Trizano, Technology Innovator for CBS, Dead at 60

Frank Trizano, an innovator who was responsible for technologies like the Telestrator and NASCAR Hot Pass, died of a heart attack last month at the age of 60. He is survived by his wife, Lisa.

A graduate of Columbia University in 1972 with a master’s degree in electronic engineering, Trizano honed the skills that would later serve him well in broadcasting while at Grumman Aerospace, where he was involved with one of the last Apollo missions. One lasting legacy of his involvement is having his name alongside others on a camera that is still located on the moon.

His broadcast career at CBS began in 1975 and ended in 2002, with his having held positions in CBS News, field operations, systems programming and planning, and more. He helped develop game-changing technologies, such as The Coach’s Clicker for John Madden, the Telestrator, integration of SGI 3D graphics rendering into sports production, and linear keying in production switchers.

In 1998, he was honored with the George Wensel Technical Achievement Award for NFL on CBS while serving as technical graphics manager.

Other accomplishments included designing Talent Buzzers for NFL Today on CBS, overseeing design and building of a number of large and small remote-production units (including dual-layer SD/HD units), and consulting with CBS on a wide variety of other projects, including the automated WCBS New York TV graphic ID with time and temperature.

After leaving CBS, Trizano helped develop EyeVision, a system that tied 32 video cameras together within a venue and provided the ability to deliver a shot that would swing around a play (similar to an effect used in the film The Matrix). He also worked for Reality Check Systems, helping design and implement the NASCAR Hot Pass system, which allowed a single production unit to have five small control rooms, each dedicated to creating a channel complete with camera feeds, graphics, and audio that would follow a single driver.

“Frank was one of a handful of people who made the transition from analog to digital,” says Reality Check’s Steve Heimbold. “He had an amazing knack of seeing problems three or four steps ahead of everyone else, and I am extremely lucky to have met him back in 1998. He had a huge impact on my career and on Reality Check Systems.

And helping design the graphical look for the NFL Network and MLB Network is also part of his legacy.

“Frank Trizano was one of the most brilliant engineers I have ever worked with, and he was ‘IT’ before CBS even knew what ‘IT’ was,” says Ken Aagaard, EVP of Engineering, Operations, and Production Services, CBS Sports. “He was a mad scientist. He would go into his office for three straight days to make something work.”

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