KBS’s New Ultra Slo-Mo

KBS’ SprintCam capturing UEFA Champions League football.

MONS, BELGIUM—In a bid to enhance its sports coverage, South Korea’s national television station KBS has purchased SprintCam Vvs HD ultra slow-motion technology from I-Movix of Belgium. KBS’ SprintCam Vvs HD has been integrated with an EVS XT2 media server, inside KBS’s OB van.

This is the first time that KBS has purchased an I-Movix system, although the station has been using ultra-slo motion cameras for some time. KBS is using the SprintCam system to cover domestic and international baseball, basketball, football, and volleyball.

“KBS is using the Vvs HD for broadcasting indoor sports at this moment, since it is winter here,” said Hwang Sutaek. He is Director of KBS’ Outside Broadcasting department, and the person in charge of the ultra slo-mo acquisition project.

The broadcaster’s SprintCam Vvs HD system was supplied by D2S, I-Movix’s South Korean distributor.

“With this camera, KBS will be able to provide a differentiated service and enhance viewer ratings,” said Bruce Kim, Director of D2S’s P2 department. “We are glad to be continuing our contribution to high-quality production at KBS.”

I-Movix’s SprintCamVvs HD is based on Vision Research's ultra slo-mo technology. Vision Research won an Emmy for thist echnology, in the category of “HD Super Slow Motion Systems for Acquisition, Recording, and Playback for Broadcast Entertainment and Sports Productions”.

The SprintCam Vvs HD can capture slo-mo video at rates at up to 5,600 fps in 720p, and up to 2,600 fps in 1080i. It outputs instant replays at native HD resolution and image quality.

The unit has dual outputs to support both live and replay video feeds. This lets the camera operator shoot and record at the same time. The SprintCam Vvs HD can also provide ultra slo-mo capture in 3D, by synchronising two camera sources.

To win a place in KBS’ OB van, I-Movix’s SprintCam had to win a shootout against two other ultra slo-mo competitors. They were Ikegami’s Hi-Motion II and LiveMotionConcept’s Antelope MK-II.

“We had a BMT (benchmarking test) last May,” said Sutaek. “All competitors had a specification comparison stage, and an actual shooting test.” The actual metrics and parameters used by KBS are not being disclosed.

SprintCam Vvs HD came out on top in the KBS shootout. It did best in reliable image quality at high frame rates, and impressed KBS based on the unit’s set of features and usability.

“Most of all, SprintCam Vvs HD was superior to any other competitors, especially for quality of images, performance, and cost of the unit,” Sutaek said. “Now we are looking forward to the upcoming development of new products from I-MOVIX, like its de-flickering system.”

Due for release at NAB 2013, I-Movix’s de-flickering system will address the common problem of artificial light source ‘flickering’, which can occur in ultra slo-mo. It will be compatible with the company’s SprintCam Vvs HD and X10 systems. KBS hopes to buy an X10 and deflickering system during its next budget year.

In the meantime, KBS’ SprintCam VvsHD ultra slo-mo is getting a workout – indoors for now, but outdoors once summer comes to the Korean peninsula.

James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning journalist who has written for TV Technology since the 1990s. He has covered HDTV from the days of the six competing HDTV formats that led to the 1993 Grand Alliance, and onwards through ATSC 3.0 and OTT. He also writes for Radio World, along with other publications in aerospace, defense, public safety, streaming media, plus the amusement park industry for something different.