Camera Corps, a Vitec Group company with extensive experience in designing speciality camera systems, reports an outstandingly successful 2013 both as a manufacturer and provider of broadcast support services.
"Second-screen devices are really pushing the need for close-up content," comments Camera Corps founder and managing director Laurie Frost. "They place extra demands on producers to come up with new and exciting angles that will deliver strong visual impact when viewed on handheld displays. Compact remotely operated systems such as Q-Ball allow dramatic main-screen and second-screen content to be captured from multiple sources quickly, efficiently and economically. They give producers the freedom to source live video from up to 98 cameras under full control from a two or three-person production crew or even a single operator. Whether in the studio, on the sports field, on the music stage or out in the jungle, day or night, these cameras can get right into the action, providing a lot more bang for your production buck."
Camera Corps successes during 2013 included coverage of the Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge World Cup in Sochi mid February with Moscow-based NAO Sports Broadcasting. The cameras were rigged as come-and-go pairs and cut into the programme in quick succession to give a real idea of speed. MiniZoom cameras were placed close to the action and provided very dramatic viewing angles. Video was also captured from sleds showing what the competitors actually experienced as they sped down the trackways.
Working in partnership with NEP Visions, Camera Corps provided a wide range of specialist remote cameras for the ESPN X-Games games series shot during April, May and June in Europe and South America. "The entire Camera Corp team were great," comments David O'Carroll, Technical Projects Manager, NEP Visions. "From our earliest conversations they provided the experience, flexibility and support necessary to help us achieve the best possible coverage for ESPN."
Other highlight events in the first half of the year included the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Multiple Q-Ball robotic pan/tilt/zoom cameras, MiniShot and HotShot heads televised the excitement with Simply SMPTE dual mode electro-optical links allowing very long links between the cameras and the broadcast control centre. Q-Ball captured for worldwide audiences the magical moment UK tennis fans had been waiting nearly 80 years for when home-grown talent Andy Murray became Wimbledon Champion.
BBC Television chose a Q-Ball system to capture the first public appearance of a new heir to the UK throne. Coupling the camera to a London street lamp post allowed the BBC team to capture footage from the front entrance of the maternity hospital over the heads of other reporters and camera crews.
During the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in August, a Q-Ball was mounted at the extreme edge of the diving platform, 90 feet above Boston Harbor. "This is exactly the kind of work Q-Ball was designed for," Laurie Frost adds. "It enabled the Red Bull production team to achieve shots that would have been extremely dangerous if not impossible any other way."
In October, Q-Ball covered the winners podium as Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was crowned four-times world champion at the Indian Grand Prix motor race circuit.
During November, Q-Ball and MiniZoom systems were used with great success in a new one-hour-format broadcast show titled 'Release the Hounds'. This combines horror and humour with scream-out-loud moments. The UK version is hosted by television and radio presenter Reggie Yates. Production company Gogglebox has high hopes for this format globally.
"Our challenge was to conceal robotic cameras which could shoot from a wide range of positions, including close-ups, follow-shots and wide-angle views, without cameras or camera operators intruding into view," explains Fran Peters, Head of Production at Gogglebox. "The Camera Corps Q-Ball heads proved the perfect solution. "Their spherical shape allowed us to place individual Q-Ball cameras inside scarecrow heads which could rotate horizontally and vertically to track the action. Others were concealed to capture images from unusual angles."
For the latest series of 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!', produced during November and December from the tropical rainforest of New South Wales, Camera Corps supplied to Gearhouse Broadcast more than 90 remotely controlled video systems. These included 16 Q-Ball heads, 20 HD-MiniZooms with infra-red night illumination, 30 MiniShots, 26 Hitachi DKH-32 and three Toshiba IKH-R1 cameras. "The Q-Ball heads incorporate a 10:1 zoom optics and a low-noise pan/tilt drive with precise speed control which allow the director to request live follow-shots," comments Gearhouse Broadcast COO Kevin Moorhouse. "We get consistently high picture quality from the Q-Ball and HD-MiniZoom cameras, including all the detail viewers expect when watching in HD."
The ITV2 Show has since broadcast a feature explaining how hidden Q-Ball cameras were used during the many Bush Tucker trials.
"2014 starts with the largest winter sports project we have ever undertaken," says Camera Corps Business Development Director Shaun Glanville. "For contractual reasons we are not allowed to name the event but the scale of the support we are providing is in a league of its own including 110 palettes of equipment. 86 of these are going by air, almost enough to fill a Boeing 747, and the balance by sea. We will be fielding 160 cameras including 55 Q-Balls, nearly 50 high-specification zoom lenses, bobsleigh and helmet cameras with wireless live-feed RF video transmitters, over 100 long-distance optical and electro-optical links, tower cams, cranes, Hi-Lo platforms, LowBox camera mounts, Vinten pan/tilt heads, a 12 metre tracking system and a forest of Polecams."
About Camera Corps
A Vitec Group company, Camera Corps provides high-volume support services for reality television productions as well as very large-scale sports and stage events worldwide. Based on the site of the former Brooklands motor-racing circuit near Londons Heathrow airport, Camera Corps has achieved a pre-eminent reputation for its ability to acquire exciting and unusual television content from exceptionally challenging environments.
The Camera Corps equipment fleet encompasses HotShots, MiniShots, remote specialist cameras and lenses, remote underwater systems, cranes, platforms and dollies. Equipment of Camera Corps' own design includes the iconic Q-Ball, Q-Ball Preset and RF Q-Ball, as well as bespoke builds such as Pop-Up Ice-Cam. Baseball Base Cam, Archery Cam, Underwater Remote Cam, Slalom Pole Cam, Helmet Cam and Body Cam. See www.cameracorps.co.uk.
About Vitec Videocom
Vitec Videocom brings together some of the most respected, most innovative and most sought-after brands in the industry: Anton/Bauer, Autoscript, Litepanels, OConnor, Petrol Bags, Sachtler, Vinten and Vinten Radamec. It acts as an endorsing brand for these market-leading broadcast, film and pro video products, encouraging multi-brand system sales and simplifying the way that customers worldwide do business.
Vitec Videocom is an operating division within the Vitec Group, an international business serving customers in the broadcast, photographic and military aerospace and government markets. Vitec is based on strong well-known premium brands which its customers rely on worldwide.
Vitec Videocom - innovative products around the camera. See www.vitecvideocom.com