DALLAS—If fans of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars have noticed anything different about the regional broadcasts of their teams this season there’s a good reason for that. Back in August, Fox Sports unveiled a new 4K production truck to cover the Dallas region, and the broadcaster made sure they covered it from all angles with the addition of six slow-motion cameras.
Fox Sports’ 38Flex, built by Mobile TV Group, is a two-trailer, dual-feed production truck that features six Grass Valley LDX 86 cameras and an EVS 12 channel XT3 server. The 38Flex, built by Mobile TV Group, is a two-trailer, dual-feed production truck, featuring six Grass Valley LDX 86 cameras and an EVS 12 channel XT3 server. With six slo-mo cameras—a first for regional sport broadcasts—the production team is able to cover nearly every angle of the action, as well as provide the visitor broadcast team access to the cameras.
This new equipment is leveling the playing field for regional broadcasts when compared to some major national sports broadcasts.
“If you were to ask around and find out how many super slo-mos there were at the NBA Finals or World Series, you’re going to find that six is a pretty good number,” said Philip Garvin, MTVG president and founder. “It’s representative of what’s being done for major sports events.”
Ratings for regional sports broadcasts are on the rise, according to Fox Sports Regional Networks Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Mike Connelly. “We catch more viewers in one week than a lot of national games do in one game,” Connelly said. “We just want a better experience for the home viewer.”
The new truck is also having some impact on the field. The 38Flex was first used for Texas Rangers’ baseball games, and the slo-mo cameras contributed to the overturning of a handful of calls during replay review.
Fox Sports intends to use the 38Flex as a base for all future production trucks, expanding its services as technology and needs arise. One such need Garvin is already anticipating; while the LDX 86 cameras are 4K-capable, Garvin knows that the entire production truck must be able to support both 4K and high dynamic range in the future. “We don’t know whether that is going to be demanded by distributors in a year, three years or five years, but since the life of a truck exceeds all those, I have to make sure that that technology is on board any truck going forward,” he said.
With the 38Flex, Fox Sports and MTVG believe they are off to a good start.