07.13.2005 12:00 AM
HDNet Viewers on Front Row for Discovery Launch
The HDNet channel is planning exclusive HD coverage of the raw feed of the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew, scheduled for today, July 13, (as HD Notebook goes to press), pending no last-minute snafus or weather delays.

Using more than a dozen cameras positioned throughout the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, HDNet's extensive live coverage was to begin at 11 a.m. EDT with behind-the-scenes access to the astronauts and their families as they eat breakfast, suit up, board the shuttle and complete their pre-launch routine inside the crew module. HD viewers were to witness the countdown and launch, and follow the shuttle as it leaves Earth's atmosphere.

HDNet's cameras will also be live on location for the shuttle's landing, currently scheduled for July 25 at 11:01 a.m. EDT. In keeping with HDNet's practice of delivering live news uninterrupted by anchor commentary or special production techniques, the network will air the natural sounds of the launch, complemented only by NASA's official audio feed.

HDNet and its founder, Mark Cuban, are receiving the full cooperation of the Media Services unit at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. HDNet installed 1080i cameras in various locations, including inside the "firing room" where engineers and administrators direct the countdown, to the launching pad itself. (Close-up views of the exterior of the shuttle, and of the astronauts inside the crew module, will appear via several NASA-controlled cameras.)

HDNet planned to deploy a special Canon DIGI SUPER 86 TELExs lens capable of a 2,322mm focal length, to enable a 1080i camera at one of the tracking sites to follow Discovery as far as 33 miles into space, based on optimum weather conditions. The HD channel also will use a pan-and-tilt robo head at the launch pad from Eagle Pan Tilt, and is installing the Grass Valley Kalypso HD Video Production Center switcher, which is switchable between SD and HD video feeds inside NASA's TV control room.

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