September 13, 2017
Sports Video Group
If sports comes down to a battle of substance vs. style these days, HBO Boxing is more than happy to take substance any day. That’s how it sees its biggest boxing matchup of the year — especially compared with another certain boxing spectacle that took place recently — when Canelo Alvarez meets Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
“We believe that this is the best boxing matchup amongst the two best fighters in the world today,” says Jason Cohen, VP, HBO Sports Production.
The production and operations teams are certainly treating it like their biggest live pay-per-view of the year, adding a generous complement of storytelling tools, including using a SkyCam and a JitaCam simultaneously for the first time ever.
Although HBO Sports is using SkyCam for the first time, the team is accustomed to having four-point hanging cameras whipping around an indoor arena, having previously worked with CableCam.
HBO will also deploy a JitaCam, a 360-degree “jib in the air” that will be erected over the ring directly under the arena’s centerhung scoreboard. It will be remote-controlled by an operator sitting at ringside.
“Normally, we’ve had a standard fixed robotic overhead providing our overhead angle,” says Cohen. “The JitaCam still gives us our traditional overhead shots but with the extra flair of being able to do some nice moves with it, like track the fighters and get into the corners a little bit better.”
The JitaCam provides tremendous angles for replay so Cohen will be outfitting the structure with a Sony HDC-4300 (provided by Bexel), giving the network super-slow-motion angles from above that it has never been able to capture before.
Adding to its collection of slo-mo acquisition devices, HBO Sports will be upgrading ringside cameras for this fight to Sony HDC-4800’s. Those cameras are provided by Fletcher Sports. HBO is also placing an ImageCam-supplied camera on a robotic head at one of the neutral corners of the ring.
HBO Boxing will be put to the test with a tight window for setup. With a concert in T-Mobile Arena on Friday night and HBO moving the start time to the event on Saturday to 8 p.m. ET (from its traditional 9 p.m. slot) is essentially getting about nine hours to set up “its Super Bowl.” When all hands need to be on deck to set up, that leaves few resources to do things like a live pregame show.
HBO will have a little fun on Friday at the weigh-in, partnering with LivIt to produce a multicamera live 360 stream.
Out in the compound, NEP’s SS17 and dedicated B unit TX17 are supporting the fight as they do all major HBO Boxing pay-per-view productions. CAT Entertainment generators are providing power using UPS. SMT is providing an IT backbone and statistical infrastructure. Strategic/PSSI is vendor of choice for transmission.
The main event will be produced by Dave Harmon and directed by Jonathan Evans.