With 49 HD cameras and a small fleet of mobile trucks, CBS's coverage of this year's PGA Championships will be one of its largest live sports production efforts this year.
"In terms of onsite activity it is actually even bigger than the Super Bowl and very comparable to what we do at the Masters," explains Ken Aagaard, executive VP of engineering, operations and production services, CBS Sports.
The size of the crew and equipment that will be handling the coverage reflects both the complexities of covering a major golf tournament where the network has to deploy cameras on every hole and the fact that CBS is producing more content this year, with multiple feeds for CBS Sports Network, DirecTV and other outlets, Aagaard explains.
"Every year it gets bigger," Aagaard says.
As part of the expanded coverage, the CBS Sports Network will be offering for the first time the PGA Championship Clubhouse Report live from Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. The show will air after the end of each round from Thursday, Aug. 8 through Sunday, Aug. 11 between 8-9 p.m. ET.
CBS airs live coverage of the third and fourth rounds on August 10 and 11 between 2 and 7 p.m. ET.
TNT offers extensive coverage on Thursday and Friday from 1-7 p.m., and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in addition to Turner's extensive digital only coverage.
As the host broadcaster, CBS will be using a total of 49 total HD cameras, which is close to the 55 or 60 cameras typically used for Super Bowl coverage.
These will include 23 Hard cameras; four Point of view cameras on tees at Par 3's; eight radio frequency (RF) held-hand cameras; four cabled hand-held cameras; four talent cameras; three roving jib cameras; one Protracer Camera that will be used to show the flight of ball; and two RF SwingVision High Frame Rate cameras that will help analyze the golfer's swings.
The crew will also use 14 RF microphones for on-course audio; two RF receive sites comprised of 2 mobile cranes to receive the camera signals; 30 six channel HD EVS with 57 replay output channels for replays; seven HD VTRs; nine Chyron Duet HyperX3 graphic generators; and one telestrator.
As part of the coverage, CBS will deploy one blimp; three large television mobile units; two small television mobile units; eight large trailers; one mobile RF unit; two mobile edit units and four uplink trucks.
Adding to the complexity of covering the action over 18 holes, Aagaard notes that the Championship is held at a different course each year. The last time it was held at Oak Hill was in 2003.
While the amount of content being produced will hit record levels, Aagaard notes that they've streamlined a lot of processes.
CBS's last PGA Championship production at Oak Hill was also the last time it used triaxial cable.
"There was enough cable then to fill up one of the Lincoln Tunnels," he recalls. "Now with the fiber I can hold it all in one hand. There are more strands in each fiber and it's become more reliable."
Even so, the production will use some 35 Miles of 12-strand fiber optic cable.
In addition workflows have been streamlined so they don't have to use separate processes for each feed. "It has gotten to the point where I don't know if we are feeding the dot com or feeding broadcast," he says. "It is a very similar operation. So it is interesting what has been done to make it possible to produce more content."
CBS is currently locked in a carriage dispute with Time Warner Cable, which dropped the network from its lineup Aug. 2.