Alpine Ski Championships Get HD Treatment

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe Editor

The 2009 Alpine Ski Championship came to an end in Val D’Isère, France
on February 15, with the final events, like the rest of the
competition, being shot in high definition with three special cameras
to give maximum coverage and analysis. TVRS (Télévision Radio Service)
is the host broadcaster, working with 50 HD cameras to produce the
international feed in widescreen, with the pictures accompanied by 5.1
surround sound.

This is the first time a televised European
skiing event has used a camera capable of shooting at 500 to 800 images
a second, which is six-to-10 times faster than the 75 images a second
offered by other slow-motion cameras. The camera has been tested at the
Roland Garros tennis tournament and during the Alpine Ski Championships
is positioned by the Bosse à Cathiard jump, with images broadcast at 25
images a second.

The other special cameras include one mounted
on a cable above the Bellevarde slalom course, which can track skiers
at average speeds of 60km an hour, and another on a crane to follow
competitors as they travel along the Ancolie pass.

For further
analysis German facilities company Live Motion Concept (LMC) has
provided three production vans kitted out with Dartfish comparison
software and EVS servers for TVRS and broadcasters ORF (Austria) and
ARD/ZDF (Germany). Two calibrated cameras are on the slopes where the
Championships are taking place and feeds from these are sent to the
Dartcaster system, with the SimulCam feature giving near-real time
play-back for analysis of a skier’s performance.

ORF’s vehicle
contains EVS servers and a Dartfish DartStudio system, which works with
the world feed cameras, while LMS has additionally installed an
AKI-Paint workstation in the broadcaster’s location studio. This is
used by the broadcaster’s experts as both a live “telestrator” and as a
graphical enhancer for analysing the action. All these systems are
working in 1080i. The system provided for ARD/ZDF comprises an EVS XT
and DartStudio.

LMC also worked on the recent Handball World
Championships, which took place in Croatia and ended on February 1 with
France taking the crown. The company supplied four Antelope high-speed
cameras, which can record at up to 1500 frames per second and were used
alongside a SSL standard SuperSlowMotion camera working at 75 frames a

The host broadcaster was SportFive, with OB trucks
supplied by Alfacam. A total of 13 cameras was used for each match,
including one SSL and one Antelope, fitted with a Canon J86x lens. The
world feed was in 1080i HD, with graphics produced in the 4:3 ratio in
the safe area of the widescreen picture. Audio was 5.1 surround sound.

director of the coverage, Georg Albers, said he was initially sceptical
about a high-speed camera being used for a fast-moving sport like
handball. “We decided to use Antelope for extreme close-up shots to
show details,” he commented. “We observed goalkeepers for minutes and
could show the force their bodies and hands were exposed to when
stopping the ball. Sometimes we had the impression that the
goalkeeper’s hands were snatched off by the power of the ball. These
were fascinating images, which normally remain invisible to the naked

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