The Dallas Stars tested out an aerial “Sky Cam” type technology this past week for a couple home games, and somebody finally dug me up some video of it. (thanks Dave Weldon)
We’ve been investigating something similar to this in Pittsburgh, although the rigging at Mellon Arena has made it near impossible to pull off. One thing I noticed is that the camera has some trouble coming back to center axis when it does a sweep across the ice, which would be a deal killer for me.
I operated something like this on demo at a college basketball venue last year. Interesting perspectives, and interesting to see how it plays out with the speed of hockey, particularly during quick changes in direction. We sat in the top row and after 5 minutes you didn’t even notice it was there.
You might recall the “Rail Cam” demo a few years back at the Dallas All-Star game, which had no problem keeping up with action but was a definite distraction to the main TV cameras and the fans.
Something like this has a place in hockey. Maybe not so much for the in-arena crowd, but it could bring a much needed “feel like I’m there” element to broadcasts.
Face it, something is lost in translation from being in an arena to TV. No matter how great the broadcasts are produced, it’s still tough to get that “I’m there” feel at home. Teams and broadcasters need to start taking chances on technology like this to help bridge that gap.