Technology

Spidercam, the technology that changed the way we watch cricket

Cricket has many tales to tell when it comes to the game and its famous legends. The reason any sport is getting so much attraction and garnering so much money is that of they are telecasted on the television. The money earned through this is huge and that is the reason the money spent on the coverage is also huge. There are many things that have transformed cricket and the way it is played but there numerous things that have also transformed the way cricket is shown.

Many cricket fans would be aware of Spidercam which is a trademark name for the company that makes it. It was first invented in 1984 and has been widely used in many sports. Football, Rugby, Cricket and many other games where you cannot get close to the players or the game is where Spidercam comes into play. Spidercam has many elements that make it work, most importantly it is flexible when it comes to camera selection.

To get into the technicality of the moving cam, there are four elements that make it work; winches, Kevlar cable, gyro-stabilized camera carrier, and fiber optic cables. Now, these four elements when working in tandem, then the Spidercam moves and glides across the face of the field. It is able to move vertically and also horizontally which is one of the reasons it is so widely used in many sports. Although, it has gained huge popularity in India because of its usage in the Indian Premier League, the biggest cricket league in the world.

That said, winches are placed across the stadium or the ground that is to be covered. Each of the winches is connected by Kevlar cable. Winches also control these Kevlar cables which are connected to the gyro-stabilized camera carrier. These winches wind and unwind the cable which allows the camera to move in three directions and also vertically. The pilot, or the operator, operates the camera with the help of fiber optic cables. These cables help move the signal as fast as possible. The cameras that can be used into these mechanisms are many and the broadcasters can choose from a wide range of cameras. The operators are specially trained and have immense practice before they are deployed to pilot one of those.

Cricket looks different when covered with the help of Spidercam. These cameras can go closer to players and help understand the game better as well. Also, in cricket, there is a form of cheating known as ball tampering which means that the players change the condition of the ball to alter the swing or spin on it. This has radically reduced since the introduction of the Spidercam as it is always lurking behind the players and especially those with the ball in their hands. There are many such incidents which have been caught with the help of Spidercam.

That said, this is one of those technologies which has transformed the way we watch cricket on our television. Spidercam has surely changed and has managed to take us closer to the field of action.

-Unmesh Phule

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