Q-Ball delivers HD close-ups at Sochi

Q-Ball remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom cameras and 13 MiniZooms from Camera Corps provided high-definition close-up images to broadcast television audiences around the world watching the Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge World Cup competitions held in Sochi during 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.

A total of 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.

Bonner explains: “The cameras were rigged in come-and-go pairs and cut into the programme in quick succession to give a real idea of speed. 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.”

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