America’s Cup Launches Video Competition Along With Major Revamp of Race

As part of an ambitious effort to “modernize and transform” the America’s Cup, a video competition has been announced targeting entries from film and video makers between the ages of 18 and 28.

According to Tim Jeffery, director of communications for BMW Oracle Racing, the competition is part of a larger effort to change the television representation of the race. As organizers move toward the next defense of the cup, likely to take place in 2013 or 2014, they are attempting to “revamp the media output and repackaging off the America’s Cup itself,” he says.

At test races to take place in Valencia, Spain, later this month, plans are under way to shoot HD and 3D video and implement “electronic aids to make things more understandable,” says Jeffery. “From the media side, we want to put a much better proposition in front of the viewer, from the television screen to the PDA screen.”

The test shoots will include on-board camera personnel, 5.1 surround-sound audio, and biometric data.

The Valencia races are also the beginning of a number of changes to the race itself. Crew size is being reduced by a third, and the races will test possible changes to the hulls of America’s Cup competitors, allowing both monohull and multihull yachts. “We’re trying to change things on the racecourses with faster boats and cutting back on the number of days,” Jeffery says.

Two additional race events in August and October will continue to test potential changes both specific to the race itself and in the technology to cover the event. “By the end of the year,” he says, we’ll have put all the building blocks in place for the next America’s Cup.”

Jeffrey sees the video competition as a major part of those “building blocks.” The competition was announced in late June, and he says 25 entries have already been received. And word of the contest is spreading: “We’re seeding the competition through social media. We’ve gone out to 200 video and media colleges. We’re on Facebook.”

Although the Valencia races will not be broadcast, Jeffery says video will be posted on the America’s Cup blog and on YouTube and viewers will be asked to “tell us if we’re crazy or tell us if there’s the germ of a good idea.

“We want to bring people with us,” he continues. “[The America’s Cup] is the pinnacle of our sport, so we want maximum participation. We’re trying to modernize and transform while cherishing everything that’s good about the America’s Cup.”

The Golden Gate Yacht Club’s team BMW Oracle Racing won the America’s Cup in February 2010 and will be the host for the 34th America’s Cup match. It was announced today that San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, is the only U.S. city in consideration to host the next defense of the Cup.

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