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Sony’s Hawk-Eye USA To Debut at NAB 2015

April 9th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Ken Kerschbaumer

Sony’s acquisition of Hawk-Eye in 2011 is about to start bearing some serious fruit in the U.S. Hawk-Eye USA will be launched at NAB 2015 and, under the leadership of Managing Director Jason Bernstein, is ready to be a viable and potentially transformative option for sports-production professionals.

Hawk-Eye first made a name for itself with tracking technology used, most notably, to track whether a tennis ball is in or out during a match. But, since those early days, it has evolved to find use in other sports, particularly soccer and cricket, and, most promising for video professionals, as a means to track objects of interest, enabling unmanned robotic cameras to automatically follow the action.

“Hawk-Eye is as dynamic as it has ever been and continues to grow, as the cost-efficient production model delivers all the capabilities of a production switcher, robotic cameras, replay, customized graphics, and mixed audio at a fraction of the cost [of a traditional production],” says Bernstein. “It can help a production that is big or small, whether it is a full national production or a local amateur event, [because] it is fully customizable.”

The software-based production tool marries robotically controlled Sony cameras with a control platform that allows the operator to cut between those cameras and manned cameras and replays. Graphics can also be automatically created, thanks to data integration from leading data providers.

Bernstein says that any production can benefit from the system, which is available as a managed service.

“We deliver a product designed in collaboration with the partner,” he adds, “whether they are a sports league, university or college conference, or an amateur partner.”

Coaches and athletes can also benefit from the system because it can marry data to video, allowing key moments of an event to be analyzed from multiple angles and even with zoom function. For example, a leadoff batter can pull up all the video of at-bats versus a specific pitcher and then take a look at pitch sequences.

“And, in tennis,” Bernstein points out, “things like serve speed and shot location can allow a player to learn how to maximize their serve.”

The biggest production successes for Hawk-Eye to date have been at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, where it allows additional courts to be televised.

As the productions expand, a new sort of production professional is being created: an operator who makes sure the system is running properly and also creates the final output from a mix of robotic cameras, manned cameras, graphics, and replays.

Notes Bernstein, “It challenges the notion of the traditional production position.”

Hawk-Eye USA’s latest technology will be on display at NAB 2015 at the Sony booth (C11001).