Tireless CBS Sports Production Crew Caps Loaded Season at AFC Championship Game
The A-game NFL crew at CBS Sports deserves a nice vacation following Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Foxboro, MA, between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS). The team produced more than 30 NFL games this season with the introduction of the new Thursday Night Football package, and Sunday’s telecast promises to be one of its most technologically advanced yet.
“I thought [this season] just went great,” says CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow. “It was a lot of fun because we got to do a lot of teams that we normally wouldn’t get the chance to see and go to places we haven’t been in a long time. I thought this was just a tremendous year. It was a challenge, but, you know what, it shouldn’t be easy to do something like this.”
CBS Executive Producer/SVP, Production, Harold Bryant agrees that the added workload has made the crew a better overall unit.
“As a whole, it’s been a very good year for us,” he says. “Early on, we thought, ‘how would that crew handle this workload,’ but they have adjusted and actually thrived. To some extent, they are even more dialed-in to the league and what’s going on because they are doing so much.”
Sunday’s production will feature more than 30 cameras, including a Skycam fitted with a 4K system. The goal is to have 4K zoom replay on critical plays available on a device that moves about the field of play more swiftly. CBS will also deploy an additional 4K camera at a to-be-determined point in the stadium. That camera will be a Grass Valley LDX 4K camera, based on the standard ⅔-in. lens. There will also be three high-speed and three super-slo-mo cameras sprinkled throughout Gillette Stadium.
The production compound will be anchored by CBS’s primary NFL game truck, NEP Supershooter 24, which features a Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame production switcher, a full complementary bank of EVX XT2 replay devices, and a Calrec Alpha audio mixer.
One enhancement that will be absent this Sunday is integration of player-tracking technology done in partnership with the NFL and Zebra Technologies. Throughout the Thursday Night Football schedule, CBS used data and graphics built for information acquired by Zebra. According to Bryant, that system will not be in place at the AFC Championship Game, but he expects it to be used plenty next season, especially when CBS lines up for Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.
CBS Sports will have more than 200 personnel onsite to produce the game on Sunday, but the pregame, halftime, and postgame show will be hosted at the network’s regular NFL Today studio in New York City.
Sunday’s AFC Championship Game on CBS will be produced by Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.