Live Drone Shots, GTX-19 Truck, Pylon Cam Accentuate SEC on CBS’s Notre Dame-Georgia Showdown

Pylon Cams took up more than half of the 26-camera complement

With the autumnal equinox coming and going this past Monday, the sports world fixates its every move to the pigskin. In the college variety, the game of football is a different beast in the lower 48 states and the Southeastern Conference is the place where diehard fans quench their thirst. Over the weekend, Notre Dame and the University of Georgia participated in a dogfight in Athens, GA, and with a live drone in the air and a new F&F Productions truck on the ground, the SEC on CBS flexed its technological muscles in a primetime dust-up in Dawgs Country.

“We were really happy with the looks that the [live drone] provided us,” says Steve Karasik, VP, remote productions, CBS Sports. Steve Milton [lead director, college football, CBS Sports] loves those shots because it gives a great sense of what the vibe is like inside of the stadium. It was probably the most electric scene that I’ve witnessed in my years watching college football.”

Come Again: Drone Makes a Return in 2019
Above the airspace of Sanford Stadium, there were two types of objects flying high above the 93,246 screaming fans. A fixed wing airplane captured breathtaking shots of the surrounding area, but for an added bonus, a live RF drone also recorded footage from outside of the stadium’s perimeter. Although this was the first occasion in which Kaze Aerials’ Freefly X model was used for a live football game, this wasn’t the first time a live drone was deployed for an SEC contest on the Eye Network.

“Since it was a night game, it was a little different because we used it last year during a day game,” says Karasik. “We weren’t exactly sure what we would get out of it, but I know that myself and Steve Milton were really happy with the pictures that we got.”

In order to change up the looks in the sky, the drone was a free-flowing entity without a tethered connection. The production team received the footage from the device via a BSI transmitter from within the compound.

A New SEC Home: F&F Productions’ GTX-19 Hits the Road
CBS Sports is no stranger to relying on F&F Productions for their mobile production units. Last year, the company’s GTX-18 anchored the television broadcasts from each of the designated locations. Since its launch in August, the Notre Dame and Georgia matchup became the second SEC game on its resume (the first was Alabama vs. South Carolina on September 14).

The A and B units were both being used in Athens. In the secondary unit, replay duties were conducted with the help of seven EVS servers. As for graphics, ChyronHego’s Mosaic package and additional work from SMT were housed within the B unit as well. Lastly, a twin-pack generator from Filmwerks was on hand in case of any loss of power outage.

Inside the venue, the game was seen through a wide variety of 26 cameras. Much like last year, POVs were aplenty and will continue to be a staple for all of the games on the network’s schedule. Two BSI cameras will be installed in each of the four pylons in both end zones to combine for an impressive total of 16. Other notable highlights include four super-slo-mo cameras, 1 RF handheld, seven robos, two sideline carts, and one jib.

The Pylon Cam came in handy for a 4th quarter touchdown by Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager.

Like many high-profile SEC on CBS games, those receive a fair amount of technologies seen from the NFL on CBS side, such as a Skycam for sweeping views of the crowd as well as a telestrator from ChyronHego.

“We take a lot of pride in our telestration, and whether you’re looking at the NFL [telecasts] with Tony Romo or college football with Gary Danielson, we really want to give [our talent] tools to show all of the knowledge that they have about the game,” says Karasik. “We’re doing more than just circling the player that scored the touchdown, but also the defensive back that might have been out of position that led to the score. We have ex-college football players that have been trained to operate the machine and communicate with our in-game analysts to provide those second-level replays that you won’t see anywhere else.”

Eyes on Atlanta: Games Leading Up to the 2019 SEC Championship Game
All roads lead to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the ATL on December 5, but before the action comes to a close with this year’s SEC Championship, the crew at CBS Sports want fans to enjoy the stellar production quality every single Saturday during the regular season.

“Our goal is to put forth the best college football production that’s out there [with Coordinating Producer Craig Silver and Milton.] We take our college football coverage very seriously,” says Karasik. “The SEC is the preeminent conference in the country. Five of the Top 10 teams in the country are from the SEC right now, so every week, we’re going to have a Top 10 team on our air.”

The SEC on CBS slate continues this Saturday, September 28 with Ole Miss vs. Alabama at 3:30 p.m.