Motor Sports - Some Like it Hot


Gordon Capaccio TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
i

High performance race cars, their drivers, and teams supported by manufacturers participating in a sport for which the combined, visceral thrills and sensations of burning tires, megadecibel roars, pungent racing fuel and throngs of enthusiasts can be difficult to convey, even on the largest big screen television. Motor racing is an intense, dangerous and exhausting sport that tests race technology, drivers, pit crews, reporters and, in our case wireless technology to their very limits.

Most people are not fully aware of what a harsh environment the interior of these muscled-up race cars are like, let alone the demands they place on drivers, crews and, in our case, broadcast technology. It's not a case of just placing a few cameras inside with some duct tape before hitting the tarmac. Getting technology that can perform consistently over a considerable amount of time in such an extreme environment is not easy as you might think, but in our case, we found our answer.

The International Motor Sports Association (www.IMSA.com) is the premier sanctioning body for sports car competition in North America and the pinnacle of sports car racing in the United States. This includes multiple classes of cars that would, for example, compete in the European 24 Hours of Le Mans.

3g Wireless deployed a range of on-board camera systems for the first two races of the IMSA Series, the Rolex 24 at Daytona (formerly known as The 24 Hours of Daytona) on 28-29 January 2017, and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring that took place from 15-18 March 2017. These are marquee events in the endurance motor racing calendar, both with long histories of legendary drivers, teams, manufacturers and brands.

We integrated into our purpose-built, in-car multi-camera system core technology from DTC Domo Broadcast Products, namely the Solo 7 Nano HD transmitter. The 3g developed system enables us to switch between multiple sources, including a panning roof camera, an in-car camera typically looking at the driver, another looking out the front wind screen, and occasionally one looking out the back depending on the type of car.

All of the audio and video data gathered and encoded by the in-car systems are returned to a 3g developed custom receive infrastructure with DTC's PRORXD 8-Way Diversity RF wireless receiver platform at its core.

We extend our ground-based receive infrastructure so that every receive site - basically every antenna on the track - receives simultaneous video and audio data from all of the 18 cars we typically equip as they move around the track, which usually covers somewhere between three and four miles.

I mention that because it's not like repeating a mile and a half oval with nothing but left turns. These are road courses that cover a diverse range of terrain, but our DTC backbone enabled us to effectively receive and manage data from all of the 18 cars during both races, anywhere on the circuit, without pain or interruption.

In addition to the cars hurtling the track, another major part of any sports broadcast, especially motor racing, is the pit reporting. Pit reporters are deeply invested in developing multiple story lines, which is especially important in a 12 or 24-hour race. There are lots of story lines as the cars and drivers encounter and deal with extreme conditions, not just in terms of the demanding physical and mental requirements of the endurance race itself, but the unfolding dramas related to the systems, teams, and manufacturers.

The reporters capturing those stories as they happen also DTC Solo 7's as the core transmission technology for the pit cameras. There are typically anywhere from two to four cameras in the pits each assigned to talent who are covering the action. During pit stops the cameramen actually go over the pit lane wall to get as close as possible the high-precision refuelling and maintenance that takes place in split seconds. One of the beauties of the Solo 7 is that it is so small, yet powerful, that it enables reports - whether it be motor sport or ENG - to easily access areas that might previously have not been possible, at least not possible while still maintaining RF connectivity.

It's important to remember that the drivers of these cars are operating in extremely harsh environments. The cars are hot, loud, and vibrate like crazy - and it's a variety of different vibrations depending whether they are coming out of the pit lane or careering down a bumpy back straight at 200 mph - and the equipment is operating in those same conditions - but the DTC technology has operated flawlessly. It's been rock solid in really hostile environments and, more importantly, over a long period of time.

And, contrary to assumption, we don't necessarily get primetime placement of our in-car technology to make sure it's all cosy, comfortable and protected. We do work closely with the teams to determine where our equipment can safely go within each car, which can vary with the make, model and classification of each. It can be a question of, "Here? No. Here? Nope. Here? Maybe."

We might end up near an exhaust manifold that's purging hot gases from a 10,000 RPM engine.

Now that's extreme, but that's just the way we like it.

Hot.


Tags: iss124 | motorsport | 3g wireless | imsa | rolex 24 | domo | dtc | prorxd | diversity rf | Gordon Capaccio
Contributing Author Gordon Capaccio

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

    Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017


Articles
Giving Welsh sport a global audience
Adam Amor From the Ospreys Rugby Union team, to the Football Association of Wales, as well as national cycling, swimming and boxing coverage, Port Talbot based Buffoon Film and Media has been heavily involved in putting Welsh sports on the world stage.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | atem | buffoon | micro studio camera | Adam Amor
Contributing Author Adam Amor Click to read or download PDF
University and Mental Health
Rhiannon Jenkins University study and mental health has been in the media quite a bit over the last year, and I’m sure there are many people wondering what is going on? The issues are complex, and I suppose the focus of employability off the back of a degree course has raised the stress stakes for a lot of young people. I’m only qualified to talk about this from my perspective, and my story began when I joined a course not knowing I had a mental health condition.
Tags: iss134 | portsmouth uni | mental health | student | tvfutures | Rhiannon Jenkins
Contributing Author Rhiannon Jenkins Click to read or download PDF
Shedding Light on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k BMCPP4K
Garth de Bruno Austin “What is it about light that has us craving it?” Is the question asked in the opening seconds of Garth de Bruno Austin’s latest short, The Colour of Light. Exploring this natural, human need as well as our innate desire to control it, Garth’s film showcases everyday people going about their lives in differing degrees of luminance, whether that be an artificial streetlight or a natural morning sunrise.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | cinema camera | 4k | cpp4k | Garth de Bruno Austin
Contributing Author Garth de Bruno Austin Click to read or download PDF
Using Wireless Transmission
Jeremy Benning Wireless acquisition is a staple of live sports, entertainment and reality shows where cable free capture permits shots not previously possible, for health and safety reasons, and gives the camera-operator greater artistic licence to roam. The same is increasingly true of narrative drama where cinematographers are keen to work handheld or Steadicam where that helps tell the story. Any equipment which frees their movement and time by being lighter, easier to use and reliable in performance is going to tick a lot of boxes.
Tags: iss134 | wireless | 4k | transmission | Jeremy Benning
Contributing Author Jeremy Benning Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - November 2018
Dick Hobbs - new There is an interesting seminar called Size Matters at the KitPlus Show – organised by the publishers of this fine magazine – at MediaCityUK in Salford on 6 November. It’s a talk by cinematographer Alistair Chapman on the way that camera technology is changing, and in particular the size of the electronic device which creates the image is growing.
Tags: iss134 | cmos | 35mm | AJA | Arri | Blackmagic | Canon | Datavideo | GoPro | Grass Valley | Hitachi | Ikegami | JVC | Kinefinity | Nikon | Panasonic | Red | Sony | jpeg2000 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF