Could 360 Degree, Matrix-Style Cameras Revolutionize Hockey on TV?

That short, silent clip of a Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) goaltender getting beaten top shelf might be the next big thing in televised hockey.  I know I know, you’ve heard this before.  Glow Puck.  Rail-cam.  Sky-cam.  Cameras in refs helmets.  Cameras everywhere.  But this technology I learned about yesterday could combine all (well, some) of them into something that could make the NHL on TV flexible, telegenic, and even interactive.  You never thought you’d hear those words together in a column that isn’t titled “Why the NHL is headed for failure”.

There’s been a lot of talk around the sports world about 3D-TV coming into your living rooms soon.  Well, I’m not exactly sure if this is related, but I hope so, because it sounds really, really cool.  You’ll have to excuse me if I get a little kid-on-Christmas with this, because I was so impressed the first time I saw it.

Michael Brown, a native of Brandon, Manitoba, is the genius behind this ridiculous new system.  William Houston of The Globe & Mail has the full story, but this detail is what blew our mind most thoroughly:

 

Up to 72 cameras are suspended high above the playing field on an aluminium rig. The cameras track the same sequence, like a player, ball or puck – offering a 360 degree video that can be viewed from many angles.

 

Wow.  It’s all very impressive just to watch for a little while, with any sport, and you can watch them do just that at this web site.  But the question is, would something like this improve hockey’s miniscule TV ratings?
The long claim by many who are turned off by the sport is that the flat camera angles make the game impossible to translate from the amazing in-arena experience to the sterile environment of the living room.  For the diehard fan, this would, at best, make watching games not involving your team much more enjoyable.  For the casual, go once in a while fan that apparently exists, however?  This is like seeing hockey in a completely new light.  It might make you even pay attention the next time the league institutes a no fun policy against badly scripted banter.  But off our soapbox…
We are pretty overwhelmed by all of this.  But we feel the best argument is how it could completely change the nature of TV coverage of one of the greatest sports of all time: Floor Hockey.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think about this amazingness in the comment section.
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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

2 Responses to Could 360 Degree, Matrix-Style Cameras Revolutionize Hockey on TV?

  1. dyhrdmet says:

    I’ve always said that hockey could use cartoon visual and sound effects. Imagine Tex Avery directing a hockey game with lots of hitting. I can actually picture FOX’s intros from the mid/late 90s going somewhere in that direction with hits and the player’s eyes (animated) popping out of the head.

  2. ac says:

    If the NHL (Bettman) is trying to make 360 degree matrix-style cameras so that more Americans will watch hockey, it won’t work. The NHL has lots of problems across the board which will not be fixed until Gary Bettman is either fired or is forced to resign as commissioner of the National Hockey League. Getting back to the original point of the article… Bettman tried to have the NHL in HD so that more non-traditional American hockey markets would watch. What did that do? Nothing. So what makes anyone think 360 degree matrix-style cameras will work for the NHL? If the NHL’s 30 owners are smart, then they will get rid of Bettman and at the same time, focus more on the problems surrounding the NHL and less on 360 degree matrix-style cameras.

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