The FreeD sports analysis system featured as part of ATP Media's coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last week used 22 mini-5K cameras.
Gearhouse Broadcast deployed the system, devised by Israel’s Replay Technologies, for the first time at a tennis event.
The centre court at Indian Wells was ringed with 22 locked-off SP20000 cameras (pictured) made by Danish firm JAI. The cameras, in JAI's Spark series, are more commonly used in security, industrial and traffic monitoring environments. Built around a 41mm diagonal CMOS sensor with global shutter, each camera offers full frame 20-megapixel resolution (5120 x 3840 pixels) at 30 frames per second.
A built-in high dynamic range (HDR) mode (monochrome only) lets users define two knee points to expand the dynamic range of the camera in high contrast situations.
Dual Mini Camera Link connectors in a two-cable 'full' configuration provide the bandwidth necessary for high-speed, high-resolution output.
At Indian Wells, four 3G signals per camera – some 88 signals in total – were fed by Thinklogical fibre extenders into 16 Access Tech servers at the media control room where FreeD software rendered a 360º matrix.
FreeD operators, in-conjunction with the director, can decide on pre-set moves based on pivotal positions, such as the baseline server, from which to zoom in and pan around, start or stop or freeze the action or show slow motion.
Completed clips are ingested via HD-SDI into EVS machines ready for selection by the director (or editors compiling match highlights) at the end of a game or set. The latency of each clip is about 15 seconds.
Gearhouse, which provides all the facilities and crew to ATP Media for the production of the ATP Masters 1000 Series and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, says it is talking with broadcasters about including the system as part of the picture package at future Grand Slam tennis events.
The system may make an appearance at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London in November.
By Adrian Pennington