NBA.com offers new ‘spin’ on All-Star coverage with PVI

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The NBA All-Star game had a bit of a blast-from-the-past when NBA.com used a new system based on the EyeVision systems that CBS Sports used during the 2001 Super Bowl.

Dubbed “SpinCam,” the new system gave viewers a chance to see 360-degree coverage of action on the court ala the effects first seen in
The Matrix.

When CBS first deployed the technology it used 30 cameras and was an intricate dance of recording, editing and playback. But the new system shows how far technology has come in a little more than six years.

Shel Katz, PVI manager, hardware development, says the system uses 80 PVI proprietary cameras to simultaneously record 12 seconds of material on hard drives built into the cameras. When the SpinCam operator thinks a great play is about to happen they press a button and all of the cameras automatically begin recording. If the play lives up to the hype the user then requests the video from the cameras that would deliver the best angles. The video frames are then edited together via a proprietary softeare package sequentially to allow the viewer to “fly” around the play.

Sam McCleary, PVI VP of business development says the coverage was a trial. “We’re determining the next steps for very shortly,” he adds.

The technology then was a bit ahead of its time, with the complexity of recording images from 30 cameras

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