Tech Spotlight

Getting Up To (High) Speed On Super Slo Mo

For the big game, CBS will take advantage of recent developments in 4K high-speed and high-resolution videography to not only slow down action in replays without noticeable motion blur or pixilation, but also to zoom in closely to see if a player’s foot is out of bounds or if the football breaks the plane of the end zone. Other networks are also working to push the envelope with high-speed, high-res cameras and Sony is working on next-generation sports production technology.
TVNewsCheck,

CBS Sports chief tech Ken Aagaard didn’t get the nail-biting moment he was hoping for in last weekend’s AFC Championship game in which the Baltimore Ravens upset the New England Patriots — the moment when the play is too close to call on the field, the one that keeps millions of TV viewers on the edge of their seats.

Now, he's hoping the chance will come Feb. 3 during Super Bowl XLVII when the Ravens square off against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome. “We need that controversial moment ... where we can help make the difference in the game," he says.

Story continues after the ad

And if it comes, he promises, he and the rest of the CBS production team will be ready.

For the big game, CBS will take advantage of recent developments in high-speed and high-resolution videography to not only slow down action in replays without noticeable motion blur or pixilation, but also to zoom in closely to see if a player’s foot is out of bounds or if the football breaks the plane of the end zone.

CBS will use its Heyeper Zoom system — six For-A FT-One 4K cameras capable of shooting 500 fps operating in tandem with the Evertz DreamCatcher replay system and Evertz Mosaic multi-image viewer.  Each camera costs $150,000. (Heyeper is pronounced "hyper," but written with a bow to CBS's famous logo.)

And to ensure it doesn’t miss any key moments of the game in slow motion, CBS will also deploy an additional five high-speed Ikegami/NAC Hi-Motion II 2K cameras in fixed and hand-held positions on the field.

“4K is allowing sports broadcasters to shoot at a longer distance and have the ability to zoom in because of the higher resolution,” says Jay Shinn, an account manager for For-A. “Of course, it will be down-converted to HD, but if you tried to do the same thing with a conventional HD camera, the picture would be very fuzzy.”

Brand Connections

So if a wide receiver gets shoved out of bounds and a lineman is holding at the same time on another part of the field, Shinn says, CBS could use the same video to analyze both plays.

The Evertz’s DreamCatcher replay system is a perfect complement to the cameras, requiring fewer operators and providing better picture quality than its competitors, says Aagard. “It retains and plays back the video very efficiently."

Replays are typically broadcast one at a time. But this year, CBS will use another Evertz product — its multi-image display Mosaic system — to show up to four images simultaneously in either a quad-split, three-way split or a two-way split.

With the zoom capability of the high-res cameras, viewers could potentially watch replays side-by-side that came from the same camera, Aagaard says. It will likely be used, however, to show potential scoring plays from multiple angles.

“When you have a bunch of guys go down in a pile at the goal line, there are typically so many bodies around there that one camera can’t tell where the ball is,” said Aagaard. “This will let our viewers watch the play from multiple angles simultaneously and help confirm a play.”

CBS saw NBC's success with the Ikegami/NAC Hi-Motion II camera in last year’s Super Bowl. Capable of shooting at 1,000 frames per second, it confirmed that New York Giants’ receiver Mario Manningham had both feet inbounds on the catch that clinched the championship. But that specific video was shot between 300 and 400 frames per second, says Alan Keil, director of engineering for Ikegami USA.

“You wouldn’t typically shoot football at anything close to 1,000 fps,” Keil says, adding that any time you cut exposure time in half, you need twice as much light. That makes shooting in the dark Superdome a bit of a challenge. “I’ve heard it can be tough in that venue.”

That’s why CBS installed 300-foot candle lights throughout the dome in August. Aagaard says he’s not concerned about his 300-to-450 fps shots looking dark on Super Sunday. “We now have more than enough light to work with and should be able to shoot at any angle.”

Even though high-frame-rate replays create fascinating visuals, CBS may not be able to show them off as much as it would like.

Much depends on how often the coaches and refs in the booth demand replays. All scoring plays and turnovers are automatically reviewed.

The referee watches the same replay that’s broadcast, Aagaard says. “When replay and challenges really started, we never wanted to have the NFL looking at something different that we don’t see in our program monitor. To show it makes all the difference in the world.”

The frequency of replays also depends on the pace of the game.  "The biggest problem in trying to show off high-speed replays is that it simply takes longer to playback,” says Aagaard. “For some teams, you only get a second or two, then you have to be back at the line of scrimmage. Certainly not having a hurry-up offense like New England in the Super Bowl helps to give us more time to show off the technology.”

Tags

Comments (0) -

Marketshare Blog Playout Blog

Twitter

TVNewsCheck

Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 28, 2016
  • 1.
    2.8/10
  • 2.
    1.9/7
  • 3.
    1.7/6
  • 4.
    1.4/5
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.4/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

This advertisement will close automatically in  second(s). You will see this ad no more than once a day. Skip ad