In a Search for the ‘Ultimate Replay,’ YES Network Adds 4K Cameras, 3D Views

Over the past month, YES Network has added new replay technology to its telecast lineup for Bronx Bombers games at Yankee Stadium.

Working in conjunction with Israeli firm Replay Technologies, the regional sports network has been presenting YES View, which affords virtual three-dimensional vistas of batting and plays at the plate from intertwined 4K cameras shooting at 200 frames per second, according to YES Network senior vice president of broadcast operations and engineering Ed Delaney.

Under the YES View setup, nine static cameras have been positioned and calibrated in Yankee Stadium’s 200 level along the first base line, extending from just to the right of home plate to the grandstand in right field.

As is the case with other technologies, like the Emmy-winning slow-motion YES MO, Delaney said the network’s goal is to “bring viewers closer to the action and, ultimately, provide the definitive replay.”

Testing of YES View began during home games throughout April before the RSN unveiled the upgraded replays onair during a series in early May versus the Oakland Athletics.

Since then, Delaney said, YES has been enhancing its home telecasts with three or four YES Views per contest.

Starting with a view of the batter from the left of the pitcher’s mound, the YES View pivoted to show Yankees catcher Chris Stewart getting his left foot down and then connecting with the ball in front of the plate, pulling it down the left field line and into the stands for a round-tripper. Similarly, the technology illustrated how lefty-swinging second baseman Robinson Cano held his hands back before lining a shot into left center for a double.

On a close play at the plate, YES View turned to alternate perspectives showing how David Adams’ slide outside the third base line enabled him to avert the catcher’s sweeping tag attempt.

YES officials were introduced to the technology during last summer’s London Olympics, where the international feed included some enhanced views of the gymnastics competition. Replay Technologies later gave YES executives a baseball demonstration involving local players in Israel.

While he wouldn’t discuss pricing specifics, Delaney called the technology a significant investment that has been offset to some extent because its deployment at Yankee Stadium is being used by the vendor as a marketing tool of sorts. “A lot of people are coming by to see the replays,” said Delaney, pointing to MLB Network, NBC Sports and Fox Sports as companies that are checking out the technology.

Typically, four or five Replay staffers work the system, alongside a YES producer who selects which plays to clip and fashion into replays. The unit is connected to one of the RSN’s TV trucks, where the game producer can view the replays on the monitor wall.

As YES production personnel have become more familiar with the technology and its processes, they have reduced amount of time it takes to bring the replays to air from 2:30 to 1:30. Delaney is confident that “we’ll get under a minute soon.”

Delaney is also exploring the option of moving the replay system to focus on first base or another point on the field.

Rains in Paris Pour On Tennis Channel

It wasn’t bad enough that Tennis Channel took a big hit in the courts last week with its loss to Comcast after the cable operator appealed the network’s program- carriage complaint. The would-be basic sports channel took a brief hit on the tennis courts, as well, during one of its most high-profile TV events — coverage of the French Open.

After rain delays last Friday (May 30), and not long after ESPN2 handed off its early-morning coverage of the tournament, top-ranked Novak Djokovic finally took to the court for his second- round match with Guido Pella.

Djokovic had just won his service game for a 1-0 lead when Tennis Channel was suddenly featuring soft-asa- defensive-lob feature stories on a New Zealand olive oil tasting; cheese in Cabot, Vt.; and a tennis camp in Saugerties, N.Y., with its own organic garden.

A crawl informed viewers that the channel was experiencing technical difficulties and would get back to coverage as soon as possible, which then morphed into a note that a power outage at the Roland Garros tennis venue had caused the problem and to stay tuned.

During one break, a promo proudly intoned: “No one covers the French Open like Tennis Channel.” Or New Zealand olive oil production.

That coverage like no one else’s actually returned after only about 15 minutes, with the players still on serve and Djokovic up 3-2. The favored Serbian went on to defeat the Argentine in straight sets.

For the record, one of the oils was said to have had a grassy middle but finished with a hickory note. Sounds more like Wimbledon circa 1913.

— John Eggerton