Invented Cablecam used in TV sports

Jim Rodnunsky, developer of the Cablecam system that gave viewers a new perspective on sports broadcasts and other events, died of brain cancer on June 10. He was 54.

The Cablecam system uses cables to suspend remote-controlled cameras to capture overhead shots. It became an industry standard for sports broadcasts, and its use also spread to motion pictures, concerts and other events.

Cablecam is often ranked alongside handheld cameras and the instant replay as a technology that permanently altered sports coverage. It competed with the Skycam system developed by filmmaker Garrett Brown.

A prototype of the system was first used in 1989 at Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia to capture footage at a skiing event. Cablecam matured into a system that could be suspended 12 feet or so above players. It dramatically changed coverage of football games, allowing the operator, who uses a joystick controller, to swoop in on game highlights and capture the players from virtually any angle or point of view.

James Lewis Rodnunsky was raised in Edmonton, Alberta. As a teenager he moved with his family to the San Fernando Valley. He attended UCLA and then studied acting and filmmaking. He won three technical awards from the Motion Picture Academy and multiple Emmys.

Rodnunsky lived in Granada Hills, Calif. Survivors include his wife, Lisa; three children; and two brothers.

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