Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

High Speed Entertainment

The NAC-300P in action at Lord's Cricket Grounds, London
Olympus' i-SPEED Cameras
User-friendly interface and consumer styling elements are at the heart of Olympus' i-SPEED cameras.
Photron's SwingVision
Photron's SwingVision, a system created initially for CBS Sports.

By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

Several major UK- and US-based professional networks already are using Hi-Motion for high profile international sporting events. In fact, dramatic super-slow-motion replays were broadcast at the 2006 NFL AFC Championship Game, NFL Super Bowl, Six Nations International Championship (Rugby Union Internationals) and FIFA World Cup matches.

Relying on the latest technologies, fx Cam acquires up to 1000 fps with resolution exceeding 1280720 pixels. At that speed, the camera captures better than 33 frames for each frame of standard video, extending one second of original fast-paced action to over thirty. It can accept an assortment of 35 mm format lenses, and it is completely self-contained. It is employed in television production, commercial film applications and sports broadcasting, including ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and Sky Sport's International Cricket.

Engineers at Olympus Surgical & Industrial America, Inc. (Orangeburg, N.Y.) substantiate that embedding a processor into the camera head can replace the PC to which a high-speed video system customarily is tethered. A sufficiently powerful on-board device precludes obvious drawbacks, extends advantages such as a choice of real-time operating systems and control protocols while maintaining PC connectivity and preserving external I/O, if needed.

The Olympus i SPEED series features a reliable, 21.3-cm high-resolution LCD panel that was the genesis of Olympus' Controller Display Unit (CDU). It also offers an intuitive user-interface with a soft-key approach where action is determined from operating context and indicated by on-screen graphics.

Conventional PC-based cameras customarily rely on software-running on the PC-for color, tint, hue, saturation, contrast and zooming, recording and playing back stored imagery. The PC generates the user-interface and video is displayed in a window on the PC's screen. Although convenient, one drawback is relatively slow processing speed. While embedded processors usually do not have sufficient power to handle real-time video, the i-SPEED camera provides a full 60 fps update rate on its CDU even while recording. For playback, the unit similarly retrieves and displays video at up to 60 fps, without frame skipping. To facilitate those capabilities, Olympus implemented i-SPEED's video processing algorithms in FPGAs.

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