Super Bowl Report: Game Creek Video Keys Innovation at Big Game

Fox Sports isn’t the only team that has come together en masse for Super Bowl XLV. Remote production facilities provider Game Creek Video is also on site in a serious way, with its four Fox trucks handling game coverage for Fox Sports, Liberty A and B units handling the Fox pre-game show, Patriot A and B handling the Red Carpet show, and The Yankee Clipper located in Fort Worth to help produce ESPN’s Super Bowl coverage.

“This is the biggest show we’ve done,” says Jason Taubman, Game Creek, VP, new technology and design who is on hand to handle some of the new technical developments related to the game.

Jason Taubman of Game Creek Video.

“Our challenge is overcoming things we didn’t know about in advance. We came in with guns loaded, spare equipment, and its all been soaked up.”

Once the game starts Sunday afternoon look for operations in the Fox A, B, C, and D units to proceed as if the Super Bowl were an “A-plus” game. Extra cameras and extra EVS servers will be used but the goal from the opening kickoff on is to make it feel as much as possible like a top-level NFL regular season game. Fifty-seven cameras from Game Creek will be in action on Sunday and technical director Colby Bourgeois will drive the Grass Valley Kayenne switcher at the core of the production.

One of the true innovations this year has to do with pre-game editing and graphics as the team has taken over the still photo workroom in the stadium. The use of rooms instead of a trailer gives the team a work environment that more closely resembles their operations in Los Angeles. The room features six Apple Final Cut pro editing systems tied into an Avid Unity that is connected to the EVS units in the Game Creek units via IP Director.

“This is advancing the state of the art as we develop some new tricks to get EVS Ethernet Gigabit networking onto HD-SDI networking,” says Taubman. “There are some new file-based workflows and for the most part its working out.”

By connecting the EVS units with the Unity system clips and content are being pushed and pulled between the trucks in the stadium tunnel and the edit rooms located approximately 100 feet away. Files can also be moved to Los Angeles via fiber and there is also a connection to Los Angeles that allows baseband video to be captured in Liberty and pushed onto the Unity system.

The Game Creek Video fleet numbers six units inside the stadium.

Another new development for the Fox team and Game Creek is a more integrated RTS Adam intercom system. The use of dual-bus expanders allows the two Adam frames to be hooked together and create one big intercom. The RTS RVON (RTS Voice Over Network) IP system then allows for transfer of voice communications over Ethernet.

Given the size of the event communications between the Fox, Liberty, and Patriot trucks is of paramount importance.

“Everyone wants to talk to everyone but that previously wasn’t possible with RTS as we would need to use four-wire interfaces between the trucks,” says Taubman. But RTS introduced a Madi card at NAB that allows users to put 64 bidirectional channels on two fibers and have redundancy.

Come Monday many Game Creek staffers will be recovering from the busy week. But for the Fox trucks it is, literally, no rest for the weary as the four production units hit the road on Monday morning at 5 a.m. so they can be in Daytona for the NASCAR season that begins later in the week.

“We will have a double team of drivers getting the trucks to Daytona by Tuesday and night and there is a team waiting for them to set up all night when they get there,” adds Taubman.