Litepanels LEDs To Light Up CBS’s Super Bowl Coverage

Sunny Florida is sure to serve as a super host for Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, but the sunshine provides some lighting challenges for CBS Sports. Luckily for CBS, Litepanels is up to the challenge, providing LED light fixtures for the announcers booth and a green-screen position.

Through Bexel Broadcast Services, CBS has been using Litepanels lighting throughout the season with its A-game team. Commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms became so comfortable under the Litepanels lights, in fact, that, when the team returned from broadcasting a game in London, they asked the production team to return to the LED lights.

“The cameramen love them, the audio guys love them because there’s no projected sound coming out of them, and the talent really loves them because they didn’t have to squint for the first time,” says Pat Grosswendt, director of product development for Litepanels. “That was a big deal.”

Litepanels will set up two all-LED installations in Miami. The first features Nantz and Simms with their backs to the open stadium and lit by two 3×1 SuperSpot Bi-Focus daylight fixtures. A third, identical fixture will be hung and available if the light level needs to be boosted to equalize the ambient light on the field behind the announcers. No backlights are necessary for this position because of the ambient light from daylight or stadium lighting.

Kickoff for the Super Bowl is scheduled for 6:28 p.m. ET, but CBS will go on-air live from Sun Life Stadium several hours beforehand. The light behind the announcers, therefore, will transition from full natural daylight to full artificial lighting by the end of the evening, so the ability of Litepanels’ fixtures to dim from 100% to zero, with no noticeable change in color temperature, will allow the CBS technical crew to provide a natural look each time the announcers are shown.

The entire Litepanels lighting package weighs 51 lb. and can be packed in a 1-ft. by 1-ft. by 34-in. space. In addition, all of the fixtures used in the announce position consume 450 W, less than one-quarter the power required by a standard 20-amp wall outlet.

“I think it’s the simplicity of it that makes it work,” Grosswendt says. “The value in it is the fact that they’re so lightweight. They’re running on so little power that you don’t have to have a lot of cables to power them up. They don’t get hot, so you don’t have to wait for them to cool down to strike the set. Other than saving in shipping costs, because you don’t have to ship cables, ballasts, heads, and other things they’ve done in the past with traditional lights, the ease of operation is a big draw.”

Litepanels is also lighting a green-screen–background announce position in the booth, which will allow CBS to key video behind its announcers. The green screen is mounted against a side wall, with a robotic camera positioned on the opposite wall. This position is lit by a pair of 3×1 Spot and Flood Bi-Focus daylight fixtures, with two 1×1 Spot and Flood Bi-Focus daylight fixtures to provide backlight.

The four fixtures used for the green-screen announce position draw just 400 W. Litepanels fixtures used in both announce-booth positions consume one-third less energy than HMI or fluorescent fixtures, a welcome saving for any broadcaster.