Turner Sports audio had presents ready for viewers on Christmas Day, the start of the abbreviated NBA season. According to Lead Remote Audio Engineer Jim Budka, the league has greenlighted microphones on both coaches and players for the rest of the season. Players were wired with Quantum 5X bodypack transmitters while coaches wore Zaxcom transmitters. All the on-court audio is encrypted and under NBA control, coming from courtside RF via wire line to the remote trucks. Audio is sent via router to tape and can be used for replays. Shure and Lectrosonic wireless systems are used by reporters on the floor.
The broadcasts, in 5.1 surround, are handled by Turner Studios HD2 truck for East Coast games, including the Christmas Day match between the Knicks and the Celtics in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The NEP SS18 truck will do the games in the West, with the Turner Studios HD1 truck handling fill-in chores. All trucks have Calrec Alpha consoles.
In the studio, Turner has added a second Lawo MC2 90 console; now both the Turner Sports and NBA TV control rooms at Turner’s plant in Atlanta have identical production consoles. A new DADTV music server has also been added, replacing the DigiCart deck previously used.
NBA’s return to television is a big relief for Atlanta-area freelance A1s, who Budka says experienced a double whammy this fall between the NBA lockout and the departure of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.
“The freelance market was pretty grim there for the mixers who work pro sports,” Budka observes. “There was still a lot of college sports in the Southeast, but it’s not easy for pro mixers to cross over into that.”
This season, A1s Dave Grundvig and Pat Thornton have returned to mix Turner’s NBA games.