NEP Group Supports Olympic-Sized Efforts by NBC, Others
NEP Group has had a presence at the Olympic Games since 1988 (when it worked with NBC Olympics at the Seoul Games) and once again NEP has a presence providing technical facilities and personnel for NBC Olympics, Sweden’s Viasat, Channel 7 Australia, and more.
“We’re here with NBC supporting them at four venues,” says Glen Levine, NEP Group, president, U.S. mobile units. “We have SS25 here for the athletics and opening ceremony, ND5 at beach volleyball, Iridium at gymnastics, and NCP XI is handling swimming. SS25 will move after the opening to the athletics stadium while XI will eventually move to cover the closing ceremony.”
Additional units are on hand in Rio, including SS21 and Platinum; Unit 15 and Unit 16 from NEP Belgium; and HD4 and HD5 from Germany and Sweden, respectively.
“We have 40 NEP U.S. employees here and another 40 from around the world,” says Levine.
It took a lot of preparation and planning to get the production units ready for the game, including installing some NBC equipment back in the U.S. and also upgrading some of the facilities. That included an upgrade of the EVS servers and workflows to the XT3 version and support of 10 Gbps networking. Routers were also updated and support of MADI streams was added.
“We were coming out of the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals so the last few weeks were truly insane but the whole NEP team did an awesome job of staging and preparing everything,” adds Levine. “We didn’t want to deal with things like installing equipment once we got here on site.”
Once the new equipment was in place the trucks were driven down to Laredo, TX in a convoy and then were sent on a 20-day voyage via freighter alongside a shipping container that was fully packed with additional gear. Much of that equipment is in flypacks, two of which are at golf for NBC’s unilateral coverage and also Golf Channel Live. Golf Channel is plenty of coverage from Brazil, especially next week in the days prior to the start of the men’s medal round that begins next Thursday.
“We’re continuing to see flypacks in secondary roles at the main venues but they are also starting to grow in use at the IBC as facilities scale down,” adds Levine. “And we have new state-of-the-art flypacks with lightweight consoles that are next-generation systems that will be part of our growth around the world.”
But for big events, like an Olympics, Levine sees the continued need for mobile units as they provide a physical environment that is familiar to the production teams.
Once the Olympics come to a conclusion NEP’s trucks will be back on the high seas to get back to the United States for a busy fall sport season, particularly with respect to the NFL and college football. Topping the list? Thursday Night Football which is split between CBS Sports and NBC Sports. NEP’s SSCBS unit will once again be at the helm for CBS coverage while the ND7 unit will be used by NBC Sports for the second half of the season.