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

Along with continued improvement of CMOS sensors come more sensitive and even higher resolution cameras-both at ever increasing framing rates. High-speed digital imaging is making serious headway into the few remaining markets which heretofore were "owned" by 35 and 70 mm film technology. As new opportunities open-nearly on a daily basis-firms like Photron, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) are stepping up to fulfill the demands.

For the sports entertainment market, Photron, in cooperation with one of their distributors, Tech Imaging Services (Salem, MA), pioneers SwingVision, a system created initially for CBS Sports (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The SwingVision team worked closely with the PGA of America (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) over three seasons to perfect slow-motion imaging of golf for broadcast television. Subsequently, SwingVision received an outstanding, innovative, technical achievement Emmy award in Sports Broadcasting for Golf on CBS.

SwingVision combines Photron's high-speed APX digital camera with customized broadcast optics (developed at Tech Imaging Services), a fiber-optic output (see sidebar) and proprietary software (Xcitex, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.). In use at CBS Sports since 2004, the system's primary camera captures the entire range of a golfer's swing as fast as 2000 fps. A second APX camera images, close-up, the impact on the golf ball at up to 12,500 fps, revealing precisely where the club face compresses the ball's surface as it is struck. At the moment of contact, APX returns clear images with no blurring, using a remarkable 4 µsec (1/250,000 of a second) shutter speed. The footage can be output for immediate live transmission and/or instant replay in super-slo-mo.

Redlake MASD LLC's (Tucson, Ariz.) cameras are reaching mounting popularity in numerous media applications from security and broadcast television to dynamic on-ride video at amusement parks. MotionPro X systems envelope the latest in high-speed motion analysis technologies.

These cameras share many benefits of their MotionPro HS predecessor, including high dynamic range, rapid shuttering and superior resolution making them ideal for imaging sports and filming animation. MotionPro X also imparts excellent sensitivity and frame rates: 1280×1024 resolution @ 1000 fps (model X3) and 512×512 resolution @ 5000 fps (model X4). Circular buffer capture, which allows continuous recording to on-board memory, finalizes MotionPro's advanced set of options.

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