CBS, Fox Go Green for NFL Coverage With Litepanels LEDs

CBS Sports and Fox Sports have each garnered impressive ratings for NFL coverage during the first three weeks of the 2010 season, and both of them are producing these Sunday telecasts with the environment in mind — not to mention lower power consumption and easier setup. Both networks are using Litepanels eco-friendly LED flat-panel lighting supplied by Bexel and will use it for the entire 2010 NFL regular and post-season, which includes Fox’s Super Bowl XLV coverage from Arlington, TX, on Feb. 6.

“Litepanels products have a much lower environmental impact due to their lower power consumption and much lower heat emission,” says Bexel CEO Jerry Gepner. “This type of technology is perfectly consistent with [Bexel’s] desire to use technology and tools that support our environment. We are thrilled that some of our major customers feel the same way.”

Litepanels proprietary LED systems are lighting each of the 14 weekly NFL games that CBS and Fox will broadcast during the regular season. In the broadcast booth, they illuminate the announcers during the pre-game introduction and on-camera shots during the game. They are also used for in-game standup shots of roving sideline reporters and for post-game coach and player interviews on the field.

“Each week, NFL broadcast crews are faced with different stadium booths, and the unique Litepanels engineering and design, coupled with variable-focus ability, now offer them a much easier and quicker setup than the conventional incandescent lights, bulky fluorescents, or very heavy and cumbersome HMIs,” says Lee Estroff, director of broadcast technical sales for Bexel. “The Litepanels’ thin, lightweight, and square form factor allows the lighting directors and booth camera operators to be as creative as needed when it comes to a booth with several size and space constraints.”

In addition to their flexibility and one-tenth the weight of comparable HMI systems, Litepanels’ LED lighting systems are more eco-friendly than traditional incandescent booth lights. The Litepanels are made with 100%-recyclable materials; contain no mercury, a common component in other lighting devices; and consume only one-third as much power as traditional HMI systems. The minimal power consumption was key for CBS and Fox, because most broadcast booths’ power requirements already exceed the built-in capacity.

“A primary factor in CBS and Fox making the switch to LED lights is the lack of heat emission, which is very important when broadcasting afternoon games during the fall season,” says Pat Grosswendt, Litepanels co-founder/director of the broadcast division. “The broadcast talent has been thrilled with this switchover due to much more comfortable booth temperatures and the reduction of squinting eyes, typically caused by the HMIs they had been pounded with for years. Crews have repeatedly told us that the lights were designed for end users by end users.”

Bexel is a long-time partner of both CBS and Fox and played a vital role in their decision to adopt Litepanels systems for the 2010 season. In addition to serving as distributor, Bexel customized the Litepanels gear to the particular requirements of the CBS Sports and Fox Sports engineers.

“Bexel has been a great help in making the overall implementation of Litepanels an easy adjustment,” says Michael Davies, VP of field operations for Fox Sports. “Bexel organized calls, graciously took our team’s suggestions, and even built specialized gear to better suit the engineers.”

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