Texas High School Football Gets HD Treatment

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The UIL Class 5A Texas high school football state championship games from Reliant Stadium in Houston on Dec. 20 will be televised in high-definition on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Houston, marking the first-time ever the regional sports networks have shown a Texas high school event in HD.

“Everything aligned perfectly for us to deliver the games in HD,” says Fox Sports Southwest Senior Executive Producer Mike Anastassiou. “Our HD truck in Houston is available because the Rockets are on the road, and the high school games are being played in an HD-friendly venue.

Reliant’s infrastructure makes going HD easier than working at a smaller high school stadium. “We don’t produce the Texas high school games at the level of a Big 12 game,” says Anastassiou, “but we use seven cameras and a full complement of networked EVS servers, Chyron HyperX graphics, and a Fox Box insert.”

Because the two games are played back to back at Reliant on Dec. 20, the network will make use of the dual-feed capabilities of the Mobile TV Group truck. Half the truck will be used for game production and half for High School Sports Live, which will recap the first game and preview the second.

“The potential to televise nine continuous hours of live local programming in high-definition also was very appealing to us,” adds Anastassiou. “A state like Texas, where high school football is just as big and in some areas even bigger than college and pro football, warrants an HD production for its premier championship games.”

Does the game open up a new era of high school football in HD? Not quite. “There are so many variables involved in producing high school games in HD that we really can’t commit to doing more games in HD just yet. It’s something we’ll explore. This one just worked out right for us.”

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