Michael Grotticelli /
02.26.2010 02:09 PM
Camera Corps outfits Winter Games venues

Months before the actual events, and following a number of site surveys and planning meetings during 2009, a team of 44 from Camera Corps traveled to British Columbia to set up and test a wide variety of POV cameras for the Winter Games. The company, which specializes in live production services, provided two 130ft tracking systems, nine sports dollies, more than 60 robotic heads, 118 HD cameras and a large inventory of lenses, controllers, interfaces and support equipment, which were installed to cover events from Vancouver as well as the winter sports resorts of Whistler and Cypress Mountain.

Camera Corps founder and managing director Laurie Frost said the company sent four teams to Vancouver plus another four who worked at Whistler and one at Cypress Mountain. They also installed fixed POV cameras at various sites between the three main venues and a dozen Q-Ball robotic camera systems.

There’s 16 cameras mounted in the roof of the bobsleigh track to follow the passage of each sleigh down the course. There are also two special pop-up cameras mounted in the ice, which can be remotely lowered flush with the ice surface if a bob has turned on its side. That removes any risk of the competitors coming into direct contact with either pop-up camera. The pop-up cameras can also be lowered during ice-grooming operations.

For the speed skating, the company installed a camera inside one of the marker cones to capture ice-level shots as the skaters flash by. They also placed cameras at the end of the ski jump to capture the each contestant’s actual takeoff. Camera Corps “beauty cameras” have also been installed in the bow and stern of the SeaBus Ferry, which connects the cities of Vancouver and North Vancouver. Both cameras are being fully controlled from the international broadcast center along with five other beauty cameras around Vancouver and Whistler, according to the company.

Jim Daniels, Camera Corps technical director, said tolerance of high ambient temperature is often an important factor at summer sports events, but in Vancouver, the main concern was to ensure protection against snow and ice, “including the common-sense element of keeping the camera powered overnight to maintain a moderate level of internal heating.”

All of the Camera Corps sports POV cameras are protected against weather conditions. The Q-Ball is housed in a 4.5in sphere made of solid aluminum. A major part of Camera Corps’ efforts involved providing RF links in close co-operation with the Kent, UK-based company Broadcast RF. These range from relatively straightforward links with handheld and Steadicam systems to the complex requirements of receiving camera feeds from the SeaBus Ferry without any signal breakup, even while docked at each side of the river.

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