On new years day, Sky Sports launched a new channel dedicated to horse racing. The headline as reported by Racing Post was
‘GAME CHANGER’ SKY SPORTS RACING AIMS TO WIDEN SPORT’S APPEAL WITH COVERAGE
WE’RE VERY MUCH FOCUSED ON MAKING SKY SPORTS RACING THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE VEHICLE FOR THE SPORT
Read this story on Racing Posts website.
Part of the launch was commissioning slow motion, covering the finishing line. Traditionally, the finishing line has to be filmed by a race finish camera, which is the official record of the race winners. The technology builds up a single image as the horses pass the finishing line, by imaging just that line, over a period of time (the technology is similar to a streak camera – faster ones are used to image bullets and other projectiles). To find out more, have a look at Wikipedia’s Race Finish Camera page.
Although this single image is the official ‘judge’ in close run races, being a single image doesn’t make it very televisual. Also, due the distortion caused by the variation in the speed of the different parts of the horses (particularly the legs), the image can be less than attractive to look at. This is why Racetech, who provide all the cameras for Sky Sports Racing, came to IDT.
“PROVIDING A GOOD QUALITY SLOW MOTION REPLAY OF THE RACE FINISH WILL GREATLY ENHANCE THE ENJOYMENT OF THE VIEWERS, ESPECIALLY IN CLOSE FINISH RACES, AND HELP ESTABLISH THE CHANNEL AS THE PRIMARY PLACE TO WATCH AND SUPPORT HORSE RACING”, SAYS CHRIS CLARK, RACING ENGINEERING MANAGER, RACETECH.
The camera of choice is the HD Mini, which frames at up to 1000fps at he full resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, and up to 1300fps when reduced to 1080P resolution. The global shutter and the 50Hz SDI output ensures clean images are delivered directly to the OB Truck, ready to broadcast.
The cameras, once set up, are operator-free too. The motion trigger ensures the recording is captured effectively, and the control allows the images to be played back automatically, so they can be broadcast a specified time after the winner crosses the line.
The new technology has been very well received, and IDT are looking forward to covering other sports in a similar fashion in the near future.
If you’d like to find out more or discuss this technology, please contact us