NBA Western Conference Finals wind down Turner’s coverage

Turner Sports this week will finish up its 2006 NBA coverage with the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns and for Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports Senior Vice President/Executive Producer, and the rest of the team the final push is a little less frenzied than the weeks leading up to it.

Our mindset is different doing one game every other as opposed to eight games in five days, he says. We get more time to prepare. And thankfully we have so many people on the production team who know the drill that we can spend time telling better stories.

Topping the list in this series? For Behnke it s ex-Dallas Maverick Steve Nash going up against his former team and Dirk Nowitzki. And good stories are important.

The pre-games are longer, from 35 minutes to an hour, and that gives us a chance to do things like two-way live interviews and 90-second mini interviews where the players talk about themselves and the match up, he says. They re personality pieces that give viewers reasons to care about the player.

Turner s three remote units, outfitted with Grass Valley Kalypso switchers that the production crew likes for its menuing and layout, handle the HD telecasts on the ground while a chopper sending back live HD images from the air rounds out the production.

One of the unique aspects of Turner s trucks is the use of NEC 40-inch LCD panels for the monitor wall. Thinner and lighter than traditional CRT monitors they not only open up about an extra foot of room in the truck but also give extra flexibility to handling signals.

A Miranda multiprocessing system is used to place up to 16 video signals on the screen at one time. In addition, the user can dynamically change the size and aspect ratio of the signals on the monitor.

New for this year s playoff coverage is the use of CableCam, the camera system that is located along the baseline of the court. It gives us a really unique angle and has added so much to the telecast that it s become a standard part of our coverage, says Behnke. Twenty cameras are used for coverage, including robotic cameras at the top of the backboards.

Our primary theme or internal goal is to cover the story and emotions on the floor, says Behnke. It sounds simplistic but our crews really grasp it and do a phenomenal job.

And like the teams on the court they need to adjust. We ll sit in our production meeting and figure out what changes we need to make to be ready for how the teams adjust, he says. We have to expect the unexpected so that when those things happen we can handle them in the proper way.