If you have watched a major sporting event on television in the last few years, you have likely seen the Skycam at work. The Skycam system is a broadcast-quality robotic camera, suspended from a cable-driven, computerized transport system. Skycam is the premier stabilized camera system in the world that can unobtrusively fly in a defined three-dimensional space, putting the viewer right in the middle of a sporting event. The camera package weighs 35-lbs and can travel at over 20 mph. Skycams are used to broadcast events such as professional football, college football, soccer, basketball, hockey and tennis.
Skycam’s manufacturer standardized on a Parker Hannifin 6-in. XPR PowerStation and Xpress software.
Skycam uses a reel control panel for each line attached to the camera. There are four control panels and corresponding reels per system, one in each corner of the venue. There are operators located at each panel who communicate with the pilot in the booth about the status of each reel and its corresponding control panel. These displays on each control panel are vital to the operation of the system as a whole because the operators have to be able to report any problems immediately so that there are no interruptions in the camera feed.
Skycam uses a reel control panel for each line attached to the camera. There are four control panels and corresponding reels per system, one in each corner of the venue.
For the human machine interface (HMI), Skycam was using a two-row, single-color VFD with 0 to 9 key touchpad. But the manufacturer wanted something easier to use and with more functionality, so it decided to standardize on a Parker Hannifin 6-in. XPR PowerStation and Xpress software.
Skycams are used at major sporting events throughout the country.
Jeff Rodgers of Innovative Automation, the system integrator, says, “We chose to lead with Parker’s XPR product because of the remote login capabilities, the ease of use and programming that are available with Interact Xpress, and the rugged construction of the screens as these systems are transported all over the country and are constantly unpacked, deployed, and repacked for a next game or event. Skycam wanted to purchase a U.S.-built product, one that is easily accessible from a factory, and have the ability to order spare parts quickly.”
Skycam system is a broadcast-quality robotic camera, suspended from a cable-driven, computerized transport system.
Using the Parker HMI products, they are now able to display more information about the status of each reel, as well as the ability to make changes to the servo drives in each cabinet, which greatly increase the effectiveness and ability of each operator to report back status and make changes on the fly – something that could not easily be done before. They plan to expand on the versatility of the XPR platform by using the remote login features from both a troubleshooting and set up standpoint. They will now be able to enter flight-limit parameters for each venue from one central location rather than going around to each separate panel and entering it, which takes a lot more time. They also enjoy the aesthetic features of the screens with their company logo as the home screen, giving their system a fresh new look that appeals to their end customers who are often as concerned with how the system looks on the outside as much as how it performs.