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Live From the Indy 500: NBC Sports Revs Its Engine in Inaugural Coverage


Live From the Indy 500: NBC Sports Revs Its Engine in Inaugural Coverage The broadcaster lauds the quality service, synergy, and partnership of IMS Productions By Kristian Hernandez, Assistant Editor

Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 9:00 am

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When Memorial Day Weekend rolls around in the U.S., racing fans know what time it is. At the world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 33 drivers will rev their engines and embark on a mechanical sprint towards history in the 103rd Indianapolis 500. This weekend also marks a massive milestone for the team at NBC Sports, who take over as the host broadcaster this year, bringing The Greatest Spectacle in Racing to homes across America for the very first time.

NBC Sports has taken over lead-broadcasting duties from ABC at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NBC is deploying an impressive arsenal of live video technology to give this year's race a truly elite on-air look. Much of it is made possible by working alongside the racetrack's experienced in-house operations unit, IMS Productions.

From the engineering and operational side, it has been a success working directly with IMS Productions, says Ken Goss, SVP, Remote Operations and Production Planning, NBC Sports Group. They've been great partners, and they did a terrific job [with helping us] converge all of our operations here. We're looking forward to our first Indy 500 and are happy to forge a strong, ongoing partnership with IMS Productions.

A whopping 80 cameras are scattered across the sprawling 560-acre campus, highlighted by a grouping of five Sony HDC-4300s at 6X super-slow motion. These high-speed cameras will be located on the cars' right side at Turns 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Out of the 21 specialty cameras being leveraged, BSI and Fletcher are providing fans unique perspectives on the day's competition. Through the help of an extensive line of POV cameras, NBC will have on-board cameras installed on more than a dozen cars in the field.

We're excited to have BSI here due to our success with them on [NASCAR broadcasts], said Goss. When you have a show of this size, it is better for all involved.


IMS Productions Waves a Checkered Flag at Racing's Greatest Spectacle

BSI Puts Fans in the Driver's Seat, on the Hood

NBC Sports Gears Up for Indy 500 Audio

Fletcher units will help illustrate scenes of the nuts, bolts, and tire jacks of pit row with overhead robos in the boxes of No. 20 Ed Carpenter, No. 21 Spencer Pigot, No. 25 Conor Daly, No. 24 Sage Karam, No. 5 James Hinchcliffe, and No. 12 and 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power.

Outside the track, a combination of six HDC-3500 and HDC-2400 handheld and HDC-P1 robotic cameras with RF wireless capabilities will allow reporters to conduct hits from famous areas like Gasoline Alley. Down the final stretch near the start/finish line, NBC's Inertia will allow high-speed footage of any close calls near the conclusion of the race.

A 180-degree fisheye cam will give views from the Pagoda.

NBC Sports will provide picturesque and stunning views not only from ground level but also from above that. The broadcaster is deploying cameras on both a blimp and a helicopter to provide aerial views of the track. An 85-ft. Strada camera system will also take to the skies with looks from inside the concerts in the Snake Pit. Lastly, a Technocrane will also be on hand.

All these cameras will be fitted with lenses that include 20X, 22X, 100X, wide-angle, and a special 180-degree fisheye from the famous Pagoda.

Decked Out Trucks: EVS, Grass Valley, and More in the Compound

Inside the operational nucleus, five trucks supplied by IMS Productions will house a fair number of the 200 total staffers onsite.

The main race will operate out of IMSP's HD-3 and HD-5 mobile production units. HD-3 is built around a Grass Valley Kayenne K Frame 5M/E switcher, while HD-5 features Grass Valley's Kayenne K Frame 8M/E switcher. The main race telecast will also have 103 iso record channels at its disposal and a full slate of replay equipment from EVS: four 12-channel servers with ChannelMAX and 10 eight-channel XT3 servers, two with SpotBox and two with IPDirector.

IMS [Productions'] engineers have done a great job integrating the five mobile units to service the race, as well as the pre- and post-race shows, said Craig Bernstein, Senior Director, Remote Technical Operations and Engineering, NBC Sports Group.

On the transmission end, NBC Sports is sending 14 discreet feeds out using fiber from AT&T. That's all being backed up by dual C-band and KU-band satellite uplinks owned by IMSP.

The Pit Stop Challenge entertained fans on Friday's Carb Day.

Meanwhile, NBC is loading up its NBC and NBCSN airwaves with wall-to-wall pre-race coverage. Working out of IMSP's HD-6, Tom Popple, VP, Studio Operations and Facilities, NBC Sports Group and his team are supporting a full menu of programming that will take fans from 9 a.m. ET to the start of the race at 12:45 p.m.

We have multiple sets with multiple talent, Popple points out. We're at the Pagoda Plaza, at the front of the grid, on the third floor of the Pagoda, and also at the host position. We're trying to capture the look and feel [of the race] and do something that hasn't been done.

Popple is joined on the production team by Mike Sheehan, Coordinating Director, NBC Sports Group, and a bunch of other professionals.

Mike Sheehan just wanted to get a good shot in front of the grid [that] will be our signature shot and will look spectacular, says Popple. Everyone across the board is excited to be here and to be able to work with IMS [Productions] on this collaboration.

NBC set up shop at The Brickyard near the beginning of last week with coverage of practice and qualifying on the digital front. T
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