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TNDV Shifts Cinematic Workflow into High Gear for Live Production

TNDV: Television, established in 2004, is a Nashville-based broadcast and live production company with over 26 years of experience. They offer custom solutions for events of all sizes and situations.

TNDV, led by founder Nic Dugger and President Rob Devlin, has successfully integrated digital cinema camera technology from Sony and MultiDyne into their live television and event productions. This integration allows them to achieve a dramatic cinematic look while retaining the functionality needed for live broadcasts.

This integration of digital cinema cameras into live television and event productions represents a significant advancement in the industry. It allows for the creation of visually stunning content with a cinematic feel, enhancing the audience experience. By leveraging technology from Sony and MultiDyne, TNDV is able to meet the demands of their clients while pushing the boundaries of what is possible in live broadcasting.

TNDV founder Nic Dugger has been seeking ways to inject the dramatic look that digital cinema cameras produce into his live television and event productions for years. Despite some creative workarounds that generated that tell-tale look and feel, technology limitations made the efforts fall short of achieving the desired goal in all its glory.

Dugger says this has now changed, and along with TNDV President Rob Devlin have mixed in technology from Sony, MultiDyne and others that represent a convergence of broadcast and digital cinema production workflows. The result is a dramatic theatrical experience for audiences while retaining the traditional functionalities used for live event production.

“Our industry has long been challenged to find ways that seamlessly blend cameras for feature film production into multi-camera environments with 10 to 12 cameras,” said Dugger. “It’s especially tricky for live television, where we rely on triggering tally lights to signal that we are on the air. We now use multi-cam style cameras from Sony such as the HDC-F5500 that give us all the broadcast features we need, along with a full-size 4K CMOS sensor and a PL lens mount to achieve that cinematic experience. And MultiDyne’s SilverBack V fiber camera adapters allow to adapt any digital cinema camera we want to the broadcast workflow, opening us up to an array of new camera choices.”

Devlin recently put Sony’s PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K digital cinema cameras to work for Passion 2024, an annual three-day live worship event that brought more than 50,000 attendees to Atlanta. TNDV captured live performances from Christian musical groups and lectures from preachers and evangelist speakers inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with SilverBack V systems affixed to adapt them for multi-camera production. “These were the camera systems we used to really capture the essence of the performances closer to the stage,” said Devlin. “We mixed those into the workflow with our HDC-F5500 camera systems, which captured the stage and the crowd from greater distances. We did the entire shoot on 29.97p per the client’s and used 20 cameras in total, all of which we switched from our Exclamation truck for the in-house stage presentation.”

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TNDV was responsible for everything in the content acquisition chain through to the switcher, providing image magnification and effects for LED walls behind the stage as well as the house television system. Other gear included a Ross Ultrix router to accommodate 12G UHD signal flows, and a newly purchased Telestream PRISM MPD waveform monitor, which provided essential measurement tools for the camera shaders.

The MultiDyne SilverBack V systems were essential to the audience experience given their ability to bring the PMW-F55 signals onto the fiber-optic network and carry them back to the truck. “These are very simple to use. There is an external power pack to bring the camera up, and after making the connections you have your video, your return, your intercom and your tally right there on the back of the camera head,” said Devlin. “It also provides RCP control with gives operators access to shading, iris and the ability to adjust matrix settings. The fiber level readout on the front confirms how strong of a connection exists, which gives our crew peace of mind as they roam.”

Dugger adds that TNDV separately used Sony HDC-F5500 Super 35mm 4K CMOS camera systems for Christmas in Graceland, a holiday-themed production broadcast on NBC in late 2023. The HDC-F5500 cameras don’t require adapters as SMPTE fiber backs are built into the design. “We had extensive discussions with our director, Hamish Hamilton, about what he wanted to achieve,” said Dugger. “His exact words were ‘I want a cinematic frame rate with PL glass,’ and we achieved that along with a film-style look by shooting in 24p with the HDC-F5500. This was a triple-truck show for TNDV that included our Collaboration main production truck, Vibration audio truck and Constellation uplink truck to back up the fiber feed with satellite connectivity.”

TNDV installed a fiber infrastructure with thousands of feet in lengths across multiple locations on the property. This was used to capture performances from Post Malone, Alanis Morrisette and others in different environments while also providing a live transmission feed back to NBC. “We captured everything in a cinematic format even though the live broadcast was in 1080i. The camera control units can output traditional broadcast formats, so we were able to achieve that film-style look. For the viewer, the broadcast had the atmosphere of a live music video or a motion picture; back on the truck, we were switching it same as we do for every live. broadcast event. It was a very succinct, efficient and professional convergence of cinematic acquisition with broadcast production and transmission.”

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