Miami Pro Bowl Gives Big Screen Big Tools for In-Stadium Video

For 25 years, Big Screen Network Productions has handled the in-stadium video productions for the Super Bowl, and, for nearly as long, it has been handling the Pro Bowl as well. So the decision to have the Pro Bowl played the week ahead of the Super Bowl instead of the week after (and in Miami instead of Hawaii) required the Big Screen team to think differently about the programming.

“The Pro Bowl in-stadium experience will actually have a higher level of production [than if it were in Hawaii the week after],” says Big Screen President Paul Kalil. “There is clearly a lot of pressure on the production team, but it also puts pressure on everybody, including the NFL.”

Big Screen handles everything from covering the game for fans at the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl to creating all of the graphics and video packages that roll before the game, during the game, and even after the game. One package that will be missing from this year’s Pro Bowl coverage, obviously, are Super Bowl highlights.

“The Pro Bowl video productions is a little more fun-loving, and we can do live interviews on the field,” says Kalil. “We can also interview players during timeouts, and that is clearly something we can’t do during the Super Bowl.”

Big Screen relies on the in-venue video-production capabilities of the particular venue, so, over the years, it has had to work with everything from ¾-in. tape machines stacked in the corner to cutting-edge HD facilities (Kalil is already looking forward to working in Dallas in 2012).

“The facilities in Sun Life Stadium in Miami are pretty complex,” he points out. “We don’t have near that level of capability in Hawaii.”

Preproduction work includes using After Effects, Maya, and 3D graphics programs to build player profiles, music videos, opening team intros, fan prompts, and even the elements for the LED ribbon scoreboards.

Big Screen’s corporate headquarters are in Los Angeles, and it also has an office in Raleigh, NC. Staffers in both locations have been busy since September, gearing up not only for this weekend’s game but, of course, for the big show next week. Learn more about that massive undertaking next week when SVG shifts into Super Bowl mode.