CBS Sports continues its long tradition of introducing innovation and technology to the sports broadcasting industry at the Super Bowl. With first-time-ever use of some of the latest, innovative technology in broadcasting, CBS Sports will give viewers unparalleled coverage of Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 from Atlanta, Ga. with its use of virtual augmented reality graphics, 115 cameras, including, for the first time ever on any network in the United States, multiple 8K cameras, as well as 16 cameras with 4K capabilities.
►VIRTUAL IS REAL
For the first time ever on any network at a live sporting event, CBS’ Super Bowl LIII virtual plan includes the use of a live, wireless handheld camera showing augmented reality graphics and up-close camera tracking on the field. This will allow the camera to get closer to these virtual graphics in a way that gives viewers different perspectives and angles including never –before-seen field level views of these graphics.
CBS will utilize four cameras (including the SkyCam) with live augmented reality graphics, plus an additional 10 cameras with trackable first-down-line technology. In all, 14 cameras creating virtual graphic elements that are completely manufactured will seamlessly blend in to the real environment of the broadcast.
For the first time ever on any network in the United States, CBS will use multiple 8K cameras with a unique, highly-constructed engineering solution to provide viewers with even more dramatic close-up views of the action from the endzone including possible game changing plays along the goal lines and end lines.
► 4K BONANZA
Also for the first time ever on any network, CBS will deploy 16 cameras with 4K capabilities, as well as nine Sony 4800 camera systems strategically placed around the stadium. The cameras will provide additional live game camera angles, and give the production the ability to replay key moments of the game in a super slo-motion and an HD cut-out with zoomed-in perspectives with minimal resolution loss.
►SCORES OF CAMERAS USED IN PYLON AND BACK OF ENDZONES CAMERAS
Viewers will see dramatic plays from every angle as every square inch of the endzones will have multiple camera angles providing coverage. Over 25 cameras will flank each endzone including HD cameras with super slo-motion capabilities, six 4K cameras, three goal post super slo-motion cameras shooting the backlines and 14 cameras embedded in pylons per each side of the field. A total of 28 pylon cameras will be a part of the 50-plus camera feeds from the endzones.
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Following are some of the technical innovations CBS has introduced during its broadcasts of the NFL championship and Super Bowl through the years:
Jan. 6, 1963: The isolated camera is first used in the third annual “NFL Playoff Bowl” at the Orange Bowl between the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers
Jan. 2, 1966: CBS airs the 1965 NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. This is the first-ever NFL Championship game to be broadcast in color.
Jan. 15, 1978: CBS airs Super Bowl XII between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos and introduces new technology known as Action-Track System. This new technology provides a multi-image display of paths of moving objects. For the first time, viewers are able to scrutinize the rapid, intricate motion of a forward pass.
Jan. 24, 1982: CBS airs Super Bowl XVI between the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals and introduces for the first time the CBS Chalkboard, which allows analyst John Madden to diagram plays using a view from the high 50-yard line camera taking in all 22 players.
Jan. 28, 2001: CBS broadcasts Super Bowl XXXV between the Baltimore Ravens and N.Y. Giants. CBS Sports, Core Digital and Princeton Video Image introduce EyeVision, state-of-the-art, three-dimensional replay, during the game.
Feb. 1, 2004: CBS airs Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. This is the first time during a Super Bowl broadcast that the pregame, game, halftime show and postgame show are in High Definition. CBS Sports utilizes unified productions for the Standard Definition and High Definition telecasts of the Super Bowl which features the same camera angles, replays, graphics and announcers.
Feb. 3, 2013: CBS airs Super Bowl XLVII and deploys six “Heyeper Zoom” high frame rate, 4K replay and zoom camera systems. “Heyeper Zoom” used For-A-Corp’s, FT-One, 4K cameras, equipped with Fujinon lenses and Evertz Corp’s DreamCatcher record servers. The “Heyeper Zoom” replay system captured video at a frame rate between 300-500 frames per second (normal 60 fps). The For-A cameras used 3840 by 2160 pixel imagers, totaling over 8 million pixels, four times greater than current high-definition video. The Evertz DreamCatcher replay system recorded the 4K video signal allowing CBS Sports to use the full 4K resolution to zoom in on critical points of a play (i.e. foot inbounds, turnovers, etc.) for high resolution review.
Feb. 7, 2016: Adding special never-before-seen features to its Super Bowl 50 coverage and with a larger complement of 5K cameras covering the area, CBS employed a replay system giving viewers a 360 perspective and higher resolution than previously ever seen. The system, comprised of 36 cameras strung around the upper deck of Levi’s Stadium, had the ability to freeze the moment and revolve around the play, then continues to play out the scene. It allowed viewers to have a look in a moment’s time from what the quarterback sees in the pocket to the safety’s perspective or other points on the field.
And, for the first time ever used in a Super Bowl, CBS incorporated eight custom-molded pylons that housed 16 cameras to film the goal lines and sidelines on each side of the field giving viewers the most field-level view of critical plays during Super Bowl 50. The high-resolution, high-definition, point-of-view cameras housed inside the pylon also had microphones embedded in them to enhance the natural sound of the game.
Sean McManus is Chairman, CBS Sports and serves as Executive Producer for the Network’s coverage of the NFL and Super Bowl LIII. David Berson is President, CBS Sports. Harold Bryant is Executive Producer and Senior Vice President, Production, CBS Sports. Patty Power is Executive Vice President, Operations and Engineering, CBS Sports. Ken Aagaard is Executive Vice President, Innovation and New Technology, CBS Sports. J.P. LoMonaco is Vice President, On-Air Graphics and Design, CBS Sports.
Follow CBS Sports on Twitter: @CBSSportsGang and @NFLonCBS
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