Tech Spotlight

Getting Up To (High) Speed On Super Slo Mo

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Tyson Langland of Bleacher Report says the Ravens and 49ers run a similar offense in which they take their time between plays, but adds that the 49er’s rookie quarterback Collin Kaepernick could surprise fans by rushing his team back to the line. “San Francisco hasn’t run a whole lot of no-huddle this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t against Baltimore."

Fox has also been pioneering the use of high-speed, high-res cameras, using them in its football playoff coverage this season in and the 2012 World Series last fall. With its more leisurely pace, baseball makes ample room for replays, says Jerry Steinberg, VP of field operations.

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For its “X-Mo” ultra slow-motion replays, Fox employs a Vision Research V642 high-speed camera equipped with a Canon HD lens. It also uses Sony’s F65 4K cameras with a Fujinon cinematic lens to produce the high-res images that allow for the zoom-ins, he says.

“This equipment helped us create some dramatic shots during the World Series, but it’s also really useful when the game needs our help to determine a controversial play,” he says.

Sony is working on the next-generation sports production technology. At this year’s NAB Show, the tech company will show off a new setup that stitches two 4K cameras together to give an 8K-wide canvas.

“Using two 4K cameras will allow you to show the entire playing field, so if you’re shooting a hockey game and a fight breaks out behind the play, you’re always going to have that shot to go back to and replay,” says Rob Willox, Sony’s director of marketing for large sensor cameras.

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The rig places two 4K cameras side-by-side with the lenses crossing, meaning the right lens would shoot left and the left lens would shoot right. Software would automatically correct for the geometric distortion of the two cameras, making the picture look like it was shot with just one camera positioned straight at the playing field.

“The point in the middle would literally blend to create a seamless canvas 8K wide by 2K tall,” Willox says. “This would allow you to get a nine-fold increase in resolution.”

All of that information would be sent back to be recorded on a multichannel DVR and played back, just like any other replay system.

At this point, it’s just a concept, but could be an important step for more-advanced sports broadcasts. “Once this type of stitching technology is integrated with player-tracking technology, the possibilities are really exciting,” Willox says.

He also anticipates a more standard camera for sports broadcasting across the board.

“Right now, it seems like we’ve got a camera designed for one thing, but we’re using it for another,” he says. “What everyone wants is optimization. They want their cameras to feel like their other cameras — not an orphan.”

Aagaard anticipates the networks will use high-speed 4K cameras for entire sports productions within the next five to seven years, even if there isn’t a medium to deliver all the resolution to TV in the home. “We’re still paying the bills from going HD, so it’s going to take some time."

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 28, 2016
  • 1.
    2.8/10
  • 2.
    1.9/7
  • 3.
    1.7/6
  • 4.
    1.4/5
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.4/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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