[ESPN] Panthers set sail with device that takes danger out of videoing practice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The sky was dark and heavy with clouds Tuesday when the Carolina Panthers began another session of offseason workouts, but Mark Hobbs wasn’t worried about any potential threat of wind or lightning.

Hobbs, the team's video director, was safe and secure only a few feet off the ground in front of a control panel under a canopy that looked like it belonged on a boat.

For more than 20 years, Hobbs’ job required him to be about 50 feet off the ground on a hydraulic scissor lift so he could tape practice with a camera.

It got dicey and downright scary when high winds and thunderstorms were in the area.

At times he felt like a lightning rod.

Mark Hobbs, the Panthers' video director, can monitor practice using robotic cameras and joysticks from this control panel. David Newton/ESPN

But thanks to new technology made by 8K Solutions out of Titusville, Florida, Hobbs can monitor practice on three mast cams using robotic cameras and joysticks from the comfort of his control panel.