Telemetrics Robotics Aids Concert Telecast

Tim MonnigNASHVILLE, TENN. —MooTV is a full-service video production company and is not a stranger when it comes to large-scale arena and stadium shows. However when we heard that we would be handling video production on Garth Brooks’ return to touring, we knew we needed to approach this show differently, as his energy onstage is unparalleled and he’d never before carried a video package during a performance.

Above anything, Garth values his connection to his audience, and as he feels this more than any artist I’ve encountered, it was important to limit unnecessary distractions. Sensitive to this, we opted to go with a single manned handheld camera on center stage and four others in the crowd flanking the round stage. This would be necessary to keep up with an artist who, at 50, bounds across the stage like a big kid. We knew we needed more interesting and dynamic coverage, but that burden needed to be placed on robotic cameras.

We needed to optimize our robotic camera selection based on their stage positions, but there was no “magic bullet.” Some robotic units sport a beautiful wide lens—which, while great to nestle in with the band—would not serve us well in grabbing shots from a distance. Others are a better choice for cross stage and crowd shots.

And whatever cameras we used, they would essentially be taking the place of handhelds and needed to be especially responsive. In other words, we didn’t want just PTZ robots, but rather devices working with a controller that would allow us to stay on top of the iris and painting needed to follow rapid lighting changes in a concert environment.

Telemetrics’ RCCP-1 universal controller seemed to be the best solution, as it provides—in conjunction with the DS-4 device server—access to virtually all of the controls that may be buried in menus, and does it via contextual dials and touch controls.

The controller’s ability to save moves, and not just presets, was also key to this project and along with the RCCP-1’s exceptional build quality and ergonomics, was the closest thing I found to a magic bullet.

However, in testing, we found that the cameras we’d planned to use tended to move with less than perfect linearity. To address this, my Telemetrics rep recommended the RoboEye (PT-RE-1) camera as an alternative, as they offered benefits in a number of other areas too: improved low light performance, denser image sensor, better optical zoom, 3G-SDI outputs and a lower profile. We used them and were not disappointed.

I can say without exaggeration that these proved to be the smoothest and most responsive PTZ cameras I’ve ever used, and as expected from Telemetrics, the build quality is more than a match for the abuses of field operations. The company’s support has always been stellar and this helped us get the most from the product. They’ve also ensured that we get the best performance possible with firmware updates. Our choice of Telemetrics robotics really worked out great and allowed us to stay out of Garth’s way, stand beside him, and help him cast his spell.

Tim Monnig is chief systems engineer at MooTV. He may be contacted

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