Gravity Media Debuts HelmetCam During The Hundred Cricket Tournament; Unleash FUJINON 4K Lenses During Bathurst 1000

Gravity Media has debuted its new Globecam speciality cameras unit across grounds in England and Wales this summer at The Hundred cricket tournament. In addition, the company and V8 Supercars scored an Australian broadcast first when a Bathurst 1000 race became a full live 4K production, making it the first sport in Australia to be televised at the ultra-high resolution.

Gravity Media’s Globecam unit is renowned for creating ground-breaking, high-definition digital miniature live broadcast devices, which entertain audiences globally with new and exciting angles and perspectives. This summer Gravity Media’s Globecam speciality cameras – HelmetCam and KeeperCam – have been in use at the new cricket tournament series The Hundred.

The inaugural events of The Hundred series have taken place throughout July and August this year and feature top players from around the world competing in a 100-ball cricket tournament. The series involves eight men’s and eight women’s teams, is run by the England and Wales Cricket Board and has been broadcast in the UK by Sky Sports and the BBC.

Making its UK production launch on The Hundred, HelmetCam delivers a unique HD broadcasting experience, letting audiences at home experience exactly what the batter sees when they step up to the crease. It delivers the thrill of a speeding ball and the trepidation of a hit or a miss. The images captured by the device have also been useful diagnostic tools for pundits dissecting key moments in a game.

The device has full HD 1080i/50 resolution, HD-SDI output from the receiver, image stabilisation and is light-weight at only 230g in total. The deployment of the cameras follows Gravity Media’s acquisition of the Globecam business in July this year from Australia’s Telstra Broadcast Services. Along with its DSNG (Digital Satellite) fleet, the additional complements Gravity Media’s already impressive UK-based speciality cameras unit.

Greg Littrich, Director of Media Services & Facilities for Gravity Media in Australia commented: “We knew that Gravity Media’s acquisition of the Globecam speciality camera business would allow us to enhance the live broadcasts that we deliver for clients and the roll out of the HelmetCam at The Hundred is a great example of that. It’s been a great tournament of exciting cricket and we’re looking forward to rolling these speciality cameras out into lots of other live events.”

The production involved 28 native 4K cameras deployed around the track and predominantly FUJINON 4K lenses. Recently Gravity Media scored another first as they used the first FUJINON UA125 4K lens in Australia for a V8 Supercars race in Darwin.

Gravity Media’s Broadcast Project Manager – Supercars, George Hennessy​ explained, “The FUJINON UA125 is an amazing lens. At the Darwin race the camera position was approximately 570 metres from the start of the main straight, on a five metre scaffold on the inside of the racetrack. The main shot for the UA125 was to pick up a car turning into the main straight and follow as directed. The secondary use was a later cut to see the rear of the car breaking into the first turn at the end of the main straight and follow through the corner. The distance at the apex of this corner was 520 metres. The lens also ISO recorded in case of any incidents for replay at a later time.”

As if the distances weren’t enough of a challenge, the UA125 also had to deal with Darwin’s tropical heat and humidity.

Hennessy​ continued, “The UA125 lens gave good throw to the top of the main straight and seemed like it could easily go further if needed. The main problem during the Darwin coverage was the ‘thickness’ of the air. With the humidity so high, plus the temperatures being around 30 degrees Centigrade, when shooting over this distance the disturbances were very clear in the picture – such is the quality of the lens.”

The FUJINON UA125×8 4K-compatible box-type broadcast zoom lens has the world’s highest zoom ratio of 125X. The FUJINON UA125×8 covers a wide range of focal lengths from 8mm in wide angle to 1,000mm in telephoto and 2,000mm with the built-in extender. It is a multi-purpose high-power zoom lens that can be used in diverse situations, including live broadcasts of sporting events and concerts.

George Hennessy concluded, “Despite crippling heat and humidity the UA125 lens performed well, though the atmospheric conditions did not allow for a crisp and detailed picture over those distances. With that in mind, we now plan to use the lens and focus on its longer shots in an environment with cooler air temps and much lower humidity levels such as the upcoming Repco Bathurst 1000 Supercars race.”

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