Pylon cams, NFL’s newest craze, created, manufactured in WNY

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LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s the next generation of cameras for the NFL, and possibly football nationwide. And it’s all created by a local company that will likely be sharing the worlds largest television stage this February.

The NFL first deployed the experimental use of pylon cameras this year, after what Lancaster’s Paul Halsey says were several failed attempts.

“The pylon camera is an idea that people have been trying for awhile. Generally, it’s been a failure,” he said.

Halsey would know. He’s the creator of the pylon cams you see on Thursday Night Football broadcast here on CBS. The newest craze for enhancing the game experience from your couch was born, and is currently manufactured in an Erie County suburb.

“We came up with a better idea that does not utilize RF (radio frequency),” Halsey said. “The biggest thing about this is it needs to be reliable. If you turn it on every week, it has to work. It can’t be a question mark.”

So far, so good. In fact, Halsey is working on a deal with the NFL to manufacture 16 cameras that will be used on America’s biggest stage: The Super Bowl.

“It’s a long ways to go in one season, I have to admit,” he said.

It’s also a close-knit operation. Halsey’s manufacturer is a short drive away.

“What it’s doing is just taking the regular pylons that you would see on a football field every week and what we do is machine them out and get them ready to put all the guts in,” said Gary Machniak, president of WNR Pattern and Tool, of Lancaster. “It’s very exciting. It’s the buzz around here. We’ve been shooting the breeze and talking about it. And it’s been a lot of fun designing it.”

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