Turner’s Craig Barry: ‘Every piece of technology should extend the narrative’
It’s a blockbuster that CBS Sports and Turner Sports could only dream of.
At the 2022 Men’s Final Four, March Madness comes to an epic conclusion with a highly anticipated matchup of four of the greatest programs in sports history: Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Villanova.
To meet the demands of this highly anticipated showdown, CBS and Turner traveled to Caesars Superdome in New Orleans with 34 game production cameras, 18 studio cameras, multiple sets in and around the dome, and nearly 20 EVS servers. . It is an effort worthy of the occasion.
“Sport is all about games,” says Craig Barry, EVP/Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “It always has been, it always will be. It doesn’t always determine the drama of the event, but it certainly helps determine the dramatic impact of an event. Having Duke, UNC, Kansas and Villanova, that is going to be unprecedented.
A massive on-site presence is here from both CBS Sports and Turner Sports teams and together it looks a lot like 2019 as the broadcaster arrives with the operations and production punch the industry has been waiting for. of them over the years.
On the specialized camera front, Final Four staples like SkyCam Wildcat (the four-point wired overhead camera system), RailCam (which has a slow-motion camera for the first time this year), and a large Techno Jib (which is capable to display augmented reality graphics via the RACELOGIC and Pixotope solutions) are in the building. There are also nine Fletcher robots installed in various key positions across the dome.
New additions include a C360 camera mounted on a Fletcher robotic head below the video card suspended in the center of Caesars Superdome.
Turner and CBS are also expanding their real-time virtual graphics package. Broadcasters are continuing a decades-long relationship with graphics specialist SMT to introduce enhanced graphics to the pitch this year, such as the Virtual Shooting Zone and Virtual Player Cards that can be inserted onto the pitch in real-time via Camera technology. SMT tracker. .
There will be plenty of bells and whistles on these shows, but Barry is quick to warn that even though this is such a mouth-watering Final Four match it might be tempting to run the equivalent production to the kitchen sink, that’s where he, CBS Sports Executive Producer/EVP Harold Bryant and the main operations unit of Chris Brown, Jason Cohen, Michael Francois, Steve Leotta, Evelyn Jackson, Lee Estroff, Dan Naborsand Jen Vanderbilt you have to roll it up.
“Every piece of technology should extend the narrative,” says Barry. “Do we want to try technology that may or may not extend the narrative or would we rather drop four extra super-mo cameras, where we know we’re going to create a better experience and emotionally connect to the fan?”
“[Duke-North Carolina]Barry continues, “is, historically, one of the greatest matchups in Final Four history. Everyone is on deck to do this show justice and bring something truly special to the fans, without focusing on – and I’ll use that word loosely – on gadgets. We bring a robust show, where we tell the story of the games being played.
In addition to elite-level matchups, this Final Four is bolstered by the return of live fans, following the tournament’s cancellation in 2020 and a limited-attendance event in 2021. According to Bryant, this energy brings better visuals to the show but also goes a long way to spilling over to fuel the energy of the crew behind the scenes.
“The opportunity to have the energy back in the arena [has been fantastic],” says Bryant. “And it’s not just in the arena, it’s the energy in the studio, the energy in the truck, the energy in the control rooms. We really took advantage of that and incorporated it into the broadcast. We have to make sure we have the technology and the assets to exploit that. You can add technology, you can create scenarios, but [the atmosphere] was the one big differentiator for us that we thought was going to bring us back to standardization.
A big part of that standardization is interacting with the ventilator right there on the spot. This is done through the three full studio sets that are on hand here for pre-game, half-time and post-game programming, as well as studio programming surrounding the event all weekend. -end.
Turner and CBS have their standard position in the Superdome bowl immediately behind one of the student sections. They also have a studio just outside the Champions Square dome to soak up the atmosphere here as fans make their way through the game and another on Saint-Pierre Boulevard in the French Quarter.
Back in the compound, the main game show will be produced from Game Creek Video’s 79, while all studio programming will come from NEP Supershooter 32 and ST32. Super B supports compound transmission. Arctek also has three trucks providing satellite support; two for the main broadcast rights holder. Arctek Purple, a C-Band truck, supports transmission of studio broadcasts on TBS and Arctek Black (also C-Band) supports the CBS studio in St. Peter’s.
Turner Sports and CBS Sports coverage of the 2o22 NCAA Men’s Final Four takes place Saturday night on TBS. The University of Kansas takes on Villanova University at 6:09 p.m. ET. The University of North Carolina takes on Duke University on Saturday, April 2 at 8:49 p.m. ET on TBS. The national championship game airs Monday night on TBS.