When the National Hockey League returns to NBC tomorrow, a tiny camera system mounted to the mask of the New York Rangers goalie will deliver a goaltender’s eye view of the game and give viewers an appreciation for just how fast hockey actually is.
While it’s uncertain whether Henrik Lundgvist or Kevin Weekes will be tending the net, one of the two Rangers will don a goalie’s mask specially equipped with a tiny lens, camera and microwave transmitter that weighs just 6oz.
Dubbed Goalie-Cam, the system is the creation of NHL Productions and Inertia Unlimited in Jacksonville, VT. It is one of several steps--along with the weekly presentation of a game in HD and a special commentator position between opposing benches called “Inside-the-Glass”--that NBC and the league are taking to pull viewers into the action.
According NHL Productions coordinating producer Darryl Lepik, a duplicate mask of every goaltender was ordered from their manufacturers to support Goalie-Cam beyond tomorrow’s game.
A small hole--about the size of a pencil--was drilled at the bottom of the duplicate masks. A lens assembly was inserted through the hole and connected to a small camera located where the back and the side of the helmet meets. A battery pack and small microwave transmitter are located on the portion of the mask covering the back part of the goalie’s head. A parabolic receive antenna will pick up the Goalie-Cam transmission and feed video to the teleproduction truck as camera position.
Normally, the perspective TV viewers have of the puck is looking down on its 4in diameter face. With Goalie-Cam, they now will be able to see the puck coming in at them.
Goalie-Cam will make its debut during NBC Sports production of Saturday’s game between the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the first regular season NBC has televised since April 1975.
While the Rangers-Red Wings game will be produced in HD, Goalie-Cam is strictly an SD device that will be upconverted for the high-definition production.