Camera Corps Q-Ball Takes Red Bull Cliff Diving Right to the Edge

Q-Ball remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom equipment from Camera Corps, a Vitec Group company with extensive experience in designing specialty camera systems, recently provided dynamic coverage of the Boston leg of the 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. When the event was held in Boston, it drew more than 25,000 spectators who watched the action from the only “urban cliff” diving platform in the series. A Q-Ball was mounted at the extreme edge of the platform that resided on the Institute of Contemporary Art roof 90 feet above Boston Harbor. Q-Ball supplied close-up coverage of the divers while delivering the excitement, power and grace of the event to the home audience in full HD.

“This is exactly the type of broadcast the Q-Ball was designed for,” comments Camera Corps Managing Director Laurie Frost. “It enabled the Red Bull production team to achieve shots that would have been extremely dangerous, if not impossible, any other way. The production team was able to make full use of the platform-mounted Q-Ball to capture close-up and follow shots of each contestant during the approach, launch and descent. The Q-Ball provided footage from the center of the action without requiring a camera team to operate in a dangerous and potentially distracting location. Each dive was televised both live and in slow motion to capture the full emotion of this extreme sport.”

As one of the most physically demanding sports, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series invites the best high divers in the world to launch themselves from a platform eight stories above the water. Speeds clocked between 53 and 62 mph are typical and this is where Q-Ball, with its high-precision motors, shines. Pan/tilt/zoom commands from a Camera Corps PTZF joystick-based control unit are sent to the Q-Ball via a two-way optical link from the Red Bull Production facilities, which in turn receive broadcast-quality 1080i high-definition video. The operators were able to follow all the diving action, from the approach and takeoff to the dive and entry into the water, with no tracking problems.

The contest moves to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil before the final in Krabi Province, Thailand.

The Q-Ball has delivered close-up HD broadcast pictures from many very high-profile broadcast events in recent years, including the BBC Proms, Summer and Winter Olympics, international football, motor racing, water sports, tennis, football and rugby. Housed in a robust and weatherproof cast-aluminium sphere of similar diameter to a standard compact disc or DVD, the Q-Ball head comprises a 1080i camera with 10:1 zoom optics plus a fully rotatable pan-and-tilt head. High-precision motors enable the operator to adjust the camera angle from practically any location, including smooth adjustment of vertical and lateral tracking speeds.

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