Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
ESPN's “SportsCenter” now in HD
ESPN’s flagship sports news and information program “SportsCenter” will begin its life as a high-definition (HD) program on today 10 p.m. (ET) from new HD studios in the network’s new Digital Center in Bristol, CT.
ESPN's new Digital Center will broadcast its nightly news program, "SportsCenter" in HD. The predominantly red and blue studio is lit at a lower level to accommodate five new Thomson Grass Valley LDK 6000 mk II HD cameras.
Norby Williamson, senior vice president and managing editor at ESPN, said that while viewers with HDTV sets will see an improved picture, others with analog sets will enjoy the new studio and enhanced graphics.
An 18-foot video tower, as well as an update desk, interview desk and a debate desk will comprise the 5000 sq. ft. studio. The tower can illuminate the same image or four separate images on its four screens. The set also features 12 HD projectors and 11 LCD screens.
The predominantly red and blue studio is lit at a lower level to accommodate five new Thomson Grass Valley LDK 6000 mk II HD cameras (including one hand held and one jib) which require less light than standard analog cameras. For its production control rooms, ESPN has purchased a Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso HD video production switcher, a Calrec audio console and an RTS/Telex Adam intercom system. A master control switcher and automated playout devices (for lower-third crawls) have been supplied by Probel and Miranda.
All graphics have been redesigned to ensure continuity in the look of ESPN and ESPN2 to fit with the studio's new look.
“SportsCenter” will also unveil a fresh, innovative graphic look, featuring a myriad of new over-the-shoulder and insert graphics. All graphics have been redesigned to ensure continuity in the look of ESPN and ESPN2. The show will also use a Vizrt real-time 3-D rendering system that allows for greater graphic resolution, perspective/depth, and allow viewers to see images morph from one to another. This system will eventually be incorporated into other ESPN studio shows as the Digital Center is completed. The 3-D packages will be created in both the 4:3 SD and 16:9 widescreen aspect ratios.
ESPN HD plans to deliver more than 185 originally produced events in 2004 in the 720p HD format. The HD telecast schedule includes games from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the National Football League, college football and basketball games as well as movies from ESPN’s Original Entertainment (EOE) division. ESPN HD has carriage agreements with Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, DirecTV, EchoStar Communications Corporation, Insight Communications, the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Service Electric Cable TV, Utilacom and Comporium Communications.
For more information visit www.espn.com.
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