Camera Corps selected Theia Technologies' ultra wide angle, undistorted megapixel lens in their Net-Cam system to cover World Cup soccer play. The Net-Cam uses Theia's MY125M lens on Toshiba's IK-HR1S 2.1 megapixel camera. The lens provides up to 125 degrees horizontal field of view and dramatically reduces the fisheye distortion of typical wide angle lenses.
Two Net-Cam modules, both including a Theia lens, were mounted in each of the 10 South Africa venues used during the FIFA World Cup soccer competition. The Net-Cam system was developed by Camera Corps specifically for the FIFA World Cup to capture the entire goal-mouth from the rear corner of the net.
And capture it did. Net-Cam became central in the controversy surrounding the referee call that denied England a goal against Germany in their June 27 cup match. The image below shows the disallowed goal captured by Camera Corps' Net-Cams and Theia's lens during England's 4-1 defeat by Germany. The image was embellished to show how a goal line would have to look for the ball to not have crossed it. Despite video evidence to the contrary, Cup officials disallowed the goal and sparked a controversy about how best to monitor goal-scoring during soccer games in general and World Cup play in particular.
Camera Corps' Sales and Project Coordinator, Tim Reynolds, said, “Net-Cams capture each goal-mouth, as well as the full length of the goal interior without fisheye distortion. In addition to providing viewers with high-quality close-up views of goal-mouth skirmishes, Net-Cam assists with any goal line disputes. Each Net-Cam uses an ultra-compact remote-controlled pan, tilt and roll head allowing adjustment of the viewing angle in the event of direct collision from the ball. The head is controlled by an operator in Camera Corps' CCU panel, eliminating the need for anyone to adjust the camera by hand.”
Theia lenses are distributed to the European broadcast market by Polecam. Spokesman Nigel Paine said, “The clever design of this 125 degree lens provides a high definition image with low apparent distortion. We are official distributors for Toshiba miniature cameras and have been searching the world for wide angle high resolution lenses that are compatible with their HD 1-CCD cameras. The Theia range of lenses suits these cameras perfectly and provides us with an excellent solution for all types of Broadcast applications including sports, natural history, reality TV, etc.”
With high quality video technology widely available and already used in many sports, it is difficult to imagine how football and World Cup would continue to ignore its utility.