Aerial Video Systems Takes to Track, Skies for Breeders’ Cup

In front of more than 58,000 spectators, Mucho Macho Man narrowly eked out a Breeders’ Cup Classic victory over Will Take Charge, taking home the $5 million purse and closing out the two-day horseracing event. Following the field from an inner track was Aerial Video Systems’ car-mounted, gyro-stabilized V14HD camera, a camera heavily favored throughout NBC Sports Group’s 9½ hours of coverage.

“The camera car is a game-changer in production,” says AVS President Randy Hermes. “[Producer Rob Hyland] took that camera and just stayed on it for at least half the race. It’s just an unbelievable shot.”

AVS supplied RF cameras for two-day event at Santa Anita racetrack in California.

AVS supplied RF A/V gear for the Breeders’ Cup, including a helicopter, which took this aerial shot of Santa Anita Park.

After a brief time on ABC, the Breeders’ Cup returned to NBC last year. NBC requested the gyro-stabilized camera, mounted atop a Range Rover, that ABC used for its coverage, and, after a successful run in 2012, the technology returned for this year’s broadcast.

“It is a great shot,” said Hyland, speaking before the Breeders’ Cup. “It shows the speed and intensity of the race.”

AVS deployed its flagship 53-ft. mobile unit, RF-3, to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA, on Sunday Oct. 27 to support Breeders’ Cup production on Friday Nov. 1 and Saturday Nov. 2. RF-3 houses four separate production and technical rooms that allow the AVS team to monitor, control, and switch wireless microphones and HD cameras; establish site-wide radio communications; and route fiber-optic feeds between other production trucks. In addition, AVS set up six RF receive sites around the venue, linked via fiber back to a computerized RF antenna switching system located in the mobile unit.

For NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, AVS provided four handheld RF cameras (from NEP ND4), one P1 RF Steadicam, one RF start-gate camera (supplied by Fletcher), the Range Rover-mounted car and interior shot, and helicopter for a total of eight RF paths. NBC’s complement also included seven talent/announcer packs, including AVS’s new handheld, high-power wireless microphones; two outrider packs, including jockey microphones; seven RF PL systems; and seven RF IFB systems.

“We had no beltpack mics; we used all our new handheld mics,” says Hermes. “It’s much easier for the talent. They don’t have to wear a beltpack, [and] there’s no cable going to the belt or anything.”

AVS also provided facilities for HRTV (The Network for Horse Sports), including three RF handheld cameras, two RF IFB systems, and three RF PL systems. Website featured a dedicated HD Breeders’ Cup site and carried every Breeders’ Cup race, including the Classic — live and in HD — as well as the Post Position Draw, Player’s Show, Morning Works, Pursuit of the Cup, and handicapping insight from HRTV hosts and analysts.

“For them to have three RF cameras, that’s kind of a big deal; that shows how big [the Breeders’ Cup] was,” says Hermes. “Those cameras came back to our truck also, so we had all the NBC cameras come in, all the HRTV cameras come in, and then we distributed accordingly.”

In the week leading up to Breeders’ Cup, AVS also provided gear for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, ESPN’s Monday Night Football, NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, and the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

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