DP Greg Wilson, TV Tech Managers Deploy VariCam LTs With CineLive For Karate Combat: One World
For Karate Combat: One World, TV Tech Managers were tasked with providing technical services to the production. With initial conversations coming from line producer, Rob Cooper and VER, they wanted to improve upon previous versions of the event.
“They’ve done this event around the world using various cameras, trucks, fly packs and workflow,” says Brett Dicus, Tech Manager, TV Tech Managers. “TV Tech managers were given the opportunity to provide a turn key version of what the production has done in the past.”
Karate Combat was founded to promote the sport of Karate worldwide by creating the first professional, full-contact league. Held on the 102nd floor Observation Deck of New York City’s One World Trade Center, Karate Combat: One World took place on September 27th and was broadcasted live through Karate Combat’s website, www.Karate.com. The sports event was shot by cinematographer Greg Wilson with the support from TV Tech Managers on VariCam LTs set up for CineLive. Released in early 2018, VariCam LT’s Ver. 6.0 firmware enables broadcast shading and multi-camera control plus tally and return video management to the cinema camera. This allows a production to create a cinematic look with excellent low-light performance for live and near-live productions.
According to Dicus, the production had several challenges. The first obstacle is that Karate Combat: One World is a sports show with a sports truck workflow, that now needs to take place on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center. The workflow includes features like playback, slow motion replays, and animated graphics – all the normal broadcast challenges that are typically provided by a sports truck. “Since we were on the 102nd floor, we couldn’t do a cable run down the side of the building 1776 feet down, or through a stairwell,” explains Dicus. “We basically had to build truck facilities with a fly pack solution that could be installed quickly on that floor to support a sports workflow.”
The second challenge was that the producers wanted to see the New York City skyline in the background, which presented challenges with window reflection, light levels, and angles in composing shots. After consulting with Wilson, they knew they had to shoot at a higher ISO, so Wilson pushed for the VariCam LT with CineLive to accomplish this. Since the windows were tinted, the ability to use the VariCam LT’s native 5000 ISO setting was essential. To control the cameras, the team used Panasonic AK-HRP1000 Remote Operation Panels (ROP) connected with Ethernet via Multidyne Silverbacks. “We wanted to go above and beyond on what we had access to in the sports workflow and go with a larger sensor cinema camera that looks good at these high ISOs,” says Dicus. The other advantage was to be able to record in VLOG and perform a live “shade” of the Rec.709 output.
The production used four VariCam LT CineLive set-ups. The master shot, or Camera One, was a camera on a jib arm on 15 – 18 feet of dolly track, that would give them a high and wide angle looking down on the fighters. Camera Two was on a Steadicam that was the mobile camera that did all the walks from the locker room to the ring, as well as shots of the interviews between the host and the fighters. Cameras Three and Four were handheld on Easyrigs capturing close-ups and other ringside shots. There was also an ENG camera floating around the location capturing b-roll and locker room scenes.
For TV Tech Managers, it was their first time integrating the ROP over Ethernet to control the VariCam camera, with the recently released access to all the controllable parameters they needed. “Now that it’s been added to the workflow, it’s certainly a new frontier that will allow us to consider VariCams more often,” says Dicus. “This kind of remote control and remote monitoring, and access to the camera is something we have to solve for every project. We’re now able to achieve that with very few extra parts. It’s something we’ve been waiting for and it’s finally here, and we’re very excited about it. I will likely encourage my clients to choose the ROPs and the VariCam LTs more often because it gives us the remote access that we’ve desired to have with this camera.”