ESPN added a new hand-held camera to its Monday Night Football coverage this season to capture more of the stadium atmosphere at games.
ESPN’s 2018 NFL telecasts have included a variety of shots from this camera including, of course, close-ups of Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrating his NFL career passing record last week with his family.
When the San Francisco 49ers visit the Green Bay Packers (tonight, 8:15 ET, ESPN), this new camera will play a significant role.
The roving camera operator assigned to this RF (radio frequency) hand-held is Jackson Smith, who has worked on MNF since 2012. An Alabama native, tonight will be a home game for Smith, who moved to Appleton, Wisc., near Green Bay, this summer with his family.
Veteran director Chip Dean explains: “We wanted to give fans at home a better sense of what it would be like sitting in the stands and being at the games, so we extended the visual presentation from the field to the whole stadium. It’s really paid off because it’s made our show more visually interesting.”
Adds Smith: “What I’m enjoying most is the challenge of finding innovative ways to showcase the fans, the stadium and the storylines of each game.”
Dean estimates that 15-20 shots captured by Smith are used during a MNF game. If fans at home get a glimpse of the Packers Hall of Fame, the Vince Lombardi statue, or fans tailgating in the neighborhoods adjacent to Lambeau Field, chances are it will be from Smith and this new camera.