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NEP Sets Its Sights on Centralized-Production Model With New Production Centers in L.A., NYC

07/12/2021

NEP Sets Its Sights on Centralized-Production Model With New Production Centers in L.A., NYC The company envisions a globally connected ecosystem By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 11:45 am

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As the demand for centralized-production solutions continues to increase at a breakneck pace, NEP is looking to serve the growing trend with the launch of production centers in Los Angeles and New York City. In addition, the production-services giant plans to launch a Dallas-based data center in 2022, providing a backbone network for production centers and remote operator facilities in the U.S.

The company already has centralized-production centers in Europe and Asia-Pacific (as well as at the recently acquired Vista Worldlink Production Center in Miami), and the new facilities will supplement NEP's large fleet of production trucks and portfolio of production services in North America.

Each of NEP's new centralized-production facilities is equipped with two production-control rooms.

Centralized production is a trend that we've seen growing in the industry globally - both for our company and overall, says Steve Grigely, SVP, centralized production, Global Operations, NEP Group. We are clear leaders in [centralized production] globally, so we're already seeing the benefits pay off for our customers and just how much it can grow. From a big-picture standpoint, that's why we're excited about getting started here in the U.S.

Eye on the Future: Centralized-Production Ecosystem NEP Production Center-Los Angeles and NEP Production Center-New York are flexible and scalable facilities providing clients with technology and workflow options for live sports and entertainment productions.

NEP believes production centers in the two largest productions hubs in the country - Los Angeles and New York - will enable clients to increase utilization of their top talent and crews. In addition to enhancing productions with top talent behind and in front of the camera, the centralized production facilities offer the potential for saving on travel and expenses and supports teams with a higher quality of life by keeping them close to home. Having centralized facilities also provides a more sustainable solution by limiting the production's carbon footprint.

The NYC and L.A. facilities emulate NEP's existing centralized-production centers Europe and Asia-Pacific.

We've seen this wave [of centralized production] coming for a while in the U.S., and the pandemic only accelerated things, says Howard Rosenthal, president, US Broadcast Services, NEP Group. But the pandemic pushed a lot of people to come up with quick, one-off solutions, [such as] truck-to-cloud solutions for remote operators or remote commentary positions from home. But no one in the U.S. has created a complete ecosystem for centralized production. We see this as the platform that can offer that full ecosystem.

NEP Production Center-Los Angeles and NEP Production Center-New York are already providing solutions to clients, including for alternative broadcasts of NFL games by a major streaming service. According to Grigely, NEP expects to open the Dallas data center by second quarter 2022. These facilities join NEP's Vista Worldlink production center in Miami and facilities in London; Oslo; Zurich; Hilversum, Netherlands; Singapore; Sydney; and Melbourne.

NEP Production Center-Los Angeles features a pair of green-screen insert stages.

Once we build out the production-centers-to-a-data center platform, says Rosenthal, it opens up so many different possibilities where we are truly able to accommodate any possible client [request]. We can offer any number of models, including truck to our production center, truck to their production center, remote commentator at home to a truck, remote commentator to a broadcast center - really anything you can imagine. Once we have the platform built out, it doesn't matter what a client wants to do, we'll be able to accommodate it.

Inside the Facilities: Top-Tier Gear on Each Coast The Los Angeles and New York locations are essentially identical, except for their footprints: L.A. is roughly 13,000 sq. ft.; New York, 3,500 sq. ft. Each is equipped with two production-control rooms with corresponding audio and replay rooms, two flex spaces, a remote-commentary space, and dressing rooms and green rooms for talent. The L.A. facility also has two green-screen insert stages for shooting studio content.

NEP Production Center-Los Angeles is located in the company's existing facility in Van Nuys, which also houses its Bexel equipment-rental business and AVS (Aerial Video Systems). Because of the pandemic, NEP has shifted a sizable segment of its workforce to work from home, opening up space at the Van Nuys facility for the new centralized-production center. The New York facility, meanwhile, is located in NEP's existing Manhattan location.

The L.A. and NYC facilities have been outfitted with top-of-the-line broadcast equipment, including Grass Valley K-Frame switchers.

Both facilities have been outfitted with top-of-the-line broadcast equipment, including Grass Valley K-Frame switchers, EVS XT-VIA production servers, and Calrec audio consoles.

We are building these for tier-one sports broadcasts at the very highest level, says Rosenthal, so we want to ensure they have the highest-quality [equipment]. This allows us to use more of a utilization model as opposed to just building a truck and signing a multi-year contract [to amortize the investment].

When that truck is driving down the road, those EVSs and that switcher are not available, he continues. But now, when a college basketball game ends at 2:00 on a Saturday, that gear can be repurposed for another show at 3:00. The more you ut
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