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TNT to produce entire 2004-05 NBA lineup in HD

TNT will produce 52 regular season NBA games in HD, beginning Nov. 2.

Turner Network Television (TNT) will produce all of its NBA 2004-05 season coverage in 1080i high definition. All of the cameras used for the network's coverage will be native HD with a minimum of 10 cameras per game site and a minimum of five for the studio shows.

The network is going to great care to ensure the optimum viewing experience of its HD audience. Rather than simply producing one HD telecast and downconverting it for its SD audience, TNT will assign an as-of-yet unspecified number of HD cameras to shoot games for SD coverage.

HD cameras designated for SD coverage will frame game action for NTSC’s 4:3 aspect ratio. When a game’s director instructs the technical director seated at a Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso switcher to take an HD camera to air, the corresponding HD camera framed for SD coverage will automatically be taken as well.

Two HD feeds will leave the switcher. One will remain HD. The other made up of 4:3-framed HD action will be downconverted for TNT’s SD viewers.

While this approach may be a little more difficult than simply producing one HD feed that’s split and downconverted, it offers TNT’s viewers the opportunity to take full advantage of their wider screens.

Dolby 5.1 surround sound will give TNT an opportunity to feed special game sounds to its HD audience. Currently, the network plans to mic each backboard and put that sound in .1 channel of the Dolby 5.1 surround mix.

The network will rely on its own HD teleproduction truck and those from NEP and Trio Video for game coverage.

TNT will produce 52 regular season NBA games, beginning Nov. 2. The network will rely on its own HD teleproduction truck and those from NEP and Trio Video for game coverage. Currently, Turner is building a new HD truck that is scheduled to be completed in a month.

This season’s TNT production of NBA games will include a new graphics treatment that will animate portions of the floor to present statistics to viewers in a unique way. Using SportVision's virtual technology, TNT will highlight various areas of the floor, such as the three-point line. One use will bring the three-point line off the floor and include field goal shooting percentages for a player, several players or an entire team. TNT and SportVision also will once again present a virtual starting lineup and halftime stats for every game.

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