For millions of football fans, the Super Bowl is the high point of the sports year. For the production team behind its broadcast, the game is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride where everyone's reputation is on the line. Following months of intense planning—during which every conceivable variable was considered—Super Bowl XLVI's producers NEP Broadcasting called upon Canon to provide its HDTV lenses. After all, when you're acting as the world's eyes, only the best lenses will do.
"Such an event demands total reliability in the equipment we use," says George Hoover, Senior Vice President of Engineering at NEP Broadcasting. Canon lenses were used on NEP's three mobile production vehicles and on each of its 100-plus HDTV cameras. "We've used Canon lenses for previous Super Bowls and for this year's entire football season, because of their image quality and reliability, and because of Canon's excellent service and support."
Among the many HDTV lenses that NEP Broadcasting utilized were the Canon XJ100x9.3B and XJ86x9.3B long-zoom lenses, designed for "hard" HDTV field cameras. Both feature Canon's second-generation built-in Shift-IS technology, a must for steady shots at telephoto distances, or wherever the zoom range is set. "When you're zoomed in really tight with the long-zoom lenses and you're moving down the sideline in the cart, the capabilities of Canon's Image Stabilization are of great importance," Hoover notes.
“We've used Canon lenses for previous Super Bowls and for this year's entire football season, because of their image quality and reliability, and because of Canon's excellent service and support.” —George Hoover, Senior Vice President of Engineering, NEP Broadcasting
For NEP, optical quality is crucial, as is stability. To suit these needs, HDTV lenses were mounted on a variety of portable EFP-style cameras, Steadicams, and jib arms. These lenses included the world's widest-angle lens in the professional realm of 2/3-inch lenses, the HJ14ex4.3B; Canon's longest-focal-length portable HD production lens, the Canon HJ22ex7.6B; and its highly portable telephoto EFP lens—the Canon HJ40x14B—that incorporates Canon's Shift-IS system for imaging rock-steady HD video. The latter ensures even coverage under even the most adverse field conditions.
"Canon has been at the forefront of advancing optical technology for HDTV content creation for decades," says Larry Thorpe, Senior Fellow at Canon USA's Professional Engineering & Solutions Division. "As a result, Canon HDTV lenses provide broadcasters and other creative program producers with a wide range of highly sophisticated operational advantages."
And so it went on February 5, 2012, as the New York Giants and New England Patriots took the field for Super Bowl XLVI at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium: more than 100 million people watched a brilliant game unfold using Canon cameras and lenses as their eyes. And regardless of whom viewers were rooting for, all could agree that the production was a real winner.