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NFL teams also capture view from above

Technology has advanced to the point where NFL teams make practice video available to coaches as they come off the field.

It's not all about the technology, however.

Real people stand in towers high above practice fields, operating cameras like the one Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan was using when he suffered a fatal fall amid high winds Wednesday.

Day after day, practice after practice, video teams transfer images from on-field towers into computer systems, allowing coaches and personnel people to analyze players from multiple elevated angles.

I've often felt grateful to be standing on firm ground when watching practices instead of viewing from hydraulic lifts perched several stories above the field. Some platforms appear sturdier than others. I've seen towers sway in the wind, but have never heard of an incident like the one at Notre Dame.

The Seattle Seahawks' previous facility featured an inflatable practice bubble. High winds would sometimes cause the structure's walls to bow, sometimes far enough to make contact with the person shooting video. The team's new facility allows video director Thom Fermstad and others to shoot video from this vantage point when the team practices indoors.