CBS’s New Camera Angles Could Impact SEC Football Games

When the SEC on CBS debuts this Saturday, a set of new camera angles will do more than offer fans a new view of the action; they could also play a key role in the outcome of games in, what is considered by many to be, the most powerful conference in college football.

CBS will be moving a pair of robotic cameras that, last year, were located atop the goal posts to positions in the stadium at goal-line extended to ensure that all shots of players breaking the plane provide a clear, parallel view for fans and referees alike.

These shots will be critical in addressing controversies that arise on what Craig Silver, coordinating producer, college football, at CBS, calls “flip-the-field plays.”

“Your cart camera, which is normally on the goal line, is not there,” he says, citing James Harrison’s interception return just before halftime of Super Bowl XLIII as a prime example. “Almost nobody has a permanent camera on the goal line no matter how many cameras you have, and how many games do you have to have a definitive look [on a play]?”

Silver confirmed that, in the SEC, where a coach’s-challenge system is in place, these new camera angles will be available to officials reviewing challenged plays. That means those “flip-the-field” plays — which tend to carry with them a momentum swing — will have a consistent, clear angle previously unavailable in college football, thus changing whether a controversial call at the goal line does or does not get overturned.

A Classic-Broadcast Feel
Otherwise, viewers should notice little difference in the SEC on CBS as the crew will go with its standard 15-camera complement.

“I don’t want to reinvent the wheel just to say we reinvented the wheel. I want to reinvent the wheel if it’s going to be a better wheel,” says Silver, who has produced CBS college-football broadcasts since 1996. “So we may not use all the crazy bells and whistles that you see on other networks. We are only going to use cool and innovative technology if it pushes our ability to help cover the game, provide entertainment to the viewer, and provide us with a better broadcast.”

This will also mark the second straight year that CBS college football games will be produced out of F&F Productions’ GTX-16 HD mobile unit, the same truck used as the centerpiece of CBS’s coverage of US Open tennis earlier this month.

CBS is scheduled to air 15 SEC games this season, including a doubleheader on Nov. 12 and the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3. The network will also cover Air Force at Navy on Oct. 1, the Army-Navy Game on Dec. 10, and the Sun Bowl — which is the second-oldest sports property on CBS, second only to The Masters golf tournament — on Dec. 31.

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