On September 29th, BSI, one of our teams that is part of NEP’s Specialty Capture group, debuted their brand-new First Down Cam for NFL coverage on CBS. The initial request from CBS came in on September 4th, and in just a few short weeks, BSI was able to conceive, develop, build, test and launch this new specialty camera.
The first step was to assemble a working group — drawing from engineering, operations and manufacturing — to throw around concepts and then narrow it down to a solution that would deliver a great result while also meeting budget requirements and the tight timeline. Oh yeah, it also had to fit into a pylon that the chain crew could carry up and down the field.
After the team was in place, they set to work selecting the camera technology. Quickly, they landed on a 360-degree pan & tilt camera, instead of a software-based solution or a solution that would have required stitching. From there, the team at BSI hit the ground running with development.
With the technology selected, BSI’s experts took a pylon, cored out the inside, and created a whole new interior structure to support the camera. They built a custom housing and engineered it so that the top two inches of the pylon can pan around with the camera. Add in their RF expertise and technology, and boom: In a few short weeks they had a new camera solution built from the ground up (or should we say, from the first-down line up).
In true NEP “One Team” fashion, Peter Larsson, President of BSI, gives credit to Dan Grainge and Jonathan Stein from our team at Fletcher for lending their expertise and knowledge of robotic camera solutions to help us arrive at the perfect pan & tilt technology so quickly. He also sends big kudos to our U.S. Mobile Units team for helping BSI locate and resolve problems during the testing phase. It is always a help to have so many experts in different technologies under one roof.
We would also be remiss if we didn’t give a HUGE shout-out to Mike Sartin, the lead mechanical designer, who not only got the First Down Cam up-and-running on time but got married the day the camera made its debut! Talk about multi-tasking.
See the camera in action