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D2 Productions

Genesis Featured on SportsVideoGroup.org

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D2 Productions’ General Partner, Dave Walzer, was recently interviewed for a write up on SportsVideoGroup.org to discuss our new mobile HD production unit, Genesis.

“We feel there is this middle market that is underserved. They can certainly web stream but if they are looking to do something that is suitable for broadcast, I think this truck will allow them to do that at a price point that has never really been possible for them before. We are enabling the market for smaller schools to enter the broadcast world…

There’s this movement to get every sporting event played online and each game doesn’t have to be a huge $40,000 production, but they do want it to look professional with replay and graphics. I think the equipment that we are putting into the truck enables that to happen for the first time…

A lot of the stuff in the truck is we are taking stock items and we’re either customizing them or augmenting them to optimize them for broadcast.  So with EX-3s we’re taking the stock camera but taking off the stock lens and putting on true sports lenses and longer lenses. We are customizing rear controls, view finders, the whole thing in order to make them user friendly for the sports world…

We’ve been doing sports television for twenty years, so we know what it takes and what a professional sports crew is accustomed to so we know to surround the infrastructure with the environment we know a pro crew is comfortable in.”

For the full write up, visit: Sports Video Group

D2’s Director of Photography, Mike Hennessey, presents “Interview Lighting 101”

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On February 22nd, D2’s very own Mike Hennessey presented a workshop entitled Interview Lighting 101 as part of Rule Boston Camera‘s Learning Lab Series.  In this presentation, Mike covers hard/soft light and color temp, the pros and cons of current lighting and grip equipment, quality of light, power consumption, heat, versatility of instruments, plus tools on how to shape light with flags and black wrap.  Additionally, Mike takes a very detailed look at three point lighting – proper placement of key, fill, and back lights and customizing them for different subjects based on their coloring and hair style. Mike delves into lighting with popular backgrounds (black, white, grey, green screen, muslin) and how best to choose and light a background in an existing space.

Due to high demand, an overflow room needed to be setup to accommodate everyone.

Due to high demand, an overflow room needed to be setup to accommodate everyone. 

 

Mike, surrounded by gear, goes over a variety of different grip options.

Mike, surrounded by gear, goes over a variety of different grip options.

 

Check out the full presentation here:

 

D2 Announces New HD Mobile Production Unit

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BIG NEWS!! D2 Productions is very excited to announce our new HD MOBILE PRODUCTION UNIT! The 24′ unit will include state-of-the-art features like:

– Newtek Tricaster 850 Extreme switcher
– Newtek NEW 3Play 425 replay system
– Sony EX-3 cameras w/ Telecast Copperhead fiber chains
– Soundcraft 32-channel board w/ full sports broadcast audio complement
– full broadcast graphics

Designed for small live sports production, this powerful production unit will also be great for live concerts, corporate webcasts, and many other applications. Launching March 2012. Check back here for updates during the construction process!

D2 Breaks New Ground in Sports Production

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On the weekend of May 13-15, 2011, D2 Productions teamed up with longtime partner Kitay Productions to produce cutting-edge experimental coverage of college baseball for Conference USA.  Our mission: to produce network-level HD sports coverage within a budget roughly one-third to one-half that of comparable broadcasts.  We headed to Rice University in Houston for a weekend series against Memphis.  We built the production system on Friday, and then produced games on Saturday and Sunday which aired on CBS Sports Network.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we did it.

Control-Room-from-Front

Rather than hire a conventional HD production truck, we built an entire production system onsite from the ground up.  The heart of the system was a suite of products from Newtek: the TriCaster TCXD850 HD switcher, the 3Play replay system, and LiveText graphics.  For cameras, we used four Sony PMW-EX3’s.  We also built a full audio system based around the Mackie Onyx 1640i 16-channel mixer, with standard announcer headsets and effects mics.  Rental gear was supplied and shipped in from six different companies around the country.

2-TriCaster

Here’s the TriCaster TCXD850 switcher with the main interface monitor and new “CS” control surface.  This control surface emulates the usability of professional switcher control panels, and is really what enables a TD to be able to switch the fast-paced action of live sports with the TriCaster.

2a-Cabling-behind-Front-Bench

Here’s a look at the cabling we installed behind the “front bench,” which includes the TD, director, and producer stations.

2b-Wires-behind-TriCaster

This is a close-up look at some of the wires going into the TriCaster.  We used seven of the available eight external SDI inputs on the TriCaster.  This included four cameras; one channel from the 3Play; and the scorebox bug, which used two inputs, one for video fill and one for the key channel.

3-Steve-and-3Play

Steve Shaw operated the 3Play, Newtek’s replay system.  The 3Play is a 3-in system, meaning it can record 3 different camera feeds simultaneously.  It is capable of running in either 1-out or 3-out mode; we ran it in 1-out mode because we didn’t have enough available switcher inputs to support all 3 channels.

4-Rene-and-LiveText

Graphics operator Rene Ray running LiveText, Newtek’s graphics system.  While the TriCaster has an internal version of LiveText, in a sports producton environment a standalone graphics machine and operator is required.  In this situation, the LiveText software is installed and run on a standard Windows laptop.  The LiveText machine supplies its graphics to the TriCaster via a gigabit-ethernet network connection.

5-Audio-and-Bug

We put the audio position and the scorebox bug at the back of the control room.  Here’s the Mackie Onyx board and a standard CBS Sports Network scorebox bug.

5a-Camera-Ops-and-Long-Lens

We used four Sony PMW-EX3 high-definition cameras and put 40x lenses on two of them.  Here are the local camera operators mounting a long lens on one of the cameras …

5b-Cam-3

… and here’s Camera 3 in position at high first.  The homemade viewfinder shade makes it easier for the camera operator to see the viewfinder in sunny conditions.  We were able to use HD-grade coax cable to connect three of the cameras to the control room.  Because coax can’t deliver HD-SDI over the 1000′ distance from the center-field camera position, we used a fiber line for that camera.

6-Bill-at-Director-Station

Audio operator Bill Williams configures the intercom at the director station.  We used an eight-channel ClearCom system, including four wireless stations.

7-Bill-Rick-Deb

Bill Williams, EIC Rick Buffolano, and A2 Deb Partin working on the intercom system in the announce booth.

8-Joel-and-Announcers

Producer Joel Kitay (center) meets with play-by-play announcer David Saltzman (left) and analyst David Brady (right) in the announce booth.

 

9-Adam
Director Adam Hinsdale checking out camera shots on his multiview monitor.  In addition to the main interface monitor, the TriCaster has a separate multiview monitor with several different view configurations.

9a-Speaker-Stands

When you’re on a budget, you find out that lens cases make perfect control room speaker stands.

10-Sat-Truck

We employed another fiber line to run our HD-SDI signal to the satellite uplink truck outside, which beamed the show back to CBS Sports Network master control in New York City.  Saturday’s game was live-to-tape, meaning it was recorded live by CBS in New York and aired a few hours later.  Sunday’s game was aired live.  In addition to feeding the uplink truck, the TriCaster also recorded the program in full HD resolution, and encoded a live Flash webcast stream.  All in all, the show looked great on-air, and we accomplished our goal of producing a professional HD sports broadcast in an innovative way!