Polishing the Super Bowl

An inside look at the technology behind the spectacle
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Given the annual avalanche of Super Bowl hype, it’s surprising to find out that the game is not the biggest sports event of the year for TV-production-truck companies. “Actually, the NBA championships and NASCAR are larger in terms of overall facilities,” says George Hoover, senior VP of engineering at NEP Supershooters.

That’s a scary thought, given the massive amount of gear heading to Jacksonville, Fla. NEP is sending 13 units—and 40 employees to keep the hardware running smoothly—for clients including Fox, HBO and NFL Films. It will also roll out more than 175,000 feet of triax cable.

The three NEP trucks Fox will be using for its high-def broadcast are as good a place as any to find the state of the art in sports-production facilities. Fox Sports won’t divulge precisely what equipment will be in use on game day. “It’s hard to verbalize something this flexible and fluid,” says Jeff Court, Fox Sports vice president of field operations. But here’s a list of most of the gear Fox will have in its arsenal as it tries to score in front of what’s usually the year’s biggest TV audience.

SS18 HD Production Vehicle


Think of the trucks as a broadcast center in the parking lot, with each truck serving as a separate control room. The SS18, 53 feet long when fully extended, will be home to the main crew for the game. It’s also the truck that Fox Sports has used for its A-game all season long, so those working in it will be in familiar surroundings—an important way to reduce game-day stress.
Cameras/Lenses
[available to all trucks}
34 Thomson LDK-6000 WorldCam cameras (26 will be manned during the game with eight manned for pre-game and post game)
CableCam package
6 LDK-6200 WorldCam Super Slo-Mo cameras
14 TurfCams
35 Canon lenses will be used, a mix of 86-times, 100-times, 21x7.8 lenses, and 11x4.7 wide-angle lenses
30+ Vinten Vector pan-and-tilt heads with Matthews tripods
Production
Grass Valley Kalypso duo switcher with 3.5 mix effects
Pesa Cheetah 144x144 HD/SDI video router
Abekas DVeous dual twin HD DVE with CPL control
More than 125 headsets from manufacturers including Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic and custom-made ones brought by production personnel
Recording
2 Panasonic AJHD-3700 D5 VTRs
1 Panasonic DVC Pro 100 HD deck
1 EVS Spot Box 4-channel unit
1 Sony Digital Betacam DVW-500 VTR
5 EVS Live Slo-Motion systems (a total of 18 replay devices, a mix of EVS and Panasonic D5 and DVC Pro 100 decks will be on hand for all three trucks)
2 Sport Net Hubs for EVS LSM and Shot Box controllers
4 Lance Slo-Mo controllers
Audio
Calrec Q2 audio console
Fox Sports Dolby gear
Pesa 32x32 monitoring router
Pesa 144x144 analog audio router
Dolby E encoder and decoder
Tektronix 764 audio scope
Tannoy monitor speakers
5 Rane audio delays
Custom microphone package with more than 65 mics, including Sennheiser, Electrovoice and DPA microphones
Graphics
Chyron LEX system
Monitors
70+ monitors, a mix of Sony, Ikegami, Pioneer and Panasonic
Communications
Telex ADAM matrix intercom
6 RTS SPK-300 Biscuit speaker stations
Support gear
2 Teranex Xantus converters
20 Sony upconverters
6 Thomson GVG HD/SD frame synchronizers
14 Thomson GVG SD downconverters
4 For.A DCC-700 color correctors
4 Sony HD HK-SP313 color correctors

SuperShooter 20


The pre-game and post-game activities are a production unto themselves—and Supershooter 20 will be home base for the production crew.
Production
Pesa Tiger 144x224 HD VAA routing switcher
Grass Valley Kalypso HD switcher
Abekas DVeous dual twin HD DVE
8 Wohler pre-listen stations recording
Recording
2 Sony Digital Betacam DVW-500 VTRs
4 Panasonic AJHD-3700 D5 VTRs
4 Panasonic DVC Pro HD decks
2 Panasonic AJ-HD1700 VTRs
1 Tektronix Profile HP-XP disc recorder four-channel JPEG
6 EVS Live Slo-Motion systems
4 Lance Slo-Mo controllers
1 Lance TDC-100 TD controller
Audio
Calrec Q2 audio console
Pesa Cougar 32x32 audio router
2 ATI 8x2 mixer preamps
2 360 Systems Digicart II units with 150-MB Bernoulli
1 Denon CD player
48 Ward Beck mono audio distribution amplifiers
1 Tektronix 760 audio scope
Tannoy monitor speakers
3 Rane AVA-22 audio delays
2 Studio Technologies stereo synthesizer
1 Sony V77 audio processor
4 DBX 160 limiters
1 DBX 1046 quad limiters
1 DBX 900 frame
6 RTS 14-line amplifiers
4 Shure FP-22 headphone amplifiers
2 Shure M-267 mixers
6 Fostex powered speakers
Graphics
2 Chyron Duet character generators, SD with Evertz upconverter
1 Chyron Aprisa Clip Store with Evertz upconverter
Monitors
Approximately 70+ monitors, various sizes and makes
Communications
Telex ADAM matrix intercom
2 TIF-951 telephone interfaces
22 RTS IFB beltpacks
48 RTS BP-325 dual listen beltpacks
6 RTS SPK-300 Biscuit speaker stations
5 Daltec Talent talkback boxes
Support gear
3 Teranex Xantus standards converters
13 Evertz upconverters
5 Sony upconverters
6 Leitch Digibuss NTSC-to-SDI frame synchronizers
7 Leitch Digibuss SDI-to-NTSC master encoders
14 GVG 8900 NTSC-to-SDI frame synchronizers
8 GVG 8900 SDI-to-SDI frame synchronizers
12 GVG 8900 series SDI-to-NTSC encoders
6 Thomson GVG HD/SD frame synchronizers
5 Sony HD color correctors
6 For.A DCC-700 color correctors
4 Sony HD HK-SP313 color correctors

SuperShooter 24


This unit handles many of the replay functions. The 53-foot truck (when fully extended) has the largest control room of any production truck and is usually used by CBS for its standard NFL coverage. The truck’s usual complement of EVS instant-replay servers will be expanded to handle the extra cameras.
Production
Sony MVS-8000 3.5 mix-effect switcher with 8 internal DVEs
1 Abekas DVeous dual twin HD DVE
Thomson Trinix 160x160 HD/SDI video router
Thomson Trinix 160x256 monitor router in production unit
Recording
4 Sony HDW-500 HD camera VTRs
2 Sony Digital Betacam DVW-500 VTRs
2 EVS four-channel Spot Box systems
5 EVS Live Slo-Motion system (a total of 18 replay devices will be used, a mix of EVS and Panasonic D5 and DVCPRO 100 decks)
Sport Net Hub for EVS LSM and Spot Box controllers
Audio
Calrec Alpha digital audio console
Thomson Concerto 128x128 analog stereo audio router
Thomson Concerto 128x128 AES audio router
Dolby E multichannel encoder and decoder
Dolby Pro Logic Surround encoder and decoder
Dolby AC3 encoder and decoder
2 360 Systems Digicart II units with 150-MB Bernoulli
D&K digital audio scope
Genelec monitor speakers
Studio Technologies stereo synthesizers
Custom microphone package
Graphics
2 Pinnacle FX Deko character generators
Monitors
Mix of 70 monitors of various sizes and makes
Communications
Telex ADAM matrix intercom, 180 square matrix
4 TIF-951 telephone interfaces
3 Gentner QKTs
3 Telos One interfaces
12 RTS IFB beltpacks
24 RTS BP-325 dual listen beltpacks
8 RTS SPK-300 Biscuit speaker stations
6 Daltec Talent talkback boxes
12 Motorola walkie-talkies with base station
Support gear
2 Teranex Xantus standards converters
13 Evertz upconverters
18 Sony upconverters
12 GVG HD frame synchronizers
4 Sony HD color correctors/cross-converters
18 GVG/Teranex downconverters
2 Leitch DPS-575 SDI frame synchronizers

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