ARLINGTON, Texas – ESPN's broadcast of the College Football Playoff National Championship game between Oregon and Ohio State will include cameras embedded in the pylons in the corner of the end zones.
It's the second time ESPN has used the technology, which was first tried at the FCS Championship on Saturday.
The pylons include two cameras stacked on top of each other. One faces down the sideline while the other runs down the goal line. The field of vision from the goal line pylon cameras runs from approximately the 12-yard-line to three yards deep in the end zone.
Pylons in the back corners of the end zones are also outfitted with cameras. In addition to being available for viewers at home, officials at the title game will have access to replays via the pylon cameras for any reviews.
Pylons that include cameras are a little lighter than a traditional pylon because they must be hollowed out for the equipment. Each pylon communicates with an antenna stationed on the sidelines on the goal lines.
The four antennas have an operator to ensure that the wireless signal from the pylons to the antennas isn't being interfered with by the wireless signals in AT&T Stadium and he or she can move the antennas up and down or side to side if necessary for the best signal between the pylons and the antennas.
According to those who were setting up the pylon cameras before the game, the crew made significant progress with the strength and reliability of the signal between the cameras and the antennas over the last few days to ensure that the cameras would have a significant chance of providing a unique replay angle for any goal-line or boundary plays near the end zone during Monday night's telecast.
The wireless signal between the cameras and the antennas is then transmitted back to the ESPN truck via a cable that runs from where the antennas are stationed. Much of the testing process approximately four hours before the game was centered around getting as strong a signal as possible between the antenna and pylon.
With an approximately 15-yard span, the cameras don't have limitless utility. However, as the technology continues to be ironed out, they will become a fantistic addition to most football broadcasts in the future. Just think if this play in the Music City Bowl had a pylon cam replay available? LSU might have won the game.
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