ESPN Winter X Games 15: Cutting-edge video technology

Consumer Reports News: January 31, 2011 11:49 AM

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ESPN's Winter X Games
Photo: Brian Goldstein, Consumer Reports

ESPN's Winter X Games 15, an annual event that features winter action sports such as snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling, took place last week in Aspen, Colorado. Athletes braved the snowy slopes to compete for gold medals, sponsorships, and respect within their fields. And cutting-edge video technologies also made an appearance this year.

Notably, this was the first Winter X Games that broadcasted 18 hours of 3D content on ESPN's new 3D channel, launched June 11, 2010. (Too bad the Super Bowl won't be broadcast in 3D this year!) I was fortunate enough to attend the X Games this year (see some of my photos after the jump), and saw that ESPN used two production trucks and 13 cameras dedicated to the 3D broadcast. And ESPN 3.com (ESPN's interactive website) live-streamed 15 hours of coverage during this year's games. But if you're an action-sports athlete yourself, you can actually create your own first-person footage.

Specialty cameras for extreme sports, such as the GoPro HD Helmet Hero video camera (which lists for $300), are available to consumers. At CES a few weeks ago, Consumer Reports shot a video about the GoPro HD Helmet Hero—check it out for more details on how the camera works.

These types of camera can be mounted on skis, snowboards, helmets, surfboards, mountain bikes, cars, and countless other sporting products. They let you capture a completely new angle of vision that most people, until now, could see only in a Warren Miller ski documentary.

I've used the Helmet Hero myself (and am working on a video, which we'll try to post here in a few weeks). Although I found it easy to use, one issue I had is that it's hard to tell when you're recording. A company called Liquid Image also offers a mobile video camera in the form of goggles: the Summit Series HD, which list for around $250, show a blue light inside the goggles that tell you when you're recording.

—Brian Goldstein

Xgames-05
Here’s an X Games snowboarder filming his practice run on the X course.
Photo: Brian Goldstein, Consumer Reports
X Games
From the Snowmobile Freestyle Finals on Thursday, 1/20/11. Good news: He landed the flip.
Photo: Brian Goldstein, Consumer Reports
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From the Snowmobile Freestyle Finals on Thursday, 1/20/11.
Photo: Brian Goldstein, Consumer Reports
X Games
The Snowboard Superpipe Men’s Elimination Round at Winter X Games 15.
Photo: Brian Goldstein, Consumer Reports

Carol Mangis

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