Nikon Inc. recently partnered with professional baseball team the Boston Red Sox to install a state-of-the-art Robotic Pod camera system throughout Fenway Park to capture still images and full HD video. In the era of social distancing and COVID-19 related constraints, the remote system from MRMC, a Nikon group company, offers operators and photographers a safe way to remotely control cameras — with the added benefit of more creative options than ever before.
The team at Fenway Park worked with Nikon Professional Services (NPS) to install five Robotic Pods, a modular camera system housing that can be remotely controlled by an operator from a custom software interface. With the system, the photographer/operator can capture high quality photos and videos for broadcast, social media and marketing needs while reducing proximity to other staff and players and gain remote access to restricted areas. In fact, a photographer can cover an entire game without ever leaving the booth.
“In these times, we have had to adapt at a far faster pace than ever before when it comes to the way we operate, and that includes producing content for our fans, sponsors and partners,” said Billie Weiss, Sr. Manager, Photography, Boston Red Sox. “We are extremely pleased with the image quality and capabilities from the MRMC Robotic Pods and are already discussing new opportunities to use the technology at all Fenway Park events in 2021.” The cameras also offer more creative flexibility than ever before, affording new camera angles where photographers simply could not access before. The cameras are positioned on the roof of the press box, on the third and first baselines, overlooking center field and the bullpen, in addition to a low-angle immediately behind home plate. Because the pods allow for 360-degree movements and zooming capabilities, the system allows for shots that just are not possible with a fixed remote camera. Additionally, the photographer has full remote operation of zoom, focus, exposure and more, while the automated system can save pre-set capture points to easily repeat shots with precise consistency.
The benefits to the team extend beyond safety; the Pods allow for a constant FTP stream of images that can be delivered in real-time, ready for use by authorized photographers, press agencies and for social media usage and fan engagement. The aesthetically discrete Pods can be repositioned throughout the field easily to fit the team’s needs and will have the capability to switch between shooting still images and Full-HD video for broadcast and other applications. To satisfy fans’ appetite for creative content, the system also has the ability to capture imagery to create GIFs and time-lapses. The versatile camera system can be equipped with a wide array of lenses to capture the action on the field or the ambience of the park, including alternative angles of signage and optimal logo placement for sponsors. The system also offers economic and environmental benefits, giving a camera operator the ability to control multiple units, while reducing overhead cost and carbon footprint.
“As the need for safety becomes a priority in venues nationwide, we can work together to change the game for teams and fans with the unprecedented value that remote and automated capture technologies can deliver,” said Larry Rougas, Director of Sales and NPS, Nikon Inc.
Inside the fully weatherproof Pods are Nikon’s professional flagship cameras. The Nikon full-frame size sensor provides fantastic dynamic range, color depth and low noise sensor performance – as well as a wide range of lens options. Attached to the camera is the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm zoom lens, providing wide establishing shots and intense telephoto capabilities.
MRMC’s Robotic Pod system is a leading, next generation remote production tool that is used in venues throughout the world and sets the standard in safety and capability for remote event capture. From tennis, soccer to swimming and other professional sports, the modular system offers complete versatility for nearly any application, and includes an easy to use operator software interface, (MHC Server/Client), to create fluid and smooth camera movements in a multitude of environments.