Update - Aug. 5, 1 p.m. EDT: This piece has been changed to include the details of NBC’s use of the FreeD camera technology.
NBC announced a few days ago that it’ll be using a new technology to capture footage in “bullet time” on Sunday Night Football broadcasts — though, at least at first, only for games played in Dallas. Red zone replays in those games will now get the Matrix treatment: 360° of awesome slow motion.
The technology, called “FreeD,” was developed by Replay Technologies, and has already been used in golf, gymnastics and baseball, most recently on the YES Network for Yankees games. For Cowboys games, the plan is to install 12 of these cameras around each team’s red zone, allowing NBC to “freeze any shot, move around it, and even zoom in quite a bit while maintaining an extremely clear picture.”
So what does this mean? Well, if the technology is widely adopted by other teams and expanded to cover the entire field, it seems like it will give referees a better chance of making correct calls using instant replay, eliminating the ambiguity created by only having a few angles on each play.
And from a fan’s standpoint, it…makes things look really cool.
Though initial reports (and an earlier version of this piece) seemed to suggest that the technology would be added to all SNF broadcasts, according to Dan Masonson of NBC Sports Group, bullet time is for now exclusive to AT&T Stadium, meaning it’ll appear in the Sunday Night Football opener against the Giants, any Cowboys home games flexed into prime time, and when Notre Dame plays Arizona State on Oct. 5 at AT&T Stadium.