LSN Sports Network
Courtesy Story from Sports Tech Live
By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director
Super Bowl LIV new era in Super Bowl broadcasting will begin: the UHD/HDR era. Make no mistake about it: a UHD HDR Super Bowl — and which network would be the first to air it — has been gossip fodder since the first 4K sets hit the CES show floor, and for good reason: the event is a bellwether of the industry’s move to UHD and HDR.
According to Mike Davies, SVP, technical and field operations, Fox Sports, the decision to go UHD and HDR for Super Bowl LIV came from the highest executive levels within the Fox organization. And it was a decision that he is not sure would have made sense early last year.
“The whole evolution of UHD accelerated in 2019, and I’m not sure we would have made the decision to do UHD and HDR in the beginning of the year,” he says. “But, as technology matured — and it matured quickly — it made it more and more possible to conceive of doing Thursday Night Football in 1080p HDR as well as doing the Super Bowl.”
Thursday Night Football was an important reason that Super Bowl LIV is making the UHD/HDR leap. The efforts began in the preseason, and 11 games ultimately were distributed to viewers in UHD and HDR.
“We got comfortable with what we were doing in UHD HDR with the help of people like [Fox Sports, Director, Technical Operations,] Kevin Callahanand [Thumbwar, VP, Special Projects,] Mike Drazin,” he says. “It became clear we could pull this off, and, while it wasn’t easy, we hired the right people to make it happen.”
Viewers on Sunday, that relationship will produce a viewing experience that begins at the South Beach studios and then heads outside of Hard Rock Stadium, where fans will be gathering for pregame festivities. A two-point Flycam will bring viewers directly from outside the stadium to inside the bowl, where more than 70 manned cameras will capture the battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
“We will have a massive amount of super-slow-motion and no true gimmicks,” says Davies. “[Lead Game Producer] Richard Zyontz and [Lead Director] Rich Russo are the best at using super-slo-mo to tell you what is happening and to tell the story of the feelings and emotion. We are stewards of Super Bowl LIV, and the goal is to raise the bar and give our colleagues at CBS Sports something to shoot for next year.”
*photo cover courtesy Shakira Artist