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Angling for fuller field view
By SHARON GINN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 24, 2001
CBS play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel jokes that he'll be the one playing the part of Keanu Reeves this week, but in reality that role could be filled by the Ravens' Shannon Sharpe.
The network will unveil a technological innovation Sunday that CBS Sports president Sean McManus likens to the camera work in the virtual reality movie The Matrix. In a replay system called EyeVision, 33 cameras, synchronized by robotics and controlled by one operator, will provide an approximately 270-degree view of nearly everything that happens. CBS hopes to use it for replays three or four times.
"It's very much in the infancy of its development," McManus said. "This will be the first time you'll be seeing it live."
It won't be as breathtaking as seeing Reeves from all angles while he battles the enemy in The Matrix. The movie had about 280 cameras focused on a fixed point, so the camera work was seamless, said Ken Aagaard, CBS Sports senior vice president for operations. Expect EyeVision to be somewhat choppier.
The technology is most effective when it is focusing on one person, Aagaard said. So it likely will best serve the viewer on a spectacular touchdown run (or in the case of this game, an interception return). But there are instances in which it could help determine what happened in a play.
"Imagine, if you will, a play where it's not quite certain whether the ball crossed the goal line or whether a player stepped out of bounds running down the side of the field," McManus said. "They'll be able to stop that play, and run every conceivable angle."
Aagaard said the referees could use it during instant replay. It remains to be seen whether the technology will be as useful or popular as the first-down line, which is by far the most fan-friendly innovation in recent memory. EyeVision is significantly more complex, Aagaard said. McManus said he hopes to develop it further and market it to other networks.
LOW TECH TV: Far less state of the art, but potentially almost as entertaining, is the tactic CBS is using to gather video from the players' perspective. The network gave Giants and Ravens players hand-held video cameras to carry with them and will use some of the footage for a feature Sunday.
Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail made perhaps the best use of his camera Tuesday. He carried a sign reminding people "there is no U in my name," then pointed the camera at himself and told CBS to "tell (analyst) Phil Simms we have a little pronunciation key for him."
BOY JOY: Last year in Atlanta, ESPN's Andrea Kremer ended media day in the hospital with preterm labor. Eight months' pregnant, she gave birth to son Will the next day and worked the Super Bowl four days later.
Tuesday's media day was far less hectic, she said, but not quite the way it used to be. Kremer brought Will, who celebrates his first birthday Friday, to Tampa for the 10-day trip.
"I may physically feel better because I'm not carrying around an extra 35 pounds," the diminutive Kremer said. "But I'm kind of torn because this is the first road trip all year I've taken him on. I usually have tunnel vision when I'm working the Super Bowl."
NICK ON SITE: At least one TV reporter wasn't interested in talking to Ray Lewis about what happened after last year's Super Bowl. Ocala's Joshua Gangelhoff, 12, is reporting this week for Nickelodeon, asking players things kids want to know. Examples: What does your game face look like? Do you have staring contests with players from the other team? Gangelhoff won the job after an audition at Nickelodeon's studios in Orlando.
Today's Super Bowl story lineup