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Fox Sports Adds Dual Skycam to Production Playbook for NFL Playoffs

Fox Sports will employ a Dual Skycam setup for its coverage of this season's NFL playoff games, starting with Sunday’s Wildcard matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints.

It will mark the first time that Fox Sports has deployed Dual Skycam technology -- which complements the 50-foot bird’s eye view with lower-camera action that follows the play -- for an NFL playoff game. Fox tested it out earlier in the season, for a pre-season game, and in week five, when the Green Bay Packers visited the Dallas Cowboys.

That early work showed that the set-up “offered a unique and, in some cases, revealing views” of the on-field action, and fueled the decision to commit to it for NFL playoffs, Michael Davies, SVP of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, explained. 

“We’re finding out what this is good for,” he said, noting that the arrangement can deliver unique views and shots of the action.

Fox also plays to employ the Dual Skycam for its coverage of an NFL Divisional Round game, and the NFC Championship game. NBC has also been a pioneer in the use of the Dual Skycam setup.

Fox’s low Skycam in the dual arrangement for the NFL playoffs will use a Sony P43, a device in box-cam format that employ advanced features like Super-Mo.

“It’s a pretty powerful camera to have on the low Skycam,” Davies said.

Fox will also employ some elements of augmented reality in the low Skycam, enabling the production to track and overlay 3D objects to the field of play. Davies said Fox Sports has some “finite moves” that work well with the AR component, and it’s been something the unit has been working through in its NFL and college football coverage.

For the NFL playoffs, Fox Sports will again use end zone pylon cameras that provides a 360-like degree view of the action, covering the goal line and the sideline. Those pylon views are enabled by the coordinated use of three cameras (made by Admiral Video) that are turned 45 degrees.