NESN Turns to Game Creek Video, EVS To Support New Super-Slo-Mo Cameras

With an eye toward increased super slow motion in its Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins coverage, NESN has added two Sony F55 cameras to Game Creek Video’s 94 HD production unit and enhanced its EVS complement to support the 6X super-slo-mo technology.

Beginning a little over a month and a half ago, Game Creek upgraded one of 94’s existing EVS six-channel XT3 servers to a 12-channel configuration with 10GigE connectivity.

One of NESN’s Sony F55 super-slo-mo-cameras in a high-center position at Fenway Park

One of NESN’s Sony F55 super-slo-mo-cameras in a high-center position at Fenway Park

“In partnership with Game Creek Video, we are committed to ongoing improvements to our state-of-the-art mobile unit for Red Sox and Bruins games so that our broadcasts are always using the latest innovations and industry technologies,” says Joseph Maar, VP, programming and production/executive producer, NESN. “This upgrade, adding two Sony 6X super-slo-mo cameras plus a 12-channel EVS to an already large production, will enhance every inning and period of our game broadcasts.”

94, which covers the Red Sox and Bruins for the Watertown, MA-based regional sports network, hit the road in late 2013 boasting a Grass Valley Kayenne switcher with K-Frame, Evertz EQX video router, and EVS XT3 replay servers. The truck now houses six EVS servers: the 12-channel XT3, two six-channel XT3s, two four-channel ROs, and one SpotBox.

After a day in the shop and a test at Fenway Park, 94 — with Sony F55s aboard — was ready to take on the remainder of the Red Sox schedule. NESN now deploys the cameras to low-third and high-center locations in Fenway Park in a hard-lens configuration with a large-lens adapter. The F55s, which replace two Sony HDC-2500s in the truck’s 12-camera complement, capture in 1080i and are configured for 6X super slow motion.

Two Sony F55 6X cameras have been integrated with NESN’s existing production infrastructure.

Two Sony F55 6X cameras have been integrated with NESN’s existing production infrastructure.

Game Creek was able to leverage the existing infrastructure when integrating the Sony F55s into the camera complement. “You just need the BPUs [baseband-processing units],” explains Game Creek Video Broadcast Engineer Pat Calhoun. “The BPU is the first stop with the fiber path before it actually gets to the CCU [camera-control unit], so, really, as long as the truck has all [HDC-2500] CCUs, you can have any of them be an F55 just by looping in the [Sony BPU-4000] first. We tried it in a couple of different camera positions at Fenway, and, whenever we change camera positions, all we have to do is change the fiber in the back of the CCU to hit the BPU first.”

The 10GigE connectivity will enable better file movement and allow the 12-channel XT3 to record both Sony F55s and be controlled by a single operator.

“Realistically, they wanted to try and operate all that from one user seat,” explains James Stellpflug, VP, product marketing, EVS Broadcast Equipment. “They didn’t want to add more people; they wanted to keep it down so a single person could manage that. … The XT3 server will record two of those cameras coming into it and then still give them two outputs.”

With the enhanced workflow, NESN will be able to share the high-frame-rate content, archive it for future use, or, most important, feed it into a playlist and get super-slo-mo replays on air as quickly as possible.

“One of the most common and compelling parts of a sports telecast are the instant replays,” says Maar. “This is an investment in an area of the broadcast seen frequently by fans.”