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HBS fields new super high speed cameras

15 June 2006

World Cup football host broadcaster HBS has called up two late additions to its squad of HD acquisition kit, writes Adrian Pennington. Super high speed cameras, one each from Arri and French manufacturer Digital Video Sud (DVS), will bolster HBS’ existing line-up of 28 GVG LDK 6200 HD Super SloMos for replay action throughout the tournament.

The 300p Arri system, developed by Arri in conjunction with Tokyo’s NAC Image Technology as a spin off from NAC’s Tornado system, can operate at 1000fps, however Arri have tuned down the unit to work at 300fps for the World Cup.

"At 1000fps it was taking 2-4 minutes to process the material which is awfully long, so we asked Arri to reduce the speed," says Director of Production, Peter Angell. "We now outgest around 40 clips per match in realtime straight from the camera to the venue’s EVS server – and then onto the networked server accessed by all subscribed broadcasters – without additional processing to give an almost instantaneous replay."

The same reduction in shutter speed and workflow is deployed for the DVS Superloupe which can capture 2000fps but will operate at 500fps during the tournament. The HD version of the Superloupe was only readied two weeks before the tournament kicked-off. Both cameras are fitted with 86:1 Canon HD lenses and feature a constant record loop of around 11.5 and 25 seconds respectively.

"The challenge is to pick the moment because as soon as you outgest, the camera stops recording," says Angell. "It takes six times longer than the piece you’ve recorded to outgest at 300fps."

The cameras will cover 40 matches between them and have already been used at the covered stadia in Gelsenkirchen (Ecuador v Poland) and for the opening Germany v Costa Rica match.

"Both systems perform better in daylight than artificial light," Angell claims. "We can adjust the framerate slightly to minimise flicker, but the HD sensors need a lot of light at those shutter speeds. Overall though the picture quality is outstanding.

"These cameras aren’t as integrated into a workflow as cameras from Thompson are for example, so I see them as more of a trick camera. I’d rather use a 1080p HD super motion at triple speed than one at six times speed for non-stop sports like football, because you don’t have the time to wait for lots of replays to render or to include many in your live stream."

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