Behind The Scenes

#TBT: Ultra Slo Mo camera

Tim Scanlan in 1998, two years before the debut of the Ultra Slo-mo camera (Photo by Denis L. Tanney)
Tim Scanlan in 1998, two years before the debut of the Ultra Slo-mo camera (Photo by Denis L. Tanney)

On this week 14 years ago, ESPN debuted a new technological innovation that forever changed the way viewers took in sports. On a Sunday Night Baseball telecast featuring the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, ESPN used the Ultra Slo Mo camera which captures up to 500 images per second and allows footage to be replayed five times slower than the conventional Super Slo Mo camera.

The announcement for Ultra Slo Mo's May, 2000 debut
The announcement for Ultra Slo Mo’s May 2000 debut

In the release included here, Tim Scanlan – who was the Major League Baseball coordinating producer at the time – discussed how this would benefit the viewer’s experience. Nearly a decade and a half later, Scanlan looks back and reflects on what the enhancement meant for ESPN.

“It made our show look and feel as big as any telecast in production at that time in sports,” said Scanlan, now a Vice President, Production Talent Planning & Development. “It just elevated our entire production.”

This technology hit Sunday Night Baseball thanks to the efforts of major proponent Jed Drake, who was at the forefront of ESPN’s MLB production at that time and now serves as Executive Producer and Senior Vice President of Production.

“Jed Drake has been one of the people who have pushed new technologies across the board in all of our telecasts,” Scanlan said.

Check out this week’s Sunday Night Baseball featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Back to top button
Close