Olympic DiveCam secrets revealed

Been watching the all-HD Olympics? You might be wondering how that magnificent shot is done where the camera follows the divers from atop the 10-meter diving platform all the way under the water. Well, we’re going to give up the secret of DiveCam, so if you want it to remain magic, skip on down to the next post.

It’s done with a tall waterproof pipe that's hung from the ceiling, long enough to reach the bottom of the pool. One side of the pipe is transparent, through which an enclosed HD camera peers, suspended inside the pipe by a rope attached to pulleys. As the divers fall, the camera operator simply drops the camera by letting go of the rope. Because objects fall at the same speed regardless of mass, the camera falls at the same speed as the divers, following them into the water.

The trick is to let go of the rope at exactly the right time, and later apply special precision brakes as the camera races toward its destination near the bottom of the pool. That camera operator can also tilt and pan the camera to keep subjects in the frame. It’s all easier said than done. The result? A unique, exciting view of what it’s like to jump off a three-story building. Fantastic.

Via The Wall Street Journal