Live from NBA All-Star: Bexel Clarity 800 Slow-Motion Camera Makes Debut

By February 23, 2017News

Camera system weighs only 12 oz and is about the size of a smartphone, expanding the possibilities of slow-mo imaging

February 23, 2017 – Burbank, CA
By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director of Sportsvideo.org

Bexel Global Broadcast Solution’s presence at the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend was highlighted by the debut of the Clarity 800 slow-motion camera, a new family of cameras that was designed and built by Bexel and expands the number of places that production professionals can place high-speed camera systems.

“It’s a proprietary camera that we have been developing for more than a year, is about the size of a smartphone, and can capture HD images at 4x, 6x, and 8x speed,” says Lee Estroff, Bexel, VP of account development. “We think it is going to be a game changer.”

Bexel’s Clarity 800 camera was mounted behind one of the backboards for the NBA D-League All-Star game in New Orleans.

Two of the cameras were deployed for the D-League All-Star Game with one mounted inside the base of one of the basket stanchions and shooting upwards and the other mounted behind one of the backboards.

The name Clarity was the brainchild of Tom Dickinson, CTO of Bexel Global Broadcast Solutions.

“When people talk about the value of super motion to a production they talk about how clear the image so the name Clarity clicked as what we are going is for clarity in the shot,” says Bonner.

One of the engineering feats of the Clarity 800 is its small footprint as the camera weighs 12 ounces and is 4.7 inches high, 2.56 inches wide and one inch deep. Additional specs for the camera include a Micro Four Thirds imager with a 7-megapixel sensor that has a sensitivity of f11 at 2000 lux. The camera can also operate in either 50Hz or 60Hz mode and it runs on 12-volt DC power.

Edd Bonner, Bexel’s VP of engineering and operations, says the camera was built to meet the industry’s growing desire to add more high-speed cameras to a production.

“The original concept was a much larger camera that would be able to use B4 mount lenses but we saw an opportunity for a smaller camera that could fit into other places,” he says. “So we decided to make a camera that was the size of a phone.”

The engineering challenge was figuring out how to process such a high amount of live data and then spit it out to a professional replay system.

“A lot of specialty cameras record internally and the amount of time to turn around those clips is tough for production teams,” says Bonner. “So we wanted something to fit into a workflow like a regular source.”

The Clarity 800 camera has a similar footprint to a smartphone.

Building on Bexel and Camera Corps’ experience of using specialty cameras in live broadcast, it currently offers HD up to 8x (480 fps), and 1080p processing (it can also shoot at 1080i and 720p). The Clarity 800 also easily integrates into a live event ecosystem, operating as a broadcast camera system with real-time processing via fiber optics and integration with industry-standard video servers from companies like EVS, Evertz, and Grass Valley. It also has a full-function camera remote control panel (RCP) for paint control of the camera and a positive-lock lens mount with lens control of focus, iris, and zoom motors.

Output is via PCIe and provides 40 Gbps throughput to a processing box where the raw video is processed and corrected before sending it on to the production team via fiber where it can be used as a live feed. The processing box can be located as far as 150 feet away from the camera.

The camera is also part of a strategy by Bexel to offer proprietary systems for rent that will give it a competitive advantage versus competitors.

“One thing we are trying to do is differentiate ourselves from others in the market by building our own products to fill the gaps in the marketplace,” says Bonner. “This will be a family of cameras and we will take what we learned building this camera and use it to build more cameras.”

The goal is also to keep the costs low so that it will be a viable option for a wide range of events, not just high-level events. Look for the system to be available for rent around late April when the NAB Convention is held in Las Vegas.

“We want customers to be able to use this not just during the NBA Finals but on the whole season,” adds Bonner.

Read the article on SportsVideo.org.

About Bexel

Celebrating more than 35 years of broadcast excellence, Bexel Global Broadcast Solutions skillfully delivers unparalleled production services and engineering expertise for some of the world’s largest televised events. Bexel has mastered the art of service from concept to completion, and its unique solutions equip broadcasters to capture powerful content anywhere in the world. Bexel’s specialized broadcast offerings include fiber, specialty cameras, 4K solutions, graphics, custom flypacks, and intercom, as well as systems integration, managed services, enterprise solutions, and product sales. Since 1981, Bexel has continually enhanced and evolved the media production experience. Bexel is a Vitec Group brand.

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About Vitec Group

Vitec is a leading global provider of premium branded products and services to the fast changing and growing “image capture and sharing” market.

Vitec’s customers include broadcasters, independent content creators, photographers and enterprises, and our activities comprise: design, manufacture and distribution of high performance products and software including camera supports, wireless systems, robotic camera systems, prompters, LED lights, mobile power, monitors and bags; and premium services including technical solutions, systems integration and equipment rental for TV production teams, film crews and enterprises.

We employ around 1,700 people across the world in ten different countries and are organised in two Divisions: Broadcast and Photographic. The Vitec Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with 2016 revenue of £376.2 million.

More information can be found at: www.vitecgroup.com.

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