06.01.2004 12:00 PM
Turner Sports gives HD viewers an aerial eyeful from NBA Western Conference Finals

NBA fans tuning into the HD coverage of the Western Conference Finals from Los Angeles last week might have been a little surprised to see airborne beauty shots of the area around Staples Center in full HD quality.

A Helinet Aviation Services helicopter equipped with a Cineflex HiDEF V14 gyro-stabilized camera system provides aerial high-definition images above the Staples Center for Turner Sports’ production of the Thursday night’s NBA Western Conference Final between the Los Angeles Lakes and Minnesota Timberwolves. Photo credit: Photo by Sam Lafoca.

As part of its production of the finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Turner Sports contracted with Helinet Aviation Services in Van Nuys, CA, to use its Cineflex HiDEF V14 gyro-stabilized camera system for live HD shots of the Staple center and metropolitan area from a helicopter.

First shown at NAB2004 taking HD live shots from a helicopter above the Las Vegas Strip, the Cineflex HiDEF V14 is a 14-inch gimble system with five-axis gyro-stabilization and full digital servo and control system. The entire system weighs a little more than 100 pounds and is mounted to a Helinet helicopter.

The system uses a Sony HDC950 high-definition camcorder and can work with a variety of lenses. For last Tuesday’s Western Conference Final a Canon 11x 4.7mm to 800mm lens was used. At last Thursday night’s game a short 40 was employed.

The Cineflex HiDEF V14 is provided on a turnkey basis, including COFDM radios from Microwave Radio Corp. and encoding and decoding to Helinet’s specifications.

Turner Sport’s use of the system during the Western Conference Finals to do bump-ins from a helicopter in high definition is an industry first, according to Alpaugh. But the sports telecaster didn’t decide to use it without a little preview. For more information, please visit: www.helinetaviation.com.

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