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With Hot Start to College-Football Season, Fox Sports Brings Cutting-Edge Tech to Game, Studio Productions

17/09/2021

With Hot Start to College-Football Season, Fox Sports Brings Cutting-Edge Tech to Game, Studio Productions Fox increases 4K HDR games, boosts Big Noon Kickoff pregame show with Stradasaurus' camera By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Friday, September 17, 2021 - 3:01 pm

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Fox Sports' college-football season has certainly kicked off with a bang, delivering big-time matchups like Oregon's upset of Ohio State and Penn State's tight win over Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, Fox College Football has seen big ratings gains - all games 49%, Big Noon Football games 77%, and the Big Noon Kickoff pregame show 48% -through Week 2.

With more eyeballs on Fox's college-football coverage, the production-ops team has also brought its A game with a record number of 4K HDR broadcasts (upconverted from native 1080p HDR productions) and a one-of-a-kind onsite studio for Big Noon Kickoff. And the team couldn't be happier to be producing games with fans in the stands again after a monumentally challenging 2020 season.

The Big Noon Kickoff set in Columbus, OH, for the OSU-Oregon game. (Photo: Ohio State Athletics via Twitter)

It means everything to the crew, talent, and the fans to be back, says VP, Studio Remote Operations, Rod Conti. The excitement of a live college event cannot be matched. Of all live sporting events, I feel that college sports suffered the most in this pandemic. As the school pageantry - bands, spirit squads, student fan support, and loyalty - plays just as big a role as the sport itself does. It is hard to not have that excitement fuel all our onsite staff as well as the home audiences we serve.

Fox Sports Goes All-In on 4K HDR Beginning this Saturday on moving forward for the rest of the season, Fox will broadcast a doubleheader of college football in 4K HDR each weekend. This weekend, both Nebraska-Oklahoma and USC-Washington State will be produced in 1080p HDR and then upconverted to 4K at Fox's Pico Blvd. facility in L.A. It's nothing new for Fox Sports, which has already produced several games in 1080p HDR for 4K HDR distribution this year: Ohio State-Oregon, Texas A&M-Colorado, Stanford-USC, Penn State-Wisconsin, and Ohio State-Minnesota.

Game Creek Video's Gridiron A and B units serve as the home of Fox Sports' Big Noon Football game productions with Producer Chuck McDonald and Director Rich Dewey at the front bench. Meanwhile, Tech Producer Carlos Gonzalez and Ops Manager Karin Fasing keep the operation running smoothly onsite each week. Meanwhile, Big Noon Saturday broadcasters Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt are in the booth, while reporter Jenny Taft is on the sidelines.

https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX/status/1437146625143574528

While the bulk of the production is being handled in the truck this season, four EVS operators and the Fox Box scorebug are at The Vault in Los Angeles.

Integration with studio is more complex than in the past, says Gonzalez. We have to time each truck between game and pregame to have a seamless transition for the start of the game. So all sources need to be timed.

Big Noon Kickoff productions typically feature eight Sony HDC-5500 super-slo-mo cameras, an aerial, wired end-zone PylonCams, RF line-to-gain PylonCams, and, from time to time, Skycam and referee HatCams. In addition, Gonzalez hopes to have a Megalodon shallow-depth-of-field mirrorless camera for the Ohio State-Michigan and for the Big Ten Championship productions later this season, but he says nothing is confirmed yet.

https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX/status/1436744635334991878

It's an incredible feeling, says Gonzalez. First, to see the stadiums full of fans changed the whole environment. And, in some cases, to have been able to see a face and not a mask elevates the human factor that we all need for an onsite production.

Big Noon Kickoff Adds Stradasaurus to Big-Time Onsite Set In addition to beefing up its game productions, Fox Sports has put a major emphasis on its Big Noon Kickoff pregame show this season. After stops in Minneapolis; Madison, WI; and Columbus, OH, to start the season, the Big Noon Kickoff crew this Saturday heads to Norman, OK, where Oklahoma will host former Big 12 rival Nebraska.

Fox Sports upgraded its Big Noon Kickoff set, which is seen here on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman.

This year, Fox has updated the look of the Big Noon Kickoff onsite set and added new PA and LED designs in an effort to provide a better fan-facing experience for the raucous on-campus fans each week.

The studio camera setup for both inside and outside sets (depending on the location) features three jibs, two RF cams, one Steadicam, and a new modified StradaCrane that Conti refers to as the Stradasaurus.

This modified Stradacrane with an inverted motorized jib arm provides unprecedented 360-degree stabilized movement to the already impressively high reach of the Strada arm. Developed by Cine Rigs Inc. and Stradacrane, the Stradasaurus is making its debut with Fox's BNK shows.

Fox Sports added a new Stradosaurus camera system for Big Noon Kickoff productions this year.

Game Creek Justice serves as the home truck for Big Noon Kickoff this season. The single-trailer unit was recently upgraded with new equipment to provide flexibility at often space-restricted campuses.

The pregame show also deploys Fox Sports' PARK (Production Anywhere Remote Kit) to take in feeds from the Quantel system located at Fox Sports' Pico Blvd. broadcast center, as well as for prompter and remote interview integration.

Director, Studio Remote Operations, Rob Mikulicka keeps the show rolling week after week, says Conti. His hard-work ethic and commitment to his team and the sports he covers is unsurpassed, lending a great hand to its success. And our new technical team run by Greg Pf
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/09/17/with-hot-start-to-college-footb...
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