Articles, Blog

Skycam | Innovation Nation

November 8, 2019

when you see a camera angle like this
watching a sporting event you think it’s pretty cool right well imagine how much
technology went into designing the camera system that can capture these
images it’s called Skycam and it was invented by Garrett Brown a
revolutionary camera man on films like Rocky and Indiana Jones and the Temple
of Doom his innovations have changed the way movies are filmed for the past 35
years the Skycam is a way of getting a camera to fly over events and places
it’s a way of silently flying a camera anywhere over the huge volume of spaces
that never used to have cameras in them Garrett built the first prototype in
1984 and used it for movies and music videos but Skycam caught people’s
attention at the 1996 Olympics and by 2003 the NFL started using it for their
TV games but how does Skycam actually work it was pretty clear it had to be on
wires the lines that ran to the camera should clip to something called a gimbal
the gimbal would make sure that whatever is supporting something doesn’t affect its
angle so we clip four lines to the gimbal which is at the center of gravity
of the camera on the bottom and a weight each of the lines goes up to the highest
place in the corner we can find and over a pulley and down to a motor I flew to
Santa Clara California to tag along with a working Skycam crew as they rigged up
the four corners of a stadium to hang the camera for an upcoming game so Josh can you talk to me a little bit about the cable I’m seeing a really thin cable here is this what supports the Skycam yes it
is this mm-hmm this is teensy absolutely um it’s stronger than you think once the
camera is attached to the cables Josh and his team create a 3D virtual box
inside the stadium for Skycam to safely operate setting floor and ceiling height
parameters as well as wall barriers measurements are taken to avoid fans
players and obstructions once they’re programmed into Skycam’s computer brain it stays inside the box at all times okay so Josh you’re gonna show me how a Skycam works right I’m gonna do my best okay so what do you have here we call
this the PCP pilot control panel and this allows me to move the physical body
of the camera and with these sticks they work a little bit like joysticks on a
computer so this is the pilot seat this is the operator what does the operator do
the operator deals with the camera and the camera solely so what you would be
doing would be tilt pan zoom and focus ah I thought I’d give the controls a
whirl you’re just staring at your screen and when whatever position the pilot
puts you in you are trying to give production a usable image that is an
extremely difficult job some people are just amazing at it obviously I’m not so
good at it as you can tell by this wait hold on nope don’t fly it into the guys
trying to paint the field oh sorry well we’ve proven that learning this
technology isn’t easy best leave it to the pros like Garrett Brown whose
innovation changes the way we see things on the ground and in the sky


  • Reply Shanka Mahakumbura February 11, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Step before the drones 😀

  • Reply Kandi Klover November 21, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Neat didn't know it had an inclusion zone programmed in. Good idea.

  • Reply elireloaded February 6, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Thank you!

  • Reply Rick Charles April 9, 2017 at 5:57 am

    How much does it cost?

  • Reply [email protected] Josue Jacome Filho May 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Acquire one of these?

  • Reply Akshay Chavan June 11, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Good one….!!!!

  • Reply Entertainment Life August 24, 2017 at 5:53 am

    good song ! great !!

  • Reply ItsmeSmile December 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

    why not use drones?

  • Reply Spiron February 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Well this is actually safer than quadcopters

  • Reply Joey Tribbiani March 3, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I always thought of what if the ball hits the camera. ?

  • Reply abbuappu. m March 9, 2018 at 1:57 am


  • Reply queefreak March 30, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    They neglected to explain how the cable pulleys actually move the camera. It's the most interesting part of the puzzle

  • Reply Sjrick June 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    The XFL used this originally and it worked so well the NFL stole the idea.

  • Reply Aditya Raj July 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    First i thought they were drones

  • Reply Benjamin Faucett October 22, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Horrible makes NBC unwatchable

  • Reply Blaž Bohinc October 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Whatever they're paying her, it's too much

  • Reply Nat Helm November 8, 2018 at 6:06 am

    The sky cam is cool. While watching am nhl game the other night and there was an officials review of a goal, did the puck cross the blue line? They used a camera view that only the officials see and the tv audience can't. I find that odd. Which brings me to idea, why can't the tv audience see all available views. In a video game like Madden the player can choose which camera view to play. why can't the tv audience chose camera angle to watch the event from and be able to switch back and forth between camera views at will.

  • Reply Mr.L.A. November 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    holy shit i'm such an idiot …..i always thought it was a drone with a camera i could never see the wires

  • Reply Philip Knox November 12, 2018 at 3:18 am

    Use a drone. Much easier.

  • Reply Vivek nitesh dubey November 15, 2018 at 2:02 am


  • Reply Al Paca December 7, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Are you going to tell us about the cables? Sure, cut to next shot while host talks about unnecessary shit.

  • Reply Alfonso Reyes December 13, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Started off very interesting. Went nowhere.

  • Reply KurtBob December 15, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Damn son, I didn’t know you like to get wet…..!!?


    That’s PCP!

  • Reply Maximilian Schütze December 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    It's called drone

  • Reply Nicholas Suardi December 15, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Just use drone ezy!?

  • Reply Tony December 15, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    I will say just using a drone.

  • Reply Eris Azani December 16, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Is it possible for one of the wires to interfere with the football on a deep pass?

  • Reply Jake Jenkins December 17, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Or just get a drone

  • Reply Victor Bakker December 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Or you Could just buy a drone…

  • Reply LiveOkie December 18, 2018 at 6:28 am

    So, let me get this right, she flew all the way to California to make a less than 3.5 min video? And it told very little about the skycam. I hope there was more to it than this!

  • Reply krossball December 18, 2018 at 7:11 am

    That's pretty cool

  • Reply Isaac Skinner December 18, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Or use a drone…

  • Reply Sander December 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    OMG! I can't wait until mia khalifa gets this!

  • Reply ThatOneJay December 22, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Garrett Brown invented the Steadicam, the device that keeps the camera still and smooth while moving around

  • Reply nikita ahdanufurqan Prapriatna December 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

    and now the camera is real fly ( we call it drone HAHA )

  • Reply Gran's Stuff December 31, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Quite simple system based on gcode im assuming.

  • Reply MATHURA SUNDAR DAS January 20, 2019 at 2:59 am

    Beautiful ?

  • Reply N Quốc Cường January 25, 2019 at 4:12 pm


  • Reply SKING WAVE February 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    this same camera now using in Bangladesh Premier League :BPL

  • Reply Akash Raj Kasampur February 7, 2019 at 5:26 am


  • Reply Nechemiah seltzer February 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    I fucking hate your voice

  • Reply Kristoffer Bøgvald February 9, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    But, a drone would we a lot easier and a lot better…

  • Reply S M A R February 21, 2019 at 4:15 pm


    “Joysticks on a computer”

  • Reply Raj NPC March 15, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    where can i buy the same i need for a sports company

  • Reply Marty Lynchian March 24, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Drone does the same thing a lot cheaper and no setup time

  • Reply Joshua Phillips April 8, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    You mean a Madden cam.

  • Reply Jimi Viita-aho April 9, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    We have to reverse enngineer this

  • Reply Ganesh muruga pandian May 1, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    In Madurai _ Tamil Nadu _ India, we are using like this system to wear flowers on our God during cithirai thiruvila ( very familiar hindu festivals) from lang long years ago…

  • Reply Pranav p June 12, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Any മലയാളി

  • Reply Bite Me June 18, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    If the accent wasn't bad enough I'm glad i paused 20 seconds in to have a look at the comments. Thank fuck I did that.

  • Reply Anees Ponmala June 19, 2019 at 9:21 am


  • Reply Indie June 26, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Who is here who loves cricket

  • Reply ikram awan July 12, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Now drone came is in no cable involved,,,,

  • Reply Video Traveler July 15, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    its my dream to work with your camera team

  • Reply AKA Savage July 18, 2019 at 2:24 am

    I did an essay of this in 3rd grade.

  • Reply JAY3DAYGO-CITY 619 August 1, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Just use a drone way better than sky cams

  • Reply UsernamerAlreadyTakn October 21, 2019 at 5:10 am

    I'd give her my skycam

  • Reply fraz October 21, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Thank lord for men ?

  • Leave a Reply