Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Inside the ESPN Pit Studio

How many times have you watched NASCAR Countdown preceding a NASCAR race and put thought into how much is entailed into a single broadcast? I will put money on it that you have no idea what actually takes place behind the scenes in the Pit Studio.

ESPN has the most technologically-advanced traveling studio ever used in sports television and we had the opportunity to get a behind the scenes view of what actually happens. The Pit Studio has been part of ESPN's
rolling fleet and it weighs nearly 78,000 pounds. It is outfitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting and was the first mobile TV production to be equipped in this manner. The lights, which we touched with our bare hands, emit no heat. We can honestly say, we went into the Pit Studio to find comfort in the A/C during the desert heat in Daytona Beach. Finding cooling comfort in television production studios is not the norm, especially not in mobile studios! The Pit Studio also includes three robotic HD cameras which are controlled by operators inside the studio.

The Pit Studio, which is situated near the pits at every track, is elevated 14 feet in the air while in use. It will travel to 24 NASCAR tracks this season, bringing viewers the ESPN Bristol Connecticut studio look and feel while giving an inside look at cars and grandstands with its 30 foot glass windows. The entire operation travels as a tractor-trailer rig. Upon arrival at the track, the studio can be set up and ready to go in about a day. Following the race, tear-down takes less than three hours.
The Pit Studio at Indy

You will usually find Host Allen Bestwick and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daughtery inside the studio. In addition, Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andry Petree often bring coverage of NASCAR practice sessions.

Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace & Brad Daughtery

The Pit Studio did make a VIP red carpet appearance last year and was used by ABC News in the coverage of the New Hampshire Primary during the 2008 Presidential Elections. The one change...it had to have a small makeover by being redressed in plain colors.

No comments: