Soccer Complexes Embracing New Video Technology

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HI-POD Inc., the creator of the 31 foot telescoping aerial camera system, has pioneered a technique to fiber optically control unmanned 31 foot aerial cameras from a distance of a kilometer away. The R.E.C. (robotically enabled complex) system allows a complex to place an elevated camera on each field and to record and deliver those high definition games immediately.

controllable aerial cameras from 1 kilometer away

Seattle Crossfire Facility

Its like getting paid to play the FIFA video game.

This year US Club Soccer’s Northwest Regional Tournament took place in Redmond , WA at the Seattle Crossfire complex. New on the fields this year were 31 foot telescoping camera systems installed on the centerline. These were not the traditional legged tripod units, but instead were unmanned robotic towers, installed into the ground, and remotely controlled by operators sitting comfortably in a control room.

This new technology is a product from HI-POD, the leader in telescoping aerial camera systems. “ We call it ‘REC,’ short for robotically enabled complex,” stated Enrique Morales, CEO of HI-POD. “Now we can remotely control our aerial HI-POD towers for an entire park from one location. Because of this, we can provide immediate content delivery of the HD footage for customers after the game. That quality and immediacy has never existed before in a tournament environment.”

Parent Kim Bishop was impressed. She stopped by on the second day to purchase more games. “The quality was great and I was immediately able to take the USB stick and start watching my son’s performance. I usually have to wait a couple of weeks to a month.”

The turnaround is so quick that now it is possible to scout an opponent’s game before playing them. “We are testing what I call the ‘War Room,’ a location with big screen TVs where you can watch the games live,” hinted Morales. “We can easily split off the signal from each of the robots to a room of monitors. You could imagine a cold rainy day, when the kids are out playing on the fields, while all the parents and college scouts are staying warm and dry inside a room, watching games Live for any field they wish.”

According to Morales, HI-POD has been manufacturing telescoping camera towers for 14 years, and over the past 6 has expanded to provide videography services to many clients like the US Soccer Development Academy, US Club Soccer, Coast Soccer, the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup, and Rugby 7s among others. In that time, the company has traveled the country, utilizing 30 units at soccer complexes to film up to 300 games in a weekend. “We do this all the time,” said Morales. “But when everyone is spread out all over the fields it’s inherently more difficult. This involves intense operator training, high labor costs, and slow game content turnaround. It also leaves the operators vulnerable to bad weather and greatly complicates the overall management of such teams.”

“All of those issues have been addressed with the new REC system,” stated Ryan Clinite, HI-POD Director of Operations. “We just produced a large scale tournament with the traditional HI-POD towers in the Midwest, and we had to deal with rain, wind, lightning storms, tornados, and intense fog. My operators were exhausted throughout because of all the setup and teardown involved with such sudden weather conditions. A REC system at that complex would have kept my operators inside, safe and sound, and would have eliminated all the shuffle.”

Matt Bernard, US Club Soccer Northwest regional representative stopped by the booth to examine. “This is 10 years ahead of anything I have ever seen for recording tournaments. The games are immediately available to parents, camera operators are supervised, and we can receive highlights at the end of the each day. We are always in need of promotional video.”

When asked what his sales expectations were, Morales stated that he does not want to sell it; he wants to give it away. “The retail cost for this system is about $12,000 per field, and initially very few facilities would buy the system outright. We understand that concern, so we’ve developed a new business model to address it. What I’m offering is free installation, paired with a revenue sharing plan for the facility. The complex gets all this in exchange for an extended service contract with Hi-Pod that includes videography exclusivity. The REC system is in the best interest for the complex; it minimizes liability issues, it standardizes videography expectations and quality, it provides a regular revenue which complexes miss out on in traditional filming arrangements, and creates a promotional ‘Wow’ factor by delivering with quality, speed, and efficiency to the public.”

“I believe this system is unique. As far as I know, nothing like this exists anywhere.” stated Morales. “We are going to be very busy.”

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Rick Morales
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