A television ratings milestone, Super Bowl XLV was watched by a record 111 million TV viewers. Complementing this historic statistic was production services provider Game Creek Video’s decision to outfit all eighteen of its “hard” HD field cameras with XJ100x9.3B long-zoom HD lenses from Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging. In addition to this exclusive use of the broadcast industry’s first triple-digit, long-zoom HD field lens, Game Creek Video equipped all of its portable HD cameras with Canon HJ22ex7.6B and HJ11x4.7B ENG-style lenses, and HJ21ex7.5B portable EFP lenses, making its coverage of this year’s championship yet another all-Canon Super Bowl.
“To my knowledge this is the first time that the Super Bowl has been done where all of the large box lenses were 100-bys, so it’s a great accomplishment for our company—and for Canon as well—that these lenses are in such demand and so sought after by the production teams that we deal with,” stated Pat Sullivan, president of Game Creek Video. He added that Game Creek Video used nine of its mobile production units for its Super Bowl XLV coverage and provided all equipment for the network’s main domestic feed for the United States and Canada, as well as for the pre-game show and the red-carpet celebrity arrival event.
“We are honored that Game Creek Video, one of North America’s leading mobile HDTV production companies, has again chosen Canon as the exclusive HD lens brand for its mission-critical coverage of the Super Bowl,” commented Larry Thorpe, national marketing executive, Broadcast and Communications division, Canon U.S.A. “Canon’s world-renowned optical expertise ensures that its long-zoom HD lenses, such as the XJ100x9.3B, are designed to deliver unsurpassed video images and the precision performance so vital to HDTV sports production. We are especially proud that Canon HDTV lenses were instrumental in capturing the video for Super Bowl XLV, which garnered the largest audience in U.S. TV history.”
The XJ100x9.3B long-zoom HD lens features Canon’s exclusive Shift-IS built-in Image Stabilization system, which enables television directors to capture dramatic, high-impact telephoto shots and deliver this video shake-free to the viewing audience. As with all of the long-zoom lenses in Canon’s DIGISUPER line, the XJ100x9.3B features Canon’s XS technology for superior optical performance in terms of high contrast and superb picture sharpness across the entire focal range. Canon’s second-generation Digital Servo System provides microcomputer compensation of lens focus breathing (the inadvertent alteration of field of view when operating the focus control) and also facilitates a host of improved digital operational features for focus and zooming control. An Auto Focus version of the XJ100x9.3B is also available to empower camera operators preoccupied with multi-tasking lens-camera operations during fast-action sports coverage.
“Game Creek Video has been using Canon 100xs long-zoom HD lenses since they were first introduced, and today we own twenty-three of them,” Sullivan noted. “The Canon 100xs is exceptionally stable and it gives directors a lot of capabilities for each camera on which they are mounted. You don’t have to worry about where your ‘hard’ cameras are placed when each one is equipped with one of the largest, most powerful lenses available today.”
“The Canon 100xs gives directors a lot of flexibility to ‘tell their story’ while utilizing the best equipment that they can get.” —Pat Sullivan, President of Game Creek Video
The world-leading optical excellence of Canon’s portable HD lenses was also integral to Game Creek Video’s successful Super Bowl XLV coverage. These included: the HJ22ex7.6B, Canon’s longest-focal-length portable HD production lens; the HJ21ex7.5B, which has the widest field of view—combined with a generous 21x focal length—among Canon’s standard HD telephoto EFP lenses; and the HJ11ex4.7B lens, famous for its wide-angle-of-view performance. (Previously the Company’s widest portable HD lens, it was recently joined in Canon’s product line by the new HJ14ex4.3B, the world’s widest-angle lens in the professional realm of 2/3-inch lenses.)
All three of these lenses bear Canon’s “eHDxs” designation, which indicates inclusion of Canon’s exclusive XS optical technology as well as the highly innovative control features of Canon’s unique eDrive technology. With eDrive—the digital servo system that embodies Canon’s unique MRA technology, which provides 16-bit resolution of the settings for zoom, iris, and focus—camera operators can easily program such functions as zoom and focus settings into these lenses for precise, automated repeatability via an easy-to-use LCD menu, assignable “soft” function buttons, and the rocker switch built into the lens grip. With the fast-moving action of professional football, this time-saving function can be critical for capturing dramatic game-winning moments in crystal-clear HDTV.
“We always get great technical support from Canon,” Sullivan stated. “When we were covering the NFC Championship game in Chicago amid single-digit temperatures, Canon was there to help us monitor our lenses and make sure they were working properly in spite of the cold. Canon also sent personnel down to Dallas to prep all of the lenses in advance of Super Bowl XLV. Canon’s 100xs long-zoom HD lenses are very robust in bad weather. As for Canon’s portable lenses, they get exposed to the same kind of conditions, if not worse, because they often get put down on the ground and can get mud or snow on them. Again, they’re solid, robust products that can withstand a pretty good pounding.”
“When you’ve got more than 100 million people in the United States watching the Super Bowl, you want to be secure in knowing that you’re performing at the highest level you can in every respect,” Sullivan said. “That’s why we use Canon. We have been in business for eighteen years and have pretty much been exclusively with Canon the entire time. We have a big investment in Canon and it has been justified over the years.”