Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Why this year’s Super Bowl will look like ‘Madden’ IRL

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The players noticed the change instantly.

Late last year, during Fox’s broadcast of a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington football team, fans were treated to photos of the end zone celebrations which seemed ethereal, almost dreamlike. The players were captured with stunning clarity, celebrating against blurry backgrounds. Some have compared the images to those taken using the iPhone’s Portrait mode. Players, however, saw Madden.

“My 17 year old son called me up and said, ‘This is the coolest look ever. You have to have it, ”says Jason Cohen, head of remote technical operations at CBS. “It has an animated, almost 3D aspect, like a video game. It made a splash among the fans and you have to listen to your viewers. “

The Madden The franchise has been around for nearly three decades, and with each iteration the video game has become more and more like NFL football. That’s why, when those shots from the Washington-Seattle end zone hit people’s homes, the match seemed to end in some sort of weird inverted valley, real life looking like virtual.

The fans loved it. The reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that Cohen’s team at CBS quickly integrated the Sony cameras that produce the Madden-shots in his own shows. Now, Madden Vision is heading towards the super bowl.

In fact, it will be Madden Vision 2.0. While previous NFL broadcasts used the Sony α7R IV, Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will feature shots made using the Sony Venice, a camera appreciated by film and television filmmakers. (It’s all over Netflix’s King Arthur drama Damn.) The α7R IV is a 35mm full-frame mirrorless digital camera with a backpack transmitter and gimbal mount (hence the silky tracking shots). When Fox’s production teams started using it to film games earlier this season, they called the platform “MegalodonAfter the huge prehistoric shark, a misleading name given that the camera can be operated with one hand. The Venice is a slightly larger device, but in Sunday’s broadcast it will get more action than its predecessor, which was largely only used for touchdown celebrations and quarterback follow-up shots that run on the pitch from the sidelines. “They’re wireless, so they can spawn anywhere in the stadium,” Cohen explains.

Contrary to popular belief, the cameras don’t shoot in 4K or 8K. They shoot at 1080p, the standard definition for a live NFL game, they just shoot with a shallow depth of field, bringing the foreground into focus and blurring the background. “This is not a new trick. It just hasn’t been used in live sports until this year, ”Cohen says. “You only emphasize the athlete in front of you.”


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