The 2018 NASCAR season is underway and with it comes a new remote production workflow for NASCAR whereby cameras and audio signals are being sent from race tracks to NASCAR’s production center in Charlotte, NC. The efforts began with the Rolex 24 at Daytona race and will continue with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racing series next week, and ARCA Racing Series as the season progresses.
NASCAR Productions sent 28 camera and 75 audio signals from Daytona to Charlotte so a team in Charlotte could produce the race.
“We have done a lot of testing at smaller events the past couple of years but this year we wanted to push the limits and see what we can do,” says Steve Stum, NASCAR Productions, VP of Operations and Technical Production.
The Rolex 24 Hour race used NEP’s NCP IV production unit to put out 12 hard cameras, two RF cameras for the pit announcers, and 14 in-car cameras around the track. RF was handled by 3G and a tech manager and engineering team ensured that 28 video and 75 audio signals were sent to Charlotte via a single antenna from PSSI Global Services. PSSI Global Services leveraged its C27 mobile teleport, equipped with cutting-edge Newtec modulators and GaN SSPB amplifiers from Advantech Wireless.
Rick Ball, Director of Broadcast Sports at PSSI Global Services, adds: “We’re not afraid to go where no one has gone before, and we’re proud that our efforts continue to create new possibilities in live television.”
Once the signals are back in Charlotte the director, producer, TD, replay, SMT virtual graphics, and announcers created the show.
“Round trip the latency is 1.09 seconds so we have camera returns and feeds for the screens for the fans in the stands,” adds Stum.
With upwards of a third of production costs being sunk into travel Stum says that the goal is to put more money into the production itself, get more specialized equipment, and have a production truck unit that is more aligned with the needs of a remote production.
The efforts are part of a season that Stum says has been going great so far. And all of the testing prior to the Rolex race paid off as Stum says nerves at the beginning subsided as the workflow was proven out.