A company in Hanover, Maryland called Broadcast Sports, Inc. (BSI) is helping ESPN take its annual Winter X-games to the next level. This year the event comes from Buttermilk Mountain, in Aspen, Colorado.
The alternative sports event to be held this weekend (January 26-29), has always found unique ways of capturing the atcion on video. This year they are talking about a “5-D” experience, whereby camera operators will be shooting 2-D and 3-D footage simultaneously with wireless transmission and control technology. This is a technique that ESPN engineers have been trying to master, on order to make 3-D production cost-effective and practical.
BSI is outfitting three separate “hoop” systems with a 3-D Toshiba FollowCam, monitor, and transmitter for use during the SlopeStyle, Pipe and Big Air events. Three experienced skiing camera operators will capture the action live in 5-D from the center of the pipe. For faster, downhill events like the Snowboarder X and Skier X, BSI is attaching a transmitter to a FlyCam that operates along the course more than 30 feet above the ground and can travel at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. This will give the production team full control of the pan, tilt and paint functions of the FlyCam.
BSI said its “distributed receive infrastructure” guarantees seamless operation of all elements from any point on Buttermilk Mountain. The company is also supplying its dual-stream Mini TX transmitter, which ensures a good 3-D viewing experience by synchronizing the signals from the two cameras responsible for capturing the left and right eye perspectives.
In addition to the 5-D capable cameras, BSI is also providing two 2-D HD SteadiCam rigs, one handheld HD camera, four Blue Steel wireless microphones, as well as a variety of devices for wireless communication between production team members.
BSI provides HD on-board cameras and wireless audio for a wide range of entertainment events around the world, including the Olympics, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, X Games, NASCAR, NFL, PGA and LPGA Tours, Indy Racing League, Breeder's Cup, Kentucky Derby, US Open, MTV Video Music Awards and the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
The innovative POV production company has been working with ESPN for the last two years to incorporate wireless 3-D camera systems into the broadcast of the X Games, which this year will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN 3D and ABC.