Premier League debuts spidercam technology
Published: 03 Feb 2017
A new wire-mounted camera technology provided incredible aerial shots of the Manchester United vs Liverpool derby on 15 January.
Sky sports coverage of Manchester United vs Liverpool was the first Premier League game to make use of the innovative wire-mounted camera, which swoops across the turf to capture the drama from new angles – known as “Spidercam”.
The remote head, which houses the camera, provides pan and tilt movement and includes the lens remote which controls focus and zoom. A gyro sensor in the dolly stabilises the horizon. A specially trained Spidercam camera operator manually controls the device.
The technology has been available and embraced in the US for quite a while, with many teams opting to invest in the technology for film review purposes and some have the equipment in their training facilities.
Moving at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour on cables suspended above the pitch, Spidercam can serve up a bird’s eye view of the action and can produce previously inaccessible shots of the game. Spidercam was called into action when Liverpool received a penalty in the first half. Fans reacted very positively on social media praising the new technology.
“A game as big as Manchester United against Liverpool feels like the right time to use it for the first time in a Premier League fixture. It is one of the biggest games in world football and the intention is to get the viewer closer to the game, which is what this technology enables” – Gary Hughes, head of football at Sky Sports.
Officials are satisfied the camera will not affect play during a Premier League match. There have been incidents however including the recent one day international between England and India. MS Dhoni saw his six-bound effort strike the cables of Spidercam.
Spidercam has been previously used in World Cups, European Championships and Champions League finals, as well as in other sports including cricket, rugby and the Olympics. With more money being invested into TV broadcasting rights and competition for viewers at a premium, expect networks to compete and produce the most immersive experience for its viewers.
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