mason. There is no way we could have done them without the crew we had onsite and the prep and support we get from our teams in the shop. I would stack the CP crew and staff up against anyone else's.

CP provided three wireless cameras to Fox (one M VI and two-handhelds), three to ESPN (one Steadicam and two handhelds), and four for MLB Network (two handhelds and two POVs on the batting cages).

CP worked closely with MLB Network on converting the fiber cart that services its on-field set to Dante-based IP audio. CP provided Dante PL, Dante talent packs, and wireless mics, IFB, an PL, as well as Dante audio, PL, and IFB for MLBN's second set on the Marlins Park promenade.

[Account Executive/Systems Engineer] Brian Ready and our staff were integral in getting the Dante system going for [MLB Network], says Mason. We've done that for several events for them. and it's worked very well. It's really cool to be able to take a new technology like that and kind of push it out there.

In addition, MLBN used RF monitors, five high-power PLs, and RF mics for the players during Sunday's All-Star Futures Game. In addition, CP provided Riedel connectivity to MLBN headquarters in Secaucus, NJ,

CP also played a key role in Fox's comprehensive on-field audio coverage, providing 14 in-ground RF mics, as well as player mics for in-game interviews with Joe Buck and John Smoltz in the booth. In addition, it supplied microphones on the bases, RF reporter mics and IFBs, RF PLs, and a complete submix package, including a Calrec Brio audio console.

ESPN's Home Run Derby show featured four in-ground RF mics around home plate, courtesy of CP, as well as player mics, RF reporter mics and IFBs, and RF PLs. ESPN Radio deployed four CP wireless mics and three wireless IFBs.

A team of six CP RF coordinators covered three posted entrances and roamed around to all field and set positions and interview rooms to oversee RF frequency coordination. CP also rolled out high-power PLs servicing Fox, ESPN, MLBN, and MLBI - totaling 14 channels

Fletcher Supplies Sony HDC-4800's for Fox, Army of Robos for Media Day

Fletcher was once again on hand with an army of robos for three of the primary broadcasters, but the real headline for the specialty-camera provider was on the high-speed side. Fletcher provided Fox Sports with pair of Sony HDC-4800 cameras (at mid-first and mid-third) running at 16X slo-mo for its All Star Game coverage, marking the camera's second All-Star appearance.

One of two Sony HDC-4800 cameras deployed by Fox in 16X slo-mo mode for the MLB All-Star Game

We are very excited to have two S
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