Miles of Cable and "TiVo on Steroids"
The Super Bowl is the single most powerful television event in the marketing world-and has been for a generation. It will earn the attention of between 30 to 40 percent of all the world's televisions being used on that Sunday evening. No matter for Davies, who seemed very calm about it all."The hardest preparation problem I have to solve is that the red carpet show is 4,000 feet away from where the trucks will be parked at the stadium, and we have to lay three fibre- channel cables that far. That's about three-quarters of a mile; a lot of cable to lay down, and a lot of territory to cover [across streets, culverts, walkways, and other obstacles]," Davies said. Davies and his crew will use high-end, industry-standard EVS video servers, as they do for all NFL telecasts. "These are the cornerstones of all our telecasts," Davies said. "They are like Tivos on steroids. They can each handle either four or six channels of input and output-at the same time. They can record and play back HD video at the same time." Fox Sports will use 22 of these specialized servers in the broadcast, Davies said, with either one or two cameras assigned to each server. "One of the replay servers and replay cameras, for example, will only be collecting highlight clips for the end-of-show highlight reel," Davies said. "By the end of the game, it's all cut, packaged and ready to go. During the game, the other instant-replay cameras and servers will work together to show various angles on the plays, to see what really happened during a controversial call, for example." These same replays are the ones used by the officials when they are reviewing whether Wes Welker had two feet inbounds on a sideline pass from Tom Brady, or whether big Brandon Jacobs actually did push the ball over the goal line when he was tackled by Junior Seau. "Four of our replay cameras will be shooting 180 frames-per-second HD video, which will give us 'super-slow' motion," Davies said. "We're also going to use one Vision Research Phantom V9 hypermotion camera, that shoots 300 frames per second-for ultra-slow playback. It's normally used for government jobs. We expect some phenomenal shots with that one."
"It's really just another game for us," he said. "We'll have a few more cameras, trucks and crew than usual. The long pre-game is all extra, but we've done this all before. When we did the NFC Championship game in Green Bay (Packers vs. Giants, which the Giants won), the cold was definitely a factor. I don't look forward to doing that again. But Phoenix-weather won't be an issue.