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Due to the multiple locations of the London Games, coverage was inevitably going to a be a challenge, with locations throughout London and the South; some of them specifically designed and created for the events such as the main Stadium, Velodrome and Aquatics Centre, whilst clever forward thinking meant that existing famous landmarks such as Horse Guards could be transformed into historic arenas.
However with an arsenal of technology and services at hand, the games coverage was extensive, flawless and enjoyed by millions, some of whom would readily admit a negative attitude before the games were converted to avid sports fans – some even threatening to take up a new sport.
The platform was set for an insurgence of British design and technology throughout the broadcast spectrum. Among that technology was the need for the host broadcasters to feed both close up and panoramic crane shots – without spoiling the spectators view, which they would have bought and paid for to enjoy at first hand the experience and ambience as the action takes place and the competitors vie for Gold.
One such solution brought yet again into the global limelight was the ultra lightweight, highly portable carbon fibre cranes with remote pan & tilt, waterproof and 3D capable heads which were used to supply coverage for the host broadcast feed which was viewed all over the world by millions.
In all, nine were supplied to Camera Corps. The cranes were also used extensively during the construction phase of the Games infrastructure too, provide images of the sporting facilities as they progressed through design, construction to completion (inside the stadium, pictured).
They were deployed at the opening and closing ceremonies, aquatic centre, Velodrome and all the big outside events including the walking, cycling, triathlon, marathon and the main stadium. Additionally two underwater crane systems were located at the Aquatics Centre and due to the inclement weather they were also utilised in the main stadium too. They captured iconic views, such as the final of the Mens 100m. (insert Usain).
These underwater systems provided the viewers with views in the pool events – that took them from air to water to air seamlessly without a water droplet on the lens to be seen. The technicalities of freestyle tumble turns, backstroke turns and relay interchanges were all captured. The high diving was another eagerly awaited british event, and sure enough just like Tom did not disappoint, the underwater systems brought the drama to the TV’s and large outdoor screens alive – literally immersing us all in the excitement.
The super lightweight low profile cranes with a minimal footprint were ideal for the restrictive camera locations, enabling operators to get up close and personal in providing coverage from the Gymnastics, White Water Canoeing, BMX and Equestrian events too.
Owner, Inventor and Managing Director of Polecam - Steffan Hewitt, said: “Our cranes were in action at all the sporting high points of The Games which was very exciting. Rather than working for just one broadcaster, the high-quality images we produced were supplied to Camera Corps on behalf of the host broadcaster meaning that our work was seen worldwide by a very expectant audience, which is fantastic as it provided even greater exposure for us and reconfirms that we have a truly professional product with many facets of application for our camera platform. He continued: “The rigs give superb added production value to any type of shoot – but this is particularly the case at sporting events because the Polecam can be de-rigged and relocated rapidly and easily. “It’s compact with a very low profile so it’s very unobtrusive. You only need one man per crane for one day and he can shoot in multiple locations which is a great advantage for organisers of highly-complex sporting events.”
Polecam has a truly Olympic pedigree – its involvement with the Games began at Sydney in 2000 when it supplied two cranes to Camera Corps. “Our involvement has grown and grown over the years,” said Hewitt. “Since the Sydney Games, Polecams have been used regularly at both Winter and Summer Games. The number increased to 12 in the Beijing 2008 Summer Games and the Vancouver Winter Games of 2010 saw 10 Polecams deployed. “At Vancouver there was a Polecam at the start-gate for the Men’s Downhill as well on the Bobsled, Luge and Cross-Country starts. Since then our presence at major sporting events – including both the Winter and Summer Olympics – has expanded every year,” added Hewitt.
With more than 15 years of design and development (which continues every day) Polecam has secured future contracts for high profile events, which includes 24 Polecam systems to the 2014 Winter Games held in Sochi, Russia.

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