NBC Sports Team is leading the effort for on-site production
The final day of the Ryder Cup is underway and for NBC Sports the skies are clear, production plans have gone smoothly and the American team are putting in a performance that should energize golf fans across the country. And for Allison McAllister NBC Sports VP, Golf Operations, this comes on top of a great effort across the board with the PGA of America partnership and more cooperation than ever between NBC Sports, Sky Sports and European Tour Productions.
âThings are going well,â says McAllister. âIt’s great to be here because there is nothing like a Ryder Cup. The excitement is electric and it’s a very special event and it’s a fun thing to experience.
McAllister says that with more than 500 people at the site, safety is the number one priority as everyone on the compound and on the course has adopted the PGA of America and NBC EHS guidelines.
While the Ryder Cup matches only started on the morning of September 24, the Golf Channel was available all week, starting with coverage of the Ryder Cup captain’s press conference on the afternoon of September 24. Monday, September 20. started that night. “Live From” offered up to 50 hours of programming during the week and Marc Caputo, NBC Sports, Director, Remote Technical Operations, explains that the innovations include a FlyCam on the first tee which is shared with everyone in the enclosure. With all the excitement on the first start, it captures stunning photos of fans (sometimes sitting in the dark waiting for the first tee shot at 7am) and the unique energy and excitement that defines the Ryder Cup.
âWe have 16 cameras in total for ‘Live From’, including four Telemetrics cameras on set, a Televator Dolly which gives a jib appearance, which are controlled from a production control room in Stamford,â says Caputo. âWe also have three Robovision robotic cameras in the training areas and due to the team play we have two rover cameras. And then we also have two LiveUs.
The “Live From” show is cut from PCR8 in Stamford where there are two EVS reading rooms, two graphics and audio operators (TopTracer on the range is also controlled from Stamford). An NBC Newbert flypack is available for signal transmission to Stamford with 16 transmissions and nine return streams with Lumens providing 10 Gbs of fiber connectivity in the compound.
âThe only people we have here for ‘Live From’ are a few technicians, a coordinating producer and field producers,â adds Caputo.
This is the first Ryder Cup where NBC Sports and Sky Sports are part of the same family of companies. âLive Fromâ is a hybrid show where Sky produces segments from its studio on the 18the green than the air inside the American show “Live From” and vice versa.
âAt night, when the Sky set is not in use, we move the two ‘Live From’ rovers there and host our indoor segments from this studio,â Caputo explains.
NBC’s main production efforts are in ND7 while NEP Supershooter 8 and ND5 are on-site in a supporting role. BSI manages the RF systems for NBC, Sky and the whole world and Fletcher provides the robotics. There are many resource sharing opportunities with NBC Sports, SKY Sports and European Tour Productions. For example, the course coverage is managed by 63 cameras, including three super slow motion Inertia Xmo. The camera resources are transmitted to NEP ESU and made available to each of the entities on site.
In addition to the FlyCam, there is also a camera in an airplane, a live drone and a SteadiCam. Four miles of fiber in the compound and 57 miles across the course keep all facilities connected.
Over the years, TopTracer has grown into an important part of golf production, allowing home viewers to follow the flight of the ball. NBC has rolled it out widely for the Ryder Cup.
Hawkeye servers provide an additional level of redundancy to ensure that shots are not missed. Two operators work remotely from Oklahoma while a third operator is on site at Whistling Straits.
âTwo of them are working on the main show and one with the featured match,â he says.
Another technology used is Whoop. Some players wear the Whoop wristband which provides the heart rate. NBC drops a graph on the first tee that displays players’ heart rates in real time as they make their way to the tee, which is arguably one of the most thrilling tee shots in golf.
âIt’s amazing to have these metrics that Tommy Roy and his team are pushing and making that vision a reality,â said Ken Goss, NBC Sports, Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Operations and Production Planning.
Accurate display of wind speed and direction is also a big part of the show (processed by Sky Studios in the UK), as are the augmented reality graphics (processed from New Zealand) and an editor in Ireland is also working on the show.
The Ryder Cup capped an outstanding year of major golf event productions as NBC tackled not only the Ryder Cup, but the Players Championship, Open Championship and Olympic Games golf events as well.
“We run on adrenaline and big events like this help us,” says Kate Stefko, NBC Sports, Director of Golf Operations. âAnd this year, there has always been another big event to look forward to when you finish the Olympics, then we enter the Solheim Cup and now the Ryder Cup. So the excitement continues.
Goss credits a team that has tackled a year of golf production like no other “Our remote operations teams led by McAllister and Craig Bernstein, NBC Sports VP, Technical Operations and Remote Engineering have done an amazing job and I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished this year and our partnership with the PGA of America.
Goss says the NBC golf team has a great balance with McAllister creating a new team that includes Bridget Cugle, NBC Sports, Senior Manager, Remote Operations, and Kristen Moorby, NBC Sports, Production Manager.
âBridget and Kristen are two of the best at handling all of the logistics and then we have Marc overseeing all the technical aspects of everyone and as the new workflows change he’s at the forefront of thatâ , explains Goss. “And Keith Blachly our Senior Technical Director puts everything in place because NEP has done an exceptional job on this footprint. Mike Werteen, Global President of NEP Broadcast Services provided a leadership perspective while Bryn Shamey, Senior NEP Account Manager, collects all the ideas and paperwork for our facilities.