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AY Productions Relies on RTS Intercom Solution for NFL Draft Production

RTS
Michael Gilman, CTO of Gilman Technologies, was responsible for programming and distributing the comms resources used to produce the draft. (Image credit: RTS)

BURNSVILLE, Minn.—NFL Network and AY Productions deployed a full RTS ADAM modular matrix intercom and related technology to meet the intercom requirements for the 2022 NFL Draft held in Las Vegas, April 28-30.

The setup included comms connecting all control rooms, stage sets, cameras and talent. 

“Our backbone is built in Dante, both on the intercom and the audio side,” said AY Productions owner Aaron Young.

“We leveraged three OMI-64 cards in the ADAM frame, which gives us redundancy across Hydra and Dante. We also used a lot of RTS Digital Beltpacks, which we love for their channel density, plus about 30 KP-5032 key panels.”

AY Productions put together a team of top comms specialists for the event, including Michael Gilman, CTO of Gilman Technologies, who primarily attended to programming and distributing the comms resources needed. 

“Technically, all of us on the comms team worked for NFL Network as host, but Aaron Young was the one who designed the system and assembled the group,” said Gilman. “Since we were working with multiple production trucks and networks, the flexibility of ADAM frames enabled us to tie everything together into a seamless system. For large, live sports events like this, RTS ADAM is the gold standard in our industry.”

Four days prior to the draft, the comms team began working on site in Gamecreek Video’s Encore OB truck suite to prepare gear. First up was opening the ADAM frames and installing the cards that were needed. After labeling everything to conform to the production plan, the team configured all components and tested them before installing the system on site. As the broadcast came together, the team fine-tuned the setup to ensure it performed as desired, said Gilman.

Production of the draft required four control rooms—one in Las Vegas and three offsite. The main on-air set was built above the Las Vegas Bellagio. The production also relied on several other broadcast sets, announce positions and specialty cameras, including those positioned on cranes and blimps. 

The setup enabled any control room to speak with the right person at the right time in any of those positions, RTS said.

Young, Gilman, Niraj Patel and Jeff Barwise worked together to program the system to accommodate any routing scenario. Marc Kennedy took on the role of on-set wireless comms specialists. The AY Productions team focused on keeping everyone communicating without a hitch.

“We call it Fireman Duty,” said Gilman. “It’s essential monitoring the directors, producers and camera channels to keep up with their needs.

“Most of it is coordinated ahead of time, but this is live TV. The stakes are high, and things can get hectic. We’re tracking maybe a half dozen conversations to satisfy everyone’s requests quickly, hopefully within a few seconds. To do that, we had a row of three or four RTS key panels programmed to handle any likely request,” he said.

“The ADAM frame is by far the most used for large sports events,” he said. “Its modularity allows us to make modifications quickly, ensure stability and redundancy, then return the system to its original state quickly after the show is complete.” 

More information is available from AY Productions (opens in new tab), Gilman Technologies (opens in new tab) and RTS Intercoms (opens in new tab)

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.