TNDV Deploys Innovative Production Technologies for Long Drive Championship

Mobile production specialist TNDV recently teamed with sports TV production company Ohlmeyer Kusserow Group (OKG) to shoot the upcoming annual RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships golf special in HD, employing an array of innovative production technologies to intensify the viewing experience.

The program, which debuts December 23 at 2:30pm on ESPN, highlights the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship that takes place following a months-long series of competing rounds.  The championship event brings together professional and amateur golfers with rare abilities to drive balls over incredible distances often approaching and sometimes surpassing 400 yards.

TNDV drove its 40-foot expanding side mobile production truck, Aspiration, to the shoot location in Mesquite, NV, a well-known golf destination.   Nic Dugger, president and owner of TNDV, said that he and his crew were given a rare opportunity to demonstrate new technology in action to specifically capture unique athletic skills.

“These were individuals competing against each other with one specific skillset, so we used a special slo-mo camera to clearly capture dramatic shots and up-close reactions at 1000 frames per second, with instantaneous live replay of super slo-mo footage,” said Dugger. “This allowed us to capture and analyze the swing technique and style of each golfer in a much more intensive method than what is possible with traditional 30 frame-per-second camera technology.”

OKG engaged TNDV specifically for its ability to understand and successfully deploy cutting-edge equipment, which included Protracer software to track the long drives; and super slo-mo X-MO V641 cameras with built-in replay capability from Inertia Unlimited.  TNDV integrated the technologies into its traditional multi-camera production system to deliver a uniquely intimate experience that will enhance the way viewers follow the action on screen.

“TNDV worked tirelessly to make sure everything went as planned,” said Lou Kusserow, president of production and partner OKG.  “They successfully integrated Protracer technology to trace golf ball flight paths and measure distances.  They also worked with us to position POV cameras to capture unique angle and a crane for one of the cameras in the hitting grid.  They did a great job.”

Dugger added that the Protracer software, used in combination with an ESPN Innovations robotic camera, provided the graphical representation with a red line that followed each hook, slice and straight ball path.  The robotic camera uses a smaller camera head with an ability to move left to right on a dolly track, with independent tilt and pan from remote locations.  This allowed TNDV to easily track golfer movements.

“You get a very slick looking shot when combining the Protracer software with that robotic camera,” said Dugger.  “Between this technology, the super slo-mo components and our own handhelds, jibs and long lenses, we captured these competitors from almost every angle, and their approaches to striking the golf ball to achieve these tremendous distances.”

Staff monitors feeds on the truck using a Harris SX pro Hybrid multiviewer.

TNDV also utilized its full infrastructure capabilities, including Harris routers and multiviewers for video; and Studio Tech talent boxes with Sennheiser headset microphones for audio commentary.  TNDV audio engineer Adam Ellis also deployed seven AT8035 shotgun microphones for the effects mix, which he calls “the most important part of the audio program.”

Kusserow added that his team also recently worked with TNDV on the Powershares Tennis Series, where TNDV was tasked with routing several mobile production trucks to various cities over the course of seven weeks.

“That event is unique in that it is truly like a rock concert tour, with same day set-up and shoots for each new venue,” said Kusserow.  “TNDV does a great job in making sure they get their trucks to each site on time.”