Q-Ball remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom cameras and 13 MiniZooms from Camera Corps (a Vitec Group company) delivered high-definition close-up images to broadcast television audiences around the world watching the Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge World Cup competitions in Sochi mid February.
Camera Corps technicians Nick Bonner and Kes Thornley installed the cameras and control equipment ahead of the event for operation by a Moscow-based broadcast production organisation working on behalf of multiple television channels. 260 athletes took part in the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup Stage. Official training runs were held 11-14 February, followed by women's double bobsleigh and men's skeleton on 15 February, men's double bobsleigh and women's skeleton on 16 February, and men's quad bobsleigh on 17 February. The Luge World Cup, run by a separate sports federation, was held the following weekend.
"The cameras were rigged in come-and-go pairs and cut into the programme in quick succession to give a real idea of speed," Nick Bonner explains. "The MiniZooms can get closer to the action than a traditional cameraman and provide a much more dramatic viewing angle. Each camera was mounted in a fixed frame which allowed virtual graphics of other faster bobsleighs to be laid over the top of replays to show which competitors were taking the best line.
We also rigged a Replay XD miniature camcorder onto the competitors and their sleds. This records in high definition onto an internal micro SD card. The resultant sequence was very dramatic and was played in at the top of the programme to give an onboard view of what the competitors were seeing.
The client broadcaster was very impressed by the ability to operate the cameras over long distances via Camera Corps' Remote Control Panels. The output video integrated seamlessly with signals sourced from much bigger cameras."
The Camera Corps Q-Ball is an ultra-compact remotely-controlled camera head with integral 10-times zoom optics and smoothly-accelerating pan/tilt motors, all housed in a robust and fully-weatherproof 115 mm diameter aluminium sphere. Equipped with a 2 megapixel CMOS sensor and capable of operating in daylight or infra-red illumination, Q-Ball delivers 1080i/720p high definition or 625/525 standard definition at 50 or 59.94 Hz refresh rates. Pan and tilt slip-rings provide the freedom to perform unrestricted camera rotation at a wide range of speeds with precise control of acceleration and deceleration. Master black and colour saturation control allow accurate matching with other video sources.
Camera Corps' MiniZoom is a miniature high-definition camera with integral remotely controllable zoom lens. It occupies a two-piece aluminium housing allowing safe operation in heavy rain or high levels of windblown dust. The MiniZoom can be coupled to any camera mount using a standard 37 millimetre screw fitting.
The Camera Corps range of remotely controllable broadcast production equipment will be demonstrated at on booth C6032 at the 2013 NAB Show. Representatives at the exhibition will include Laurie Frost (Managing Director), Jim Daniels (Technical Director), Jeff White (Design & Development Engineer) and Neil Ashworth (Equipment Manager).
Accompanying image shows one of the Camera Corps Q-Ball remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom cameras capturing close-up high-definition video during the 2013 Luge World Cup in Sochi.