ESPN Plans Big Sound for CFP National Championship Game


The upcoming College Football Playoff National Championship (Jan. 9 on ESPN) will determine the national champion of NCAA Division I college football for the 2016 season. It will also witness ESPN’s most ambitious audio coverage yet of college football’s climactic game. The game, to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, will find full production facilities deployed onsite, including Game Creek’s Spirit as main production truck and Maverick used for the audio submix mission.

college-footbal-national-championship-logoOn the field, ESPN will deploy eight parabolic microphones, as well as a new microphone/mount combination that the network first tried out at this year’s Indianapolis 500. According to Kevin Cleary, remote production operations specialist for ESPN, Audio-Technica BP 4027 stereo shotgun microphones will be attached to four DynaMount V1-R remotely controlled robotic microphone mounts. These mounts, which will have been further weatherized, will be used to capture the dense soundscape of college football games, allowing them to be remotely aimed at specific areas of the bowl to capture crowd sounds, cheers, marching bands, and other effects. The microphones are controlled by audio submixer Steve Kura using DynaMount’s proprietary iOS app over ESPN’s dedicated WiFi deployed for the event. Devin Barnhart is the scheduled A1 for the show.

“The intent is to get much more of the crowd and other sounds into the broadcast,” Cleary explained during a break at the SVG Summit in New York. “It worked very well at the Indy 500.”

ESPN will again offer its Megacast version of the game on one of its channels this year. The traditional game telecast will air on ESPN with about a dozen alternative productions across ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, and ESPN3. The fourth consecutive edition of the ESPN Megacast for college football’s championship game, it will feature Sounds of the Game: live video with natural audio of the event, captured by more than 100 microphones positioned throughout the stadium, taking center stage and without any announcer audio.

The lead-up to the College Football Playoff National Championship game will also have plenty of sound. The contenders of that game are the winners of the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, signaling the end of the 2016–17 bowl season. At those games six parabolic collectors will be deployed; A typical ESPN college football game during the regular season uses four.

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s championship game and the bowl games that are leading up to it,” said Cleary. “It’s more sound than we’ve ever had for a college football game before.”

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