Live From CFP Championship: ESPN Deploys ‘Mammoth’ Camera Arsenal With High-Tech Highlights

Sony’s HDC-4800 cameras, Canon’s DIGISUPER 95 telephoto lenses shine bright on big stage

John LaChance has been working on Monday’s production of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in some fashion for nearly a year now. Yet, standing outside Game Creek Video’s Spirit (the mobile unit playing host to tonight’s main game telecast on ESPN), the director, remote operations, for ESPN struggles to find the adjectives.

ESPN has affixed Canon's DIGISUPER 95 telephoto lens to the main sideline cart camera during Monday's CFP National Championship Game.

ESPN has affixed Canon’s DIGISUPER 95 telephoto lens to the main sideline-cart camera for Monday’s CFP National Championship Game.

“It’s mammoth,” he says, indicating the sprawling compound sitting in the shadows of Raymond James Stadium here in Tampa, FL.

It’s the first truly big day on the sports-production calendar, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, and ESPN will again treat it like the crown jewel that it is, with a production stunning in both scope and scale.

There are 111 cameras just inside the stadium supporting the network’s efforts in producing the main game telecast, the 13 additional MegaCast options, and three studio sets around the building. Ninety-five of those cameras will be pointed at the game between Alabama and Clemson, with nine super-slow-motion cameras and five 4K-capable cameras accompanying.

John LaChance, who heads up Remote Production Operations at the College Football Playoff Championship Game for ESPN, in the compound outside Raymond James Stadium.

ESPN’s John LaChance, who heads remote-production operations at the College Football Playoff Championship Game, in the compound outside Raymond James Stadium

Pylon cameras are on the four corners of each end zone, and cameras are strategically placed to capture each important boundary from the sidelines to the goal lines.

“We’ve got every line covered,” says Ed Placey, senior coordinating producer, ESPN. “We just hope we have a great game where we can show it all off.”

Among the camera highlights is a collection of Sony’s HDC-4800’s, which debuted at last year’s NAB Show. The camera is capable of 8X super-slo-mo in 4K and 16X when shooting in HD. A few Canon DIGISUPER 95 telephoto lenses are deployed on some of the cameras at valuable positions.

There are also two airships shooting the show: the Goodyear Blimp and the DirecTV Blimp.

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