Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Meet The Original "Gopher Cam"
Veteran motorsports fans may have had a question occur to them as they watched the NASCAR on Fox telecast of the Daytona 500.
The "Gopher Cam" angle that Fox used during the coverage had some fans asking themselves..where did we see this before?
Though not exactly the same, and over fifteen years in the past, the first "on the track" camera angles were seen on ESPN in a much-beloved series called Thursday Night Thunder.
The producer was Terry Lingner, who now runs a well-known and respected TV production company in Indianapolis, IN. The Lingner Group reminded us that they introduced their "Tread Cam" all the way back in 1991.
This technology was installed at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indy and was subsequently used for NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Nationwide (Busch back then) events as well.
James Fishman was the Engineer at an Indy-based company called On Board Video who was instumental in developing the "Tread Cam."
When it first came out, it actually won a national Sports Emmy Award for Innovative Technical Achievement for Fishman and ESPN. That is the real deal, pictured above.
As recently as 2006, Lingner and Fishman teamed-up again to permanently install some "Tread Cams" at the new Iowa Speedway. Race fans may remember seeing them on the Indy Car Series broadcasts from that track.
The Daly Planet got a lot of mail about this new technology, and questions about how it worked. Readers also asked where they had seen this camera angle before. I hope this information helps put things into perspective, even after more than fifteen years.
Maybe we could ask Dave Despain if people still proudly tell him that they were "Thunderheads."
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.