New spidercam fly-by-wire camera hits the heights on busy US debut
Spidercam GmbH’s updated spidercam field + system announced itself to the US market on January 27 when it was deployed at the WWE Royal Rumble 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The following day, the fly-by-wire camera system was used in Atlanta, Georgia to kick off the NFL’s Super Bowl LIII Opening Night with its new production-enhancing features. The spidercam field + incorporates major upgrades such as a more stable head, AR support and added features to augment the overall video experience.
The biggest advancement to the Spidercam field +, which consists of winches that move a camera transport platform (or dolly) over a three-dimensional area via a catenary cable, is its fully stabilized 3D remote head. This Newton remote head by Intuitive Aerialoffers reduced levels of shaking during movements, while its low weight – thanks to a small frame – allows an unchanged payload. Renowned for reliability, the head delivers a more stable picture quality overall.
Alongside the corresponding new DOMINION camera control console from Intuitive Aerial, the spidercam field + system boasts a completely reworked digital console for the pilot who steers the dolly. Besides an integrated touch screen, the new consoles offer a ‘motion playback’ option. This makes it possible to not only rehearse camera moves with the director, but recreate them with absolute accuracy for the live event.
Now with augmented reality (AR) support, the spidercam field + enables the connection of the camera feed with a graphics engine to add virtual objects and make them seem like they are part of reality. For example, player cards can be made to appear as though they are within the live environment, or heat maps can be displayed directly on the playing field.
Discussing his experience with having spidercam field + within his Super Bowl Opening Night production, NFL Media's Director of Real-Time Systems Patrick Lee said: “I never lost confidence in this system and it never was a concern. We’ve used MANY different tracking systems and hands-down, this has been my best experience yet.”
WWE RAW director Marty Miller, who used the new spidercam field + at Royal Rumble 2019 commented:“The AR looked outstanding on the spidercam. I look forward to seeing you guys in the near future!”
Spidercam also launched its spidercam light in the US at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. The compact and lightweight system is equipped with the same stabilized remote head as the spidercam field +. It was specifically designed to operate in smaller venues like studios or event halls.
At the 2018 NAB Show, spidercam announced a strategic partnership alongside Gravity Media Group to accelerate growth in the adoption, service and support of the spidercam system in the USA and Canada. The agreement builds on the existing successful strategic partnership in Australia and New Zealand that has been in existence since 2015.
Spidercam GmbH is an Austrian based cable camera system developer and rental house with subsidiaries and partners across the world, including a presence in Charlotte, North Carolina and Los Angeles, California. The namesake spidercam systems consist of winches, that via catenary cables move a camera transport platform, or dolly, over a three-dimensional area.
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