With a firm eye on London 2012, SIS Live introduced a number of innovative new camera positions for BBC Sport’s recent coverage of the World Gymnastics Championships in London.
David Meynell, managing director, SIS Live, said: “The World Gymnastics Championships is a prestigious event that was held in the same venue that will hold the gymnastics in 2012 and this proved to be a good testing ground for some exciting technical innovations. BBC Sport wanted to introduce a number of new camera angles and SIS Live’s in-house Special Cameras team was able to come up with some great practical solutions. This included special tracking cameras high in the ceiling of the O2 Arena, other tracking cameras for specific events and, for the first time, pan and tilt cameras on the podiums. We’re really pleased that the special cameras added so much to the overall coverage of the Championships.”
SIS Live’s Special Cameras team created an overhead tracking system above the apparatus. Normally, there might have been a fixed pan and tilt camera positioned above a piece of apparatus. SIS Live built instead a tracking system with one pan and tilt camera that was able to create a tracking shot from one apparatus to the next. The camera tracked gymnasts overhead on the vault horse, the parallel bars and the asymmetric and high bars. It could also provide replay angles of all the other apparatus as well.
Paul McNeil, manager, Special Cameras, SIS Live, said: “The technology is a first for gymnastics. It is one pan and tilt camera instead of three, which is a cost saving, and you get more for your money because it is a tracking shot.”
The second innovation was a vertical 4-metre high column supporting another pan and tilt camera, which could be wheeled between different apparatus. Any big move had to happen overnight, though it could be shifted round for different apparatus that were close to each other. The camera followed gymnasts as they went through their routines on the floor or the rings, beam, vault, floor and pommel. The system, which was designed and built in-house by the Special Cameras team, can also be tilted at any angle, for tracking shots horizontally or for following gymnasts up and down stairs. It was also able to offer a great angle for the vault replay, as well as extra live images.
The final innovation was a number of wireless camera pods that were mounted on the apparatus podiums, the first time cameras had been allowed on the podiums with gymnasts.
“What they give you are shots close to the apparatus and looking straight up at the gymnasts. They give you a different perspective. They were only used for one VT replay each time, but added to the drama because they were close to the event. They were in the field-of-play for the first time,” McNeil said.