Captured on Campus

ESPN using Pylon Cam for SNF, MNF telecasts

Pylon Camera at FirstEnergy Stadium.

(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)
(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas – ESPN will continue its development and use of Pylon Cam during this Saturday’s neutral-site college football from AT&T Stadium featuring No. 20 Wisconsin against No. 3 Alabama on Saturday Night Football on ABC presented by Wells Fargo.

Additionally, after successful testing in the preseason, Monday Night Football will add Pylon Cam to some regular-season game coverage. The system uses four custom-molded goal line pylons that house four cameras each to offer brand new perspectives around the goal line.

Pylon Cam, first deployed and tested by ESPN during the College Football Playoff Championship, features a custom-molded goal line pylon that houses multiple cameras in order to bring viewers brand new perspectives around the goal line during the game.

Front Row asked Senior Vice President, Production Innovation, Jed Drake and Marc Rowley, director, Production Enhancements, about Pylon Cam.

ESPN introduced the Pylon Cam to cover last season’s FCS and College Football Playoff championship games. What did you learn from that experience?
Rowley: From deploying the initial prototype at the CFP Game last year, we decided we needed a stronger signal connection to ensure we could capture every play for the fans. We set our sights on a safe wired system with a safe breakaway.

What changes/improvements have you made to the technology since introducing it last year?
Drake: We have gone to a fully-molded, four-camera, hard-wired system. Safety has always been our top priority, but with that issue successfully tackled, we were then able to create a hard-wired solution that provides great video signals that are very reliable. And we added two cameras for good measure, so that each pylon has a total of four cameras – 16 total added to the telecast. [It was a] huge team effort with dozens of people involved, starting with [senior coordinating producer] Ed Placey’s vision a year ago and carried forth from that day by Marc.

How often do you plan to use the Pylon Cams during a typical game?
Drake: It will be used like any other replay source. If it provides the best angle, we’ll use it. Clearly it will provide great angles on line calls as well.

What’s next – Goalpost Cam?
Rowley: Simple – do the impossible.

Kevin Ota contributed to this post.

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