Live from Rio 2016: NBC Olympics, Golf Channel Enjoy Golf’s Return

At the end of today the Olympic Games will have its first male Olympic champion in more than a century and NBC Olympics and the Golf Channel are giving golf’s return to the games a double punch of production power with the help of a relatively new flypack from NEP Group that provides two control rooms with a separate audio room for each and much more.

NBC's Marc Caputo inside one of NBC's control rooms at the Olympic Golf Course.

NBC’s Marc Caputo inside one of NBC’s control rooms at the Olympic Golf Course.

“This is third time the flypack has been used as it was rebuilt for the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year,” says Marc Caputo, NBC Sports, senior director of remote technical operations. “The challenge is we have two venues in one as there is both the unilateral coverage and then Golf Channel’s ‘Live From’” coverage.”

The cabins provided by OBS offer up two layers of walling as well as insulation between them ensuring that they have a bit more stability and climate control than traditional straight production trailers.

The two control rooms feature Grass Valley Karrera production switchers and Calrec Summa audio consoles. There are also four six-channel EVS XT3 servers recording the unilateral cameras, an EVS Spot Box, an Avid editing suite, and a graphics cabin with ProTracer for the unilateral feed and the Golf Channel’s ‘Live From’ show from the driving range, a two-channel Chyron graphics machine, and SMT providing data and graphical enhancements.

The unilateral coverage team and the Golf Channel team have 14 cameras on the course for the Golf Channel’s massive amount of wrap-around coverage and NBC’s unilateral coverage. They include a hard camera in a camera tower getting beauty shots; a mixed zone hand held camera for post round interviews; a Sony robotic camera in the commentary studio on the 18th green; an RF handheld; two long-lens robotic cameras from Aerial Camera Systems (one on the driving range and the other on the putting green); two Sony robotic cameras in the compound off tube locations where analyst David Feherty and Peter Jacobson offer on-air analysis of play.

The final shared elements include a camera in the press center for covering press conferences, an ACS robotic camera getting beauty shots, and the ProTracer on the practice range. The Golf Channel also has two dedicated cameras for use at the Golf Channel’s stage near the 18th green: a short-arm jib with wide angle lens as well as teleprompter provided by TomCat Video Productions, and an analyst ISO camera.

NBC’s unilateral coverage makes use 44 total OBS split feeds, including 39 OBS unilateral camera feeds (including super-slo motion shots); five from Golf Channel’s ‘Live From’ team. That translates into 28 total camera positions and host dirty and host clean feed.

The core components in the NBC Olympics and Golf Channel technical operations center.

The core components in the NBC Olympics and Golf Channel technical operations center.

Audio is getting a bit of a lift thanks to digital over audio networking in the off-tube commentary positions in the compound. “[By using DANTE] we need minimal cabling and increase the ease of use,” says Stuart Cruice, audio engineer in charge for the event.

Ultimately the production becomes a bit of a multi-continental effort as the four camera signals from the ‘Live From’ show are sent back to the Golf Channel’s home facility in Orlando, FL for switching and graphics insertion in Production Control Room 1. And for the first time ever commercial insertion is being done in Englewood Cliffs, NJ as NBC looks to maximize commercial integration facilities.

“We have eight transmission paths going from here to various NBC properties and things have gone smoothly,” says Caputo. “We’re also using studio A in Orlando.”

The NBC Olympics and Golf Channel production team numbers 33, including 15 talent. The unilateral coverage is directed by Scott Barke and produced by Brandt Packer while the Golf Channel’s ‘Live From’ coverage is directed by Rick Monte and produced by Jeff Fabian (with Alan Robinson as coordinating producer and Andrew Smiley as coordinating director). There are also two ENG teams under the guidance of coordinating field producer Kristi Setaro and field producer Jeff Fabian. Neil Staite is on site as a technical manager while Bridget Cugle and Kate Stefko are on hand as broadcast managers.

Today’s final round of the men’s tournament is shaping up to be dramatic with two top Europeans, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, at the top of the leader board. The excitement continues on Wednesday when the women’s Olympic golf efforts begin.

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