Horse Show goes to Extreme

Extreme Video has joined forces with unmanned blimp specialists, 2PiR
and Pi in the Sky of London to develop the world’s smallest and
lightest remotely operated high definition aerial TV camera system.
First up for the new system? Coverage of the Horse of the Year Show at
the NEC in Birmingham, England which Sky TV broadcast in the middle of

The pan and tilt head, complete with camera, lens and link, weighs just
over five pounds. For the Sky TV application, the HD TV signal was
down-converted to SDI at the camera and transmitted to ground via
digital microwave. Blimp and camera were both remotely controlled by

Sky TV’s OB Director for the Horse of the Year Show, Phil Murphy, says
the new system allowed him to get sensational panoramic views of the
NEC. I couldn’t get those from any of the conventional fixed or static
cameras, he says.

In terms of technology the camera system is a specially adapted and
lightened HD camcorder, allowing simultaneous on-board recording to
tape. It has a three-mega pixel CMOS sensor, providing high quality
images despite compact design, and a 10-1 Zeiss zoon lens. The head,
which can pan tilt and rotate, is constructed from aluminum and
advanced plastics, all in an effort to keep the weight to a minimum.
Slip rings enable continuous 360-degree rotations.

As for the mini radio-controlled blimp, the low-pressure helium-filled
blimps are fully controllable, but have a limited lifting capacity, so
Extreme Video (EV) developed the low-weight camera and remote pan and
tilt head especially for the application.

Prototypes of the aerial system were developed and tested at the Pi-in
the Sky facilities, based in the former airship hangers at Cardington
in Bedfordshire.

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