Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mobycam, Unsung Olympian

When Jason Lezak sliced through the water in Beijing and nailed the gold medal for the American men swimmers in 4 x 100 medley Monday morning, I couldn't help but think that the unsung fifth man on the team was Garrett Brown, the Philadelphia inventor whose MobyCam -- originally created for the 1992 Olympics -- gets viewers underneath the water and into the swimmer's skin. A submersible HD camera mounted on tracks to the bottom of the pool, the MobyCam captures the action beneath the pool's surface, lets us see how Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and Lezak move.

Mobycam, Unsung Olympian

Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale.
Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale. AP

When Jason Lezak sliced through the water in Beijing and nailed the gold medal for the American men swimmers in  4 x 100 medley Monday morning, I couldn't help but think that the unsung fifth man on the team was Garrett Brown, the Philadelphia inventor whose MobyCam -- originally created for the 1992 Olympics -- gets viewers underneath the water and into the swimmer's skin.  A submersible HD camera mounted on tracks to the bottom of the pool, the MobyCam captures the action beneath the pool's surface, lets us see how Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and Lezak move.

As there is a difference between plot and narrative, there is a difference in Olympic swimming pre- and post- MobyCam. "The Queen died, and then the King died" is plot. "The Queen died, and then the King died of grief" is narrative. "The American men gold-medaled in the 4 x 100 medley" is plot. "The American men gold-medaled in the 4 x 100 medley by a cuticle when Jason Lezak extended his hand past that of his French competitor" is MobyCam narrative.

Your treasured Olympic moments so far in the Beijing games? Are you are dazzled as I am by filmmaker Zhang Yimou's opening-night spectacle?

Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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