Editor’s note: Michael Narracci is the coordinating director of Red Sox broadcasts on NESN and has spent 14 seasons with the network. This is the ninth installment of his “Director’s Cut,” a behind-the-scenes look at NESN’s Red Sox game coverage.
This week, we take a look in the tape room of the NESN production truck. While we call it the tape room, little videotape actually is used on our show.
We use a network of five servers — affectionately known as “Elvis” — to provide replays of Boston Red Sox baseball and Boston Bruins hockey. Two of the servers record four camera feeds, and the other three servers record two cameras each. We strategically assign the cameras to each machine so the replay workload is spread out among the five operators.
In this clip, you will see the “back bench” in the tape room. Our EVS operators, Tom Kruc (pronounced Cruise and known as Cruiser) and Ted Carey (aka Coach), do the pre-production of our promos and highlight packages. Our production assistant, Phil Pesce, works with both operators during pre-production and during the game.
In the beginning of the clip, Cruiser is building our billboards. He records them from our Chyron Duet graphics machine and stores them in registers on his Elvis. On the far left side, you can see the VGA output of his directory of clips. He records each billboard, stores it in the directory, names it and then writes down the directory number so our producer, Jim Daddona, knows where it is.
Next, Phil and Coach work on building some highlight packages for in-game playback. There often is discussion about how the package should flow. Once the packages are complete, Phil generates a list of highlights and locations for JD.
We also archive highlights and scenic shots to hard drives for use later in the season. Cruiser and I have a conversation about using the Hood blimp that night to shoot some downtown Boston scenes that could be used during Red Sox and Bruins productions. The quandary we face is that while the blimp is shooting a scenic in July, there are leaves on the trees. During Bruins season, the trees are bare, so the blimp camera operator has to creatively frame and shoot these.
At the end of the clip, you can hear a slight cheer from the guys in the room, and Coach and Cruiser go to work clipping off the highlights of the play, doing the replay and then storing the clips to the hard drives.