SNY Tests Out Inertia Unlimited’s X-Mo for Subway Series

New York Mets fans watching this weekend’s Subway Series on SportsNet New York (SNY) will get an up-close-and-personal look at every rotation of the ball and ripple of the bat, as the regional sports network will demo Inertia Unlimited’s X-Mo high-speed camera system during all three games against the Yankees.

“This is just another way for us to go out and look at new technology on our network, which is what we have always strived to do,” says SNY SVP and Executive Producer Curt Gowdy. “We’ve already set a precedent with the use of ultra-slow-motion over the past couple years and this continues our Emmy-Award winning coverage.”

A Proliferation of Slo-Mo Among RSNs
In April of 2010, SNY was the first regional sports network to deploy Fletcher Sports’ I-MOVIX ultra-slow-motion camera system on the air, which was built around the Vision Research Phantom v640 camera. (Fletcher will continue to provide SNY with four robotic cameras during Mets home-game telecasts.) Several RSNs have since followed SNY’s example, integrating an ultra-slow-motion system into their telecasts.

Inertia Unlimited’s system is based on the Vision Research v641 high-speed camera (released earlier this year) and is capable of shooting at up to 5250 fps at 720p resolution or more than 2,700 fps at 1080p.

SNY will feature the X-Mo system throughout the Mets’ series with the Yankees this weekend and, if all goes well, will be “looking to use it long term in the future,” according to Gowdy.

A Weekend of Experimentation
The X-Mo will primarily be positioned at low-first-base during this weekend’s series, though the network plans to experiment as much as possible with positions and frame rates (which can be changed on the fly).

“We will experiment with it all weekend, looking at different frame rates depending on where the camera is located and the situation,” says Gowdy. “We may keep it on the pitcher for an entire inning – his eyes, his head, his wind up. We may have it on the batter the next inning – his hands, his eyes, his feet. And we will have very different frame rates on each of those.”

Gowdy and company will also continue to utilize the system as a live-cut camera, similar to how the previous ultra slo-mo was used.

“Since we use this camera as a live-cut camera as well, it is absolutely imperative that the viewer doesn’t see any difference in it, which they haven’t in the past with our previous system,” says Gowdy. “This camera can cut in live as well as be used for ultra-slow-motion camera.”

What the Director Wants, the Director Gets
One key factor in the decision to demo Inertia Unlimited’s X-Mo was SNY’s Mets director Bill Webb, who has worked extensively with the system during his work on Fox Sports’ MLB baseball coverage.

“I asked Bill his thoughts on the system and he had great things to say,” says Gowdy. “Since he has used the [X-Mo] on Fox he is very familiar with it and it makes it all much easier and more effective.”

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