Who Needs 4K? The NFL, Apparently, as CBS is Using the FT-ONE 4K Camera During the Super Bowl

Speaking of 4K and the FOR-A FT-ONE camera, they are being used right now in sports broadcast situations for very specific applications: slow-motion and close-up replays. Sporting events can be decided by inches, or at times even millimeters, and giving the officials of the game the best views possible is difficult when a blown-up 1080p image just doesn't quite cut it. That's why those who broadcast NFL games have been experimenting with using 4K cameras to do a super-zoom into the action, and they will be in use for this year's Baltimore Ravens/San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl.

The Verge has the scoop on the situation:

In addition to its 80-plus HD cameras planted around the Superdome and throughout New Orleans, CBS will be shooting this year's Super Bowl with six 4K cameras. Japanese company For-A supplied the cameras — Aagaard says CBS considered a handful of different 4K models, particularly Sony's, before being wowed by For-A's offering — and for most of the game, possibly the entire thing, they won't be called upon for broadcast. But at some point during the game, there may come what the CBS crew calls "a perfect play." Maybe a punt grazes a player's knee, or doesn't. Maybe the quarterback's knee was down before he threw a game-changing interception, and maybe it wasn't. Maybe a receiver made an incredible circus catch before rolling out of bounds, or maybe he didn't.

Sony's F65 has been in use by FOX during the regular football season for the exact same purpose, but CBS has decided to go with FOR-A's camera for the Super Bowl since they've been testing it for some time now, and also because its slow motion capabilities at 4K (well over close to 1000fps) can freeze the action for super close-ups. These broadcasters may not be ready to move to 4K just yet, with all of the technological hurdles such a move entails, but there is a real need for higher than HD images at these games.

4K technology around football is certainly nothing new, as NFL Films has been experimenting with RED for quite some time now, but in terms of replays, the hardware needed to work with the footage in realtime has only recently been brought up to speed. According to The Verge, a play earlier in the year could have easily been reversed by these 4K cameras, but the hardware CBS was using was not quite ready and was unable to get the 4K footage ready in time for the officials.

It will be interesting to see if any close plays come down to having that extra resolution, as an entire game could be decided on a foot stepping out of bounds or a player's knee hitting the ground.

On a related note, if you were born of the internet age or you've recently "cut the cord," you can still watch the game streaming live online, and with a selection of multiple camera angles. Simply head on over to the CBS website to check out all the action, with coverage starting at 6PM Eastern.

Link: CBS -- Live Super Bowl Streaming

[via The Verge]

Your Comment


The times they are a changin'.

February 3, 2013 at 2:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I wonder how they are handling the focus pulls on that big sensor.

February 3, 2013 at 6:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I heard, although not substantiated, an apple a day keeps the nazi's away. ;0

February 3, 2013 at 7:52PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



February 3, 2013 at 8:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


It's just Super 35, bigger than many ENG cams sure but stopped down shouldn't be much of a problem with a dedicated puller. I wonder how they know when to shoot or stop, I read it only holds 10 seconds at 4K 900fps.

February 4, 2013 at 10:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I know it's not true, but it almost seems like this site is being paid extra for every 4K article :-D God, and 4K has not even really begun..

February 3, 2013 at 11:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Zoom to 300%. Enhance.

February 4, 2013 at 6:28AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there.

February 4, 2013 at 7:05AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Rodrigo Molinsky

Sports television and film productions, with their unbridled budgets, have long led the march into new a/v technologies. "Believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare." (Box of Rain)

February 7, 2013 at 2:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Tim Rockwood