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The Pick Is In: How Technology And Production Are Bringing The 2020 NFL Draft to Life

ESPN and Disney's DTCI teams have to deliver "the different subjects in that story . . . live from over 150 different locations nationwide.”

When the NFL Draft gets underway tonight at 8 ET, ESPN’s Production Operations teams, along with the Transmission and Media Engineering teams in Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) Technology, will be at the heart of it, working closely with teams from the NFL Network.

“This year’s Draft is a totally unique event,” explained Vice President of Engineering and Media Distribution, DTCI Technology, David Johnson. “The ESPN Production Operations teams are going to be stitching together the story of this Draft in a way they never have. To be able to do that, Technology has to deliver the different subjects in that story – the video of prospects, coaches, the Commissioner, talent and team personnel – live from over 150 different locations nationwide.”

The NFL distributed more than 100 At-Home kits – with professional lighting, HD-quality camera devices, and software that allow each subject to remotely and securely stream live into the event’s Transmission workflow. Using the kits, and with setup guidance from the NFL, each prospect’s home or team “war room” will have an “always-on” wide-shot camera that creates a virtual green room feed, along with a separate camera set up for a tighter interview shot. The combination will allow ESPN/NFL network and ABC telecast production teams to have live look-ins, real-time reactions, and individual interviews from personnel and prospects.

(Illustration courtesy DTCI)

In addition, there will be more than 20 talent in remote locations, as well as the NFL Commissioner, coming in from his home. In total, the first-of-its-kind telecast will bring in more than 150 feeds. Transmission and Operations will work to confirm the quality and subject matter of the shots and work to quickly to coordinate any necessary changes on the fly.

Together, ESPN, DTCI, and NFL Network teams are conceiving and implementing a new frontier of remote, virtual production, creating and bringing the event to consumers in an intimate, innovative way during extraordinary times.

Paul Melvin contributed to this post.
Video courtesy of Digital Trends

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