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Soul to use helmet video camera during Sunday's game

Article Source - The Philadelphia Inquirer

TOM AVRIL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Published Sunday, April 27, 2014

ED HILLE / Staff Photographer Soul defensive back Rayshaun Kizer dons the camera-equipped helmet he'll be wearing during the game Sunday against the Iowa Barnstormers. Video from the helmet will be used during the ESPN2 telecast.

As the record-holder for the most interceptions in a season, Rayshaun Kizer has shown a knack for keeping his eyes on the ball in the Arena Football League.

Now your eyes can see what his are seeing. In Sunday's game against the Iowa Barnstormers, the Soul defensive back plans to wear a helmet equipped with an impact-resistant, high-definition video camera.

The television production crew will pop the memory card out of his helmet when he's on the sideline and run it to the broadcast booth for use in game coverage on ESPN2. A live-streaming upgrade is planned for this summer by Sports Video Innovations and helmet-maker Schutt.

"It's going to bring a different view to the game," Kizer said after a practice last week at The Coliseum in Voorhees.

A few players on each of the league's 14 teams are wearing the SchuttVision helmet this season, as part of an agreement between the manufacturer and the league. The teams can use the video for training purposes, and the video company in turn gets exposure and a chance to test the product.

Seven NFL squads, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, and 21 NCAADivision I teams, including Rutgers, also are using the camera-equipped helmets in practice, according to Sports Video Innovations.

So far, these teams have not used the video for broadcast, just for instruction, said JR Liverman, chief executive officer of the Shreveport, La.-based company. NFL and NCAA teams have purchased 31 of the $1,200 helmets; another 17 were given out as part of a marketing deal, company officials said.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood told reporters last month the video has been a good tool for teaching quarterbacks. The footage shows how inexperienced quarterbacks look at elements of an evolving play in the wrong sequence, their eyes hurriedly darting from spot to spot, he said.

"With a more experienced quarterback, there's almost a calmness to the video," Flood told reporters from the Star-Ledger and Gannett New Jersey.

Athlete-mounted cameras are common in some nonimpact sports, such as  snowboarding. The World League of American Football also tried helmet cams two decades ago.

But the SchuttVision camera marks a big advance, with high-def video at 30 frames per second and 21/2 hours of battery life, company officials said. The lens and a small circuit board are located in the nose bumper of the helmet, just above the player's eyes, covered with clear polycarbonate plastic. The primary electronics and the memory card are in the rear.

"You'll get a sense of speed, which is the thing I think the camera can show - how fast the game is played on the field," said former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, co-majority owner of the Soul.

Kizer predicts fans will be impressed.

"They can see how hard our job is," he said. "It's a faster game when you're out there on the field."

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