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FOX is testing a new overhead camera

Mar 30, 2011, 10:31 AM EDT

old TV

Sticking with the Los Angeles Times, there was a report there yesterday about FOX’s desire to use a new “Field Cam,” which would travel overhead the diamond, giving all of us at home new angles. Apparently they used it last night in the Dodgers-Angels exhibition game.  There was something like this in the playoffs last fall, but that was limited in that the camera stayed in foul territory. This new thing would go over the actual field.

There are concerns voiced by players in the article about the camera being intrusive, even when it’s in foul territory. Fly balls go high, after all, so there’s always the potential for interference.  Of course, given that baseball has no problem with an actual catwalk-laden stadium that routinely interferes with both fair and foul balls, I’m guessing this is something everyone could live with.

I liked those shots in the playoffs. I think it would be cool to have a camera track a runner going from first to third or catching a double play from a view directly overhead.  I have faith that they could pull this off with minimal disruption.

  1. BC - Mar 30, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    And to think it was the XFL that pioneered this thing…..

    • Matthew Flint - Mar 30, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      I may be wrong, but I think the first “Skycam” use was in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. XFL may have been the first US league to use it.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 30, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    If Randy Johnson can hit a bird while it flies through his fastball’s path to the plate, then someone will undoubtedly hit this camera or the cables holding it. Cool angles worth it? Perhaps, but let’s hope they work out the rules for when it does hit the thing, b/c it will happen.

    • lmno7 - Mar 30, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      That was THE most amazing thing… EVER…
      Poof… just a small cloud of feathers….

      • lanflfan - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        It was to us, but not from the bird’s prospective. Definitely added to Randy’s aura though. That man could bring it.

      • Joe - Mar 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        Natural selection. Don’t sweat it.

      • lmno7 - Mar 30, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        Oh I don’t sweat it… I just think it was an amazing example of synchronicity…
        That could never happen again, if you tried for 100 years…

        And yes, Randy could bring it…
        Just not once he put on the pinstripes…
        Took my son to his first Yankee/baseball game, and Randy was the starter…
        I think he gave up like 8 runs by the 2nd inning…
        put a real damper on the experience for us…

  3. jimatkins - Mar 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Watched it last night- didn’t like what they did. The camera was swooping over the field, only between innings. My wife complained it made her airsick. I wasn’t really impressed with what they did. It did seem like there is a real possibility of getting a camera hit with a pop-up. All in all, it seemed gimmicky.

  4. kmgannon - Mar 30, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Just because you *can* do something with fancy new technology doesn’t mean you *should*.

    • lanflfan - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      If the camera gets loose, will it start to eat the fans?

  5. heyblueyoustink - Mar 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    I always liked the idea of a catcher or ump cam……batter’s eye view to what these pitches really look like, or the shadow distraction stuff during late day into night games…..

    After that, i’m pretty OK with the camera angles baseball offers now……and if I want better angles, i’ll just take a trip to the park

  6. APBA Guy - Mar 30, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    You have to try this new stuff out. Catcher cam should be revisited as miniature HD cameras get better and better (see HD shots from F1 cars. Really breathtaking). You never know how the overhead cam will work, but a stabilized shot over home during the ball’s flight over the plate is pretty cool. They’ve been doing that in Oakland, along with maximum slo-mo: part of the reason the A’s TV views were up last year.

  7. Charles Gates - Mar 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I’m all for new camera angles, moving cameras, and camera apparatus that hasn’t even been invented yet, as long as it helps the overall enjoyment of the game. But when the game starts to get in the way of the FOX production crew showing off their new camera doo-hickey, that’s where I draw the line. Test the technology. If they use it wisely and it’s an effective add-on to telecast the game, go for it.

  8. Brian Murphy - Mar 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    There’s one change in how the TV brings us the game that I really dislike this year. It’s not from FOX, but rather ESPN. It appears that they are going to impose their K-Zone box around the plate for each pitch. That annoyed me during spring training games. It looks like I am watching a video game.

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