BatCam Returns for NBC Sports’ NASCAR Cup Series Championship Coverage This Weekend
The cable-suspended camera is one of 80 cameras deployed at Homestead Miami Speedway
The checkered flag is in sight for NASCAR’s Championship 4 — Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keslowski, and Martin Truex Jr. — and, as the four drivers vie for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship this Sunday, NBC Sports will surround Homestead Miami Speedway with 80 cameras, including the return of BatCam.
BatCam, which debuted during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in early July, comprises a Panasonic AK-HC1500G HD box camera that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds and reach speeds exceeding 100 mph. The camera, which is suspended on a cable between two cranes, has been deployed at selected tracks this season, always from the inside of Turn 2 to the inside of Turn 3. NBC Sports plans to use a similar approach this weekend in Homestead, FL.
“We think it just adds an element of speed to the coverage,” says NBC Sports Executive Producer/President, Production, Sam Flood. “To be able to go along 100 miles an hour and still see the cars go flying past, especially on the backstretch at this track, I think it’ll be pretty dramatic. And the way the backstretch is laid out with the trees and the fencing, I think, is going to accentuate the speed even more.”
Inside Game Creek Video’s Peacock, race director Mike Wells will monitor the cars that he would like BatCam to track. Once the car — or cars — reach a certain point, he will alert the BatCam operator to start the camera and follow the race action until the cars have passed (despite the camera’s high speed, the cars are still faster). Although BatCam could be used as a replay angle in the event of a crash or as a beauty cam to capture the crowd in the grandstand, its primary purpose is to add a unique live shot to the complement.
“We try to use the BatCam for actual coverage, instead of eye candy,” says Wells. “It’s nice for bump shots and that kind of thing, but we really want to take advantage of something like that for actual race coverage. It’s pretty cool to just watch it make its move, because it just flies. But it’s a great production tool, and, again, we believe in using those kinds of things for actual coverage.”
Of the 80 cameras deployed to cover the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, 23 will be Sony HDC-4300 cameras with 4K capability. The racetrack also will be covered by 150 microphones and 28 miles of fiber cable.
In addition to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship on Sunday, NBC Sports will broadcast the XFINITY Series Championship on Saturday. In total, the Peacock will offer more than 22 hours of trackside coverage from the Homestead Miami Speedway on NBC, CNBC, and NBCSN. NBC Sports’ website and app will also provide comprehensive streaming coverage of this weekend’s NASCAR action.