Making its debut at a Grand Slam tennis event, ESPN’s SpiderCam at the US Open has taken viewers where they’ve never gone before for dramatic shots of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The aerial camera system – which is exclusive to ESPN2 and its approximately 100 hours of US Open action – is suspended by four thin Kevlar ropes connected to large winches via pulleys high above the court surface on light poles at the four corners of the world’s largest tennis arena. It moves in three dimensions, ranging from as low as one meter off the court to 33 meters high, from beyond one end of the court to the other and from side to side. The camera can pan, tilt, zoom and focus, with the images sent via fiber optics wiring within the Kevlar roping.
“We are always seeking new ways to bring the viewer closer to the action and the athletes and SpiderCam has provided an exciting new perspective of the grandeur, ambience and size of Arthur Ashe Stadium,” said Jamie Reynolds, vice president, ESPN event production.
In addition to walk-ons, changeovers, coin tosses, ceremonies and post-match interviews, SpiderCam has been used to advance the viewers’ understanding of the game. “We have started using SpiderCam as a live camera source, bringing a cinematic approach to the coverage,” Reynolds said. “As an analytical device we are using it for replays directly overhead, and then taking it into new areas, as we tie it to use of the Orad MVP tracking technology. This allows us new perspectives to breakdown strategy and deconstruct points.”
Images courtesy of ESPN
ABC today announced the premiere of “Shaq Vs.,” a new competition series starring NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. The one-hour series, in which O’Neal will take his athletic prowess beyond the basketball court and strive to become a champion in a new sporting event each week, will debut TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 (9:00- 10:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Over the course of the series, O’Neal will challenge Olympian and World Champion Michael Phelps in swimming; Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, in football; reigning U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams in tennis; championship fighter Oscar de la Hoya in boxing; two time NL MVP and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in baseball; and Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in beach volleyball.
“These athletes may be on top of their game, but I am up for the challenge,” said O’Neal. “I plan to train hard and win, so look out.”
“Shaq is the only one with the athletic skills and personality to carry this unique project,” said John Saade and Vicki Dummer, co-heads of Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night, ABC Entertainment Group. “It’s Shaq versus the best athletes in the world, competitors who aren’t afraid of the challenge… or Shaq’s humor.”