AK-HC900 HD P-O-V CAMERA EQUIPS SKYCAM FOR BIRDSí-EYE
VIEWS OF ESPN SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Panasonic 16:9/4:3 Convertible Camera Also Handling
Aerial Assignment for ABCís Monday Night Football
NJ (October 15, 2003) - As the camera mounted
to the Skycam aerial broadcast system, Panasonic’s
ultra-compact AK-HC900 high definition progressive scan
point-of-view (POV) model is playing a critical role in
capturing the dramatic action of the National Football
League’s featured games airing weekly on ESPN’s
Sunday Night Football.
On another pro football assignment, Panasonic’s
AW-800A 2/3” 3-CCD 16:9/4:3 convertible camera is
handling a similar Skycam assignment for this season of
ABC’s Monday Night Football telecasts. The patented
Skycam® system, from CF InFlight, Ltd. (Malvern, PA),
is virtually a flying Steadicam®, a broadcast-quality,
robotic camera, suspended from a cable-driven, computerized
transport system. Its unique design makes the Skycam the
world’s only stabilized camera system that can unobtrusively
fly anywhere in a defined three-dimensional space - right
in the middle of a sporting event.
CF InFlight President and CEO Roland Thompson explained
that the Panasonic POV cameras are mounted on the bottom
of the Skycams, and through the dynamics of the systems
can spin in any direction, even operating upside down.
(The Skycam requires two operators, one in the press box
flying the camera, the second running the glass.)
Skycams follow the play, especially high punts, then fall
back looking over the quarterback’s shoulder,”
Thompson said. “While we were very pleased with
the performance of the AW-E800A in the most demanding
circumstances, we needed to keep in step with major clients—ESPN
and ABC—as they expand their amount of HD sports
programming in 720P. We are making a similar commitment
to deliver HD image quality to the viewer. And the results
with the AK-HC900 have been nothing short of spectacular.
The images look great in motion, and there’s a considerable
He added, “We chose the Panasonic camera because
it was the only HD box camera on the market with the size,
performance and weight to fit our specifications and our
720P broadcast requirements. Another significant, influential
factor was the camera’s successful performance with
The Skycam system is composed of three distinct components
(Central Control, the Spar, and the Reel) linked together
through a highly sophisticated fiber optic network to
create one of the most dynamic sports broadcasting tools
available today. Two 1/2 feet tall and weighing under
30 lbs, the Skycam can fly at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Small, fast and maneuverable, it can be quickly positioned
to provide coverage from virtually any location and angle.
With its speed and maneuverability the Skycam can provide
a tremendous variety of shots, producing great aerial
“blimp” coverage, beautiful crane style sweeping
shots, and dolly and tracking shots that can span up to
said that InFlight plans to implement two additional HD
Skycam systems with AK-HC900 cameras in the near future.
The 3.9-pound AK-HC900 provides astounding color reproduction
accuracy and its compact size opens new avenues for high-definition
sports coverage, television program production, business
communications, and government and scientific imaging.
The AK-HC900 offers a 720-line high definition output
at 60 progressive frames per second, an ideal configuration
for sports coverage. The camera employs three 2/3”
1 million-pixel (1280 x 720) IT CCDs with dramatically
improved dark and highlight image quality.
Earlier this year, Panasonic AK-HC900 HD cameras were
used extensively during the broadcasts of the NHL and
NBA final series, as well as the playoff series leading
up to both leagues’ championships. The ABC Television
Network utilized the AK-HC900 to capture its on-air talent,
crowd reactions and field shots for the HD broadcast of
the Super Bowl XXXVII telecast in San Diego, CA last January.
For challenging lighting and scene settings, the high-sensitivity
AK-HC900 offers extensive gain control settings (-6 to
62dB), a minimum illumination of 0.03 lux, with a high
sensitivity of F10 at 2000 lux when operating at 60-fps.
The camera is equipped as standard with an RS-422/RS-232C
control port that allows it to be integrated with a variety
of remote control systems.