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Twin-cam to film synchronised swimming at London 2012 Olympics

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A specialist camera system developed by Japanese public broadcaster NHK is to be used at the London Olympics to shoot groundbreaking coverage of the synchronised swimming events.

Twinscam is designed as a solution to the problem of 'not getting the entire picture' while filming swimming events - as current systems can only film above or under the water.

NHK underwater camera

© NHK

NHK underwater camera

© NHK



Broadcasters have previously been unable to shoot both styles simultaneously due to the different way light reflects in air and water, as well as the need for heavy image processing making the approach not suited for live broadcast.

But NHK's system can capture images above and below the waterline using one, half-submerged camera, enabling viewers to see the whole picture of synchronised swimmers in action.

It works by combining images shot by two separate cameras above and below the water to create a picture that appears as though it is a single shot. A similar approach of twin cameras is used in some 3D TV setups.

NHK said that the footage would be used in the international feed of synchronized swimming at the London Olympics.

Twinscam has already been tested in live broadcasting in Japan from 2010, but this will be the first time it has been used at the Olympic Games.

"We are delighted to hear the news that Twinscam is adopted in one of the most fascinating international events," said Keiichi Kubota, NHK's executive director general for engineering.

"I am sure the audiences across the globe will be thrilled by the new way to look at the water sports."

Kubota added: "The newly developed Twinscam combines images shot by two separate cameras set above and below the water to produce an image that looks as if it had been shot by a single, half-submerges lens.

"It produces a single realistic image with smooth zoom and pans, even in live broadcasts, revealing all the underwater effort of the athlete - generating a never-before-seen view of the synchronized swimming to international audiences."

The Olympics is typically used as a test bed for new technologies, including previously colour TV, high definition and 3D.

Also at London 2012, NHK will team up with host broadcaster the BBC to operate three big screens around the UK showing events in Super Hi-Vision, a picture up to 16 times sharper than HD.

> BBC to broadcast London 2012 Olympics live in 3D
> Ultra high definition marks dawning of 'new age of TV'

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