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NESN Keeps Its Eye on the 4K HDR Ball With Launch of New Studio

26/01/2021

NESN Keeps Its Eye on the 4K HDR Ball With Launch of New Studio The 4K HDR-ready studio launches ahead of 4K HDR Red Sox game productions in 2021 By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 1:46 pm

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When the Red Sox throw out the first pitch of their 2021 home opener, NESN will become the first regional sports network in the country to produce an entire season of home games in 4K HDR. In preparation for this technological leap, the New England-based RSN has launched a new 4K HDR-capable studio at its headquarters in Watertown, MA.

Anchors Tom Caron and Jahmai Webster in NESN's newly launched studio. (All photos by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)

In addition to wanting to upgrade the technology and overall look, the main impetus though for redoing the studio was the redesign of the network and launch of a new logo in October 2019 before the Bruins season, says Rick Booth, director of creative services, NESN. And the studio was really the only thing that remained that was a holdover from our previous logo and look. It was also eight years old and it felt a bit out of date because it didn't have the same look feel of our overall aesthetic that was launched with the new logo. So we felt the time was right.

Inside the Studio: A Flexible Setup to Go With a Modern Look The 360-degree customizable Studio A space was designed in partnership with brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide (JMW), which managed the project. NESN also tapped AV Design Services (AVDS) for technology, New York City Lights for lighting, and Propmasters for scenic fabrication and installation.

Anchors Tom Caron and Sophia Jurksztowicz host Bruins Face-Off Live.

The studio, which debuted on Jan. 14 during NESN's Bruins pre-game show Bruins Face-Off Live ahead of Bruins' season opener, includes six LED monitors, two of which are 20'x7' and 14'x7'and span the width of the space on opposite ends. On one end is a straight 1.56mm LED wall manufactured by DesignLED and used primarily for interviews. On the opposite end, a curved LED wall (also 1.56mm and manufactured by DesignLED) serves as the main anchor wall. The studio also features robotic cameras throughout and a manned jib.

We wanted to utilize technology as opposed to manpower in this new space, which is why there is so much LED, says Booth. In the past we've had a lot of hard set elements and props that we had to transition in and out of the space. We had a green monster wall for red sox and we had these Bruins lockers that had to be trucked in and out, which required manpower and time to transition. So we wanted to utilize this LED technology to replace that wherever possible.

Anchors Tom Caron and Jahmai Webster in front of the large curved LED board in NESN's studio.

Aesthetically, the new studio aims to blend technology with real-world materials like steel, brick, and wood to create a more sleek and modern environment with layered integrations of the NESN logo.

We're going for this feeling of a modern industrial loft, says Booth. We definitely wanted to use those natural elements and textures like steel, brick and wood, so we could keep it from feeling cold and sterile.

With studio shows for both the Bruins and Red Sox originating out of one studio, NESN was also looking to create a more flexible facility than it had previously. With the MLB and NHL seasons overlapping for longer than usual in 2020, NESN needed to ensure they could quickly transition between looks (NESN also uses its existing Studio B when Bruins and Sox conflict)

Flexibility and variety was a big thing that we were going for with this studio, says Booth. We wanted to be able to be able to transition between our Bruins and red Sox products and create a real custom look for both of our pro teams. We also needed more of a 360 degree environment so that it didn't just block us in to a few shots. We really wanted to take advantage of the entire space and be able to shoot a lot of angles and create a lot more depth.

Bruins Face-Off Live anchors Tom Caron and Sophia Jurksztowicz inside NESN's new Studio A

NESN VP of production and programming Rick Jaffe adds that the flexibility offered by the new studio's design will allow NESN to evolve positions and elements in its programming. For example, NESN is looking to use the area in front of the curved monitors as a live demo area at some point.

There are primary spots that we've set up for various show parts, but really nothing's tied down so it really allows us to move around, says Jaffe. The desk moves, the monitors slide along the trusses and rails, so we really have a lot of options that we can shoot.

And with sports betting legalization likely on the horizon in Massachusetts, NESN has added a sportsbook area consisting of two monitors that take in real-time data.

We were planning all of this with the anticipation of betting already being legal here because most people thought it would be at this point, says Jaffe. It didn't, but we know it's coming and we will be ready.

The Development: Navigating Challenges Amidst the Pandemic

NESN continues to keep talent distanced inside Studio A and crew is at least six feet apart throughout the Watertown facility.

NESN began the design and renovation plans on the 50'x50' space in early 2020 to set the network up for a fully re-designed studio in 2021. While the pandemic complicated the development process it also gave NESN a chance to utilize the space during the sports shutdown of 2020.

The pandemic gave us the opportunity - without pro product on the air - to be able to completely demo our existing space, says Booth. It gave us the time to evaluate what the installation and implementation of all the new technology woul
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/01/26/nesn-keeps-its-eye-on-the-4k-hd...
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