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Friday, March 8, 2013
HoopIdea: Ref Cams!

By Beckley Mason

This HoopIdea comes from the world of Rugby.

Recently Fox Sports debuted "Ref Cam," which is pretty much just what it sounds like. Official Chris Potter strapped a HD GoPro camera to his head and wore a low profile vest under his uniform that transmitted the video, and sound, to the broadcast.

Check the video here to see how it works.

This isn't the first attempt to get a camera angle that can capture the close-quarters intensity of the scrum on the expansive rugby pitch. Sky Sports in the UK also did something similar back in December 2012. The Guardian describes it here:
The trial will involve a three-inch square HD camera being secured to the shirt of the referee Matt Carley. The footage, with audio, will be available to Sky's directors, and the RFU will use it for training match officials.

The same technology was used by the US broadcaster HBO at an Amir Khan bout, with a camera sewn into the referee's bow tie – footage that the RFU's head of elite referees, Ed Morrison, called "quite incredible".

"I was spellbound," Morrison said, emphasising the value of being able to screen the referee's view "down the tunnel" during scrums.

"This is an exciting development and one that we're excited to trial. Not only will it offer a new perspective for viewers but it will also provide us with an additional tool which can be utilised within the ongoing development of our referees."

How incredibly cool would it be to get a ref's view of the action -- in HD -- during NBA games?

Unlike NFL and soccer officials, NBA referees don't wear any head gear while they call games. Part of the reason is that the court is so small that they can usually communicate just fine without an earpiece. It's also true that the NBA, with the small size of the court, can get various camera angles during a telecast.

But those options are still a bit different than getting the exact point of view of a person running around on the court. And as the Guardian article notes, it could be a useful tool for training referees.

HoopIdea, for one, would love to see the NBA experiment with this technology.

Thanks to Riley Yurk for alerting us to the world of ref cams via Twitter!

What innovation would you like to see in how the game is recorded and broadcast? Give us your suggestions here: