Hockey - Umpire Camera Trial

Hockey - Umpire Camera Trial

Hockey - Umpire Camera Trial

Hockey - Umpire Camera Trial

 
Attention all hockey fans:
Ever wanted to be out on the field, in amongst the play of this fast paced, physical game?  Well you are all in for a treat!
 
As a production team, NEP Host Broadcast is always seeking new and exciting camera angles to enhance the broadcast and ultimately show a sporting contest at its best. In this instance our aim is to transport the viewer onto the playing field and into the play using the perspective from the umpire.
 
So, to ensure we can deliver the best in quality pictures and gain the appropriate approval from world hockey’s governing body, the FIH, a trial for wearable umpire camera technology was organised.
 
With thanks to GC2018 Hockey Competition Manager, Kitty McCaskie, Hockey Queensland, two of Australia’s highly experienced international umpires, Adam Kearns and Ben DeYoung and our equipment supplier, Telstra Broadcast Services, a trial day was set to coincide with a visit from the FIH Competition Manager and GC2018 Technical Delegate, Martyn Gallivan.
 
Our testing ground will be a battle between two of Brisbane’s division 1 hockey teams at the State Hockey Centre in Brisbane. So the scene is set and having the ability to use two umpires wearing a camera meant we could also trial two different lens types. The difference between each of the camera lenses was the angle of view, with one a wide angle and the other with a tighter or narrow angle of view.
 
The greatest challenge of using pictures from a camera mounted on moving person is one of stability. We need to minimise the potential for the viewer to be distracted by the motion of the camera as the wearer moves around the field. To have control of this motion, a stabilising gyro was deployed with the camera. The gyro stabilisation helps maintain the view of the camera, level with the horizon. For example, if the umpire tilted their head down to look at their watch, the camera will maintain the horizon and not follow the movement of the umpire’s head. This is of great help with stability, however there will be times where we may like the camera to follow the umpire’s head and look down. To have this control and enable a separate tilt function, the creative technicians at Telstra Broadcast Services added tilt functionality to their camera system. The tilt function is activated remotely by an operator and this will ensure we can tilt the camera up or down, whenever we need too.  
 
With game time it’s crunch time for this trial and within the first quarter all of us were confident of success after watching the live images out of both cameras from the comfort of the technical bench on the sideline. The great pictures were backed up with a positive reaction from the two umpires. Both of them were not distracted from officiating and felt comfortable wearing the cameras and associated equipment vests.
 
This view is exciting and with a ball and sticks flying through the air, you won’t need those 3D glasses. The trial was deemed a success, so look out for those amazing umpire camera pictures during the 2018 Commonwealth Games hockey competition.
 
That’s time!

To view a sample video of the head-mounted Umpire camera in action, click on the picture below:

 
 
Shane Street
Coordinating Producer