Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just a thought: End of the Sports Shooter?

We watched the Superbowl this year in HD and I couldn't help but notice how sharp the freeze frame replays were, I could see blades of grass kicking up off the cleats of the players - It was really that sharp!

This got me thinking, I know HD cameras are only about 2 Megapixels in resolution (for now). But consider the following:
  • Network TV 'blankets the field with cameras (Pop SI had an article on the 2007 Superbowl and they had 48 cameras covering the field) Look at how many different angles they show a replay from.
  • Network TV will aways get the best camera positions - They even have that cool floating camera that can capture overhead shots or the 'Quarterback view' of the field - No Sports shooter could ever get this angle.
  • New stadium lighting is excellent - allowing for the Video Camera's High Speed Shutter modes to capture pure stop action on a single frame - no more motion blur. A friend told me how he saw a game at the new Phoenix Stadium and walked around the entire field and couldn't find a shadow - it was very evenly and brightly lit.
  • Progressive scan tech in HD cameras eliminates the old interlacing issues.
  • Technology is always advancing - CES had some 4 & 8 Megapixel displays - some day this could be the norm. How long before HD video is capturing 4-8Mp images?
  • DSLR sports shooters are almost 'filming' now - The first time I fired off 8.5fps on my mkII, it put a smile on my face. Now we have 10-11fps DSLRs but this still pales in comparison to Video. Video frame rates are almost guaranteed to capture that 'magic' split second.
Media Outlets are getting gobbled up by conglomerates more and more lately - when will they start to exercise their synergies by just grabbing video frames from their TV feeds for their newspapers and magazines?

....so are the days of the sports shooter numbered?
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