College Football Kickoff: CBS Expands SEC Schedule, Digital Offerings
CBS Sports has set its alarm clock early this year for its storied SEC on CBS football package, with the addition of two early-season non-conference games. In anticipation of another exciting season, CBS has bolstered its on-site production technology, will introduce a new pregame, halftime, and postgame studio, and will stream games for free – no authentication required.
The SEC on CBS production team gets their season underway with a marquee game this Saturday as No. 6 Auburn battles Louisville in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (CBS, 3:30 p.m.) in the Georgia Dome.
While most viewers will enjoy a similar on-air look and CBS’s classic feel this season, there were numerous behind-the-scenes technological enhancements injected into this year’s production. Working out of F&F Productions’ GTX-15, the team has layered in some super-slow-mo technology and a limited use of 4K for enhanced replay zooms in a high-definition environment.
“Most of our technological improvements are behind the scenes and won’t be very obvious to viewers,” says Harold Bryant, Executive Producer and Senior Vice President, Production at CBS Sports. “We’ve worked on getting improved cameras, improved microphones, and what we think is a better SkyCam. We haven’t added additional cameras, per say, but we’re always looking to enhance things every year.”
On-site in the compound, the crew will be working off of a Grass Valley K Frame Kayenne Elite HD Switcher, EVS XT2 replay servers, a Vizrt graphics engine, a Calrec Alpha Digital audio console, and an NVision 288×576 HD router. Deployed in the stadium is a collection of Ikegami cameras, Fujinon lenses, Vinten pan heads and tripods, and Sennheiser and Sony microphones.
One obvious addition will be the use of a new studio set that has been erected at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City. The large, loft-like studio is the same that was introduced for The NFL Today during last week’s NFL on CBS Media Day, but Bryant says that the studio will be featured a little differently on SEC Football Saturdays. Alternate LED lighting will be used and a smaller mobile desk will be deployed, but the fun enhancements such as a large video wall and a touchscreen for analysis will all be available to the studio talent.
On the digital end, CBS Sports, again, will stream its entire 2015 SEC ON CBS schedule exclusively on CBSSports.com and via the CBS Sports mobile app on iOS and Android devices. All live streaming coverage of games on the CBS broadcast network are available for free with no authentication required.
There’s also a healthy dose of digital exclusives, including the return of the All-22 camera that shows the entire field to offer fans the ability to see all of the action and observe formations and plays away from the ball. Switching back between the All-22 and the main game presentation is seamless, as well, making it a nice second-screen feature. The website and app also offer live stats, instant highlights, social media integration with Twitter, interactive polling, and other on-demand video content.
This season marks the 20th year of SEC football on CBS, and the 15th year with CBS as the home to the SEC’s “Game of the Week” package. The coordinating producer for college football on CBS is Craig Silver.