January 19, 2011
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery hosted an Buffalo Sabres/NHL exhibit called "Forty: The Sabres in the NHL" that ran through Jan. 9. While the artistic value of the installation has been debated, one facet of it is rather impressive for puckheads who love to see the game through revolutionary perspectives: "NHL in 360."
Pretty cool. Loved the part where the helmet cam went sliding into the boards and then remains pointed at the net as a goal is scored. Very "Paranormal Activity on Ice."
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a room-sized, 360-degree video installation that will simulate what it's like to be a hockey player gliding across the ice at dizzying speeds. To produce the installation, called "NHL in 360," members of the Sabres videography staff attached cameras and microphones to players' helmets during practice. The result is an enveloping experience that the gallery says will give visitors a glimpse of "the required skill, brute physicality and elegance of skating at great speed."
Chrisanne Bellas, Director of Broadcasting for the Buffalo Sabres, wrote the following for the text that accompanied the installation (via the Times):
In addition to developing an exhibition of photographs spanning the four decades of the team's history, we wanted to give our fans an innovative multimedia experience - something that had never before been done in the N.H.L. We envisioned affixing high-definition point-of-view (P.O.V.) cameras to players' helmets, while recording the sounds of the game with binaural sound, a dynamic audio recording method that uses two high-fidelity microphones placed seven inches apart to approximate the positions of a human's ear canals. By combining these two forms of technology, we wanted to give fans a firsthand perspective of how a Buffalo Sabres player sees and hears a game.
Whether it's the camerawork in "Miracle" or the HBO all-access coverage on "24/7" or the helmet cams and audio work of "NHL in 360," technology is finally breaking down the barriers between fans watching on video and the action in the rink. The question is: Will it all lead to a live-television experience one day in which we feel like we're part of the action? Because that's the game changer.