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White Paper - Dr. John C. Fakan

ENDZONE CAMERA SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT - HEIGHT VS. ANGLE

When U.S. Sports Video engineers began investigating design criteria for endzone camera systems back in 1990 one of the first questions considered was the appropriate height for the endzone camera. A review of then current practices, including the use of existing structures, bucket trucks, scissors-jacks, and others, revealed that, not surprisingly, the parameter of concern was angle of view rather than camera height. Line coaches with endzone video capability had already been determining their viewing-angle preferences, but usually were simply using whatever was available. In order to provide adequate height angle, large, heavy elevation systems, like bucket trucks, which had to be stationed some distance from the endzone, had to be considerably higher than scissors-jack platforms that could be located within the field.

Obviously, placing the camera system just outside the endline provides for a geometry that results in the minimum camera height to achieve a given viewing angle. Using this as a starting point U.S. Sports Video's earliest endzone systems were then field tested to fine tune the combination of viewing angle, stability, and cost to achieve an optimum range of products.

The initial EagleCam unit was an Eagle system custom-built to provide up to a 40-foot camera elevation for the athletic department at Texas A&M. Shortly after that system was installed and in operation a SkyHawk model was provided to Mount Union College where Head Coach Larry Kehres rigorously evaluated it and helped set the viewing angle and other operational parameters.

At the same time our engineers and coaches were testing various Eagle and SkyHawk models at various locations in order to evaluate engineering parameters that concerned safety, stability and performance.

These real-world studies revealed the critical importance of having a stable structure able to resist being blown over in all too common wind gusts seen in outdoor facilities. From a practical point of view this dictates that systems should be no taller than required to provide a good viewing angle -- which means they should be as close to the endline as practical.

An unexpected advantage of shorter distances was discovered during a comparison between a SkyHawk and a vehicle-mounted scissors-jack at Oberlin College. The SkyHawk was located within about 10 feet of the endline while the scissors-jack platform was outside the field at the opposite end and at an elevation of about 45 feet -- which still gave it a somewhat lower viewing angle than that provided by the SkyHawk. During the game it began to snow. The view from the scissors-jack mounted camera was looking through about four times as many snowflakes -- which rendered the image almost useless. The video from the SkyHawk's position was only slightly degraded.

Also of concern is the vibration generated in the resulting video by lack of stiffness of the tower supporting the camera. To maximize safety and video image quality all of the US Sprts Video elevated camera systems are designed to provide optimum stability and stiffness consistent with safety, portability and cost. Stability of the Eagle is established by the large base formed by the trailer jack and outriggers. SkyHawk depends on its large 10-foot footprint and, optionally, on an auxiliary weight to resist toppling for camera heights up to about 30 feet. Stiffness in both models is provided by the large diameter aircraft aluminum tubing and unique custom-built couplings used in their construction. The Raven achieves acceptable stability and stiffness at the cost of locating the system just behind or very close to the endline and with the requirement that the videographer be exposed to the weather. The new SideWinder is inherently stiff and stable because of its relatively short length and the stiffness of the materials used in its construction.

 

John C. Fakan, Ph.D.
Senior Product Engineer

We are the originators of endzone camera systems, and our professional
camera systems are used by thousands of athletic programs, all the way up to the NFL for over 30 years. Contact us today for the best system package pricing!

Mike Bokulich
President
U.S. Sports Video

 

Who is US Sports Video?

 

US Sports VIdeo is the originator of endzone camera systems as they’re known today. For over thirty years, we’ve been leading and innovating the elevated camera system industry. We manufacture the most comprehensive line of custom-built endzone camera

systems and telescoping towers available today. Portable, adjustable, and versatile, we have options for all of your endzone filmography needs!

 

The Eagle-Cam family of Endzone Video Systems provides the most complete line of endzone systems available today, end zone camera systems to meet every need and budget. Our Eagle-Cam family of endzone cameras covers systems ranging from Trailer systems to Portable Gyro-Action Endzone Video Systems. Each U.S. Sports Video Tripod Tower System goes through a rigorous phase of prototype evolution before going into final production and is field-tested to meet our demanding standards. Each system is tested for Strength, Wind-Load, Stability, Vibration and Stiffness, system parameters, and qualities to maximize safety and ease of operation. Our proven "Lifetime Warranty" - No other end zone camera system on the market can make that claim or match our system structural integrity, safety, stability, and simplicity.

 

What is the best way to reach you if I want to purchase one or more of your end zone camera systems?

 

If you are interested in purchasing any of our end zone camera systems, it is best if you call us directly or use our contact form found on our website so that we can give you the best package pricing option for your needs and budget.

 

What types of end zone camera systems do you offer?

 

Eagle:  Trailer Endzone Video System – End Zone Camera built on a trailer – Custom built 40 and 50-foot telescoping tower systems – Hydraulic and Pneumatic lift with many exclusive features and options.

 

SkyHawk:  Remote Controlled Endzone System that can be controlled from the press box and other remote locations.

 

Falcon:  Robotic Camera System – Wall or Ceiling mounted, great for gyms, field house, or any other permanent endzone video camera location.

 

Falcon Stadium:  Exclusive custom-designed Stadium Remote Controlled Camera Systems.  Hi-End "HD” advanced video technology. Custom freestanding towers to 50 and 60 feet, or higher, with a fiber-optic or wireless video feed to control center - great for permanent elevated football video coverage.   

 

Raven:  Manual Controlled End Zone Camera  - One handle control for pan/tilt, fast action response for great End Zone Video. Custom telescoping towers controlled from the standing or seated position at the base of the Endzone Tower.

 

Hawkeye:  Small Motor EndZone Camera Systems – Same solid constructions as the Raven, but with a pan-tilt motor at the top of the video telescoping mast with command center unit at the base of Endzone Camera Tower – can control from the standing or seated position.

 

SideWinder:  Portable Gyro-Action End Zone System – Well balanced for complete mobility and designed for critical height to allow for good End Zone Videos from both practice and game action.

 

Why do you use custom aluminum extensions for your end zone camera systems?

 

Our Telescoping Mast and Base Assemblies are professionally designed and custom-built to our exact specifications. Detailed precision CNC machining is needed to manufacture the many exclusive components used on our various end zone camera systems. High quality certified aircraft aluminum materials; automated extrusion presses and Kevlar handling systems provide an ideal environment to develop the precision aluminum extrusions used to manufacture the Eagle, SkyHawk, Raven, Hawkeye, and SideWinder end zone systems. Anodizing, powder coating, extreme-etch, plating, heat-treating, and mechanical finishing provide for a total hi-quality finished system. Each U.S. Sports Video Tripod Tower System goes through a rigorous phase of prototype evolution before going into final production and is field-tested to meet our demanding standards. Each system is tested for Strength, Wind-Load, Stability, Vibration, and Stiffness, system parameters, and qualities to maximize safety and ease of operation. Our proven "Lifetime Warranty" - No other end zone camera system on the market can make that claim or match our system structural integrity, safety, stability, and simplicity.

 

Who is Dr. John?

 

As Senior Product Engineer at U.S. Sports video, John was instrumental in the development of our exclusive line of end zone camera systems. Each system had to go through a rigorous phase of prototype evolution before he would approve it for final production. Dr. John often related to his NASA days in saying that the final "Lunar Module" was no resemblance to the first one that was put on the drawing board - All U.S. Sports Systems have to go through the same evolution and built for safety, stability, simplicity and operating convenience and to last a long time as if it were going to the moon.

John was a brilliant man who spent 13 years as an Aerospace Engineer in the Electromagnetic Propulsion Division of NASA's Lewis Research Center in Brook Park Ohio. John helped develop and test the electronic and propulsion systems that enabled America's lunar landing and the design of quieter jet engines for commercial airlines. He received a number of patents for his work and an Apollo Achievement Award from NASA. John left NASA to found and direct the Medical Data Systems Corporation, one of the first in the country to provide real-time, automated information systems for physicians' offices, hospitals, and clinics. During the 1970s, John served as a senior consultant for the design of the Great Lakes VHF Communications System.

John's "Labor of Love" later became President of the Cleveland Coordinating Committee for the U.S.S. Cod World War II Submarine. John will be forever missed by all who had the privilege to know and work with him.

 

What is your work experience?

 

With over 4800 systems installed throughout the world and a lifetime warranty on all of our tower systems, we will not let you down!  Arkansas, Auburn, Ball State, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Missouri, Minnesota, LSU, Tennessee, Oregon, Purdue, Kent State, South Carolina, and hundreds of other big and small programs provide a longtime proven track record for U.S. Sports Video systems.