Super Bowl XLV coverage features traditional, new media technology

As they have in years past, veteran mobile production companies Game Creek Video and NEP Supershooters parked their most advanced production trucks on-site in Arlington, TX, to cover this year’s NFL Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. From the actual game itself (broadcast live on Fox in 720p HD) to the numerous activities surrounding the big event, viewers were served by a variety of media outlets and an equally large variety of distribution platforms.

Game Creek’s Fox truck handled the main game coverage, while its Liberty truck was used to cover pregame events (including a performance by country star Keith Urban) and its Patriot was used for other game-related sports news shows. Game Creek also sent some of its other trucks, for a total of eight mobile production rigs, on-site to cover the activities for ESPN, including shows leading up to the game-day events.

The massive Fox truck, made up of three 53ft expandable HD remote production studios, features 32 Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras and four HDC-3300 3x slow-motion cameras (on Miller and Vinten pedestals and fluid heads), Canon Digi Super 100x telephoto HD lenses, both a 96-input Grass Valley Kayenne HD video production center and a Grass Valley Kayak HD video production switcher, four- and six-channel EVS XT[2] HD servers, Chyron Duet Hyper X3 graphics system and a PESA 512 x 1024 HD router.

Liberty carries a dozen Sony 1500 HD cameras, a 96-input Kayenne and PESA 384 x 720 router onboard, while the Patriot truck features a dozen Sony HD cameras, a 90-input Kalypso HD switcher (with a Grass Valley Duo-Twin HD GVeous digital video effects system) and a PESA 28 x 128 HD router with 64 downconverting outputs. All of Game Creek Video’s handheld HD cameras were equipped with Canon ENG-style and portable EFP lenses.

Meanwhile, NEP’s Denali Silver helped produce the halftime show, featuring the Black Eyed Peas, with Sony HDC 1000LW2 and Sony HDC 1500 cameras, Canon HD lenses, a Grass Valley Kalypso Duo HD switcher, Accom Dveous Dual Twin DVE, HD Profile server and a Calrec Q2 audio console.

Providing coverage for the NFL Network, NFL Films and NFL International, NEP also sent its SS25 rig, with a Kalypso HD switcher and EVS replay systems as well as a Calrec Alpha audio console setup for Dolby 5.1 mixing, and SS18 truck, which features a Grass Valley Kalypso, Grass Valley LDK-8000 MKII Worldcam HD cameras, Canon 86x zoom and 21 x 7.8 wide-angle HD lenses, EVS XT[2] slow-motion systems, Chyron Duet Hyper X3 system and a Calrec Sigma audio console.

The Fox Sports announcing booth on the field in Dallas was lit with Litepanels LED lighting fixtures, which were also used for the network’s entire 2010 NFL football regular- and post-season game coverage. Last year’s CBS Super Bowl telecast also included a Litepanels lighting setup.

The Litepanels fixtures, supplied to Fox by Bexel Broadcast Services, enabled the crew to place the LED fixtures in a number of unusual locations within the booth. The Litepanels onboard dimming functionality allowed for the lights’ intensity to be adjusted with no noticeable color shift to match ambient light coming into the stadium from artificial and natural light sources. The Litepanels fixtures can be dimmed either locally, via a dimming knob on the rear of each fixture, or via DMX from a dimmer board in the booth. Litepanels said that enough lighting for the entire announce booth, including several talent on-camera positions, was powered by a single 20A electrical circuit, eliminating the need to run extra power to the booth that would be required with traditional lighting fixtures.

Non-traditional coverage

In addition to the traditional TV coverage, there was lots of technology used to stream the game over the Internet and to mobile devices. As one example, Canadian viewers were able to watch the Super Bowl on mobile devices thanks to technology from QuickPlay. Bell Mobility offered the content using the QuickPlay OpenVideo platform.

In addition, Garland Partners’ LiveU backpack video journalist system was used by a number of media outlets, including CBS, TMZ, the NFL Network and local Dallas TV stations, to provide TV and online viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the events and parties leading up to the big game as well as in the stadium during the game. The LU60 backpack system uses existing wireless 3G/WiFi/Wimax networks to transfer broadcast-quality video clips at up to 2Mb/s.