New Mira Mobile Trucks Support CSN Bay Area’s Expanded HD Coverage of Giants

By Carolyn Braff

For the 2009 season, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s biggest innovation may never be appreciated by the casual fan. To support a significant increase in HD production this year, the network is using two new mobile-production trucks from Mira Mobile, one of which defines a new side-by-side experience for the visiting team.

“We have two new trucks on-site, and that is the major advancement we have this year,” says David Koppett, executive producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. “We have a new deal with Mira Mobile, which began in October. Up until now, we’ve been in an interim period while they were getting ready the new mobile units that we’re going to use for baseball.”

Now that the interim period is over, CSN Bay Area will move its home productions of San Francisco Giants games into Mira Mobile’s M-7 HD. The truck has been on the road since August, producing college football for ESPN, and is a state-of-the-art HD truck capable of 5.1 surround sound.

M-8 HD is a side-by-side unit that CSN Bay Area will use for dual feeds, but, when it comes to the visiting broadcaster’s experience, this truck is a significant step forward.

“We feel that truck is a real advance over anybody else’s dual-feed technology,” says Koppett.

Mira Mobile originally had single-unit dual-feed trucks, which required both side-by-side productions to work out of the same unit. NMT developed a side-by-side approach that allows the visiting production crew to operate in its own space, and Mira Mobile built the new M-8 HD truck according to that model.

“It’s basically a scaled-down truck that is still very dependent on the home truck,” Koppett says. “M-8 HD is a real truck. It’s capable of doing standalone HD shows, which we will use it to do sometimes. It still incorporates the design efficiencies that allow it to tie together well with the home truck, but it is much more capable and independent than anybody else’s dual-feed unit.”

M-8 HD is a 48-ft. expando, seven-camera HD truck with a full switcher and router.

“It is much more capable in terms of replay playback,” Koppett says. “We think our visitors are going to be very happy this year.”

Generally, M-7 HD will be CSN Bay Area’s home truck, and the visitors will occupy M-8 HD, but if necessary, for the rare dates when both the Giants and the A’s are at home, M-8 HD can drive over to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and produce the A’s game alone.

The new trucks will help support a significant increase in HD production on CSN Bay Area this season, as 75 Giants games will be shown in HD. Until this season, the Giants split time on CSN Bay Area with the Oakland A’s, so only one HD game could be shown at a time. With the launch of CSN California, the A’s new home, two full-time HD channels are now available, giving the network more places to put HD content.

“Our HD increase is a natural evolution as we’ve been raising our HD numbers every year,” Koppett says. “You try to get there in terms of both facilities and budget, and this year, we’re making significant progress.”

This season, virtually every Giants game will once again be produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, even if the game airs on a different network.

“Twenty-one of those games end up on NBC 11, but those games are both produced and syndicated by us,” Koppett explains. “We hold the rights, and secondarily, we produce the games for them. We’ve been producing every Giants telecast now for a number of years. Those guys are very accustomed to it.”

Also new for this year, CSN Bay Area will be providing Spanish-language play-by-play for all home games on the SAP channel.

Opening Day is less than a month away, and SVG is counting down to the first pitch with a look at the regional sports networks responsible for producing games for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. SVG is checking in with each RSN to detail the news and expectations leading up to the 2009 baseball season one conference at a time. For the complete SVG 30 In 30 Index, click here.