Super Bowl LVIII Set To Impress

This years’ Super Bowl LVIII live telecast on CBS Sports will be mainly supported by broadcast and media services company NEP, which is sending more than a dozen mobile production units and support rigs on site at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. NEP’s “SuperShooter CBS” consisting of four mobile units tied together via fiber—will handle the big game action while supporting up to 165 cameras and feeding various domestic and international broadcast outlets.

Supershooter CBS in one of NEP’s HD, 4K-capable production units, providing the crew space, infrastructure, and flexibility to handle the largest and most complex productions on TV. The trucks will be equipped with a 23-display monitor wall for production control, Grass Valley Kayenne switchers, an Evertz EQX-3G router, EVS replay systems, Calrec audio mixing consoles, Sennheiser microphones and RTS intercom systems. 

The production will be noteworthy for its use of 48 Sony cameras with super slow-motion capability, including 24 4K “zoom extraction” cameras (a record number for a Super Bowl) that will showcase countless replay angles inside Allegiant Stadium, including from the ceiling, along the goal lines and embedded inside the end zone pylons. This is the first year the game will use Sony HDC series cameras with 4x 4K capabilities to enable 4K zoom replays.

“The 4K zoom presents replay capabilities that enable closer looks at the game’s most critical moments with high resolution and enhanced detail,” said a CBS Sports representative.

Onboard the Supershooter CBS production control room mobile unit, one of four units that will handle the big game itself.

Onboard the Supershooter CBS production control room mobile unit, one of four units that will handle the big game itself.

As with all NFL games this past season, Sony’s Hawk-Eye camera system will be providing Video Review technology, which in turn powers the NFL’s Instant Replay system.

A number of smaller innovations this year include small cameras inserted into upright cutouts, with six 4K cameras at each end of the field capturing field goals and extra points as they happen. These “Doink” Cameras” will have high resolution zoom capability and also be made available for super slow-motion replays.

Also, to capture the atmosphere of Las Vegas, three sky cams, two fly cams (including a “trolley cam”) and three drones will be utilized between the stadium and areas of the Strip, including the innovative Las Vegas Sphere venue. Twenty-four live robotic cameras will also be mounted inside the stadium as well as throughout the city to showcase high altitude vantage points of Las Vegas—which was once the purview of the famous Goodyear Blimp.

Two dozen augmented reality cameras will be in use, including 11 on the CBS broadcast, eight on Nickelodeon and four at the set on the Strip. A collection of AR graphic enhancements (from Vizrt) will be integrated into coverage, including graphics over the Bellagio fountains utilizing a drone and fly cam, as well as virtual AR studio opens showcasing Las Vegas Boulevard.

The “Doink Cam” will be mounted on the goal posts to enhance the action for viewers.

The “Doink Cam” will be mounted on the goal posts to enhance the action for viewers.

Utilizing XR and specialty graphics from GhostFrame technologies, coverage will transport players to Las Vegas Boulevard, while a VR experience will transport viewers to the set on the Strip. 

The GhostFrame technology is based on nanosecond alignment of video subframes and the camera shutter. By controlling the LED panels subframe output, cameras can align the shutter angle and capture the desired moment in time within a frame. This helps create highly precise and visually captivating augmented-reality graphics (sponsor ads and game statistics) that will appear on the field of play and around the stadium.

Studio and game coverage will employ a Vizrt graphics package design using Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D animation graphic tool. The package will include a modified version of the Las Vegas Strip.

Additional production enhancements include:

  • Shallow Depth-of-Field Cameras – Five DSLR-type shallow depth-of-field cameras will showcase players up close on the field, providing a cinematic feel.
  • “Red Cat” POV Cameras – A creative POV tool utilizing Adobe After Effects and accelerated live post-processing by stabilizing, focusing and time re-mapping to present replays in a dynamic way.
  • Techno Movie Bird Crane – A 53-foot movie bird crane traditionally used for major motion pictures will be located on the upper concourse, offering dramatic sweeping views of the stadium.
  • Falcon 360 Camera – An immersive camera showcasing vivid panoramic views of the venue.
  • Wireless RF Cameras – Twelve wireless remote frequency cameras, including two “line to gain” vantage points inside the stadium. NEP will provide 30 RF cameras inside the stadium and many more around Las Vegas (like atop the Bellagio Casino Hotel).
  • The Halftime Show will be produced by Roc Nation with Sony VENICE and BURANO 8K cameras, under the technical management of James Coker and Director/Producer Hamish Hamilton. In addition to five 8K cameras, the halftime show (featuring music artist Usher) will also utilize 14 game cameras.
  • Kids' network Nickelodeon and CBS Sports will also produce the first-ever Super Bowl alternate telecast, airing exclusively on Nickelodeon. It will feature AR enhanced graphics to bring the Slime-filled telecast to SpongeBob SquarePants’ undersea home. 
The broadcast will feature a graphics package design using Unreal Engine, that will include a modified version of the Las Vegas Strip.

The broadcast will feature a graphics package design using Unreal Engine, that will include a modified version of the Las Vegas Strip.

For its coverage online and on mobile devices, NFL Media and its team of engineers, product, creative, content and project management will produce a pregame show all morning before the game starts. They will also host a pre-game set from Allegiant Stadium and a post-game report (for online audiences). Interestingly, these shows will be produced REMI-style, with the director and production crew working back at NFL Media’s facility in nearby Los Angeles. Just the cameras and talent will be located at the stadium, with everything else controlled and produced out of the LA facilities.

“There’s nothing like the Super Bowl and every year it gets more and more exciting, from a production standpoint,” said NFL Media senior tech manager Rhett VanBuskirk. “This year [CBS Sports and NFL Media] are pulling out all of the stops.”

Of note: This is the 22nd live broadcast of the Super Bowl for CBS Sports, a record among sports networks.

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