Dew Tour GM On New Halfpipe Cable Cam

At this winter’s Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge, Colorado, held December 13-16, Alli Sports unveiled  a unique perspective on halfpipe riding that changed the way audiences viewed the action. Using cable camera technology borrowed from the NFL, viewers got a never-before-seen view of the pipe that we’re betting will become standard at major events.

To learn more about the technology and set up, we caught up with Kenny Mitchell, VP and GM of the Dew Tour.

Tell us a little about how you used the Cable Cam and how it’s rigged so it doesn’t interfere with the riders?

The Cable Cam is approximately 34 feet above the center of the superpipe, which is 12 feet above the deck, so that it does not interfere with the athletes. We did testing with a few of the athletes during the week to ensure they were comfortable with the set up and that it wasn’t obtrusive – everyone was totally comfortable with it and excited by the new vantage point.

How long does this take to set up?

It took 11 guys, about four days to get the cable cam up.

Are you guys partnering with someone to do this?

As Alli Sports and the Dew Tour are part of the NBC Sports Group, we have access to tremendous broadcast and technological resources. We did not have an outside partner for this, but used Cable Cam as our vendor.

How do you think it will enhance the viewer’s experience?

This is a never before seen angle for viewers, and the Cable Cam provides the option of shooting from in front of the athletes, or following them through their run. This view from the front provides a new perspective on the complex tricks in the halfpipe, as well as really shows the amplitude the athletes get on each hit.  This technology also eliminates the follow cam that viewers typically see in the bottom of the pipe, offering a cleaner overall shot.

What other applications do you see for the Cable Cam and the Dew Tour?

The Dew Tour used a four-point cable cam at the Pantech Beach Championships in Ocean City, Maryland this August.  It allowed us to show viewers a bird’s eye view of the entire venue across the skate bowl, vert ramp, BMX park course and the Dew Tour Experience. We’ll continue to look for new ways to integrate this technology into our events and broadcasts.

Throughout the new Dew Tour, we’ve employed various technologies, including the Cable Cam, aerial footage and course animations to make the broadcast more exciting and engaging for our viewers. With 11 hours of original content across NBC Sports Network and NBC, it was important to us for 2012 to bring more action and innovation to the broadcasts and give our viewers more with each show.

Shaun White with the cable cam in the foreground.