Stealth Camera, Super-Slo Mo Systems go deep for Fox at World Series

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The New York Yankees didn’t even come close to making the World Series this year but at least their production truck made the cut as Game Creek’s Yankee Clipper will be used alongside Dome Productions Trillium truck at Comerica Park, home of the AL champ Detroit Tigers. New Century Productions (NCP) is getting the call for the St. Louis Cardinals with NCP VII and VIII handling production duties.

For Jerry Steinberg, Fox Sports SVP, operations, the biggest challenge is dealing with the logistics of moving around crew and gear. The rainouts during this year’s NLCS series didn’t help things as everyone lost a travel day and had to jet between New York and St. Louis at 6 a.m. following games that didn’t end until well after 11 p.m.

“Having our crews jump on and off charters with no sleep and setting up to do huge shows was a challenge,” he says. Fortunately the Tigers helped out the situation somewhat by taking care of the Oakland A’s quickly.

Grass Valley Kalypso switchers and Calrec Alpha 100 consoles will form the backbone of the productions. Up to 30 Grass Valley HD cameras will be used during the games alongside Inertia Unlimited’s X-Mo super-slow motion camera system. The system, which can record up to 2,000 frames per second, will add drama to shots of broken bats, head-first slides and fastballs zipping into home plate. X-Mo, which can grab images at up to 2,000 frames per second, has a 10-pound camera and a Windows XP laptop to record live images and make them instantly available for playback. Native resolution includes 1080p and 720p and uses two strands of single-mode fiber to send video and data to the production truck where a single channel of EVS can handle replays.

“We’ll adjust the frame rate to somewhere between 300 and 500 frames per second because the games are at night,” says Steinberg.

Also new this year will be the use of an aerial camera from Stealth Aerial Cameras. Unlike the four-corner versions that zip over the field in football Fox Sports will use a point-to-point system to have the camera flying along the first base line. The camera uses a Panasonic AK-HC 1500G camera. “ESPN has used but this is the first time it will be used for a World Series,” says Steinberg.

“The AK-HC1500G is the world’s first compact HD multi-format camera,” says Jeff Merritt, Panasonic Broadcast product manager, “We’ve combined exceptional picture quality in a small size that makes the camera easy to operate and flexible to use.”

The camera uses a new 14-bit A/D converter; a digital signal processor and a 2/3-inch IT-CCD creates broadcast quality imagery. An improved on-chip lens achieves standard sensitivity of F10.0 at 2000 lux and a smear level of less than -130 dB.

Two or three Diamond cams will be on the field as well and, as usual, dozens of microphones will once again make the viewers at home wondering how Fox manages to grab every sound imaginable. Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Electrovoice, and Sony mics will be featured.