Flying in UltraMotion

Currently there are four different ultra-motion camera systems for live productions available in Europe: The Hi-Motion from ARRI Media, the Superloupe from DVS, the SprintCam from i-movix and the Antelope from LMC. We asked all four companies to answer 14 questions and to explain the advantages of their respective camera system. Finally three companies responded. Please find following their answers. This should help you to rent in the right system for your live production. As the recording and playback device (in addition to on-board RAM recorders) all three systems interface to the LSM XT[2] hard disk recorder from EVS.


What is the technical background of the system? On what elements is it based?

ARRI Media: The Hi-Motion System was born out of a requirement of NHK in Japan. The system is built and manufactured by NAC a partner company of ARRI’s. I-Movix: The technology underlying the SprintCam Live system is based on single CMOS high-speed digital cameras (Photron camera). Such sensor is used for crash test images, among others. LMC: The Antelope ultra-motion camera system is based on the Phantom HD camera.

When did you first start developing the system?

ARRI Media: The initial concept was in 2003, with a joint press announcement in Japan from NHK and NAC in late 2004, with a joint press conference at NAB2005. A prototype D-HS300P (Hi-Motion) was shown at IBC2005 in the “New Technology” exhibits section. I-Movix: The SprintCam® Live, was launched at IBC2007. Already rewarded by a TV Technology STAR award for its superior technology during the NAB 2007 Show, the SprintCam Live technology has experienced glorious days during Beijing 2008. During SPORTEL held in Monaco in October 2008, NBC Olympics won the Golden Podium Award for the best “isolated camera shot” slow-motion sequence, entitled: “Women’s Synchronized Platform Diving – Replay”, a breathtaking sequence captured with the SprintCam Live V2 ! LMC: In 2006 we started to develop the Antelope system.


How has the system been modified to fit into the broadcast environment?

ARRI Media: Hi-Motion, has been conceived from the start in 2003 as a broadcast system camera, so has not had to be modified for the broadcast environment. I-Movix: SprintCam Live V2.1 is a fully integrated ultra-slow motion system for broadcast. It has been modified to better fit into the broadcast environment, by adding some significant new features and developments in response to user feedback and the experience gained at Beijing 2008. Among the new features are new algorithms for better image quality, new user-friendly remote controls that enable fine-tuned settings, and a slow-motion remote with a new cueing system for quick and easy selection of the sequence to replay. Moreover, the camera control unit and the camera are interfaced with a SMPTE standard fiber optic cable with LEMO connectors, with a max. distance of 1,000m between both components (FISCHER or ARIB options are available) LMC: The camera itself hasn’t been modified, but many different peripherals have been added for conversion and data transportation. As well as we have developed our own software app which is way more flexible for live tv as well as capable of changing major settings deep inside the camera

What is the workflow of the system: From capture to replay on air?

ARRI Media: Instant playback in full HD from On-Board Recorder (in camera head) is recorded into 1 channel of an EVS LSM XT[2] and is “clipped up” and played into the live show in the same way as all other replays I-Movix: The SprintCam Live V2.1 camera system is loop recording. The recording should be stopped to create a SDI replay upon our high-speed stream (from 500 to 10,000 images/sec). The replay is instantly available throughout the SDI output. You can directly display it, record it on an EVS LSM XT[2] server or clip it without delay even at 10,000 images per second LMC: We are capturing the action, then trigger the clip (like a “go to cue”) or simply shuttle back with no delay and replay straight from the internal Ram of the camera. For long term storage we use either an EVS LSM or our own HD-Recorder. Antelope is compatible with the EVS XT network


How soon after capture are images available for replay?

ARRI Media: Instantly I-Movix: Images that have been captured can be replayed without delay LMC: Basically Antelope´s images are available for playout as quickly as using a normal EVS.

Which special features does the system offer?

ARRI Media: What is unique about the Hi-Motion is that it is the only High-Speed Camera, designed from day one as a broadcast systems camera and so it is readily integrated into the regular OB workflow and production methodology: 1920 x 1080p 50/60 Camera System B4 lens Mount 3 x 2.2megapixel CMOS sensors 12-300 and 600fps (300fps gives 6x or 12x, 600fps gives 24x “slow-down”) On-board 48GB Ram Recorder – 22 Seconds at 300fps Ram Recorder records uncompressed RGB HD Instant playback from the Ram Recorder Standard SMPTE Hybrid Fibre Real-time viewfinder I-Movix: SprintCam Live V2.1 is a fully integrated brodcast solution that llows the user to capture and instantly replay from 500fps up to 10,000fps. In addition it presents the following advantages: Clarity, quality and sharpness of the images Unmatched capture speed : up to 10,000 fps ! Replay without delay, with SD/HD-SDI output Full broadcast integration Unmatched light sensitivity of the camera (at least 500 fps at 1,000 LUX) No training needed for cameraman or video engineer. LMC: The Antelope camera is connected via fibre and we record the clips in native 1080i (which is the official format for most of the international sports events). The replays are going straight to air, as well as into the EVS network which is used by various major national TV broadcasters. The software is designed to fit the broadcast requirements in fast action and response. A remote control has been added, and all the commands are placed in a strategic way.


What are the typical frame rates of the system? Are they different for different sports?

ARRI Media: Frame rates from 12-300fps and 600 fps are available; generally 200-300 and 600 are used for sports. 300fps – typically used for Football, Rugby, Boxing & Motorsport; 600fps – Cricket, Tennis, Horse Racing, Equestrian, Skiing & Athletics I-Movix: The frame rates can be customized depending on the sport broadcasted. Here are some examples: Soccer: 500 fps; Darts: min 1,000fps; Archery: min 2,500fps; Trap-shooting: min 2,500fps; Baseball: min 2,000fps; Swimming: min 1,000fps; Diving: min 1,000 fps LMC: The optimal frame rate depends on the production. Antelope can go from 25fps to 1,500fps native HD. All is a matter of light condition, as always in high speed imaging. Ski jumping at the 4hills tournament for example was shot at up to 1,000fps. On golf we sometimes shoot at 1,500fps whereas soccer and handball rarely reaches more than 750fps because of the time you require to place the replay in your telecast

Can the system cope with low light levels?

ARRI Media: Absolutely I-Movix: Yes, the SprintCam Live V2.1 system is characterized by unmatched light sensitivity LMC: Low light levels mean lower frame rates and sometimes additional gain, but it copes well. We have done productions with the Antelope under low light conditions as low as 600 Lux


On which live production has the system been used in the past?

ARRI Media: World Cup 2006 for HBS; Beijing Olympics 2008 for BOB; Football, Rugby, Cricket, Boxing, Golf and Equestrian for SKY Sports; Football, Rugby, Horse Racing, Tennis and Athletics for BBC Sport; Football for ITV Sport; Horse Racing for Channel Four Television; Motor Racing, American Football, Baseball, Ice Hockey, Skiing I-Movix: At the Beijing Olympics nine sports – going from archery to trap shooting, through diving and swimming – were filmed with the SprintCam Live V2, at up to 10,000 images per second, providing extreme slow-motion shots in real-time. Extreme Sports: O’Neill Evolution, RedBull Xfighters; Live Event Broadcasting: Le rêve (Aquatic Show by Franco Dragone, Las Vegas) LMC: Antelope had its first major breakthrough during the UEFA Euro08 in Austria and Switzerland where LMC supplied 4 HD vans with one camera each. Antelope has also been used on: RTL Boxing, SKY UK Darts, SKY Mosconi Cup Pool Billiards, Golf, Champions League Soccer, Icehockey, FIS Ski-Jumping, FIS Alpine Skiing, ORF SnowBoard, ORF The Alpine downhill race in Kitzbühel, Redbull Airrace World Series, Horse jumping Munich Indoors, DTTL Table Tennis

Is the system restricted to a single lens?

ARRI Media: No – Hi-Motion can be mounted to any B4 mount lens (Large Box type or small EFP) I-Movix: No – SprintCam Live can use every B4 mount HD lens for 2/3 inch sensor, PL mount, C mount and F mount LMC: The Antelope HD itself is not restricted to a single kind of lens (it normally takes PL-Mount or F-Mount, which is typical film-lenses). But the broadcast lenses are so heavy and so specific, that it requires an adaption, mechanical and optical. Also don´t forget that broadcast lenses are made for 2/3" ccd chips, and Antelope uses a full 35mm HD chip with a resolution of 2048x2048, so some adaptation needs to be done to fill out the full chip


Is the camera able to eliminate flicker?

ARRI Media: Flicker under artificial lights can be minimised by altering of the record frame rate, this is possible in single frame increments from 12-300fps. I-Movix: No. Lighting should be flicker-free. But we are working on this issue. LMC: We developed a de-flickering solution to counter this effect. This software is a real time algorithm which analysis each field and corrects the differences of each individual field in real time. Antelope the only Ultra-Motion Camera on the market that is capable to eliminate flicker.

What video formats are available for Playout?

ARRI Media: The HiMotion system offers HD SDI 50i or 60i and HD SDI Dual Link 50P or 60P signals I-Movix: SprintCam provides the SD native resolution, allowing the user to capture from 500fps to 10,000fps and to replay them instantly, via an SDI or HD-SDI output LMC: Antelope provides any format from TV to Film - 1080i 50, 1080p 25,24 and 720p50. Sometimes our clients require AVI Files or RAW TIFFs. Anything is possible, everything is native


Are there any improvements planned in the future?

ARRI Media: Upgrade to seamless integration with EVS and improvement in sensitivity. I-Movix: SprintCam® V3 HD can answer the needs of the most demanding applications: sports broadcasting and production of commercials, movies, and documentaries. This new broadcast solution allows the user to capture from 500 to 1,000 frames per second and to replay them instantly with an HD native resolution image quality. SprintCam V3 HD, like the SprintCam Live V2.1 system, is a full broadcast integration solution. LMC: We constantly develop the Antelope System to make it better and better. We will come out with Antelope V5 soon, which will work even better under low light conditions especially at indoor sports shoots. We are also developing various applications where Antelope will be mounted on stabilized mounts. LMC keeps finding partners where different technologies come together to create specialized applications which other companies do not offer.

Where can I rent the system in Europe?

ARRI Media – Uxbridge, UK; DVS – Aix en Provence & Paris, France; TopVision – Berlin, Germany; plus: Fletcher – Chicago, USA; NAC Rental – Tokyo, Japan I-Movix is developing and commercializing its extreme slow-motion camera systems on the global market. In Europe, Editec Ltd (UK) is our exclusive distributor in UK. I-Movix is currently working on the development and reinforcement of distributor partnerships all over the world. LMC: The Antelope Ultra-Motion system is solely available via LMC. We have four HD mobile production units available. Major events like the Winter Olympics in Vaancouver and the FIFA WC2010 in South Africa are on our wish list.

EVS Multicam V10 offers full integration with Arri Hi-Motion, DVS Superloupe, LMC Antelope and i-movix SprintCam Ultra-Motion cmera systems

With EVS XT[2] Multicam 10 software release, available May 2009, all existing XT[2] LSM systems will offer a higher level of integration with the four available Ultra-Motion systems in Europe. The first system taking full advantage of the Multicam 10 software is the Hi-Motion Camera from ARRI Media (rental partners in Europe are DVS and TopVision) while the Superloupe Camera from DVS will be the second system to be integrated. The Antelope System offered by LMC and the i-movix SprintCam system offered by Editec will be adapted to the EVS XT[2] Multicam 10 software soon. ARRI Media is the specialist in high-speed High Definition cameras. This new integration with Ultra-Motion cameras will allow live sport operators to manage all Ultra-Motion functions, including recording, replay, and clipping, directly from the EVS LSM remote controller. The XT[2]-LSM control of the Hi-Motion system covers all the required features, including: 1. Cue and Search using “Mark” and “Last Cue” keys 2. Record and Play are used to control the recording and playback in the Hi-Motion system 3. Greatly improved Jog and Search using the EVS Jog Dial 4. Utilisation of the "T" Bar for both high-speed search as well as off-speed playback 5. While playing on the Hi-Motion the ability to mark In & Out points and save the clip in the XT[2], even without controlling a player 6. Accessible key to switch between the Hi-Motion control on the PGM 7. Direct and easy control of "Block" Recording and Playback in the Hi-Motion with Cam keys A-D corresponding to Blocks 1-4 Michael Dufranne, MulticamLSM Product Manager at EVS, says, "From the earliest use of Hi-Motion in 2006, on Premiership Football in the UK and World Cup Football in Germany, the XT[2] has recorded and played out the output of the camera when used in live events. However the EVS operator, working in the intensive environment of live sports broadcasting, has had to operate across two different control panels: the Musashi Controller managing the Hi-Motion record/replay and the ubiquitous EVS controller to clip up and play into the live transmission. With the release of Multicam 10, available for all existing XT[2] servers, the operator works on one panel, the EVS controller, connected to the XT[2] server controlling the Hi-Motion record/replay as well as all the functions of the XT[2]." Andy Hayford, Digital High-Speed Manager at ARRI Media, said: "Since 2006, Hi-Motion from ARRI Media & NAC has become known as the high-speed High Definition camera of choice for major sports broadcasters around the world. Hi-Motion is used to provide extreme slow-motion 'Hypermotion' replays, available instantly in full HD quality for sports coverage. In fact at the Beijing Olympic Games, seven Hi-Motion systems were utilised extensively by the Host Broadcaster (BOB) for a wide variety of Sports." Andy adds, "The EVS XT[2] production server is synonymous with sports production and worldwide broadcasting, as it is used for action replays, highlights packaging, feed streaming, and time shifting.” Eduard Palasan, Managing Director at TopVision confirms: “ Together with match director Knut Fleischmann we now use the Arri Hi-Motion/EVS system now also at the German “Bundesliga” and achieve exceptional flicker-free Hyper-Motion pictures in 1080p resolution. And we even can include live pictures from the camera, because the color matrix and all other matching parameters are identical to our other cameras on the HD OBVan.” Aram Novoyan, General Manager at Digital Video Sud, said: "The Digital Vidéo Sud team has been working with EVS technology for more than 10 years and is very satisfied with the results. The quality of the edits and the speed of operation delivered by the EVS servers have revolutionized our customers' way of working, and for all major sporting events that are televised.The direct integration between the Superloupe HD solution and the XT2/LSM was requested by many clients for some time now. Thanks to the strong partnership that we have established with our friends at EVS, we are able to offer the very best to our customers." Felix Marggraff, CEO of LMC points out: “In cooperation with Plazamedia and HVB we now have used the Antelope HD “Air” Wireless System at the German Ladies Open 2009. We delivered crispy pictures from drives, pitches and putts and all in High Definition. The pictures were shoot with up to 1.500 frames/second. The serial and video connection between the tv compound and the camera was realised via a LINK HD wireless system. The frame-rates / exposure / color matrix etc. were controlled remotely.- The 1080i HD video signal from the camera was sent via the same wireless link and a repeater system on a 40m crane allowed the system to be operative on the whole golf course.” Andy Finn, Director, Sky Sports confirms: “The sprintcam Live V2 system is being used at 1000fps during the 13 days of the 2009 PDC World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. The event is televised live in the UK by Sky Sports. The system has surpassed all our expectations. It has worked extremely well in very low light conditions and has definitely enhanced the broadcast. We have worked very closely with the sole UK distributor, Editec, who have made great strides in getting the system improved to the standard we see today.” Ultra-Motion cameras are utilised to cover a diverse range of major international and domestic sporting events including: football, handball, rugby, tennis, cricket, golf, motor racing, baseball, American football, skiing, swimming, cycling, boxing, darts, equestrian sports, badminton, the Red Bull Air Race and horse racing.