NFL Combine Production Continues To Grow

Last week’s NFL Combine production for the NFL Network and NFL.com continued its expansion, treating fans to five days of coverage and giving them more information (and opinions) than ever on potential draft picks in the 2010 draft.

“It has become a big show,” says Craig Farrell, general manager of Alliance Productions, the company that has provided remote-production services for the combine during the past four years. “It’s as big as a regular-season game with us on-air for eight hours at a time.”

NCP 10, the truck that NFL Network uses for pre-season games, is on hand for production needs. Nine EVS instant-replay systems, 27 Thomson cameras, and five Vizrt graphics systems are at the center of the production, supported by a trailer housing five Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems and two office trailers, one with a Reality Check Studios Uppercut system and the other outfitted with the graphics systems.

“One of the big advantages of working with NCP 10 is, we can put the camera-control units in there,” says Farrell. That leads to cost savings because the Uppercut system, which handles the productions for NFL.com, can easily make use of those camera signals.

“The shows looked great,” says Reality Check Studios Senior Producer Jeff Heimbold. “We produced two channels with graphics, pulling the camera feeds into the Uppercut mobile-production flypack and using a custom interface designed with NFL.com.”

Two Inertia Unlimited high-speed camera systems were also on hand, grabbing material at 500 frames per second for the TV broadcasts and 1,000 frames per second for NFL marketing.

“Those systems were used a lot,” says Farrell. “The whole point of the Combine is analysis of each individual player, and the high-speed systems looked great.”

Wireless microphones also played a big part and were used quite frequently as viewers were able to hear advice from coaches who were miked and also via wireless parabolic microphones. NFL Network talent was also miked wirelessly so that they could walk on the field.

“It’s a big RF show,” says Farrell. “But it was great to hear the coaches before they ran the drills giving advice.”