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Live from NBA All-Star: TNT Sports Puts 120 Cameras In Use Across Two Venues, Two Compounds

17/02/2024

Live from NBA All-Star: TNT Sports Puts 120 Cameras In Use Across Two Venues, Two Compounds By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 6:08 pm

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February has become the month of big-time sports productions and TNT Sports production of the NBA All-Star Game Weekend in Indianapolis continues the streak as more than 120 cameras will be used to capture the skills competitions, games, studio shows, concerts, practices, alternate broadcasts, and more.

We have 31 cameras over at Lucas Oil Stadium and then around 40 on hand at the Fieldhouse for the game on Sunday, says Chris Brown, WBD Sports, VP, Technology and Operations. And then when you add in the entertainment and studio show sides you get to around 117 cameras between both venues.

This year's event marks the first time since the event was held in New York in 2015 where the NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Saturday Night events were not located in the same building. This year Lucas Oil Stadium will be home to NBA All-Star Saturday Night and Gainbridge Fieldhouse will host the games on Friday and Sunday.

One of the biggest things is that it does take twice as many resources because each compound needs to be self-contained, says Brown. Even in a world where we have all of this technology to do remote productions and all those kinds of things, they don't really come into play like you might think.

The reason, says Brown, is the intense schedule of preparation involved for a weekend of shows that have grown deeper and more complex over the years.

Everything is driven by the schedule of events, he says. There's rehearsals and setup time and all these different things which are overlapping between both venues.

For example, it took a little longer to install an LED court at Lucas Oil Stadium than expected earlier this week. The good news was that by the time it was installed, on Tuesday morning, two full basketball courts were constructed next to it for practices and the trucks and production facilities in the compound were ready to get connected to the venue.

A little snow didn't slow down set-up efforts to get NEP's EN1 ready for NBA All-Star Weekend.

The Lucas Oil Stadium compound is centered around NEP's ND2 (A, B, C, and D) units which will do the All-Star Saturday Night broadcast while NEP Supershooter 6 will handle the studio show. NBA TV will rely on Lyon Video's 11 unit and then X/Twitter will produce content out of Live Media Group trucks. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the game will be played on Sunday night, will have NEP's EN1 (A, B, C, and E) at its core alongside Supershooter 5 which will handle the entertainment content, Lyon Video 14 which will be used by NBA TV, and then another Live Media Group truck for X/Twitter. Mobile TV Group is also on hand this weekend, with 46 Flex and 47 Flex both helping NBA Entertainment and the international feed. Mobile TV Group's Edge software-defined production system was also used for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's press conference.

Mobile TV Group's Edge system in use at NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's press conference.

Last year's big news at NBA All-Star was the use of NEP's TFC (Total Facility Control) IP networking platform. This is year two of TFC and Brown says that the team this year has had a chance to fully prepare for it.

That was a big change last year and we had the NEP TFC engineer and networking teams here, says Brown. This year they were able to put these trucks together much earlier so when the operators showed up, they could get to work.

TNT Sports is running two separate TFC networks and Brown says there were discussions about creating one large ring.

The breadth and scale of the rehearsals and practices and differences in the schedules made shared facilities and staff difficult, he says of the ultimate decision to have two rings.

A New Era: LED Courts

The NBA All-Star Weekend also enters a new era of technology as the NBA has replaced a traditional basketball court with a court from German company ASB GlassFloor. The giant LED screen has more than 24 million pixels and Brown says he thinks it will be a really cool addition.

It's something the NBA has been trying to execute for a long time, but they were just waiting for the right venue and the right timing, says Brown. They've been able to incorporate some player tracking, stats, and other interesting things and it's going to be interesting to see how the fans react to it. From what I saw yesterday, it feels like the NBA really did a good job of programming the floor.

The impact the LED court has had on operations and engineering is minimal as all of the elements were created by, and will be played back by, the NBA's team via a media server.

We had our video shader team run through all the different looks so they could see what would be on the court and then make adjustments to the cameras and then on Sunday will we be back with our regular AR elements [at the Fieldhouse] like the shot clock from Brand Brigade, says Brown. I do want to give a shout out to Dan Nabors, WBD Sports, senior director of remote engineering & operations, and Lee Estroff, WBD Sports, senios director of strategic production planning, for overseeing that side of things which will be done remotely from Atlanta.

Estroff also oversaw another intriguing addition to the production: a MindFly POV body camera that will be worn by a referee and, last night, and again on Sunday.

They've worked really hard for the past couple of years to get the camera to where we needed it and also that would get league approval, says Brown. Estroff really helped usher it through the NBA and we're pretty excited to use it for both Friday and Sunday night. Set-up is quick, d
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/02/17/live-from-nba-all-star-tnt-spor...
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