NBC Sports Takes On First Summer Olympics In Stamford

Posted by on Aug 14, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

STAMFORD — Most eyes were glued to a large projection screen inside Stamford’s NBC Sports Group headquarters, where Japan’s Kohei Uchimura performed a near-perfect high bar routine Wednesday afternoon.

But one employee did not even glance up from his computer screen in the complex’s Highlights Factory. A former international-caliber fencer-turned-intern was tasked with watching hours of Olympics fencing coverage broadcast live from Rio.

“The idea is that in here, we don’t miss anything,” said Eric Hamilton, director of digital/video production for the Olympics. “There is something interesting in every single sport. We can find them and bring them out.”

Hamilton oversees the Highlights Factory, a windowless room inside the 300,000-square-foot facility where about 40 staffers watch and log every moment of every sport, putting together between 220 and 240 videos every day. Viewers can see the results of their labor in the short videos on the NBC Olympics Facebook page or on the NBC Olympics app like swimmer Michael Phelps staring down fellow swimmer Chad le Clos, which has more nearly 1.8 million YouTube views.

Beach volleyball rakers at Rio Olympics

Caption Beach volleyball rakers at Rio Olympics

Beach volleyball rakers play an important, unnoticed part in the Olympics. (Chris Hine/Chicago Tribune)

Beach volleyball rakers play an important, unnoticed part in the Olympics. (Chris Hine/Chicago Tribune)

U. of C. swimmer Naomy Grand'Pierre makes history at the Olympics

Caption U. of C. swimmer Naomy Grand’Pierre makes history at the Olympics

University of Chicago sophomore Naomy Grand’Pierre made history Friday at the Olympics after she became the first swimmer from Haiti to compete in the Games. (Stacy St. Clair/Chicago Tribune)

University of Chicago sophomore Naomy Grand’Pierre made history Friday at the Olympics after she became the first swimmer from Haiti to compete in the Games. (Stacy St. Clair/Chicago Tribune)

Simone Biles on winning gold

Caption Simone Biles on winning gold

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles on winning gold. (Tim Bannon/Chicago Tribune)

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles on winning gold. (Tim Bannon/Chicago Tribune)

Experiencing Rio de Janeiro as a tourist

Caption Experiencing Rio de Janeiro as a tourist

Tribune columnist Teddy Greenstein discusses his day as a tourist in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics. (Teddy Greenstein/Chicago Tribune)

Tribune columnist Teddy Greenstein discusses his day as a tourist in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics. (Teddy Greenstein/Chicago Tribune)

“Occasionally, another sport might present itself in a way, but really the good news for mega-fans of the Olympics is that’s where you’re going to get those popular sports with polish and production level of the highest quality,” he said.

However, there are some tape delays in these popular sports because some events are happening simultaneously or may move too slow to be broadcast live, the NBC spokesman said. For example, in gymnastics, one team may be competing on the vault while another competes on the floor, he said.

And if viewers can’t find what they are looking for on TV, they can turn to their computers.

“Every sport, every frame of Olympic competition is now available to every fan online,” Bell said. “So if you’re a niche fan of a specific sport or have an interest in a certain country, you can follow it.”

Bringing Rio to Stamford

For the staffers who don’t get to go to Rio, NBC Sports has tried to bring Rio to them.

A life-size image of Rio’s famous, mosaic “Selaron Steps” in sharp reds and yellows takes up one full wall near the studios. The Highlights Factory is livened up with an aerial shot of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue across the back wall.

“There is that Rio feel here,” Goss said. “All of these little things make a difference.”

In the research room, staffers have pasted a wall full of motivational photos of their favorite Olympic athletes, taken from previous Olympics or trials.

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