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>> Football Skating and Skiing Net-Cam cameras entered football history on 27 June 2010 when an estimated 26 million viewers saw Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal during the England team’s defeat by Germany in Bloemfontein. Referee Jorge Larrionda did not realise the ball had entered the goal until he watched the video replay at half-time. With the game delicately balanced at 2-1 to Germany, the disallowed goal had an adverse effect on the morale of the English team and was a corresponding spur to the German players. The crucial images from Net-Cam were captured by broadcasters, online newsmedia and the worldwide press as proof that this goal should quite definitely have been allowed. The referee was later quoted as responding “Oh my God!” when he eventually found time to watch the camera output. A lot of viewers were left wondering why he waited until half-time to do so. The German team would have been just as irritated if it had lost a goal in similar circumstances. There have been many football matches in recent years where the outcome would have been different if the video output from Net-Cam had been available as a confirmation tool for referees. How to capture close-ups of oncoming contestants during speed skating, ski slalom or the super slalom? We developed a remote camera housed in a marker cone and, much more challenging, a ski-slope guide pole. The resultant images proved spectacular. A total of 20 Net-Cams were operational during the first weeks of the South African tournament, two at each of the ten venues. We also provided 100 Q-Ball remote pan/tilt/zoom HD/SD heads, 20 robotic box cameras, 10 robotic tactical camera, and 10 robotic venue- wide cameras. These were supported for the entire duration of the event by a crew of 29 technicians and engineers, plus spare and support equipment. Ensuring efficient operation at sub-zero temperatures is a key consideration at snow-sport events. All our sports POV cameras are designed to ensure maximum weather resistance. Q-Ball achieves this by being housed in a 115 mm diameter sphere machined from solid aluminium. Two Q-Ball heads were ready for operation at the 2010 Winter Games which were the first to be televised fully in 1080i high-definition. Two 40 metre tracking systems, nine sports dollies, over 60 robotic heads, 118 HD cameras plus a large inventory of lenses, controllers, interfaces and support equipment were installed to cover events from Vancouver as well as the winter sports resorts of Whistler and Cypress Mountain. Rocket Ball An important development in recent years is the availability of highly robust recorders capturing 1080i video and high-quality audio to solid state memory cards. We implemented just such a system for the Q4 2008 series of Gladiators produced by Shine for Sky 1 at Shepperton Studios Stage C. Athletic members of the public battled against the show’s resident contestants to claim points in events that required speed, strength and skill. A new feature introduced in the 2008 Gladiators series, Rocket Ball, gave contestants the opportunity to play what amounts to basketball on steroids, launching themselves into the air on a motorised line attached to their harness. They then tried to pitch the ball into baskets defended by other players. Solid-state video capture was ideal as it is far more resistant than video tape against the bumps, thumps and fast acceleration to which sports contestants subject themselves. The equipment took the form of a Helmet Cam and Body Cam, optionally feeding a miniature wireless link or solid state recorder. Individual Rocket Ball games in Gladiator lasted 90 seconds and were captured to Quicktime video files which were later forwarded to the programme editors. Looking ahead Remotely controlled camera systems such as Q-Ball and the recently introduced Q-Ball Pre-Set are playing an increasing role in a variety of applications not just for sport but for major public events, live concerts, reality television shows, film productions, conferences and conventions. Industry adoption of 1080i high definition is progressing rapidly, greatly increasing the potential degree of realism that can be delivered to the home. *Laurie Frost is founder and Managing Director of Camera Corps, based on the site of the former Brooklands motor-racing track near Heathrow. He holds numerous awards including a Technical Oscar from the American Academy of Motion Arts & Sciences for his development of the HotHead remote camera head, an Emmy for television coverage of motor racing and a Technical Achievement Award from the British Society of Cinematographers for the development of remote heads. 68 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE