Cablecam International Uses Panasonic’s AK-HC1500G In Its Aerial Tracking System For Broadcast Coverage Of A-List Sporting Events

Cablecam International, a leader in aerial camera tracking systems, recently purchased Panasonic’s AK-HC1500G 1080i/720p switchable HD point-of-view camera for broadcast coverage of high-profile sporting events. The camera made its debut in November 2006 at HBO Sports’ live broadcast of the world welterweight championship, and has since been used at several NFL games as well as at The Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League.

Founded in 1985 by Jim Rodnunsky, Cablecam has delivered tracking technology in three Olympics; two Super Bowls; over one hundred NFL games; two seasons of NASCAR as Texas Instruments DLP Ultimate Picturecam; hundreds of NBA games for TNT, ESPN/ABC; MLB; Euro Soccer; Brazilian Soccer; Euro Rugby; Pro Tennis and more. Panasonic’s previous generation of HD POV cameras, the AK-HC910 (1080i) and AK-HC900 (720p), were used at a majority of these events.

Cablecam, which also specializes in feature film, television and commercial production, and major live entertainment, has received two Academy Awards for Technical Achievement in Feature Films and six Emmy Awards for Sports Broadcasting.

“With the HC1500G, Panasonic is providing a POV camera with improved versatility at a more economical price,” said Rodnunsky. “The 1080i/720p switchability addresses the signal requirements of virtually all our broadcast clients, and we can easily downconvert when it’s a standard-definition show.”

“Our field engineering staff has been very pleased with the performance of the HC1500G, and it’s been matching up beautifully with the game cameras,” he added.

At the welterweight championship match at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the Cablecam system was predominantly used for moving beauty shots, flying over the heads of contenders Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Carlos Baldomir as well as ringside celebrites.

“We rigged our system from the 50’ by 50’ lighting grid so we could fly the camera in big circles over the 25’ by 25’ ring,” recounted Rodnunsky.”Everything was new—the rig, gimbal, drive and camera. The HC1500 performed very well with this new geometry, and we rode it higher and tighter inside and outside the corners of the ring. All told, the camera is adding to our overall intellectual property.”

“The Cablecam system delivered beautiful, 360 degree images, and the Panasonic POV camera matched perfectly with our Thomson LDK 6000 MKII cameras on the ground,” said John Micale, Vice President Sports Production of HBO Sports.

Compatible with all international HD standards, the AK-HC1500G is the first multi-purpose camera to feature a variable frame rate functionality and cine gamma curve, features that have distinguished Panasonic’s popular VariCam HD Cinema Camcorder. The camera’s 1-megapixel, 2/3-inch 3-CCDs produce outstanding color accuracy, with improved on-chip lenses to achieve a standard sensitivity of F10.0 at 2000 lux and a smear level of less than -130 dB. The AK-HC1500 uses CCD accumulation and horizontal/vertical addition to create a gain increase of up to +68 dB (with a minimum illumination of 0.015 dB). The camera offers both 1080 (60i/59.94i, 50i, 30p, 25p/24p) and 720 (60p, 59.94p/50p) high definition output.

The remotely-controllable AK-HC1500G is compatible with Panasonic’s comprehensive line of indoor and outdoor pan-tilt heads, pan-tilt controllers and camera control units. The optional, compact AK-HRP150 camera control unit offers full image control. The camera has a rear option slot for expansion (e.g., downconverter, analog or fiber output unit), making the AK-HC1500 suitable for a broad spectrum of applications.

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