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Daytona 500: Fox Sports Extends Use of Megalodon,' Improves Drones for NASCAR Season

12/02/2021

Daytona 500: Fox Sports Extends Use of Megalodon,' Improves Drones for NASCAR Season A Sony HDC-P50 with Canon's 20X5 lens will be attached to a heavy-lift drone By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor

Friday, February 12, 2021 - 11:15 am

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Fox Sports' live mirrorless camera, dubbed the Megalodon,' first captured the eyes of television viewers during Week 15 of the NFL regular season and returned for the NFL postseason. Now, for the first race of the new NASCAR season, the broadcaster is deploying different variations of it for shots in close-up and far-to-reach areas.

We're expanding upon the Megalodon that we used for NFL games, says Kevin Callahan, VP, field operations and engineering, Fox Sports. In addition to having it on a Ronin-S handheld, we're also experimenting with it on a DigiBoom [gimbal-stabilized rig] to give us different angles.

On the Track: Megalodon, High-Speed Devices Highlight 74-Camera Complement The Megalodon has become a tech craze over the past two months, but it has been experimented with only on a football field with people. In Daytona, both man and machine will be in front of the lens. The relatively simple setup, consisting of a Sony a7R IV mirrorless DSLR camera and Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens, is intended to provide a cinematic vibe new to a NASCAR telecast. Since cars will be blazing down the track at more than 150 mph, capturing the desired shot will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. In an effort to use these stellar live shots, the broadcaster is placing the operator in an area with still subject matter.

We're looking to get different crew chiefs and teams in the pits, Callahan explains. We'll try to get those shots that we haven't really been able to get with a shallow depth of field.

Beverly Hills Aerials Drone Pilot Michael Izquierdo (left) and Fox Sports Fiber Technician Brian Obert prepare the FPV racing drone and the heavy-lift drone to cover the Daytona 500.

The camera will be swapped with the Ronin-S handheld, which viewers are normally used to seeing in the end zone of NFL telecasts, to grab tight shots of individuals when applicable and with the DigiBoom, which can be used to hang over the barrier wall for shots of the pit crew during tire changes and other activity. Prior to green flag, the Megalodon will be located in the garages as drivers prep for the race.

The camera complement for this event will hit a grand total of 74. Every nook and cranny of the 2.5-mile track will be covered by 16 Sony HDC-4300's (with more than one at 6X speed), 16 Sony HDC-P50's, two Sony HDC-4800's at 16X, and a Fletcher high-speed robo at the finish line. The Sony HDC-4800's will be outfitted with two Fujinon 8K lens to capture crystal-clear shots after the sun sets in Daytona.

Prior to Sunday's race, Fox Sports covered the action-packed NASCAR Speedweeks leading up to the main event. Among the events was the first-ever Busch Clash, which ran on Daytona's 63-year-old road course, permitting Callahan and the operations team to deploy a handful of cameras that haven't been used in quite some time.

The road course gives you many opportunities for different camera placement, so we're able to return to a position that we haven't been able to use for a bunch of years, he adds. Due to safety concerns, we're putting a robotic camera in there that is going to be remotely operated by someone on the other side of the turn. The operator will still be outside of the [main] track in a safe area behind the barrier, so we should be getting some spectacular shots.

Reach for the Sky: Heavy-Lift, FPV Racing Drones Provide Shots From the Air Having made its NASCAR debut at last year's race, aerial drone coverage is being improved dramatically. Capable of 85 mph, the FPV racing drone, operated by Los Angeles-based production company Beverly Hills Aerials, is covering the straightaway near the starting line and other areas around the track. Having experience at this specific location, the operator will hover the drone over the cluster of cars and detail the progress of the race from above. To display synchronization with all broadcast cameras (excluding the Megalodon), Fox Sports is installing a CyanView Cy-CI0 to this drone for appropriate camera shading.

https://www.sportsvideo.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Drone-Sizzle.mp4

We're putting a Dream Chip camera on [the racing drone] to get the best possible image that we can, says Callahan. This will allow our video operators to be able to paint it and make sure that it matches the rest of our cameras. Other times when we've put out these types of specialty cameras, we've lacked that control to get them to match; they've always looked a little bit different. Now we've been able to make this a reality.

The heavy-lift drone will be carrying extra cargo: a Sony HDC-P50 equipped with Canon's new 20X5 lens. More traditionally, the Goodyear Blimp will also be on hand for shots near the clouds.

In the Cockpit: BSI To Handle 32 In-Car Cameras, Other RF Needs BSI will handle 32 in-car cameras, including this one on the helmet of Bubba Wallace.

A staple at the Daytona 500, subsequent races in NASCAR, and even other high-profile auto-racing events like the Indy 500, BSI will once again deploy 32 robotic cameras (four cameras with each of eight drivers) to put the fan in the cockpit of the stock car. The most recognizable of these devices, Visor Cam, will be placed on the outside of a driver's helmet, including that of No. 23 Bubba Wallace. Along with the device, the customary dashboard camera and a pair of other cameras with pan-and-tilt capabilities on the vehicle's interior will map the driver's position in the field.

Besides in-car
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/02/12/daytona-500-fox-sports-extends-...
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