Thursday, November 22, 2007

Many Thankful They Can't See This Turkey

Thanksgiving is usually a favorite holiday because many of us get to avoid the aggravation of a few days spent with aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws by working out of town (and getting paid time and a half for it too!)

Thanksgiving 2007 is also notable because it marks the return to the NFL stage by one it’s most accomplished network directors, Craig Janoff. (Yes we know he directed some preseason games. The games don’t count, so the shows don’t count either, okay? Go ahead, sue us.) Janoff’s final season directing MNF was 1999, which included ABC’s coverage of Super Bowl XXXIV (34), coincidentally played at the site of tonight’s game: Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

Janoff and producer Mark Loomis head NFL Network’s 2007 slate of games, beginning with tonight’s (ahem) turkey, Indy @ Atlanta. Feel free to insert your own Michael Vick “dog of a game” joke here if you must.

Loomis returns for NFL Net’s second season of live game coverage while Janoff replaces John Gonzales, whose contract wasn’t renewed. (To add insult to injury, Gonzo then had to endure Notre Dame’s disastrous season, directing for NBC. Poor guy.)

And because it’s illegal to have a pro football package without him, Ya-Man is there too.

As you probably know, NFL Network isn’t seen my many people without DirecTV, Dish Network or some other provider that isn’t Comcast or Time Warner. And though the NFL continues to try to force their way onto the basic cable tier through lawsuits and - most recently - pleas to congress (your tax dollars at work!), their flagship broadcasts are only available to a small percentage of fans when compared to games carried by Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN.

So, if you wondered if their coverage would mirror their audience (you know, scaled back), we have some of the tech specs of what will be used this season:

27 cameras plus clocks (via Game Creek Yankee Clipper)
13 HD hard cams (2 carts)
1 HD Super Mo hard cam
5 HD hand held cams (1 RF)
2 HD Super Mo hand held cams (1 RF)
2 HD LPS cams
Cable Cam
3 100X lenses
3 86X lenses
8 75X lenses
2 Six (6) channel EVS systems
6 Four (4) channel EVS systems
3 Super Mo EVS systems
1 Final Cut Pro Editing Suite
And a plane-cam to show what the Georgia Dome looks like at night. Live!

NFL Network is also rolling out a “new” digital still cam technology that is said to provide clearer images than those featured in other broadcasts (USA Today). Basically, they have a photographer sending high res jpegs back to the truck. It sounds like something already used on NBA games, no?

SportVision tells us they will have a new wrinkle for scoring drives that could be pretty cool.

There’s also a two hour pre and one hour post game show (via NCP 10) with ten cameras including a steadicam and a jib.

As far as audio specs go, we’re pretty sure there will be lots of mics around the Georgia Dome. There’s an A-1 and a sub mixer, plus a lot of A-2’s all busy loading up on OT as this is being written. We left messages and waited by our phones, but now it’s late and we’ve got an early call, ya know?

NFL Network’s game broadcast will have more than 120 people working in Atlanta (and on each of their eight games), which ranks them up there with NBC’s and ESPN’s prime time game crews. Their pre and post shows employ dozens more. That’s a pretty good effort when you consider how many people can’t see tonight’s game in the first place. Subtract the people tuning in but asleep from the effects of tryptophan (turkeys) or from other decapitated Thanksgiving-day fowl (Falcons), and it’s possible that NFL Network has more people working this game than they’ll have watching it.

Doesn’t matter. Janoff will have the crew all fired up like it’s another Super Bowl.


Skeeter said...

I wonder if he will stand up for the whole show. just like old times for you guys. eh?

Anonymous said...

It was like going back in a time machine! If only I looked 10 years younger.