AVS Goes the Extra Mile at Los Angeles Marathon

What a difference a week makes in Southern California.  Last week, the Aerial Video Systems (AVS) crew was swimming on the Academy Awards Red Carpet in the pouring rain.  A week later on March 9, some 26,000 runners flooded into Dodger Stadium to take on the “Stadium to the Sea” Asics Los Angeles Marathon course under brilliant sunshine. 

The Asics LA Marathon begins at Dodger Stadium, winds through scenic Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and ends at the Santa Monica pier.  The “Stadium to the Sea” course is 26.2 challenging miles for both the runners and RF camera coverage.  AVS provides three RF camera vehicles and communications for start to finish coverage.

LAM Ford F-150 photo 1

Ford F-150 trucks

AVS provided two customized Ford F-150 trucks each outfitted with an inverted gyro-stabilized Cineflex HD camera system and reporter position. The camera trucks beamed images of the leading female and male runners to the overhead relay helicopters, which sent the signals to a receive site on Mt Hollywood down to the host broadcaster, KTLA, for the live four hour broadcast.   A third RF handheld camera was positioned on a motorcycle sidecar with live human interest reports from the middle of the pack.

To accomplish the RF coverage over the 26.2 miles, AVS coordinated 2.3GHz frequencies from the camera vehicles up to the relay copters, 2GHz frequencies from the copters to Mt. Hollywood and then 1.4GHz frequencies relay down to KTLA.  All microwave paths were accomplished with Link Research HD microwave systems.

This year marked the 11th annual “LA Marathon Challenge,” which provide the elite women runners with an 18 minute head start over the elite men and the rest of the field.  The time differential sets up a dramatic race to the finish line between the elite women and men with the first one to cross the finish line picking up a bonus $50,000.  To bring the drama of the “Gender Challenge” to the viewers, AVS provides its proprietary GPS tracking system, which plots the lead female and male runners live on a customized course map.  This year the winning woman runner, Amane Gobena, held off her male counterpart, Gebo Burka, by a minute.   Both runners are from Ethopia.

The 2014 LA Marathon was broadcast live by KTLA in Los Angeles with a tape delayed broadcast carried on the Universal Sports Network, which is carried via cable to more than 45 million homes across the nation.

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