BSI Dual-Stream In-Car Cameras Mean Twice the Fun for NASCAR Viewers

BSI’s in-car camera systems play an important part in NASCAR coverage, offering Fox Sports, ESPN, and Speed an opportunity to give viewers an up-close and HD look at racers’ expressions, the tight driving conditions, and even the crashes. And this season, the cameras are getting a technical lift that will allow dual-stream delivery of live camera signals.

BSI GM Peter Larsson

“We can now deliver two COFDM transmission paths from one transmitter,” says BSI GM Peter Larsson. “We have always had three or four cameras per car, and then we remotely would switch the camera that was feeding the encoder. But now, with two paths, we can leave the face camera up all the time to capture the driver’s reaction and then choose the second feed from the other three cameras.”

The new system required some vigorous testing by NASCAR to make sure it didn’t negatively affect airflow around the car, which could lead to dangerous situations. The system is located in the “a pillar” of the car that is located around the front windshield.

“NASCAR, more than anyone else, understands the value of TV,” notes Larsson, “but their number-one goal is safety.”

The new system will run in eight cars, with signals received at one of four receive sites on the track and passed through the BSI trailer, which has production areas for each of the networks. The signals pass from those areas to another mobile unit housing EVS servers, which sync the signals to each other for playback.

What’s next for BSI and in-car cameras? Larsson says the 360-degree camera system could make a return.

“It won’t have the same impact as it did in the early days because the inside of the car now has things like shoulder bars and cooling ducts,” he says, adding, “But the problem now is, if a rock goes through the lens, there is no viable way to shoot.”

He points out that, with the 360-degree system, the camera can simply pan away from the damaged area to provide usable shots.

The new dual-stream system is also expected to be in use at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

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