Skip to main content

Four Spidercam aerial cameras will deliver overhead shots of World Cup action from stadiums in South Africa, including Soccer City, Ellis Park, Port Elizabeth and Durban, which means that match-day directors for the multilateral feed will have them at their disposal for some group games and every match from the quarter finals onward.

In addition to the wire camera systems, Spidercam is also supplying 30 ABC 120 camera cranes manufactured by MovieTech in Munich — three for each stadium. The Spidercam, engineered and provided by the Austrian company of the same name, is operated by a “pilot” who can command the three dimensional dolly movement.

Four motorized winches are positioned at each corner of the device. By controlling the unwinding of the four Kevlar cables, the dolly is able to reach any position in space. Fiber-optic cables provide real-time communication between the winches and the control station. Another two fiber-optic cables are woven into two of the Kevlar cables, which enable double information processing; the camera and remote head receive their respective commands, while the camera transmits its HD signal back to the control station. The remote head, which houses the camera, is not only responsible for the pan-and-tilt movement, it also controls the lens remote (focus, zoom, iris). A gyro sensor, which is installed in the dolly, stabilizes the horizon. Currently, work is being done on a completely revised and new system, dubbed Spidercam MkII.

Adrian Pennington is a journalist specialising in film and TV production. His work has appeared in The Guardian, RTS Television, Variety, British Cinematographer, Premiere and The Hollywood Reporter. Adrian has edited several publications, co-written a book on stereoscopic 3D and is copywriter of marketing materials for the industry. Follow him @pennington1