I-MOVIX High-Speed Camera From Fletcher Makes U.S. Debut for SportsNet New York

SportsNet New York this weekend became the first network to put the I-MOVIX extreme slow motion system, available from Fletcher Chicago, on air. Curt Gowdy, Jr., SportsNet New York, SVP and Executive Producer, says the system is suitable for regional needs because it can be part of the live camera complement. “It isn’t just a one-dimensional tool; it’s part of the team coverage and has a selection of variable speeds,” he says.

The camera was located in the first base camera well, capturing shots of pitcher delivery at speeds ranging from 600-900 frames per second. On a second game the rate was dialed up to 1,200 frames per second.

“These systems bring dynamic visuals that catch the eye immediately,” says Gowdy, Jr. “It’s an educational tool that complements the analysis from the booth upstairs.”

Dan Grainge, Fletcher Chicago, vice president, says the I-MOVIX system is based around the Vision Research Phantom v640 camera. The camera runs on a single SMPTE fiber cable and also transports data for other functions like intercom, tally, fully traditional CCU, and standard paintbox information so that colorimetry can be controlled from the truck.

Adds Gowdy; “The ability for video operators to have an easier time painting the picture and getting colors correct is a big advantage [over other systems].”

Grainge says video is recorded on the hard drive of the camera and then dumped onto EVS servers in the production truck. Either an EVS controller or the I-MOVIX controller can be used.

“There is no question that the time has come that traditional super slow-motion systems will be replaceable because these new highs-speed cameras have taken a leap forward in functionality,” adds Grainge.

The ability to change the frame rate on the fly is also something that will make newer high-speed camera systems popular. “If the producer wants to analyze the swing of a batter the frame rate can be bumped up to 1,200 frames and then if they want to shag a lefty they can dial it down to 600 frames per second within a second with the push of a button,” explains Grange. “It interfaces with the CCU, not a computer.”

Gowdy, Jr. says the use of tools that were once only found on national sports broadcasts is a reflection of changing technologies and also the ability to find sponsors who are interested in being associated with those enhancements.

“Things like the investment in Orad’s MVP graphics systems challenges us to take our coverage to the next level,” he says. “And what we’ve found so far with the I-MOVIX system is it is easy to manipulate and easy on video operations.”

Grainge says Fletcher Chicago is taking delivery of two of the systems but the prototype used by SportsNet New York is available for rental today. “We’re talking with a lot of the networks,” adds Grainge.

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