Pac-12 Networks Takes ‘At-Home’ Workflow on the Road for Conference Tourney

Since launching nearly two years ago, Pac-12 Networks has been innovative in its implementation and execution of “at-home” live video-production workflow.

For the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament raging into the semifinals tonight, P12N has deployed a similar file-sharing workflow at the site of the tournament, Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pac12NetAlthough the main game production will still feature an on-site mobile-production truck and crew, P12N will use a temporary data line installed by The Switch-HTN Sports Group to connect the arena in Vegas directly with the network’s home in San Francisco and then use its own technology to create the pathways that open up seamless exchange of data and video.

“This is the first time we’ve taken this to a regular venue that’s not on one of our campuses,” says Leon Schweir, SVP, production and operations, at Pac-12 Networks. “This is just the kind of internal network we have, and it mirrors the workflow that we have with our schools. It’s pretty neat.”

With fiber links to all of its member institutions, P12N produces many live events — especially Olympic sports — by using its San Francisco-based studios as a production center. Camera feeds come in directly from the site, and everything from cutting those cameras to overlaying graphics and more is done out of the control room as if it were a mobile unit on-site.

“Everyone talked about what was done on the Olympics, but those were still, in many ways, dedicated fiber lines,” says Schweir, adding that the network will back up the transmission workflow with DivX. “We’re doing data exchanges via these circuits.”

He notes that the workflow has not necessarily allowed the production team to keep more personnel at home in San Francisco but instead allows the team and the coverage to grow and enhance. Now more people are involved on the telecasts than ever.

When all is said and done, the Pac-12 Tournament will feature 11 games, and P12N will air eight of them; Fox Sports 1 has the other semifinal and Saturday’s Championship Game. P12N has deployed its top production team, 12 cameras (including a few robotics and super-slo-mos), and some RF audio and video tools. There are also plenty of added resources to capture game-environment shots for features and pre/postgame press conferences, which are also being fed live through The Switch pipe.