CBS Brings Diverse Support Crew to PGA Championship

By Carolyn Braff While many of the world’s eyes will
turn towards Beijing this weekend, plenty of others will be fixed on
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the site of the PGA Championship,
this season’s final major. The tournament teed off Thursday at Oakland
Hills Country Club with support units from half a dozen mobile production
companies on hand to document the action for CBS.
“We’ve been here many times surveying
this golf course, so we pretty much know what to expect from the golf
course,” explains Lance Barrow, CBS coordinating producer of golf.
“Obviously our crew is very experienced in doing big events and major
tournaments, so we will know this golf course backwards and forwards
by the time we go on the air.”
The broadcast will use more than
30 cameras, including additional bunker cams to accentuate Oakland Hills’
exceptionally deep bunkers. The varying terrain of this course also
makes for a more complex production than some other PGA courses.
“The tenth green is like
the crashing waves of Bermuda, the way it twists all over,” says Nick
Faldo, lead golf analyst for CBS.
“The way this golf course is built,
the greens slope severely from back to front, front to back, and there
are a lot of bumps around the green,” Barrow says. “We have to be
patient in cutting back to a player like we normally do after a shot
lands. If we cut back too soon, by the time we get back to the ball,
it might be totally off the green or in a bunker, so we have to be a
little patient with that.”
CBS’ signature feature, Swingvision, shoots images at 1,000 frames per second and allows viewers to
see the intricacies of a swing, and ProTracer, which highlights the
flight and trajectory of a player’s shot, will again be featured in
this weekend’s golf broadcast, supported by a host of mobile production
units.
NMT HD12 A, B and C will provide the
main production support for the HD broadcast, while NCP 8 will add additional
coverage for the front nind holes and Corplex Iridium will provide extra
camera, tape machine and audio console support. Sure Shot Abbey Elizabeth
and NMT SBS 3 will also be on hand to support DirecTV’s Par 3 and
in-depth channels, a Turner mobile unit will support the follow of a
particular group during weekend coverage, NEP ESU will serve as the
distribution core and BSI’s RF truck will support CBS’ wireless
handhelds.
Why employ mobile unites from so many
different vendors?
“I like to use trucks on my big events
that are part of my round that I use during the rest of the year for
football, basketball, etc.,” explains John McCrae, CBS Sports director of field
operations. “It gives more vendors a piece of the bigger
action. Plus, I like to diversify in case there are issues. That’s
my philosophy in how I do trucks for everything, I like to have some
diversity.”
As for diversifying the audience for
this show, given the Olympic-sized competition, CBS is not expecting
to break any records.
“There is no other event on a Saturday
or a Sunday that’s going to get the same kind of ratings the Olympics
are going to get,” explains Sean McManus, president of CBS News and
Sports. “I think we can take a little bit of a hit in the ratings,
but we expect it and we’re not going to be surprised.”